I sometimes teach that we can understand the big story of the Bible as a five act drama or a meta-narrative with five chapters: Fellowship, Fall, Reconciliation, Commission, and Consummation.
The big biblical story starts in Genesis 1 with the story of creation. “In the beginning God created …” God existed before creation and the crown of creation is humanity. Men and women were created in the image of God to be in relationship with God. This heartwarming story describes the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, happily living in a garden with God visiting them in the cool of the day (Gen 3:8).
Tragically, the fellowship between God and humanity was disrupted when Adam and Eve decided to disobey God and arrogantly listen to another voice (Gen 3:1-6). This “Fall” was the beginning of all that is wrong in people’s lives, communities, nations, and the world. Every person in history, except God’s Redeemer, has joined in Adam and Eve’s rebellion.
Nevertheless, God did not abandoned his creation, especially his people. In Gen 3:14f God curses the alternate voice, the serpent we know as Satan. God immediately launches his patient process of reconciliation by promising that Eve’s descendant will crush the serpent’s head. The descendant God is referring to is Jesus Christ, God Incarnate. There was no way for people to reconcile themselves to God, so he needed to do it. For reconciliation to happen, God himself would have to die for people’s sins. Christ accomplished this on the cross providing salvation, reconciliation with God, to those who believe (Jn 3:16).
In a wonderful twist, God equips the reconciled to be his ambassadors to those who have not yet accepted his forgiveness. Those who align with God are commissioned as his ambassadors, his ministers of reconciliation (Gen 12:1-3, Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, 2 Cor 5:14-21). The truly joy-filled and fulfilled people are those who join with God in this global eternal plan.
Finally, the Bible gives us a glimpse of the future when the fellowship between God and people that was broken in Gen 3 is fully restored in Rev 21:
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”