“A man who disbelieved the Christian story as fact but continually fed on it as myth would, perhaps, be more spiritually alive than one who assented and did not think much about it.” C.S.Lewis, God in the Dock
Controversial Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson recently had a sell out lecture series on stories from Genesis, speaking on them as truthful myths. There is an appetite for what he has to say. These lectures have had over a million views on youtube.
I grew up with bible stories and confess I found them dull. A moral was drawn, an example to follow or not to follow and the answer was always Jesus (which felt like pulling a rabbit out of the hat). My understanding of the big story of the bible was muddled. I had no idea where Moses fitted in relation to David or Elijah or whether it mattered anyway. The bible stories I heard were romanticised, summarised and diminished. I loved books but the bible was the exception to the rule.
God gave us stories because we respond to stories. Stories move us in a way that a systematic presentation of facts cannot. Stories can be plunged into, meditated upon and shouldn’t be tamed too quickly. Capturing the story is not about stripping a story down to its essence it’s about discovering its depths, its richness, its layers. Jordan Peterson has grasped something of this but at the same time he misses God’s heartbeat and fails to hear his voice. Christians conversely often jump too quickly to crowbar Jesus into the story.
God gave us the Old Testament for a reason. His word comes to us in the form of promise and the history of Israel is about how that promise will be fulfilled. The Old Testament is the essential groundwork for the answer. If we miss the preparation we will not fully grasp the glory of Jesus. The essence of what God planned in Christ was so massive it took centuries of preparation. The more I dwell on these stories the more I am left longing for Jesus. Jordan Peterson has been trying to capture the bible stories truths but they are bigger than myths. We need to spend time feeding on these Old Testament stories to hear God’s voice which may seem faint at first but ends in a loud crescendo leaving us rejoicing in the majesty of Jesus.