God’s Grand Story

Scot McKnight, The Blue Parakeet, Chapter 5: The Plot of the Wiki-Stories

Next McKnight describes the five-part plot of the biblical Story.  This is the thematic Story that is continually reinterpreted and retold throughout the Bible.  This is also the Story that creates unity throughout the Bible as a whole.

Part 1: Creating Eikons

God creates humanity in his own image (Greek, “eikon“), but the way He goes about doing this is important.  He creates one entity called “the Adam” which is a plural “they” (Genesis 1:26).  Then God splits them apart to create man and woman only to have them come back together for togetherness in marriage.  McKnight’s point is to emphasize that humanity is made for relationship, especially for oneness.  It is most important to realize that creation is first and foremost about a place of oneness — with self, God, others, the world.  [It feels at this point that McKnight is trying too hard to set up his later discussion of women’s roles in ministry.  It is like he is trying to negate Paul’s argument that man was created first then woman (1 Timothy 2:13).  It is feeling more and more like he is writing this book as a set up for his egalitarian view on women’s roles in ministry.  I am okay with that, but it feels a bit slick.]

Part 2: Cracked Eikons

Oneness quickly turns into otherness.  Adam and Eve sin and become ashamed of themselves, hiding from God.  They start to blame each other.  They are sent out into a frustrated world where life is harder.  Community and oneness is compromised and otherness is realized and all of this arises from their desire to rule/control their own destiny.  At its most basic level, the Gospel is about fixing this otherness and returning oneness, with self, God, others, and the fallen world.

Part 3: Covenant Community

This is the part people skip most often and create an individualized Christianity that misses the point that God always uses community to fix this world.  First this community was Israel then it was the Church.  However, God’s chosen communities never get the job done of returning the world to oneness.

Part 4: Christ Restores Oneness

Because of human inability to restore oneness, God does that through Jesus.  Of course this refers to the Cross, but it is deeper than that.  We find oneness again by being “in Christ.”  We are united by Christ’s death for all of us.  We are made new and whole by his resurrection.  We are united to Christ in baptism.

Part 5: Consummation

Restoring the eikon to complete oneness is a two-part job.  It started with Jesus but fulness comes with the New Heavens and New Earth at Jesus’ second coming when the world returns to a Eden-like state.

Altogether, the basic plot of the wiki-stories is a “oneness–otherness–oneness” Story.  The individual wiki-stories may not include each of the five elements, but over and over again in the Bible we find God telling the same basic Story.  Those familiar with a Creation–Fall–Redemption description of the biblical metanarrative will recognize McKnight’s plot as a re-labeling of this, however his description really emphasizes the community or relational side of the Story.