The Five Reasons:
- God has always wanted to have a personal relationship with humanity from the beginning forward.
- God created humanity the way it is, and in spite of that declared that it was "very good."
- Jesus overthrew the legal-constitutional focus of scripture in favor of seeing it as the redemptive narrative.
- God's ultimate purpose in creation was redemption.
- Humanities pathology results from mortality, and the ability to judge what is right and wrong.
Paul Young has developed the book, which ultimately ended up being the movie, based upon the above presuppositions which form the paradigm. Over time, in a series, I will examine and elaborate on each of these reasons. Seeing the movie was a breath of fresh air for my wife and I.... seeing it in the heart of the Bible Belt, and seeing that there was less than thirty people in the theater, is very telling and disheartening.
While there are those who embrace the book, the movie, and the paradigm. There are many who see it as a damnable heresy. That audience is my target. While I may not convince them he is right, I will be able to lend a strong, and well reasoned voice, that will show that there is truly an alternate lens to look at the biblical narrative, and make sense out of it.
There are equally valid if not more valid ways to read the biblical text, and conclude a completely different paradigm than is currently driving evangelical doctrine. It is time for apologists of a different paradigm to make their case known. If one understands that God's ultimate reason for creation was redemption, which would bring glory to his grace, Ephesians 1:6, then the paradigm that "The Shack" presents would obviously be one that is compatible with the biblical data.
God has revealed Himself in many ways in times past to the prophets. He was a burning bush to Moses, and there are many and varied theophanies in the scriptures. It is not a stretch at all to have God reveal Himself as an African American woman who brought comfort to a young boy in a very difficult and painful childhood. To present that image of Papa merely shows that God will go to any place that is necessary to communicate his love to his children. In Mack's case, he would not have made any progress at all given Mack's relationship with his abusive alcoholic father. To appear as a concerned neighbor that showed him love as a child is precisely the proper image to present.
There is a richness in the imagery and dialog of this movie that tells a most important story. It is a story that demonstrates the lengths to which God has gone to redeem and reconcile humanity. The depravity of humankind is the result of having the appearance of being able to judge good and evil without really knowing the criteria that God alone can use. In subsequent posts, I will develop each of the five points offering biblical evidence of their validity. I highly recommend that everyone interested in Christianity and redemption see this most important movie.
I look forward to continuing this discussion as the days and weeks go on.