The message of the Bible is summed up by the terms Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation.
Creation: In Genesis 1-2 tells us a number of propositions about God and our relationship with Him. God is an uncreated, self-sufficient being distinct and separate from His creation. All that exists and all that is true ultimately has its source in God. Also, the physical world was created good (Genesis 1:31 “And God saw all that he had created, and it was very good”). In addition, human beings were created unique from other created beings – made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). As God’s special creatures, humans are given the mandate to operate as God’s stewards or vice-regents over creation (Genesis 1:26-28). Finally, God instituted a permanent pattern of work and rest (Genesis 2:1-3), with the principle of a Sabbath rest to accompany humankind’s stewardship responsibilities.
Fall: Genesis 3 records the disastrous event known as the Fall – the initial entrance of sin into human experience and the condition that plagues humankind today. Humans were intended to live forever in the good world God had created; a place where doors would never need to be locked, where no one ever fell ill with sickness or was injured. However, the world’s first parents, Adam and Eve, chose to rebel against God, bringing upon themselves and their offspring disharmony, disease, fear, rivalry and death. From Adam, all human beings enter the world afflicted with a fundamental flaw – a disposition to commit acts that violate God’s holy standards.
The Fall of humanity is so complete that it affects the physical world as well. The biblical stories of alienation immediately follow the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3) and include the murder of Abel by Cain (Genesis 4), the boast of Lamech over a homicide (Genesis 4:23) and the Great Flood (Genesis 6-9). These stories illustrate how sin corrupts relationships.
But the Fall also has physical and natural consequences. The entire creation is in a state of decay and disruption. Eco and bio-systems throughout the universe do not function as they were originally created. Human beings experience physical sickness, illness and death. Animals, birds, fish and insects feed on each other for sustenance in battle for survival. All of nature finds itself in this vicious cycle of death, and is incapable of restoring itself to its original created goodness.
Redemption: God’s plan of redemption - first hinted at in Genesis 3:15 - entails the reversal of the effects of the Fall. God is not content to salvage merely a few souls from this contaminated world. He intends to redeem everything from the ravages of sin. He will not rest until He has restored everything to its original, created beauty and harmony. Scripture clearly teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way by which redemption is obtained (John 14:6), not only for personal salvation, but for the ultimate restoration of God’s creation (Romans 8:19-21; Ephesians 1:9-10; Colossians 1:16-20). This theme can be followed throughout the pages of Scripture as well as traced through the progression of human history.
Consummation: Scripture foretells of a coming day when there will be a New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21:1), where believers will experience their final and permanent place of rest and eternal worship in the presence of the Triune God. God’s original purpose to create a people for Himself will have been fulfilled (Genesis 17:7; Revelation 21:3-4). Those who have been redeemed by Christ will enjoy the removal of the curse and the bestowal of immeasurable blessings (Ephesians 3:20).