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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Ultimate Family History

I have raised the idea of Scripture as an incomplete music score and as an incomplete book or play. I have said that God invites us to participate with him in completing the missing parts. I find these to be useful analogies but they are incongruous with the reality of Scripture in a very important way.

The incomplete score or book has a clearly laid out progression that can be easily recognized. By contrast, Scripture is a hodge-podge of legal documents, poems, histories, letters and intellectual writings written by forty authors over a 2,000 year period. The bible does not read like a story with a missing episode. It reads like a bunch of documents in search of a story. So how about the following ide?

I have a great-great-grandfather who lived from 1837-1932, named William Cotton Holmes. I have diaries he wrote in 1858, 1862, and a few from later years. I have census records for his household for each census year from 1850-1930. I have land deeds and a death certificate. I have a letter he wrote to my grandfather about his life. I have letters and diaries of other family members that make mention of him and what he was up to. I have histories of Plymouth, MA, where he grew up. I have his pension and military service records from the Civil War. I have family pictures. You get the idea.

W. C. Holmes died a quarter century before I was born. I had no personal contact with him and no one of these sources alone can tell me who he was and what he was about. However, by examining the documentary footprints he left, and understanding the context he lived in, I can get tremendous insight into his character and the flow of his life story. I have learned enough to know that this is one guy I would like to meet.

I see Scripture in a similar way with one important qualification. Scripture is the divinely preserved footprints of God in history. By looking at the testimony (testaments) we can develop a story line about what God has done in the past, just like I have about my ancestor. We can construct a timeline and get of sense of what God was about and where God was headed. But it is the qualification of this analogy that is the best news of all. The one who left all that testimony isn’t dead! He is still among us advancing the timeline.

Scripture begins with God creating all that is. God then created humankind to begin a family he could lavish his love upon. The Bible is the primary documentary evidence for the story. It also gives evidence about how the story will continue to unfold. The family history is still being written but what is most amazing is that the Bible draws us beyond the documents into the person who stands behind them.

What difference would it make if we understood Scripture in this way?

1 Comments:

At November 19, 2005 1:39 PM, Blogger keri said...

my maiden name is Keri April kruse and i'm tring to find out my family history

 

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