This chapter will have to be posted in two parts because it was longer than I expected.
How Does the Bible Work?
Saying the Bible is Story is not saying it is fiction. We say the Bible is Story because if we read it from beginning to end, we discover that it has three features: it has a plot (creation to consummation), it has characters (God – Father, Son and Spirit – and God’s people and the creation around them), and it also has many authors who together tell the story.
Scot imagines that each of the authors of the Bible has a way of telling the Story. But before they are given permission, Jesus gives them some instructions in the form of a plot to which they are to conform their story.
Scot then provides us the basic elements of the plot to which all Bible writers have been asked to conform. He identifies 5 themes which hold the Bible together:
Plot / Theme
Creating Eikons (Gen. 1-2) /Oneness
Cracked Eikons (Gen. 3-11) / Otherness
Covenant Community (Gen. 12-Malachi)/ Otherness expands
Christ, the Perfect Eikon, redeems (Matt. – Rev. 20) / One in Christ
Consummation (Rev. 21-22) /Perfectly One
One of the most exciting features of those who learn to read the Bible as Story is to see how each book or author shapes the various elements of this plot.
This is the important point of this chapter: The unity of the Bible is this Story. It is this Story that puts the Bible together.
Creating Eikons: Designed for Oneness
We begin at Genesis 1-2. The pinnacle of God’s speaking things into existence was creating human beings. I understood where he was going. He refers to Gen. 1.26-27 and allows some of the words here to be defined with alternate understandings. Let us make The Adam [human beings] in our own Eikon [image, likeness of God]. Then the Bible informs us (in the next chapter) that God chose to “split the Adam” into two, into an Ish (man) and into an Ishah (woman). (The odd part to me is that he uses the literal Hebrew term for human (Adam) here, refers to the literal Hebrew terms for male and female (Ish and Ishah) but refers to the Greek term for image (Eikon). I think I know where he is going with this, but it is a little confusing. Plus, it is further confused by the fact that the story in Genesis continues to refer to the male as Adam.)
The brief point is this: God wanted The Adam to enjoy what the Trinity had eternally enjoyed and continues to enjoy: perfect communion and mutuality with an equal. To make the need for communion and love abundantly clear, God openly reveals that this aloneness is not what God wants for The Adam. God wants The Adam to be two in order to experience the glories of communion of love and mutuality.
The creation story is a story of what we were made to be and do: God is a Trinity, three equal persons in one(ness).
God designs Eikons for oneness in love.
God makes The Adam, who isn’t one with an equal. So,
God splits The Adam, into two so Adam and Eve can enjoy oneness.
That is why the Bible says that they are one flesh. As God is One (see Deut. 6.4), so Adam and Eve are one. Scot tells us that if we get anything out of Genesis 1-2 this is it:
The loving oneness of God finds earthly expression in the loving oneness of Adam and Eve. When Eikons are at one with God, self, others and the world, the glory oof the One God illuminates all of life.
The Bible begins, then as a life of oneness – human beings in union with God and in communion with the self, with one another, and with the world around them.
Cracked Eikons: Distorting Oneness, Creating Otherness
Because the man and woman choose to do what God said not to do, they “crack the Eikon” and jeopardize oneness. The first impact of rebelling against God is their self-consciousness. Then continue to distort oneness by acting as if nothing happened. This is followed the evidence of how sin impacts their oneness further, they begin to blame each other. Instead of experiencing one another in oneness, they begin to experience on e another as “others.” The entire rest of the Bible, aiming as it will toward Jesus Christ, is about turning Eikons bent on otherness to Eikons basking in oneness with God, with self, with others, and with the world. This otherness problem is what the gospel “fixes,” and the story of the Bible is the story of God’s people struggling with otherness and searching for oneness.