Chapters 3 and 4
One Key Quote
“Love is the beginning of the journey, not the destination. It’s the fuel not the reward.” (p.72)
Chapter 3: De-Creation and the Distortion of the Image. PH argues that sin is trying to satisfy our deepest needs outside of God. This is idolatry and disconnects us from the source of life, God. Genesis 3 teaches us that such idolatry leads to exile and to death. Choosing to live in our own kingdom rather than God’s garden, under his rule, causes creation to unravel. The image of God in us is distorted and our identity is lost or given away. We give it away to an enemy who becomes ‘the prince of this world’ instead of us. Idolatry is the essence of sin then and it means we lose God’s breath. We become like the lifeless idols we worship, and idols always break the hearts of their worshippers. The story of Babel is about how people try to get back to Eden without God. The story of Noah and the Ark is a story of restoration and re-creation, a foretaste of what God is going to do and what the whole biblical story is all about – making all things new. We should have, therefore, not a lifeboat theology but an ark theology – we are rescued both from this world for this world.
Chapter 4 : Personal Reflection: Lost and Found. PH shares his experience of visiting a counsellor, and how his experience of shame led to his need to achieve something to prove his worth. He made an idol out of success, but just ended up with a broken heart. Over time, he discovered the love of God and started learning not to perform in order to be loved, but to perform because he is loved. Understanding the love of the Father sets us back on the journey to Re-creation. This is the Story that everyone is invited to be part of and is the biblical story we’ll be looking at in the rest of the book.
Reflect and Discuss
- What are some of the idols that we can still worship and give our identity away to?
- What are some of the ways they distort God’s image in us and break our hearts?
- How do we make sure that we see the love of the Father as our fuel and not our reward?
- Be honest with yourself about what are some of the idols you can be easily drawn to, and consider how you can let the love of the Father keep you from bowing down to it.
- Re-read and meditate on Genesis 3 and Psalm 135:15-18 this coming week and take warning from it.
Read Chapters 5 and 6 this week. They are the first half of Part 2 in which PH begins to trace the Storyline of Israel in the Old Testament. Enjoy! I recommend The Bible Project if you’d like overviews of the Bible.
There is a PDF version of this available here.
Please let me know in the comments section if you’d like to speed up the reading of this book by us covering 3 chapters a week or if you are happy with the pace.