A Better Story

A tale for dinnertime conversation

Ideas for discussing this story with your boys, and suggested answers, can be found here. 

The unbelieving world tells you a story: that you are the result of a cosmic “BANG!” That you are an animal. You have no purpose. You are not special. There is no God in whose image you could be made. But God tells a better story, and His story just so happens to be true. I encourage you to find a time very soon to tell this story to your sons. It’s the kind of story boys like, with a dragon to be fought, and a people to be rescued. A story that describes the kind of hero every boy should seek to be like.

“The story begins with a voice in the darkness. God spoke and words came to life.You are made by this infinite and yet personal God; made in His image, with dignity and worth. Everything you see, your favorite people, animals, foods, and vacation spots, came from His mind. People, like you, are the crown of this magnificent creation. These people came from Adam, the first man; fashioned from the dust of the earth by the breath of God. Eve is the mother of all the living and was fashioned from Adam’s side. You were fashioned by God. You reflect His creative and loving genius.

Our first parents, Adam and Eve, were given lots of room to work. They got to name all the animals, were given a garden with every fruit imaginable, and had no clothes to pinch, bind, or get in the way. There was no death, no pain, and they could walk naked with God with no need to feel ashamed. It was heaven on earth …. until the day a dragon came to ruin it all.

He hadn’t always been a dragon.  He started out as an angel of light. He’d had the run of heaven: commanding vast choirs and armies of angels. But the no-vacancy sign over the throne of the universe drove him mad. In his pride he wanted to ascend … he wanted more. As the highest angel the only place left that didn’t belong to him was the throne on which his creator sat. He stirred up a rebellion, convinced a third of the angels to join in, there was a war, and so God cast them all out of heaven, down to earth.

The dragon, insane in his lust for power and position was desperate to vandalize any part of the creation that reminded him of the God who sat on the throne he so desired. These new creatures, standing innocent, naked, and joyful, bore a resemblance to God so deep that it nauseated the dragon. “They must not be left such a clean and clear picture of the God I so hate” He thought. “They need to be bent and broken.” The dragon, the serpent, crept up one day to the woman and began to whisper sweet lies into her ear.

God had given these human creatures a world full of “yes.” The only place in creation that had the word “no” on it was one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “Take my word for it,” God had said. “Don’t touch that tree or you’ll die.” But the serpent began to whisper a lie, “If you eat, you won’t die …you will be like a god!”

God said true freedom is to live before Him in love, humility, and joy. The enemy, the serpent, hissed seductively, “Ultimate freedom is to live like you are God!”

Unbelievably, they did it! Eve, then Adam, ate. Immediately darkness, guilt, and shame descended into their hearts and they knew that they were naked and their sin was exposed to God. They were banished from the garden. The world began to fall apart around them and there was now a terrible distance between them and God.

But almost as quickly as the bad news fell upon them, God gave a glimpse of The Good News. “A serpent-crusher will come,” God promised these newly fallen creatures. “But the cost of crushing the serpent would be the serpent-crusher’s own blood.” It would need to be God’s own Son, and he would die so that these new rebels and their children could live.

In only a few generations sin, like a cancer, had spread through all of God’s good world. All that had been so bright, clean, and beautiful, had been corrupted. This produced a deep sorrow in God.

It got so bad that out of a holy anger and a holy love God decided that He needed to reboot the world, all of humanity. And yet even in the midst of this moment of destruction God provided a vehicle of Salvation and renewal. There was a family who responded in faith and faithfulness. For over a hundred years this vehicle of Salvation was being built: The Ark. Rescue was made possible. This personal God of holiness was going to judge the whole Earth but would also be a savior of the world.”

You may be like many people these days saying, “How can we believe these stories because of all that science has discovered? The superstitions of religion are behind us.” But there are limits to the kinds of truths that science can uncover. When a Russian cosmonaut returned from space and reported that he had not found God, the Christian author C.S. Lewis responded that this was like Hamlet going into the attic of his castle looking for Shakespeare. If there is a God, Lewis remarked, He wouldn’t be another object in the universe that could be put in a lab and analyzed. He would relate to us the way a playwright relates to the characters in his play. We, the characters, might be able to know quite a lot about the playwright, but only to the degree the author chooses to put information about himself in the play.

The good news is that God has written himself into our story! We can know him! He did this in a way no one expected, by becoming one of us. Jesus became the new Adam, who said “Here I am, Father, ready to do your will.” Jesus shed his blood. He died to kill sin, defeat death, and overcome the serpent. To heal the rift between God and man, between man and one another, between people and themselves, and between man and creation.

Whose story are you going to believe? Whose story are you going to tell?

Ideas for discussing this story with your boys, and suggested answers, can be found here. 

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