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Saturday, September 3, 2016

BREATHTAKING PANORAMA of Jesus starting before time & in the Old Testament

Words cannot describe how this book - JESUS: A Theography - has captivated me. Everything written in the Old Testament is about Jesus.

Some excerpts:

GARDEN PARTY! If the first commandment in the Bible is “Eat freely,” one wonders what the last commandment might be.

"To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. —JESUS

If we quickly jump ahead to the end of the story, and leap from Genesis to the maps, we find ourselves where we began in the story. This time, though, we’re in a garden city with the Tree of Life and River of Life flowing from the throne of God. There we receive the promise of the coming of Jesus, God’s ultimate “Yes!”
And the last commandment in the Bible is this: “Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.” The Bible has bookend commands: The first command is “Eat freely.” The last command is “Drink freely.” And everything in between is a banquet.Not a snack. Not a smorgasbord where we choose what we like and leave what we don’t like. Rather, a life-course meal on which we feast on Him in our hearts with thanksgiving. The Jesus life is a dinner party... or more precisely, a garden party.

OLDEST PROFESSION? The first things we know about the garden of Eden are twofold. First, God put Adam there, as it later says, “to tend and keep it [the garden].”The world’s oldest profession is not what we think it is. You might call this the real prime directive: we are all gardeners—groundskeepers, housekeepers, beekeepers, earthkeepers. Our relationship with the world is as gardener to garden—a symbiosis of mutual care and dependence. Gardening and shalom-making are the same: be the image of God to the part of the world where God has placed us.

THE STORY STARTS WITH DIRT - The first image in the Genesis 2 micro version? Dirt. At least dirt is where the micro creation account launches the birth story of the universe: no shrubs, no plants, just dirt and dust. The Bible begins with a disquisition on dirt. Biblical faith is a down-to-earth faith. That image of dirt is presented in poetic form, in terms of what it isn’t rather than what it is, but the dirt is inescapable. The Latin word for “dirt,” humus, is from whence we get the word humble. Something can be as dry as dust and lifeless as dirt, with scant or scrawny growth. Or something can be as rich as topsoil, the humus of life, when the ground has been fertilized by its past. Out of humble dirt comes life. Far from dirt being “matter out of place,”4 matter is dirt placed to order. But not without water, H2O, the union of opposites. Hydrogen burns; oxygen promotes burning. But when united together, they put out fires. Suddenly in the story, streams rise up from within and below. The surface of the ground is watered.

WAIT A MINUTE: When dirt and water mix, what do you get? Mud. Clay. How were you and I created? The Bible begins with an artistic image of God as a Potter fashioning humans in God’s image. But no potter can work with dry clay. In order for the Master Potter to mold and make a human according to divine design, the clay must be moist. The most important questions every human being must answer, and can only answer for him-or herself, are these: What keeps your clay moist? What moisturizers keep our clay pliable and susceptible to the Master’s touch?

GOD PLAYS IN THE DIRT God, the Master Potter, scooped out of the ground a clump of clay, molded and made it into the first human, and then breathed into that human the breath of God. Until God breathed the divine spirit into Adam, humans were just a mass of matter, a moist duvet of dirt. But when matter united with spirit, and that spirit was God’s Spirit, a soul was conceived, and the first Adam became a human being. God created adam from adamah, earthling from earth, and added spirit to the mix to create a living soul. When spirit is removed—from dust and dirt we came; to dust and dirt we return.

The earliest image of God in the Bible? God is playing in the dirt, making mud pies. Maybe we were meant to play in the dirt, and to get our hands dirty and wet. The first time we meet God, we see that our Creator is not afraid of getting dirty. The Bible begins with God getting the divine hands dirty and wet. The more we know about the human body, the more we realize that a healthy human needs exposure to dirt to protect from disease. Getting dirty is at the heart of keeping physically fit and spiritually clean.

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