Last week, we started watching the Bible Series again. This time with our church family at Grace. I wanted to share a few reflections on each episode. In episode 1, there were a few claims that were made that caused me to reflect back on the Scriptures, as we should always do. In fact, that is one of the great benefits of a television show like this. It causes us to return to the Biblical account and grow in our understanding. Even with the errors present in the telling of the story and many times in theology, shows like this one are invaluable to not only the church, but to our society as a whole. I want to examine the claims or insinuations of this episode briefly.
First, the claim was made that the reason for the Great Flood was that God needed to restore the relationship between Himself and people. While it is true that there was a part of humankind’s relationship with God that was broken, the reason for God’s action against humanity was disciplinary and had a deeper purpose. According to Jeremiah 33, God formed creation in order to establish it. God was working all things together to bring humanity from the Garden to a better, deeper, and more profound existence. Adam and Eve had life, God’s desire was that those who love Him have life more abundant. The Flood was part of God’s establishing His creation and building His kingdom. It was a physical portrayal of the eternal consequence of sin, that we might understand, through suffering, and that we might forsake our selfish pursuit of glory to abide eternally in God’s glory. Please check out the series, “Broken,” at christoa.com. It is in the Judges category.
Second, much of what we see is very human-centered. Through the episode, it almost looks and sounds like God is subject to the faithfulness of people when God is actually the one who is always working all things together. As an example, I might ask this question: Did Abraham actually have to prove his faith, or do tests accomplish something different? Abraham would have been the father of many nations with or without ‘passing’ God’s tests because God does not change and because God had made a promise. Tests are not something we pass, they are something that reveal our condition. Again, I invite you to check out the “Broken” series by clicking on the Judges category at christoa.com. The creators of the show portray a small god when God is way more awe-inspiring. We are going to see this pattern throughout the series. This simply serves the purpose of emphasizing the fact that we should never glean our theology from fiction, but from what God has Himself spoken and revealed. I can’t know a person by reading about them. I get to know a person by hearing from that person.
This show does accomplish something great, however. It helps us see the Biblical stories in better context in the scenes that are done well. We have a tendency to read Scripture with 21st-century western eyes and minds. When I see the Angel of the Lord coming to speak with Abraham, the cattle in the background, children running around, and Abraham inviting them to sit under a communal tent-shade, my 21st century imagination of a house where only Abraham’s immediate family resides is challenged and it is challenged for my good, that I might understand the Scriptures better.