Summary: Part Two of the "Big Picture" of the bible’s story.
We are looking at the big picture of God’s story. The Message – what is it really? Sometimes we get so focussed on the detail, on the little bits of the story we love so well we can lose sight of the overall message. Why is this important? Well we don’t want to be in a situation where we can’t see the wood for the trees. But what I think it does is this – it gives us a handle, an understanding of what the world and everything means, how it fits together. For example last week when we were looking at the story of creation we saw that because God made the world that has a lot of implications. It means that God is Lord of all; it means he rules, it means that he is bigger than any problem or situation we face. It means we can experience and be amazed by him as we encounter his creation. It means we are unique, with so much to enjoy, but yet responsibility to look after it. That is the first piece in jigsaw, but it is only the first piece.
Reading - God’s great story is that this world that he made, which was all good has been spoiled.
One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the evil that was going on. He decided to send an angel down to Earth to check it out. So he called one of His best angels and sent the angel to Earth for a time.
When the angel returned she told God, yes it is bad on Earth, 95% are bad and 5% is good. Well, God thought for a moment and said "Maybe I had better send down a second angel, to get another point of view."
So God called another angel and sent her to Earth for a time too. When the angel returned she went to God and told Him yes, the Earth was in decline, 95% were bad and 5% was good. God said this was not good.
So He decided to E-mail the 5% that were good. He wanted to encourage them..............give them a little something to help them keep going. Do you know what that E-mail said?
No? You didn’t get one either?
Something evil, insidious entered into God’s wonderful creation and like a cancer that spreads or a genetic illness that affects every cell it has spread. The principle of death and suffering has started. This next piece of the jigsaw, this next chapter in the story is so crucial. Why? Well it answers a lot. When Adam and Eve sinned, mankind fell. They let something in; they knowingly and willingly opened the door to evil by rebelling against God’s command. The consequences were as they had been warned catastrophic. As we understand this we are able to see what God is doing in the world, what is happening in us and to us and in the world at large. For me personally it has helped me to make sense of what has happened to Elizabeth.
I am not sure that many people today in Britain know how to handle or understand evil. What tends to happen is that:
First, we ignore evil when it doesn’t hit us in the face. Countries bordering the Indian Ocean knew about tsunamis, but hadn’t bothered to install early warning systems.
Second, we are surprised by evil when it does happen. We like to think of small English towns as pleasant, safe places, and were shocked to the core a few years ago when two little girls were murdered by someone they obviously knew and trusted in the town of Soham. We are shocked by plots to blow up aeroplanes.
The Western world has not been able to cope with evil from within its modernistic beliefs. People either deny evil’s existence and say it is all down to education/conditioning/mental illness or admit evil is real, powerful and important, but has no real clue as to what we should do about it. The same applies when we face the effects of the Fall personally. Most of the time people just try and ignore it e.g. the possibility that they may get sick or some tragedy might happen. When it does there is shock and people question why is this happening?
All of which emphasises how important it is that we understand that what happens to us personally, what is happening in the world in 2006 is all part of a bigger story, God’s story. As we understand this story it helps us make sense of our story, what is happening to me.
1. PHYSICAL CONSEQUENCES.
What is clear from the Genesis account is that death followed on from sin. The wages of sin are indisputably death (Rom. 6:23). Into God’s creation the introduction of sin would result in death, pain and suffering. Physical death was not immediate but from that moment the reign of death began bringing sickness, suffering, pain, misery & illness - like an infectious virus.