Bible tells stories about real life

March 19, 2014 

Most Bible scholars north of the Mason-Dixon line (southern states) agree that the Bible has been written by many authors over nearly 3,000 years, albeit inspired (breathed into) by the heart of God.

I like how one scholar, Frederick Buechner, describes it: The Bible is a book about life the way it really is. It’s about people who, at one and the same time, can be both believing and unbelieving, innocent and guilty, crusaders and crooks, full of hope and full of despair.

In other words, it’s a book about us. It’s also about God. If it is not about the God we believe in, then it’s about the God we don’t believe in, but one way or the other, the story we find there is our own human story.

What I find most powerful is the biblical confession that God so loves the world. The whole world.

The Bible does not say God loves just one religion, nor saves just one small subset of humanity that, by accident of birth mostly, is Christian. The Bible instead witnesses to a God whose love is cosmic and encompassing, not merely personal and partisan.

In truth, biblical faith gives witness to a creation whose beginning is not accidental, whose ending is neither tragic nor meaningless, but is altogether wrapped in loving purpose from start to finish. That the characters written about in scripture are so wonderfully and awfully human at the same time ought to give every reader hope and, perhaps by grace, even lead to trusting in a patient, forgiving, welcoming God whose intent has always been to heal a broken and rebellious humanity within a whole creation waiting breathlessly for restoration.

Little wonder, then, that we can be so deeply drawn to this biblical library of books that gives witness to real life, life as it has been, is now, and one day will be in all its newness. If it is true, as the Bible says, that God is love, how wonderful to know also that Love never ends toward us and all creation.

Matters of Faith columnist Kim Latterell can be reached by email at latterka@plu.edu.

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