Story of Reality
Overview of Greg Koukl's book: God, Man, Jesus, Cross, Resurection
THE STORY OF REALITY
Chapter 1: Confusion
It is a Worldview picture of what is really real. The metaphysical dimentions of life fraught with questions. However, Jesus Christ is the only answer that makes sense of this story in the big picture. All other religions and philosophies simply define evil out of existence or deny it altogether. The best way to address this obstacle is to start at the beginning and unfold the Story of Reality!
Chapter 2: Puzzle
The Big Picture is knowing the Bible which constitute the pieces of the puzzle. Knowing Theology puts the pieces in Biblical categories on the table and Apologetics is defending the Truth of the Biblical Story. Many Christians try to insert puzzle pieces from other religions and philosophies which cause confusion.
Chapter 3: True Story
All religions and philosophies are man made Worldviews. Without a congruent, cohesive, cogent Worldview grounded, tethered, and anchored to Reality lives are fractured and fragmented being separated from the Author of Truth! This is in all areas of life.
Chapter 4: Two Obstacles
The world is not the way it ought to be. This common obstacle is addressed by the world system in a multiplicity of venues but from a point of finitude. As limited creatures people for thousands of years have manufactured responses to the reality of pain and suffering. My response is: How is that working out for you? It is never solved only defined out of existence!
Chapter 5: Story Line
These five points do not come from the mind of man. They are supernatural not natural. The God of the universe condescended to make Himself known to His creatures to unfold His plan of the ages. God - Man - Jesus - Cross - Resurrection! Without those key Realities being defined by the Mind of God only two would be known without revelation. The speculation of a god and the fact of mankind. Jesus the Cross and the Resurrection are Divine expressions of God’s Love and Grace. The world would have remained in darkness.
PART 1: GOD
Chapter 6: In The Beginning
God is the Pinnacle of the Story!!! His Person unifies all of Ultimate Reality!!! The Story is about Him Alone!!! His Being is my identity in the Person of Jesus Christ. My existence is eclipsed totally in His Majesty - Glory - Honor. My purpose is bearing fruit for His Kingdom!!! This Story is not about me!!!
Chapter 7:Two Objections
1. God never came to exist
2. The Being of God is Eternal
3. Therefore, God is not caused
God exists by the necessity of His own Nature.
Chapter 8: Matter-ism
If corporeality is all there is then we are determined robots. We are electro and chemical impulses without volition. We are composed matter of physicality destined to be worm food. Nihilism is our Hope yet there is no Hope or Purpose because there is no free will.
Chapter 9: Mind-ism
god is Mind and you are that! There are no distinctions any individualism is an illusion or (Maya) in Hinduism/New Age. The term spiritual Monism encapsulates this religion. Mind is the only thing so there is no distinction between good and evil. Nothing is right and nothing is wrong. Dancing with fantasy YOU are the illusion!
Chapter 10: Options
Matter-ism postulates only physicality and laws of nature. So evil as incorporeal cannot be tested by the empirical method of test and observation using the five senses. In this worldview there is no right way for things to be. Murder is eat or be eaten. Evil - Right -Wrong are vestiges of the evolutionary process no longer needed in determinism. So evil is not real and defined out of existence. Mind-ism, god is an undivided unity, spiritual Monism. You are god! So evil is good and good is evil. So again, there is no real evil as an ontological parasite feeding off the reality of a good creation it is only fantasy absorbed in god with no distinction as evil at all.
PART 2: MAN
Chapter 11: Beautiful
Anthropologically speaking humans are contingent beings, we are dependent, we are not little god’s. We are completely sustained by external forces and ultimately by God Himself our creator. In that sense we are like all the particulars in the cosmos. Our existence is not necessary, we are caused. However, we are significant as the pinnacle of God’s created order. In Reality, we are unique, unlike everything else we are in the image of God. That is, we have intellect, emotion, and will. We have morality, ethics, and value. We are creative in various disciplines. We are of such value that God Himself took on flesh in Christ that we could know Him and enjoy Him forever!
Chapter 12: Broken
In Reality, the Story of, the grandeur of being perfectly good and complete became disfigured, disjointed, discombobulated. In short, we became rebellious, self centered, and egocentric. Many religions teach we are basically good. It all comes down to definitions and ultimate authority. Defining “Good” from what objective authority? There is no objective good if there is no God!
Chapter 13: Lost
The cause of the first sin was the choice to chose the lesser good of Adam’s will over the greater good of God’s will. It was not a choice OF evil it was AN evil choice. The cause of evil was a free choice to go his way instead of God’s way. Their free will was the first cause of sin. God created the potential for sin but Adam actualized that potential via his choice. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was God’s tool He established to test His perfect creature. The above was from Dr. Norman Geisler on the John Ankerberg Show.
Chapter 14: Evil
Evil is at home in the Christian Story! Evil is an ontological parasite or as Augustine put it, “Evil is a privation or corruption that exists in something that was originally good and perfect.” Evil must feed on the good, rot in a tree, cancer in the body, these are evil. It does not exist as a physical entity. Therefore, evil does not exist without good and objective good does not exist without God. So, evil is proof that God exists. This ties into axiology and the issue of the Moral Argument for God’s existence.
Chapter 15: Wrath
God’s wrath is teatherd to His Justice. These are attributes of God’s Nature. Theologically it is the doctrine of divine Aseity. Having to do with His Necessary Existence. 1 John 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. Love is His total Being - but so is Justice His total Being these attributes and several others are His Nature or Essence. God is not part love and part justice. So His wrath is equal to His justice and equal to His love (Agape). They are not inconsistent they are complementary and necessary in His Being. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
PART 3: JESUS
Chapter 16: History
The Jesus of the Bible is historical and evidential. The genre is tied to objective reality. The genre of ancient mythology is fantasy for the most part. Mithras, Dionysus, Osiris these pre date the time of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus is an actual historical event not a mythological construct of dying and rising gods. An a priori anti-supernatural bias or presupposition does not rule out the historical evidence of reliable historians.
Chapter 17: The Hypostatic Union
Jesus was a man so that He could identify with the human race in every way possible. He clothed His Deity with humanity for thirty-three years. He knew joy and suffering at its maximum expression. Jesus was also God the Son Second Person in the Trinity. Jesus as God the Son had to die for God the Father as the “Propitiation” to satisfy the Father’s Righteous Indignation against sin. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Jesus became our sin on the cross then exchanged His Righteousness to us as a free gift of Love. John 1:12, “But as many as received Him He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”
Chapter 18: The Rescue
Jesus did not come to make bad people good He came to make dead people live! In the Progressive Church the Gospel is Social Justice. In Dominion Theology also called the Later Reign Movement of the Pentecostals, we as the Church must prepare the earth so Jesus can return. His purpose was to teach us how to live a virtuous life and be happy in order that we will be good enough to enter heaven and usher in the Kingdom. The main reason God came to earth was to rescue us from the Fathers wrath toward sin. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
PART 4: CROSS
Chapter 19: Footsteps
Jesus Christ fulfilled dozens of Old Testament prophecies in His life on earth. His life manifested God’s reality of love, justice, mercy, grace, long suffering, joy, righteousness, patience, many of these attributes we would have never known if the fall had not happened. In a perfect Edenic environment with no sin and rebellion, heaven would have been the normal state of existence forever. The Fall then is at home in the Story of Reality. Jesus’ footsteps recorded in Scripture unpack what a healthy relationship with God should look like when we are poor in spirit, humble, meek, broken, submissive in His Will, lowly, seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. This posture in a messed up world!
Chapter 20: The Trade
This historical event is the pinnacle of all of human history. It has eternal ramifications in the Being of God! He was deeply offended by His creation in the Garden of Eden. God’s choice to heal and reconcile the severed and broken relationship was His initiative alone. 1 John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” In time space history the Agape - Logos of God incarnated in human flesh to incur righteous justice taking on our sin on Himself and imputing His righteousness to our account as a free gift!!! This Trade was accomplished when Jesus cried out Tetelestai - it was completed, paid, finished, and done!!! Amazing Grace))) No other human being could have done this because no one else was the God - Man. That is why Jesus is the Only Way!!!
Chapter 21: Trust
Believing the historical facts, knowing the historical facts, is an act of “assensus” in Latin, giving assent to an event in history. There are a lot of people who believe in Jesus Christ who will go to hell. The demons also believe and shudder, James 2:19. Believing something does not make it true. If it did there would be no difference in fantasy and reality if believing made it so. Biblical faith (pistis) in Greek, is an active trust “fiducia” in Latin. It is grounded in true historical facts “notia” in Latin or knowledge. So, Biblical Faith in Hebrews 11:1, the God given present assurance of a future Reality. Therefore, Trusting in Jesus is the guarantee of heaven.
PART 5: RESURRECTION
Chapter 22: Four Facts
This data is accepted by non Christian skeptics as historical facts.
1) The death of Jesus on a Roman Cross;
2) The empty tomb;
3) Many eyewitness’ saw the resurrected body of Jesus;
4) James the brother of Jesus and Saul of Tarsus (Paul) died rather than recant the Resurrection.
These events are substantiated by external sources outside the Bible which provides excellent credibility to the facts. Our faith is objective and corresponds to Reality. There are several naturalistic explanations that simply do not fit the facts. Therefore, the Resurrection is not a legend, myth, or fable but a reliable historical fact.
Chapter 23: In Between
In the Story of Reality there is an intrusion of an undesirable point of tension that brings a separation in four areas, 1) Separated from ourselves - Psychology (mental & emotional); 2) Separated from others - Sociological (broken relationships); 3) Separated from - Nature (Ecology (pollution); and 4) Separated from God - Theology. This Quad Directional Dilemma is all encompassing for human flourishing in God’s Will. We are waiting in a time warp between eternity past and eternity future. We wait patiently for the promise of His coming John 14:2 “In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”
Chapter 24: Perfect Justice
In the Biblical Story there are no good people! God’s standard of Good is Perfect! Matthew 5:48. Well sign me up!!! In Christ I am Perfect “The Greek word for perfect can be translated as ‘complete, finished, fully developed’. Our Savior asks us to become complete, finished, fully developed—to be perfected in the virtues and attributes He and our Father in Heaven exemplify.” I am justified, declared righteous. On the other hand, those all over the world, not “justified” in Christ will pay for their own sins and rebellion eternally separated from God. He does not send them to hell they by act of will chose to voluntarily distance themselves from God so will continue to sin forever in eternal torment. Hell is God’s Justice!
Chapter 25: Perfect Mercy
This Story of ultimate history is evidential. It embraces all of Reality in every discipline of study. No one deserves this Mercy! I see snap shots of Mercy and Glory over the past seventy years on a finite level. First is coming to know God in Christ Jesus. After that would be my children and grand children, (am divorced), then the millionaire who gave me $25,000.00 at Willow Creek Church in 1994, I have not bought a car in thirty-eight years they have all been given to me as gifts from the Lord to this day, have been the tool in the Holy Spirits will to lead and disciple many in Christ for several decades. Yes, a “foretaste” of Glory! After open heart surgery three years ago look forward to resting in the arms of my Lord and God!!
All Chapters overview