Seldom have I found a book that I would say everyone should read. After all, we are inundated with all kinds of books these days. People are busy with social media, blogs, podcasts and YouTube. Still, Discovering the God Imagination by Jonathan Brink is just such a book. The main reason that I think this book is so important is that it articulates an alternate atonement therory with cohesive precision. If you have ever been even slightly dissatisfied with the ransom theory, the penal substitution theory or, even the Christus Victor theory, this book is for you. Brink explains the source of the root problem of humanity; explains how it causes a downward spiral in human behavior and, exposes the lie that feeds the ego and, holds us captive to it. He demonstrates that redemption and the gospel is really good news indeed.
At every point, Brink shows an alterative way to understand the biblical narrative. In fact, he quotes more biblical passages than any book I have read in a long time and, helps make sense of the redemptive missio dei (mission of God.) He asks and answers the question what is the root problem being solved by the cross. His answer is that it is a lie we have told ourselves since the garden. God declared that we were created very good and, we allowed our use of the knowledge of good and evil to convince us that we are not as God sees us. The chasm is caused within each human being... we end up asking the basic question are we good or evil?
“The root problem is located in us, as if this isn’t obvious by now. We are captive to the lie because we have agreed to it. I f we locate the problem in humanity, everything shifts. Everything changes. We can begin to describe the problem for what it is, a lie that captivates the human mind.
If we locate the problem in humanity, it liberates God from being deceptive or requiring violent responses. It liberates us from a victimization that allow us to sit on the sidelines, watching and waiting for God to respond. If we locate the problem in humanity it opens our eyes to the fact that we are the ones making the violent demands. We are the ones requiring the proof. The cross becomes a means to prove what always has and always will be true—humanity is qualitatively good regardless of our subjective judgments.”
In his view and, in mine also, the cross is necessary for us and not God. God created us good, declared it and we have used the knowledge of good and evil to contradict what God said. We therefore are the ones in need of redemption. We are the ones who need to have faith in cure of the root problem. In other words, we are the ones who need to have our consciences cleansed once for all.
I have given but a small taste of what this book entails. As I stated it takes the entire biblical narrative and through examples offers a different (I think more correct) context. Read this book and get back to me. :)