Time did not begin at Genesis 1. There was a time before time. This was a time prior to Genesis 1 or before any of our clocks—carbon or not—began recording the activities of reality. This was a time when there was a harmony in the heavens between God and the angels. In this time there was apparently no creation as we now know it, but only absolute peace and fulfillment. But evil found its way into the mix: there was an insurrection in the heavens. You can read about the hubris that led to a cosmic rebellion that sent the arch-angel Lucifer and a third of the angels away from the accord of the heavens in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. This event led to betrayal, rebellion, and ultimately a period of chaos. The Betrayer and his followers were cast out and, as Genesis opens, the Spirit of God broods over the void.
The word used in Genesis 1:2 for “hovering” is the same word used in Deuteronomy 32:11—”He watched over His next like an eagle and hovers over is young.” Literally, the word can be translated as “brooding.” Accordingly, the Spirit of God is “brooding” as the scriptural account of creation begins. So, as the fantastic event we now know as Creation is about to take place, another one has only recently concluded. There’s a stillness. There is an ominous feel here in the exact moment between times and history stands on the threshhold. This moment of our time represents the transition from Act I to Act II in the Larger Story God is revealing.
So in Act II what does God do? He does it again. He creates the earth and the seas. He creates the mountains and the skies and the animals. He creates night and day and the crown jewel of His work—humanity. He breathes life into Adam and from this life creates Eve–as always, the most beautiful last. He pronounces it all good. And on the eve of creation; on our honeymoon in the garden that was given to us, known as Eden, what happens? Before the dust has settled from the rebellion in the “time before time,” it happens again. Betrayal. Our paradise lost echoes today; its ripples moving out across time and space. Romans 8 tells us that even creation groans to be released. Time has been affected. Our emotions are tainted by this Fall. This time, however, there is a plan for redemption put in place. The coming Christ is foreshadowed in the proto-evangelium of Genesis 3:15.
And so Act III begins as Adam and Eve are instructed to leave the garden—not for punitive reasons necessarily, but so that they do not eat from the Tree of Life. After all, eating from the Tree of Life after being separated from God would have meant permanent separation. God can deal with our disobedience, our messes, our questions—He promises to redeem it all. But what He could not deal with—and cannot deal with— was permanent separation from Adam and Eve. So they had to leave paradise.
Act III of the Larger Story includes most of biblical history and all of human history. There is much work to be done yet in the third act of our reality. We–you and I–have a crucial role to play. God has invited us into His story. Act IV in the Larger Story God continues to reveal is, as Gladiator‘s Maximus knew very well, “not yet”. Act Iv remains our promise.
In this Larger Story the stakes are high, the ammo is live, and the bullets are real. There is a Hero-Redeemer and a Villain. There are twists and turns. There will be betrayal and intrigue. Loss and pain. The Larger Story chronicles a daring rescue behind enemy lines. And of course there is a beauty to be rescued. The beauty is you. It is me. It’s the person next to you and the guy driving down the street. This is the story we are called into. This is the adventure that God is inviting us into.
It is because of this that I do not care what Alex Rodriguez did or didn’t do; what he said or didn’t say. So this is Agonistes’ official response to A-Rod and the steroid-in-baseball issue that has been getting so much press. As a culture, we have become obsessed with trivia. In short, we are not a serious people.
I understand that the games are fun. The personalities are interesting. And trust me when I say that I agree that we need our pastimes and hobbies. But I think we should do serious self-analysis about how we deploy our emotional energy—perhaps our most valuable asset. The Villain of the story would like nothing more than to keep you in your seat and in the smaller stories where you are tame and safe—and as far away from the Larger Story as he can keep you. Your adversary, the Villain, knows that in the Larger Story you would be very dangerous.