This is from a review of Rob Bell’s “The god’s aren’t angry” Tour…
Into this system where humans guessed at what the gods want and then trying to give it, God spoke to Abram. Now the deity did the initiating. And the word from God was for Abram to forsake his father’s household: which Bell equated with forsaking the old system of trying to appease the gods. Rather than trying to bless the gods, Abram’s role was to be blessed by God. This was big revelation number one.
According to Bell, big revelation number two came in Leviticus. He said that this strange and seemingly backward third book of the Bible is best understood as a gift from God to help alleviate people’s anxieties. Rather than leave us guessing and grasping for some elusive set of conditions by which God would be pleased, God presented Abram’s lineage with an exact recipe for living and sacrificing, thus removing all doubt that God was not angry with them.
Bell said that big revelation number three came in Jesus. The sacrificial system outlined in Leviticus became corrupt and only led to more anxiety than it relieved. So at just the right time, God revealed that he never really needed our sacrifices anyway. Using quite a bit of humor, irony and pure wit, Bell painted a caricature god who is not complete without what people can provide or perform. Using various sayings from Psalms, Micah, Jesus, Paul’s letters and Hebrews, he drew an alternate picture of the divine: a God who is not dependent on what we do, but who freely loves and pours blessing on us.
Interesting stuff all. However and not surprisingly I am not feeling it so much. To me it has to do with ultimately what was God’s plan in all of history? And what is the center of that plan? And how does God craft that plan?
I think that Rob and I would both agree that the god’s are not angry and the reason why goes back to the plan of God before time and the name of that plan is Jesus. However in the above, it seems that we have a God with no real plan but really a system of responses (I am not saying this is Bell’s system, only that this is how it sounds from the review)…a progressive revelation to correct not man’s corrupted will and nature only his slightly askew view of himself, man has no fundamental problem of who he is only a slight need for corrective vision.
I would suggest rather that a more consistent Biblical view of man is not of one whose vision is astigmatized, but of one who is completely blind and beyond that with out the capability to ever see, it is not that his vision is askance but that he has no eyes. And not just his vision but all of him. Not that we are unable to see that God loves us and could rather therapeutically touch us, but that from birth we hate God and would kill him if we could.
So then what is the nature of God’s Revelation: It is his plan from before time to reconcile a rebel people to himself, not through the sacrifices that they would bring, but through his own life. And this plan was crafted before time (Eph 1:4, 2 Tim 1:9). Beyond that his primary motivation in this act of reconciliation was to bring Glory to his own name…anything else and the God of the universe would be an idolitor.
That said responding to Bell’s three points of revelation I would say that they go like this:
Point of Revelation 1: God Prepares to send Jesus by Calling and blessing Abraham, who receives this blessing in the person of Jesus Christ.
Point of Revelation 2: God Prepares to send Jesus by giving the law which showed men their sin and ephasized their need.
Point of Revelation 3: God sends Jesus, who satisfies God’s wrath, takes our punishment, cleanses our sin, justifies us, declares us righteous and sus a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.
More simply put I would say this: there is only one “Big” point of revelation and his name is Jesus, every other revelation leads to or from him…
Or to rephrase Rob: “Jesus is revelation, everything else is commentary.”