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The seriousness of sin and our cosmic salvation.
Sin isn’t just wrongdoing. It’s the reversal of God’s creative work.
I am benefiting immensely from Chad Bird’s latest book, The Christ Key: Unlocking the Centrality of Christ in the Old Testament. There are so many exquisite and enlightening passages that deserve much more consideration. Chad’s book is not only readable but re-readable. Its accessibility doesn’t dilute its depth, not by a long shot. And there is, perhaps, no better example of this than his discussion of the presence of Christ in creation, which comprises chapter four, “The Genesis of Revelation: Old Creation, New Creation, and the Messiah.” Throughout, Chad avers the attendance of Wisdom who was there “before his works of old . . . from the beginning, or ever the earth was” (Prov. 8:22–23). As he continues to draw out the ways in which Scripture echoes itself, he makes a striking parallel between the oracle of Jeremiah and the opening chapter of the Bible.
Listen to the prophet’s words:
For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. (Jer. 4:22–23)
In the middle of Jeremiah’s polemical prophecy, he inserts these words which reverberate with God’s creative design. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Gen. 1:1–2). This, I think, is the most illustrative example of the seriousness of mankind’s sin. The breach of the Garden wasn’t merely an erroneous choice, it was celestial insurrection. Human rebellion, then, is best understood in “creational terms,” Chad writes. “Sin doesn’t just have an impact on individuals, families, or societies,” he continues; “its effect is cosmic” (72).
Sin, then, isn’t just wrongdoing. It’s the fracture of the relationship between the Creator and his creation. It’s the reversal of God’s creative work — which brings to bear the gravity of what has befallen us. But, likewise, it heightens what God’s only begotten Son has come to do. What Jesus’s atoning work accomplishes is something far greater than merely the covering of wrongs. “The work of the Messiah,” Chad says, “is not merely to forgive us or give us a free ticket to heaven, but to effect a complete re-genesis of the world — including a re-genesis of us” (66). Such is the good news of the Good News, in which God himself redeems his creation and restores his people to Edenic glory (Isa. 35:1–10).
I am still working my way through Chad’s book, but I can already vouch for its winsome and earnest Christ-centered purpose. You won’t be disappointed in reading this one. Get yourself a copy.
Chad Bird, The Christ Key: Unlocking the Centrality of Christ in the Old Testament (Irvine, CA: 1517, 2021).