Quote | “The Great Good Thing”

From Andrew Klavan’s testimony, The Great Good Thing, Chapter 6: Reading the Bible. This is his impression of the Biblical narrative after reading it for the first time.

“I saw a God whose nature was creative love. He made man in his own image for the purpose of forming new and free relationships with him. But in his freedom, man turned away from that relationship to consult his own wisdom and desires. The knowledge of good and evil was not some top-secret catalogue of nice and naughty acts that popped into Eve’s mind when a talking snake got her to eat the magic fruit. The knowledge was built into the action of disobedience itself: it’s what she learned when she overruled the moral law that God had placed within her. There was no going back from that. The original sin poisoned all of history. History’s murders, rapes, wars, oppressions, and injustices are now the inescapable plot of the story we’re in.

The Old Testament traces one complete cycle of that history, one people’s rise and fall. This particular people is unique only in that they’re the ones who begin to remember what man was made for. Moses’ revelation at the burning bush is as profound as any religious scene in literature. There, he sees that the eternal creation and destruction of nature is not a mere process but the mask of a personal spirit, I AM THAT I AM. The centuries that follow that revelation are a spiraling semi-circle of sin and shame and redemption, of freedom recovered and then surrendered in return for imperial greatness, of a striving toward righteousness through law that reveals only the impossibility of righteousness, of power and pride and fall.  It’s every people’s history, in other words, but seen anew in the light of the fire of I AM.

It made sense to me–natural sense, not supernatural–that after that history was complete, a man might be born who could comprehend it wholly and re-create within himself the relationship at its source. His mind would contain both man and God. It made sense that the creatures of sin and history–not the Jews alone but all of us–would conspire in such a man’s judicial murder. Jesus had to die because we had to kill him. It was either that or see ourselves by his light, as the broken things we truly are. It’s only from God’s point of view that this is a redeeming sacrifice. By living on earth in Jesus, by entering history, by experiencing death, by passing through that moment of absolute blackness when God is forsaken by God, God reunites himself with his fallen creation and reopens the path to the relationship lost in Eden. Jesus’ resurrection is the final proof that no matter how often we kill the truth of who we’re meant to be, it never dies.”

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