How to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference


5 Dec 2023

The way I see it, Paul’s letter to the Romans is like a stage with three vast backdrop cloths hanging one in front of the other.

The largest cloth depicts the creational presuppositions of the letter: God is the creator of all things and cannot be worshipped in the form of created objects; Adam sinned and death entered the world. The letter is often read on the assumption that this largest backdrop explains everything. That is far from the case.

In front of the creational backdrop, and largely obscuring it, hangs a smaller cloth on which is painted the religious and moral condition of the Greek world—a civilisation that took the decision to worship the creature rather than the creator, which has been handed over to sexual and social depravity as evidence of God’s disapproval, and which will face the wrath or judgment of God in a foreseeable future.

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