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.
Reason Two: God created humanity the way it is and in spite of that, declared it was "very good."
Ok, you may ask, what does this have to do with "The Shack?" Well, a lot. Evangelical and orthodox doctrine sees humanity, since the fall, essentially evil. In the shack, Paul Williams portrays humanity as capable of unspeakable evil, but viewed by God as essentially good. This of course is a biblical concept based on Genesis 1:31 NKJV "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day." In case you want to quibble here and say that he was talking about everything he made and not just humanity, I would like to point out that in all the other things that was created God merely said it was good. After adding humanity, God then said that it was very good. This indicates that humanity was the crowning touch in creation.
Paul explained it this way: Romans 7:19-24 NKJV "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. (20) Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. (21) I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. (22) For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. (23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (24) O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" The war that is in the members of our body that Paul refers to is the survival instinct. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but it is almost impossible to talk about these five reasons without seeing how inner related they are. Reason 5 deals with the consequences of what has been called the fall. In order to not be robots without choice, it was necessary for humanity to gain the knowledge of good and evil, (reason,) Paul called it the wisdom of the world... "claiming to be wise they became fools."
All of this in no way changes God's original decree. What he created was good, and it was for the purpose of His creation which takes in another of the five reasons. The Shack actually deals with this tension in a very biblical way and helps make sense of the human condition. So we can see that God wanted a relationship with sentient beings who could genuinely love Him and praise his glorious grace. he then created them to be exactly what He wanted and what would bring about the ultimate purpose of creation which was loving Him and praising his grace.
In the next post we will show that Jesus changed the hermeneutic from a legal-constitutional reading of scripture to one seeing it as the redemptive narrative. This redemptive narrative theme is foundational in the the theology presented by "The Shack."