I sketched how Brian understands the so-called “soul sort narrative” Wednesday, and today I want to offer one more thought: how the conventional narrative actually has framed those six elements (creation, fall, condemnation or life on earth, salvation and either heaven or hell).
How do you describe the “conventional” narrative of Christianity?
God, out of an explosion of love and desire to expand, created the world and made humans his Eikons.
Those Eikons sinned and were banned from the Garden.
God let the Eikons wander for seven or so chapters in Genesis until he stepped in out of grace and condescending love to make a powerful covenant with Israel and anointed Israel to be God’s priests and rulers in this world.
Israel, though, did not achieve what it was designed to do and God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, as Israel’s Messiah to rule as prophet, priest and king. He liberates and rescues and redeems and justifies those who are in him.
But this good news is for all people, and so the early church expanded “Israel” into an international body, called the Church.
Those that are “in Christ” or believe in him, trust in him, follow him are those who are saved.
All of this, from beginning to end, is about God’s grace and God’s love and it is fully consistent with God’s holiness and justice.
Someday, from Moses on to John, the fullness of God’s plan for creation will be played out — and the conventional narrative finds this in words like kingdom, heaven, and the new heavens and the new earth — all part of the new creation theme.
God is loving and holy.
Humans are made as Eikons but humans have chosen to rebel against God by disobedience.
Humans are all connected; all humans are sinners; original sin, yes, seems inherent to this plan of salvation.
As sinners, humans are unreconciled to God and are destined for God’s judgment — which, if chosen by humans (only some are double predestinationists) results in hell, and yes many have framed it in terms of eternal conscious torment.
God, in order to redeem sinners from their rebellion, sent Jesus Christ both to absorb the human punishment and to provide redemption and grace.
Jesus Christ, thus, is at the heart of the redemption plan of grace.
Humans are summoned to admit their sin, repent from that sin, and turn to God in Jesus Christ by accepting his atoning death as their death and to accept his atoning resurrection as their resurrection. This is done by faith and is expressed in baptism. This creates new life and a life of obedience.