God as Author and Actor


A story is:

“an account of characters and events in a plot moving over time and space through conflict toward resolution.”

The Bible obviously has characters and events, which takes place over time and space. It moves through conflict to resolution. To me, the bigger question is whether there is a plot. A plot to me suggests a couple of things.

First, it suggests intentionality. A recording of stuff happening does not make a plot. A plot, for fiction, involves crafting of events in a coherent fashion so that the early events link, and mean something, within the timeline of the story. In non-fiction, history, events are chosen and displayed in (again) a coherent fashion to give the events meaning within a timeline. Because the Bible has God, working within history, as the main character, the protagonist, the story of the Bible has aspects of both fiction and non-fiction. The story of the Bible is non-fiction in that it claims, on the whole, to describe what happened, is happening, and will happen. The story of the Bible is like fiction because God is more than a character in the Bible, and more even than a historian, but the author of history. Thus, the story is more than simply the collecting of events, but the crafting/creating of events for the plot. The dual qualities of fiction and non-fiction are difficult for some. Some focus on the human element of the story where God becomes more of a character and less of the author. On the other hand, some focus on God as sovereign author to the extent that people become nothing more than characters in a play— props–, plot devices. It seems to me that the Bible works in “creative tension” between God as author and God as character.

Quote from Chapter One of “Theo-Storying: Reflections on God, Narrative, and Culture.”

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