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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Plot Line of Humanity

I know what happens in the end. All well-read Christians know what happens in the end. There will be no fancy twists in the plot line. No tension-building conflicts that cause us to adjust our outcome predictions. No flat finales that make us wish we'd not wasted the last two thousand years watching a Jesus flick. No cliffhangers that make us wonder what really happened - did He win or didn't He? The resolution is complete and solid.

If you're a believer, it will be the happiest ending you've ever experienced because it will actually be the beginning. The story of humanity will have just been the prologue.


Prologue is too strong.

It will have just been the back story (the stuff the author knows but leaves out of the real story because it's insignificant - it does nothing to further the real story or add to it).

Today I started thinking about the plot line of humanity. If you've read Daniel, Revelation, Matthew, and some other key scriptures, you already know the plot. The plot takes the problem set forth at the beginning and resolves it. What God began, He will bring to a logical and satisfying conclusion that ties up every plot line - the long and the short.

Let's go back to the beginning, but where is it exactly? Many might say Adam - God created him from dust and breathed life into him. But Adam isn't where the story begins. Adam and Eve and even Noah are the setup. It's the part of the story you have to know to get to where it all begins. It's the "Once upon a time in a village far away, there was a butcher."

But here's where this story truly begins:  "Now this butcher had a fair-haired daughter who turned the head of every man in town, but only Tommy, the village vegetarian, made her cheeks blush."

Okay, got it? Good. So where does the plot line of humanity begin?

Did you say Abraham? If so, then you and I think alike. God promised Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars. It was through Abraham that God promised two great nations through his first two sons - one through Isaac (Judaism and Christianity) and one through Ishmael (Islam). And it is through the tension and conflict of those two great "nations" that our plot line of humanity takes shape.

So here's my question. If the plot line of humanity begins with Abraham...

and it plays out through the conflict among the descendants and nations of his first two sons...

and the plot takes the problem set forth in the beginning and resolves it (we know, or will know, this to be the return of Jesus)...

what happens in the showdown  - that final conflict in humanity that leads to the resolution of the plot?

Do you ever wonder what process God might use to reconcile the conflict that began with Issac and Ishmael? 

Do you think Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael are the true beginning, or do you think the plot line of humanity begins somewhere else?

*To read the full story of Abraham and the promises God made to him, read Genesis 12 - 18.