Pastor Tracy Ottenbreit
Slave Lake Alliance Church
Someone once described Star Wars episodes 1-6 as “The Redemption of Anakin Skywalker.” I liked that overarching wide-angle-lens perspective on one of my favourite movie franchises. But that is just a made-up story. What about real life? What about reality?
The Bible provides a very simple, yet profound view of the big picture of reality. Each one of us has a view of reality that influences the decisions we make. In the next five weeks, I am going to give you the simplified version of reality as presented in the Bible. There are five essential ingredients to the big picture: God, man, Jesus, cross, resurrection.
This week we will start with the star of the show: God. God is described as loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present. Some find this a contradiction. How can God be loving and do nothing about the evil in the world? The thought here is that if you can do something, you should always do something.
Let’s say you were sent on a mission to rescue a group of kidnapped children held hostage in a skyscraper. There were bad guys throughout the building. Your goal was to sneak up to the top, unlock the hostages and help them through a trap door in the ceiling to a waiting helicopter on the roof. On the way, you notice a bad guy beating up a security guard. Do you stop to help?
You see the dilemma. Doing good wherever you can might put the endgame in jeopardy. I suspect this is the case with God. Besides, God is doing something about evil – the evil inside all of us, but more on that in coming weeks.
Some people ask: who created God? This comes from a misunderstanding of who God is. God exists outside of time and matter. He is not bound to the necessity of a beginning. God has always existed and will always exist. His first miracle was creation. All miracles after that seemed much smaller in comparison.
God, in essence, is wanting to establish a kingdom – a kingdom of people whom God loves and who love him in return. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “May your kingdom come” and spoke often of this extraordinary kingdom.
There are two main competing big pictures – materialism and mindism. Materialism states that there is no God and nothing beyond what we see in the material universe. Materialism leaves humanity with no purpose in a universe that is dying. We are but biological accidents that will eventually get snuffed out with all other life.
Mindisim says that all is one – that God is everything, a very popular notion in the New Age and popularized in movies like Avatar, where all of life is inexplicably connected. This would make us God. The problem with this is the cost of being God. Suddenly, you and I are responsible for everything that happens to us – both good and bad. We created our own reality, after all.
The entire big picture is about God, not us. Our world today teaches quite the opposite. Take, for example, this quote from the very popular book, The Secret: “You are God in a physical body. You are spirit in the flesh … You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet.” It sounds like this big picture is about me! How nice. Except it is not reality – at least not from a Biblical perspective.
God is the central character in the big picture. Knowing that everything is about him is the essential first part of grasping the rest of the story.