Chapter 5 – “God”
In the first four chapters of “Simply Christian,” Wright presents the picture of how God creates four “echoes” that resonate in each of us –
• The Longing for Justice
• The Quest for Spirituality
• The Hunger for Relationship
• The Delight in Beauty
In Chapter 5, he examines how God intersects with humans. He looks at how God’s space (heaven) and our space (earth) interact with one another. He presents three possibilities for this:
• Pantheism – The two worlds (heaven and earth) are basically the same. God is everywhere and everything. One manifestation of pantheism is multi-goded paganism such as the Greeks having a god for just about everything. This philosophy though has no room for evil -- if God is everywhere and everything, how can evil exist?
• Separation (Deism) – God is out there but completely separate from us. He has no desire for connection with us. This does not explain God’s working around us and it also leaves man devoid of hope.
• Interlocking (Theism) – The third possibility Wright expounds on is the one he supports – that God and man (heaven and earth) overlap and interlock with one another.
Here are words from page 65:
“This sense of overlap between heaven and earth, and the sense of God thereby being present on earth without having to leave heaven, lies at the heart of Jewish and early Christian theology. … for the ancient Israelite and early Christian, the creation of the world was the free outpouring of God’s powerful love. The one true God made a world that was other than himself, because that is what love delights to do. And, having made such a world, he has remained in a close, dynamic, and intimate relationship with it”
• What is there to your “story” – your faith journey – that has allowed you to see and embrace the concept of a God who strives to intersect in intimate relationship with His people?
• How does your belief in this area affect how you live? How do you carry your story out to the world?
Chapter 6 – “Israel”
From page 71 – “It is fundamental to the Christian worldview in its truest form that what happened in Jesus of Nazareth was the very climax of the long story of Israel.”
Throughout the story of Exodus, there was this going back and forth of God’s people. They would try to follow God but then they would get in the way of themselves. Self-importance would separate them from God. Their history involved moments of exile and homecoming with the Temple – the place where they saw the intersection of God and man as occurring.
God assured His people – all people – of His faithfulness to them and of final restoration of His Kingdom. But how was God going to reunite with His creation – what He loved most? He sent Jesus to intersect with us, be among us, and fix us from within by paving a way for redemption and grace. Wright attests that Jesus’ arrival was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel.
• How does the story of Israel relate to your own faith journey?
• How is Jesus in your life a fulfillment of God’s promise of faithfulness to you?
• What calling does God’s faithfulness to you place on your life?