The Biblical Story Line in One Paragraph

Right now I’m reading through Douglas Moo’s article¬†“Nature in the New Creation: New Testament Eschatology and the Environment,” and I ran across this summary of what he calls his “brief and admittedly simplistic” rendition of the “larger biblical story line”:

The first humans, created in God’s image, failed to obey the Lord their God and brought ruin on themselves and the entire world. After the judgment of expulsion from the Garden and the Flood, God began his work of reclaiming his fallen creation through Abraham and his descendants. From that line came Israel, the nation God chose to carry forward his grand plan of redemption. The nation was given the responsi- bility not only to worship God through their praise and obedience but also to be a “light to the nations”: to be the means of God’s blessing of the entire world. As both means of blessing and testing, Israel was given a land. Israel’s enjoyment of that land, indeed, her continuance in it, depends on her obe- dience to the covenant stipulations. Yet Israel fails on this score; and so the nation is sent into exile, removed from its land. But the prophets proclaim that the exile will one day be reversed. Central to many of the prophetic texts is this theme of return from exile, when God would bless his people anew, the land would once again be fruitful, and the ultimate purpose of God to bless the nations through Israel would be accomplished.Israel did, of course, return from exile, but it quickly became clear that this return fell far short of what the prophets had promised. And so a new deliverance was still anticipated. The NT claims that this deliverance has taken place in and through the coming of Jesus the Messiah. He, the second Adam, the true and ultimate image of God, obeys where Adam had disobeyed and through his death and resurrection inaugurates the last days that the prophets had longed for. The true “return from exile” has finally taken place. Yet, as we have already noted, the ultimate benefits of that fulfillment are not yet seen. Through Christ’s second coming God will consummate his redemptive work for the entire cosmos.

–Douglas Moo, “New Testament Eschatology and the Environment,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 49, vol. 3 (2006): 457-8.



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