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 5

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 Four: God's ultimate purpose in creation was redemption.

There has been a lot made of the fact that the God of the Shack is not holy enough, and is too invested in love and grace. The argument is that God is also concerned with justice. I have heard and read comments from others that imply the God of "The Shack" is too syrupy and soft. Likewise, if one adopts a legal-constitutional reading of scripture, then one would ask where is the judgment that God brought especially in Old Covenant times? This is precisely why "reason four" is the most important reason and probably should have been tackled first.

Over the course of 370+ blog posts here, I would venture that 50% of them have been devoted to the redemptive focus of scripture. The bottom line is that if reason four is true, and I have proven over and over again it is, The the focus that evangelical and orthodox doctrine places on the scripture is erroneous. The main proof text for this is found in the first chapter of Ephesians. Ephesians 1:3-7 NKJV  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  (4)  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  (5)  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,  (6)  to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  (7)  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Again, I have underlined the verses that demonstrate that God's first purpose in creation was redemption. Since that is the case, redemption must be the main focus of the scripture. The fact that God chose people in Christ before the foundation of the world, then, it only follows that this was God's ultimate purpose in creation. 

Paul is not the only writer that makes this claim. Peter and John also make the same point. 1 Peter 1:20 NKJV  "He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." So, with Peter you have a second witness that redemption was the purpose of creation. Finally, Revelation 13:8 NKJV  "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Here we have three witnesses who all proclaim in one way or another that redemption was planned before creation, and Paul gives the reason. The reason was to the "praise of the glory of his grace."

Furthermore, given the sovereignty of God; Ephesians 1:11 NASB "also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will," How likely is it that God would then relegate the vast majority of people who ever lived to eternal torturous punishment? Right, not likely at all. I will allow the possibility that  some people will simply be annihilated, having their life on earth be their only reward. But, I have also proven on this blog, that the current evangelical concept of hell is a misunderstanding of things written in the New Testament prophesying the impending destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. It is further complicated by the King James rendering of Sheol and Hades as hell when it is most clearly simply the grave. Gehenna, is the Greek word translated as hell connected to the lake of fire, and is a metaphor for the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, a judgment that was given for the rejection of the living Word of God in their presence.

In the movie and the book, it is made clear that the main purpose of God is to have a relationship with humanity and that it is facilitated by redemption.

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