Genesis 1 and 2 in Meta-Narrative
Christians believe that the Bible is this world's meta-narrative. The reason we exist (creation). The reason we are the way we are (the fall). The solution to our problems (redemption in Christ). The action that will return us to the ideal (renewal). All of these ideas are connected in the story of the Bible. If this is true, that the Bible is our meta-narrative, there should be some direct connections between the Biblical story and the world as we know it, that shape our thinking. This influence on our thinking is known as the Biblical world-view. In Sunday School your mamaw called it, "doing what Jesus said."
I am currently walking through the meta-narrative of the Bible with my Old Testament class at Christian Heritage School in Dalton, GA. As I have time, I would like to provide a series of posts helping my students, their parents, and anyone else who wants to follow along, make some critical connections between the Biblical story and life as we know it that should shape our thinking.
Life as we know it is filled with strong opinions. A common refrain in secular positions is that God is bad for society. This is certainly part of the platform of the garden variety atheist who will argue that the idea of religion/god is the root of many wars and much to blame for social and moral oppression. An organization that has put a face on this idea is The Freedom from Religion Foundation. If you have not heard of FFRF try to put a nativity scene on the lawn of your local courthouse or hold a public school graduation in a church - their lawyers will probably give you a call.
Feminism has become the godless meta-narrative for the plight of women in society. Organizations such as NOW, the National Organization for Women, contend that women would be happier in a society that is less influenced by male dominated ideals. Women should certainly not be subjected to archaic and oppressive meta-narratives like the Bible. Given the opportunity, women would think better of themselves if they were not directed toward social stereotypes like marriage, giving birth, motherhood, or even subjecting themselves to the common female social "dress codes" like jewelry, bras, or long hair.
The question of life has become one secularists find increasingly difficult to answer. In a planet of diminishing resources, population control becomes an influencing ideal behind every social concern from environmentalism, to abortion, to health care. I am not sure if the url is authentic, but it appears that the kind educators at Princeton have provided a nice online resource that gives an overview of the growing population control movement (Link here). Bill Gates has a solution to reducing the planet's CO2 levels - reduce the number of humans and you will get rid of earth's biggest issue in the carbon equation. Don't take my word for it. Watch and hear the man yourself (Link here).
If the whole importance of a meta-narrative thing bores you, perhaps you just woke up! Everyone has a meta-narrative they follow. Your life fits into someone's story - your congressman, your kid's teachers, your president, your sheriff, your doctor, judges, lawyers, actors . . . everyone. You thought you were just buying Windows '98 when in fact you were buying a blue screen that funded the propagation of the idea of population control.
What about the environment? In a godless meta-narrative this one is easy. Man is bad for the planet. In the opening statements of their mission statement, groups like Sierra Club say things like this, "Thus, we must control human population numbers and seek a balance that serves all life forms." Is any of this beginning to sound repetitive?
So if these are the ideas that are influencing public policy, education, and the secularist meta-narrative, to what logical ends does this lead us in laws that govern human life, health care, marriage, and freedom?
The meta-narrative of the Bible opens with some powerful statements.
- God is good for society. Everything He created was good. If the idea of God is to blame for war and oppression somebody, somewhere has twisted the message of the story. I leave Gen. 1 and 2 asking the question, how can we possibly remove God from a world He created? When I see how good God was for the world I am then led to ask, "Why would I want Him removed?" He sounds "very good" to me!
- God's story is good for women. When the woman was created she was formed as Adam's immediate equal. She was his helper; not in the sense of being his para-pro, but in the sense that without her he was not all that God wanted him to be. He was alone. He was unable to reproduce. He was unable to subdue the earth. He was unable to finish the job of growing the garden for the glory of God. She was not taken out of Adam's foot that he would treat her as a doormat, but out of his side. She was not created to free herself from him, but to create union with him. In the feminist paradigm equality means women must become the same as men. In the Biblical paradigm equality is not sameness - the woman was celebrated not because she was the same as Adam, but because she was something he could never be. Adam did not scorn her. He did not abuse her. He did not oppress her. He praised her. If Adam hurt her, he would have to answer to God! In God's garden woman was valued as man's ideal partner - "for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife." She was woman and the first dude ROARED for her! One question, has feminism driven men to praise and cherish women, or is it an idea that inevitably drives the sexes further apart?
- The Bible is great for the environment. Christians should be the world's greatest environmentalists. We are not equal with the planet. We are surely not its enemy. Man was created to be the boss, its steward, its gardener. God gave the planet the potential for life, it would be man's job to harvest it. To have dominion over the earth and subdue it did not mean that man would drive it to extinction, but rather man would do what God did, he would redeem it from wildness. The earth was without form and void. God brought it to life with His Word. The world without man was alive but unable to reach its potential (Gen. 2:5). Leftist environmentalist want man to take his hands off the world. The world without man will not prosper, without him it will become a weed!
- God's Word is good for life. As the most prosperous nation on earth, Americans have guzzled gallons of the population control Kool-Aid. Kids are thought of as career killers, not blessings. Kids reduced to consumers - feed them, clothe them, pacify them, sub-lease them, let someone else raise them. God said that kids were the evidence of fruitfulness, not consumption. Big families are reality show circus freaks. Seldom do we think of them as any evidence that God has kept his promise to man, "you will be blessed." Kids were supposed to help us carry on the legacy of subduing the earth for the glory of God. Kids were supposed to be garden growers, not social rejects. The secularist meta-narrative calls baby killing a choice. A child in the womb has no dignity, it is only tissue - no different than a tumor. That is not a narrative, that is a night-mare. Furthermore, abortion is not just killing infant people, it is killing women. Abortion does more to a woman's soul than give it a choice, it introduces it to guilt ridden torture. The implications here are paramount for all of us. God's story teaches us that birth was supposed to be a blessing for all of us, it wasn't supposed to be like this.
When we take God out of the narrative we become one of two things. The left side of us becomes little more than baby killing, man hating, environmentalist crazies, that walk through life incredibly loud but thoroughly confused. The right side of us becomes money grubbing, social elitists, who can't articulate a decent position because there is little intelligence in their whining. Without God in our story, the majority of us become a mindless, apathetic people who don't care; simpleton slaves of the state who do not realize their very lives are about to be written out of the narrative by people who do care.
Without understanding the narrative, most people who call themselves Christians are a confusing bunch of pharisaical moralists who think they are making a difference because they go to church and pray in restaurants; but in reality making no social impact at all. I think Jesus called it salt without saltiness that is good for little more than traction control for the bottom of the world's shoes (Matt. 5:13).
Understanding the story means everything!
Genesis 1 and 2 is the best possible world. God was good for the world and the world was good. As the story continues, something goes horribly wrong. The evidence of this catastrophe surrounds us everyday. Whether it is Genesis 3 or 2013 we are still reeling from the introduction of sin into the planet and the loss of the tree of life.