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Problems with Creation-Fall-Redemption and how New View Addresses Them

This New View looks at the Cosmic Story and God's Cosmic Plan in a different way. The traditional 'Christian' way of understanding it is in terms Creation, Fall and Redemption (CFR), (with Redemption usually including the next life). We seek a way of understanding the Story of the Creation and God's engagement within it - a kind of Grand Narrative - it is very natural for human beings to seek such. CFR offers one way of understanding it. CFR, though presumed for centuries, is not a truth but a theory, a way of interpreting what Scripture reveals to us. But it leads to various problems. This New View can address these problems.

Problems with Creation, Fall, Redemption

1. Did not the traditional CFR framework emerge when we try to understand the Story from within time, as three aeons one after the other? That makes me suspicious that it is too dependent on presupposing Time. I would like to avoid that.

2. CFR also leaves open the possibility that God had three plans: Plan A as Creation, which 'went wrong', Plan B, in which he steps in to save his fallen cosmos, and then Plan C, after the Eschaton when he begins again. It has always troubled me that this suggests that God was not wise enough to foresee or forestall the evil of the Fall.

3. Does not the CFR view adequately fail to reveal the inner nature of God's positive purpose in the Story? It lumps it all into Creation, and focuses on what went wrong. The detail is devoted, given, to that which is evil and to the repair job, rather than to the Good.

4. Does CFR not glorify the Fall by making it a necessary component of the Story? Redemption, in which the glory of God is most chiefly revealed, is only necessary because of Fall. I want a way of seeing God's action in the Story (in Christ) as more than just a repair job.

5. Does not CFR mean that the wrong becomes the generator and the drama of the whole Story? Would not the Story seem boring without it? Creation, by which we chiefly mean as mentioned in early Genesis and a couple of Psalms, seems a bit thin. Simone Weil once remarked that, in literature, evil seems exciting and good seems boring but in real life it's the other way round. I would like a view of God's Cosmic Plan that finds the Good interesting. I would rather view the Story in such a way that the Story itself is exciting and what was intended, with or without the Fall. I don't want to see the Fall as generator of interest and drama, but as (what it was) a spoiler.

6. Finally, under CFR, it is hard not to think that sin (which entered with Fall) is seen as cosmically beneficial. The argument goes like this: At first sinless humanity was on earth; humanity sinned; God saved them; God brought redeemed humanity into a much better new earth, where God is worshipped better than before; if we had not sinned we would have remained on this old earth; so, when all is considered, humanity's sin makes things much better in the end, including for God; so sin is good. What would have happened if humankind had not turned away from God? Without sin humanity would never have reached the new earth and heavens. But Scripture portrays sin as evil and destructive, bringing harm and not good, even in the long run. So is there another way of looking at it?

I don't want to abandon CFR. I believe its main tenets are valid, and I take the Christian Scriptures as unique revelation from God. But I think there might be a better framework for understanding the Cosmic Story.

New View of God's Cosmic Story

This New View tries to avoid such problems. It tries to unpick the Good that God intended, show it as varied and interesting, show how it itself generates the Story, and in particular the drama of the Story. It sees the Fall and Redemption as dependent on, and expressions of, this Good, rather than as generative and necessary.

This page is offered to God as on-going work in developing a 'New View' in theology that is appropriate to the days that are coming upon us. Comments, queries welcome.

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden 2011, but you may use this material subject to certain conditions.

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Created: 20 November 2011. Last updated: