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“Jesus,

 the  Kingdom,  &  Us:      


Living  Here  &  Now  as  God’s  Missionary  People”  
New  City  Church:    Northridge  ~  Fall  2009  
 
Session  #2:    Understanding  My  Story  in  Light  of  God’s  Story  
Part  1—Creation    
 
Key  Question:    What  is  the  Bible?      
 
I. Introduction:    Understanding  Narratives  &  Worldviews  
 
A. Personal  Identity,  Story,  &  Worldview      
• Leslie  Newbigin,  “The  way  we  understand  human  life  depends  on  what  conception  we  
have  of  the  human  story.    What  is  the  real  story  of  which  my  life  story  is  a  part?”  
• Alasdair  MacIntyre,  “I  can  only  answer  the  question,  ‘What  am  I  to  do?’  if  I  can  answer  the  
prior  question,  ‘Of  what  story  do  I  find  myself  a  part?”  
 
B. The  Christian  Narrative:      
• Long  version:    Fundamentally,  Scripture  is  the  narrative  or  story  of  God’s  good  creation,  
devastated  &  vandalized  by  human  sin  &  rebellion,  restored  in  the  life,  death,  &  resurrec-­‐
tion  of  the  Son  of  God,  &  recreated  by  the  Holy  Spirit  into  the  Kingdom  of  God.      
• Short  version:    Creation    Fall    Redemption    Restoration  
 
C. Key  Thoughts  on  the  Christian  Story:  
• NT  Wright,  “The  whole  point  of  Christianity  is  that  it  offers  a  story  which  is  the  story  of  
the  whole  world.    It  is  public  truth.”  (NTPG,  41-­‐42).  
• CS  Lewis,  “I  believe  in  Christianity  as  I  believe  the  sun  has  risen,  not  only  because  I  see  it,  
but  because  by  it  I  see  everything  else.”    
 
D. What  is  a  ‘worldview’?      
1. NT  Wright:    “Worldviews  are  thus  the  basic  stuff  of  human  existence,  the  lens  through  
which  the  world  is  seen,  the  blueprint  for  how  one  should  live  in  it,  and  above  all  the  
sense  of  identity  and  place  which  enables  human  beings  to  be  what  they  are.”    
 
2. Worldviews  answer  the  most  basic  questions  of  life….  
• Who  are  we?    (identity)   • What  is  wrong?  (evil)  
• Where  did  we  come  from?  (origin)   • What  is  the  solution?  (salvation)  
• Where  are  we?  (environment)   • Where  are  we  going?  (destiny)    
• Why  are  we  here?  (purpose)  
 
3. James  Sire,  “They  are  generally  unquestioned  by  each  of  us;  rarely,  if  ever,  mentioned  by  
our  friends;  and  brought  to  mind  when  they  are  challenged  by  a  foreigner  from  another  
ideological  universe”  (The  Universe  Next  Door,  17-­‐18).    
 
  F.    Key  Thought  on  Worldviews:    worldviews  are  “profoundly  theological”  (NT  Wright).    
 
II. Creation  
Key  thought:    “To  the  extent  that  we  
misunderstand  the  story  of  creation  we  will  
also  be  confused  about  the  Gospel”  (Michael  
Wittmer,  Heaven  is  a  Place  on  Earth)      
 
A.  The  Goodness  of  Creation:  Genesis  1  
“…And  God  saw  everything  that  he  had  
made,  and  behold,  it  was  very  good.”  
 
• C.  Plantinga,  “…central  in  the  classic  
Christian  understanding  of  the  
world  is  a  concept  of  the  way  things  
are  supposed  to  be.    They  ought  to  be  
as  designed  and  intended  by  God....”    
 
• Plantinga,  “The  webbing  together  of  God,  humans,  and  all  creation  in  justice,  fulfillment,  
and  delight  is  what  the  Hebrew  prophets  call  shalom.    We  call  it  peace,  but  it  means  far  
more  than  mere  peace  of  mind  or  a  cease-­‐fire  between  enemies.    In  the  Bible,  shalom  
means  universal  flourishing,  wholeness,  and  delight—a  rich  state  of  affairs  in  which  
natural  needs  are  satisfied  and  natural  gifts  fruitfully  employed,  a  state  of  affairs  that  
inspires  joyful  wonder  as  it’s  Creator  and  Savior  opens  the  doors  and  welcomes  the  
creatures  in  whom  he  delights.    Shalom,  in  other  words,  is  the  way  things  ought  to  be.”  
 
B. Since  Creation  is  good,  the  Christian  can  delight  in  Creation  as  a  work  of  God.  
• 1  Timothy  4:4,  “For  everything  created  by  God  is  good,  and  nothing  is  to  be  rejected  if  it  is  
received  with  thanksgiving…”    
 
C. The  “Earthiness”  of  our  Humanity:    “…from  dust  you  were  created…”  means,  
fundamentally,  that  we  are  earth-­dwellers.  
• Common  evangelical  mistake:    the  goal  is  to  leave  this  earth  and  our  bodies  behind  
• Heaven  is  not  our  home,  but  rather  Earth  is.    Or  more  accurately,  Heaven  on  Earth  is  our  
home.    “We  were  made  from  the  earth  so  that  we  might  live  here  forever”  (Whittmer).  
 
D. The  Dignity  of  our  Humanity:    “…made  in  the  image  of  God…”  
• What  elevates  us  above  other  creatures,  what  separates  us  from  the  rest  of  creation,  is  
this  Imago  Dei,  the  image  of  God.  
• All  people,  even  in  our  fallen  humanity,  bear  the  image  of  God  (cf.  James  3:9-­‐10)  
• B/c  of  the  Imago  Dei,  “We  dare  not  treat  any  person,  no  matter  how  mentally  or  
physically  impaired,  with  less  or  even  equal  respect  than  we  give  to  the  rest  of  creation.    
That  person,  regardless  of  what  she  can  or  can’t  contribute  to  society,  possesses  value  
and  dignity  that  far  surpass  all  other  creatures  (nonhuman  and  perhaps  angelic),  for  
unlike  them,  she  alone  bears  the  image  of  her  Creator  God”  (Wittmer).