In the beginning, God brought order out of chaos. Through His creative word, God brought purpose and beauty and goodness to the cosmos, filling it with His presence. God breathed life into humanity, creating humans in His image to live as His representatives, partnering with God in order to cultivate and yield the potential of the good world that He created (Genesis 1-2).
But humans ultimately chose to doubt God’s goodness and decide good and evil for themselves, abandoning God’s design for them, and separating themselves from God’s presence. Humans slipped further and further into their own selfishness and pride, culminating in their desire to elevate themselves as gods. Violence, death, and the struggle to survive entered the system as humans set their own rules and spiraled further down and further out from God’s presence (Genesis 3-11).
But God would not abandon His people. God promised a man named Abraham that through Abraham’s family He would restore everything back to Himself, rescuing His good creation and putting everything back to rights (Genesis 12). Generation after generation, however, these descendants failed to be faithful to God. After many generations of this cycle, this family ends up wandering down to Egypt (Genesis 12-50). Throughout all of this, however, God remained faithful to His promise to restore the world back to Himself.
After 400 years of oppression by the Egyptians, God delivers and saves the Israelites from the hands of slavery and death. God’s promise to Abraham had now extended to a huge family of people, continuing God’s plan to bring blessing to all the nations and rescue the world through Abraham’s line. God enters into a covenant of faithfulness with these people, showing them how to live as the people that He originally created and called everyone to live – a people shaped by God’s love and character (Exodus).
But the cycle of unfaithfulness continues. After hundreds of years of living in unfaithfulness and evil, the Israelites are ultimately conquered by Babylon, leaving their kingdom destroyed, their people scattered, and the hope of the fulfillment of God’s promises all but lost (See especially 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings).
But, once again, God would not abandon His people. At His appointed time in history, God steps down to dwell amongst humanity Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the true Messiah who would defeat evil and be God’s faithful keeping of His own promises, restoring all things back to Himself (See especially the book of John, as well as the other gospels). Jesus lived a life that we were created to but failed to live, showing us what it means to truly live as the image of God (Colossian 1:15).
But in order to rescue the world, Jesus had to give His life. Jesus was crucified and died on a cross, absorbing all the worst that evil could throw at Him, with hope once again all but lost. But three days later Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over evil, rescuing mankind from sin and death, and launching God’s rescue operation for all of creation (See Matthew 28, Luke 24, John 20-21, and 1 Corinthians 15 for further reading and understanding on the death of Jesus).
We teach that Jesus is alive and active in His church today through the Holy Spirit, teaching us how to live as representatives of God’s Kingdom here on earth until Jesus one day returns and makes all things new again, not destroying the earth but redeeming it, filling it back with His presence, where goodness reigns, and His Kingdom will finally be fully realized on earth (For further reading, check out Acts and Revelation).