Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"The Shack" Movie: 5 Biblical and Theological Reasons William Paul Young is right and two thousand years of orthodoxy is wrong; Part 6

March 3rd, my wife and I went to see "The Shack." It was indeed the best movie I have ever seen. It dealt with the MOST difficult subject that can ever be tackled; where is God in the midst of horrible evil. I am not a movie critic. I am an "amateur theologian" who has spent thirty years examining the gospel and theological views. I have therefore come up with five reasons that "The Shack" is biblical and theologically correct, while all of evangelical and orthodox Christianity is terribly wrong.

The Five Reasons:
  1. God has always wanted to have a personal relationship with humanity from the beginning forward.
  2. God created humanity the way it is, and in spite of that declared that it was "very good."
  3. Jesus overthrew the legal-constitutional focus of scripture in favor of seeing it as the redemptive narrative.
  4. God's ultimate purpose in creation was redemption.
  5. Humanities pathology results from mortality, and the ability to judge what is right and wrong
Reason Five: Humanities pathology results from mortality, and the ability to judge what is right and wrong

Death and the knowledge of good and evil combined are responsible for all of humanities pathology. I like using the word pathology instead of sin for two reasons. 1) the modern connotation for sin is off the mark. 2) The result of the fall is akin to a disease... a disease of the mind. I want to emphasize dis-ease. This pathology keeps humanity from feeling at ease... especially with God. So, how does it work practically? Well, mortality or the propensity toward death, and the knowledge of good and evil causes a schism between humanity and the creator. First of all, with the inevitability of death, comes a survival instinct that makes one avoid death as much as possible. I believe that this is the source of greed. 

The knowledge of good and evil, Paul called it the wisdom of the world, causes two problems. 1) One can never really believe that they are good, especially in the eyes of the creator, and 2) trying to be good at all costs, one justifies ones own actions and judges the other to be wrong. All of the evil in the world result from this condition. Jeremiah stated that the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. He goes on to ask, who can know it? He answers that question with "I the Lord search the heart." This condition has been called by some theologies depravity. There are varying degrees of evil, but even the best of intentions, and what would be viewed as the best behavior, is always motivated out of self. Those who work incessantly to do good do so out of the selfish position of wanting to be better than others. What I am saying is that humanity at its best have motives that are concealed and selfish. To one degree or another this is the condition of every woman, man, girl, or boy.

However, to be able to choose demands the knowledge of good and evil. Without knowing the essence of what is good and evil one could never choose good. By the same token, one must know pain to experience pleasure. The human condition presents yin and yang as opposite halves of the whole. All of this stems from not knowing if one is good enough, and the fear that one is actually evil. it seems that there are few people who can see both sides of an issue. The reality is there is three sides to every story... there is yours, mine, and Gods. We use the knowledge of good and evil to justify what we do, what we believe, etc. This is why religion per se is so ineffective. 

What is needed to overcome this pathology is the understanding that God loves and accepts us just as we are. We need to be able to believe Genesis 1:31 NASB "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." The only way one can accept this is by faith. But it is very difficult to have the kind of faith that would change our circumstances because we believe and then we doubt, back and forth... back and forth. That is the state of humanity (Adam if you will allow the metaphor.) Humanity, left to itself, with mortality and the knowledge of good and evil can NEVER have that kind of faith.

That is where Jesus of Nazareth comes into the picture. He, being born of the Father, had perfect faith. While his faith was tempted and tested, he always remained sure of the Father's (Papa's) love for him. He ultimately was so sure of it that he was willing to die, knowing that he was eternal, and the Father would resurrect him. He was able to do that because he had the Father's Spirit as a constant companion. His death overcame death. Death is no longer a threat to humanity... why, because just like the Father resurrected Jesus, he will also resurrect us. He through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus has demonstrated his unstoppable love for humanity. When we accept and believe this good news... we then, get the same Spirit that assured Christ Jesus that he was beloved of the Father.

It is God's love and grace that cures our pathology once for all time. That is precisely what happened for Mack in the book and movie "The Shack." God was in Christ reconciling THE WORLD to himself, not counting their pathology against them. Papa was along side Mack, Jesus was along side Mack, The Holy Spirit was along side Mack as he worked through the pain that evil had perpetrated on him. This shows the real working of the gospel, and how the Holy Spirit supernaturally heals with the gospel.... that is, provided the gospel is properly presented, and believed. Humanity has been reconciled to God. How many realize it?

I am imploring anyone reading this as Paul did.... BE RECONCILED TO GOD!

Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6

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