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Visually Explore the 4 Acts of The Great Drama of God

Categories Theology

William Shakespeare was right and wrong.

Yes, “All the world's a stage; And all the men and women merely players.” But it isn’t a tale told by an idiot “full of sound and fury; Signifying nothing.”

In their new book Visual Theology, Tim Challies and Josh Byers remind us that we are all part of a great tale, a great Drama that is guided and directed by a sovereign Storyteller. For some time Christians have understood it as a four act Drama:
Marrying the two Christian values of truth and beauty, Challies and Byers have crafted a visually stunning and equally visually informative resource to help you and those you shepherd see and understand the truth about God.

Below we’ve shared their outline of those acts to help you better understand the meaningful Drama of God. Because as they insist, “you are at your healthiest when you understand the fact that you are in a story and when you live with an awareness of your place within it.” (65)

Act 1: Creation

act1_creationThe storyline of this world began with a word. God spoke all of this into existence on purpose and with purpose—including us:

  • God is Creator. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
  • Man was made in his image. “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.’” (Genesis 1:26)
  • Everything was good. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
  • Man was made for perfect fellowship. “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3)

Act 2: Fall

act2_fallWhen God created the universe, things were just right; they were very good. Unfortunately, they didn’t
stay that way for long:

  • Man fell into sin. “She took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:6)
  • Man was banished from God’s presence. “So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.” (Genesis 3:23)
  • Man’s relationship from God was severed. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
  • Man and the earth now lived under a curse. “Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt.” (Isaiah 24:6)

Act 3: Redemption

act3_redemptionMan has fallen and is under God’s curse. Yet the Drama of God reveals that God loved us so much that God gave…his Son, his very life:

  • God sent Jesus as our representative. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • Jesus lived a perfect life. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
  • Jesus died and rose from death. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4)
  • We are redeemed through Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Act 4: New Creation

act4_newcreationLike every good story this one comes to an end, but in a way that’s different than all others. This Drama's end is actually the beginning of a whole new one:

  • Jesus will return and reign forever. “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32–33)
  • God will banish sin forever. “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)
  • Man will be in perfect fellowship with God forever. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • Life and relationships will be as God intended forever. “‘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.” (Revelation 21:4)


9780310520436_2“There really is a grand drama unfolding around you. As a Christian, you have the privilege of understanding what it is all about; you can interpret what is happening; and you can see how you fit in.” (67)

Join Challies and Byers in visually exploring the four acts of God’s great drama by engaging Visual Theology yourself—and discovering your place in it.

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