The Big Picture

I was recently reminded of the Evangelical view of the meta-narrative or “big picture” in the Bible.  Our view explains the story of the Bible and our own personal lives in this structure:

  1. Creation – “He said it was good.”
  2. Fall – separation from what God intended.
  3. Redemption – A way is made to return.
  4. Restoration – Back to the way things should be.

Since the Book of Mormon and other Mormon scriptures add to this narrative I wonder how Mormons would succinctly decribe their faith’s grand story. Is it the same or different?

12 thoughts on “The Big Picture

  1. Well, at the level of abstraction/granularity you have chosen, the Mormon narrative is likely to be very similar, even though in the details it is astoundingly different.

    Anyway, let me take a stab at the Mormon “big picture”:

    0. Plan: a way for God’s spirit children to become like him
    1. Creation: and God said it was good
    2. Fall: man chose separation from God through sin and death, which choice was necessary
    3. Redemption: a way is made to return to God
    4. Eternal Progression: the path is cleared for man to become like his Heavenly Father

  2. The biggest places we add to the narrative before-birth, and after-judgment.

    Tim, one question I have. One Christian I know asserted that Christians believe that God creates the soul ex nihilo at conception.

    Is this true? Or is it just his view, or his church’s?

  3. Kullervo’s “big picture” is pretty close to what I would have come up with. I think the big difference here is that we see the Fall as a necessary event, while many evangelicals (not all) view it as a mistake.

  4. while many evangelicals (not all) view it as a mistake.

    “Mistake” is not a big enough word. We view it as the greatest tragedy in history and the reason for every ounce of suffering ever experienced by creation.

  5. One latent difference is in what the “way” in Redemption consists of.

    The Mormon conception is that this Way is the means to overcome sin and death which separate us from God right now and keep us from becoming more like him in eternity. Jesus Christ defeated death when he was crucified and resurrected, and thus resurrection is provided as a free gift to everyone who is born and dies. Jesus Christ conquered sin by suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and we are redeemed from sin by Christ’s atonement when we exercise faith in him, repent of our sins, are baptized for the remission of sins by someone with authority, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost (by laying on of hands by someone with authority), and endure to the end.

    “Someone with authority” means someone who has the Aaronic Priesthood (for baptism) and the Melchizidek Priesthood (for the Gift of the Holy Chost) which were lost during the Great Apostasy after the death of the apostles and were restored to Joseph Smith and are now only to be found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    “Endure to the end” means to remain faithful to God and loyal to his church, to continue to keep God’s commandments, and to qualify for and receive the necessary ordinances.

    “Necessary ordinances” include but may not be limited to getting the Aaronic and Melchizidek Priesthood (either directly for men, or through marriage for women), the temple endowment, the sealing ordinance (i.e., marriage for time and all eternity in the temple), and renewing baptismal promises by taking the sacrament weekly.

  6. By contrast, the “way” for most Protestants and/or evangelicals is simply faith in Jesus Christ, or perhaps Jesus Christ himself (which in a practical sense pretty much means the same thing as “faith in Jesus Christ,” just alternately formulated).

  7. Here one shot at it:

    1. Pre-existence- God lays out a plan that includes the creation, the fall, the redemption.

    2. The fall- God orchestrates the fall to create the conditions that Man will be tried outside of his presence to learn and grow as a physical being.

    3. A savior is sent to allow the plan to operate, i.e. to allow people to make mistakes, learn and still be saved

    4. All are judged and receive according to their choices. Almost all receive some kingdom of glory (i.e. go to heaven).

  8. I posted the above without noticing previous posts (didn’t refresh the browser)

    Anyway, one big difference I see is that the fall seems to be a terrible mistake/catastrophe in traditional Christianity while in Mormonism it is something that is essentially designed and approved by God.

  9. I think it could be argued that suffering in Mormonism is not essentially a bad thing, i.e. it allows for growth and and understanding of joy.

    The classic scripture and explanation of this is found in the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:

    “Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy. ”

  10. It is important for students of the Christianity to recognize that the notion of a ‘fortunate fall’ (felix culpa) is not alien to the Christian tradition. The Exsultet, a hymn of praise sung during Easter Vigil includes the phrase, “O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!”

    St. Thomas Aquinas writes:

    But there is no reason why human nature should not have been raised to something greater after sin. For God allows evils to happen in order to bring a greater good therefrom; hence it is written (Romans 5:20): “Where sin abounded, grace did more abound.” Hence, too, in the blessing of the Paschal candle, we say: “O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer!” Summa Theologica, III, 1, 3, ad 3; see also the Catechism, 412.

  11. Jarad c I have been reading your comments and find them refreshing full of common sense I have met Christians all over the world great people also Muslims hindos seiks great people even people who don’t believe in anything and just wonder how the world would be if we could just take the good from each view and combined them how much good could we do

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