ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 342



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IMMERSE

BEGINNINGS
But how are they related?
The following overview of the main stories that make up the Story will
help you understand the overall flow of the Bible. It will reveal how the
major stories in the Bible are really subplots of the big Story. As each new
subplot is introduced, we will see how it serves the bigger narrative, particularly the story that immediately precedes it.
The Bible is a connected, multi-layered story, and Jesus the Messiah is
directly at the center of it all. Sent by the Father and empowered by the
Spirit, he is the One who ultimately brings resolution to all the stories. He is
the thread—the beginning and the end—that ties the Scriptures together.
Jesus the Messiah makes the Story’s good ending possible, enabling the
completion of God’s one, big, saving purpose for all things.
1. The Story of God and His World
In the beginning God made everything and said it was all very good. It
is evident from the rich variety of interconnected living things in his created order that God delights in flourishing life. This thriving, teeming world
brings God glory and reveals his power.
When we read the Bible in its ancient Near Eastern context, something
else also becomes clear. The opening song of creation shows us that God
intends for the entire cosmos to be his temple, the place where he makes
his home. When the Bible says God “rested” on the seventh day, it doesn’t
simply mean he stopped working. In the ancient world, a deity “rested” in
order to take up residence within a temple. So the new world God made
becomes his creation-temple, and he rules over it, bringing peace and life.
This is the Bible’s first account, and it forms the frame for everything else
that happens. God’s creation is the stage for all the acts of the Story going
forward. And the role of others in the drama will determine whether or not
the Creator’s plan for flourishing life will be realized.
2. The Story of Humanity
Humans come into the creation story in a special way. They are portrayed
as being formed from the earth itself, establishing their permanent connection with the rest of the creation. Yet they are set apart from the beginning
with a unique calling: stewardship. Out of all the creatures, only humans are
made in the image of God himself and are to bring God’s intentions for his
creation to fruition. Their job is to rule over all things, helping life to flourish.
Humanity is God’s plan for managing his world. As priests in the temple of
God’s creation, humans—more than any other creature—will determine the
success or failure of God’s purposes for the world.
However, there are also other forces at work. Evil powers exist and are in
a position to influence humans, drawing them away from God and interfering





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