“Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15)
The argument that the biblical narrative stories of faith cannot plausibly have any other origin…other than through the creative, premeditated, and timeless thinking of God (Isa. 46:9-10, 55:8-9)…based upon the sheer novelty and unconventionality of their goals, themes, and outcomes…is the single most important issue to be considered in all of human history, reality, and experience…of human life on this planet.
I think this is a true statement…when viewed in the grand scheme of things (Mk. 8:36-37).
However we define the positive aspects of the American Dream…currently or projected backwards in time…of a great education, good job, big house, happy marriage, European vacations, sending our kids to college, good health, financial security, achieving worthwhile accomplishments…in comparison the biblical narrative stories of faith are completely unconventional and worldly-contrary…in that they do not directly pursue any of these things as being the primary targets in life to aim for.
In the biblical narrative stories of faith…achieving worldly success is a secondary outcome…a derivative of “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mt. 6:33).
This is a revolutionary concept.
The goals, themes, and aspirations of a God-composed journey of faith life-script…as recorded in the Bible…do not take us anywhere within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.
They are on a different track altogether (Mt. 7:13-14)…because by necessity they must be on a different track.
The biblical narrative stories of faith have nothing to do with any modern or ancient versions of the American Dream…because God cannot and will not compete for our affections by pandering to the lower worldly level of offering material wealth and success to us…if we will follow Him…like Satan tried to entice Jesus with the power and glory of the kingdoms of this world…in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Lk. 4:5-8).
The positive aspects of the American Dream are commendable and admirable…when their pursuit involves utilizing the God-created and endowed talents and abilities we possess…which entails some measure of humility in the recognition that we cannot claim the credit for the existence of these personal talents and abilities.
But the key biblical point is not to go it alone…on our own…without God our creator (Gen. 3:1-6).
The biblical narrative stories of faith are on a higher level…above the lower zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…up at the elevated realm of the higher ways and thoughts of God…precisely where Satan is unwilling and incapable of competing with God…because their two natures…the character of God and the character of Satan…are vastly different.
The detailed, specified direction of the biblical narrative stories of faith have the highest goals and aspirations…which bypass any random-chance serendipity of other possible storyline plots…sweeping away along with everything else the repetitious mediocrity of the pursuit of the goals, themes, and aspirations of the worldly conventionality portions of the American Dream…a dream more often than not…never achieved by the vast majority of people in the world.
For these reasons, this book argues…in every essay…that the biblical narrative stories of faith would never be imagined, conceived of, or invented…by human fiction-writers.
The biblical narrative stories of faith would never be imagined and composed by authors like John Steinbeck, or Ernest Hemingway, or Mark Twain, or Jane Austin, or William Shakespeare, or an exceptionally gifted and far-sighted assortment of roughly forty Jewish writers…excepting the Greek Gentile author Luke…composing the Bible over a 1,500-year period.
This may be one of the most important arguments made in all of human reality and experience…because a personal relationship with our Creator God (Jn. 14:6)…has fundamental, universal application to every person on the planet…regardless of geographical location, cultural background, economic status, career path, education level, or personal circumstances.
In the biblical narrative stories of faith…God crafts journey of faith life-scripts to match our created gifts, talents, and abilities…perfectly in the realms of purpose and direction…because God created each one of us.
Abraham cannot be David. David cannot be Joseph in Egypt. No one else can be the apostle Paul…except Paul. The mission-plan for Joseph and Mary…beautifully composed by God and faithfully carried-out by Joseph and Mary…cannot conceivably be occupied by anyone else.
The new covenant strategy of God prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31-34) that every believer shall know Him from the least to the greatest…is part of the personal relationships that God can capably initiate and bring to successful completion…within the vast infinity of possible specifics and performance levels…from the thief on the cross alongside Jesus…to the apostle Paul called to start new Christian churches throughout the Greco-Roman world in the first-century, and to write the New Testament letters to these churches that have blessed Christians down through the centuries of the Church Age.
The point here is that the biblical narrative stories of faith universally apply to Christians today who are elementary school teachers, building construction painting contractors, stay-at-home moms, professional athletes, concert pianists, Broadway theater actors in New York City, lawyers, accountants, politicians, engineers, business managers, farmers, stock-brokers, journalists, soldiers, church pastors, Christian foreign missionaries, Christian book writers, grandparents, and every other conceivable, positive lifestyle and career path.
God is capable of inserting a biblical narrative story of faith life-script…having worldwide mega-impact or moderated to a lesser extent to match our unique abilities and talents (Jn. 21:20-24)…into the lives of every person who will through faith…pick up their cross, listen in the Spirit, and follow Jesus (Mk. 8:34-37).
The biblical narrative stories of faith are God’s presentation to mankind of revolutionary life-scripts that cannot be defeated by anything coming from worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…because God-composed journey of faith life-scripts are on a higher plane altogether.
The biblical narrative stories of faith define for us what human life is supposed to be about. They define for us what are the purpose and the meaning of human life.
How could anything be more important than this?
For today’s Christian…sharing our faith…sharing our testimony about our salvation and our subsequent journey of faith…to family, friends, co-workers, and to the world-at-large…we sometimes have to argue uphill to first dispel some of the modern cultural biases, misconceptions, and factual mistruths regarding the Bible and Christianity…before we can even reach the point of being able to discuss who Jesus Christ is, what He has to offer, and to tell our story of what He has done for us (Acts 28:23).
The apostle Paul’s sermon on the Areopagus in the city of Athens, Greece…is an argument primarily addressed and tailored to philosophers…Greek citizens who from the time of Aristotle had been debating the pros and cons of the apparent design observable in nature…versus the naturalistic viewpoint of non-theistic materialism…that there is no god outside of our natural world.
The classical design argument…versus the opposing common descent argument articulated specifically in Darwinian macroevolution…a discussion critical and of immense importance in our modern debate into the ultimate, underlying purpose behind our universe and the existence of complex, thinking beings like ourselves…is now part of the mix at this time…in Christian evangelism…in the modern iteration of the Great Commission to take the gospel message to all the nations of the earth…discussed in Part Two of this book.
The issues raised in the biblical narrative stories of faith pre-date the modern Christian apologetics topics debated today…yet are so basic and fundamental to the purpose and meaning of human life…that they are as fresh and applicable for us today…as they were for the great characters of faith in the biblical Old and New Testaments.