BY TIMOTHY CHO
W e want to be the authors and leading actors of our own scripts, deciding right and wrong in worlds we create. The unfolding of our stories are grand masterpieces that aim to find any way for the world to continually shine on us spotlights, for the audience to cry and be mad and rejoice with us. And why shouldn’t this be so? You are the author and hero of the story you’ve created, right? But then you realize something: Not only are you the author and protagonist, you are the audience as well. The one you’re truly trying to impress is your own conscience. You try to justify your faults by displaying your good sides rather than your bad, in order to reassure yourself that you are a “good person.”
We live in a postmodern society where absolute truth is a taboo and experiential “truth-for-me” is accepted. But where does that logically end? If we create our own “truths”—our own worlds in which we are our own main characters and authors—to please our audience (ourselves), then we end up with colliding plotlines that competitively yearn to make their own authors the superhero. Take a look at the “superheroes” who declare that there is no absolute truth: By claiming so, they have imposed their plotline of “no absolute truth” upon others. They are, fundamentally, holding the belief that they are the superheroes of a world they have made for themselves. The postmodernist’s plight is that he desires to be the author of his own script when his own script claims that his own authorship is an impossibility.
Postmodernism, quite frankly, is simply a rehashing of the plight of the Fall:
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. (Gen. 3:4–5, ASV)
Yes, the first temptation is a de-script-ion: God is the Author and Creator of a world in which He declares by His sovereign wisdom and goodness what is Good and Evil and in which He is the main character, allowing by His good pleasure for man to be a participant in the glory as a character, but Adam and Eve freely chose to tear the script that God has given them. No, they said, we don’t want to be supporting characters anymore. We want to create our own script in which we choose for ourselves what “truth” is, what “love” is, what “good” and “evil” are, etc. They didn’t realize that they were undeservedly a part of the grandest story of all time. Instead, they wanted to be “as God,” determining for themselves their own scripts and worlds, in which everything revolved around themselves. Yet as a result of their de-script-ion, we all, as descendents of Adam and Eve (Rom. 5), are cursed into believing that our finite selves can ultimately create the perfect storyline, and we do so in ways that go against God and our fellow man. It is like a disease, and we sin because we are sinners—yet we justify it because in our own worlds, “good” and “evil” are what we want them to be. In the end, however, God is the true Author who has determined what Good and Evil are.
God could have left us in this state. He could have left us to live in our own skewed worlds believing that we are the protagonists—and ultimately given us our wages in hell, the place where God’s mercy and love are absolutely removed and only His righteous justice and hatred of evil are left. And we deserve that, because we have left His script of true Good and Evil, and we have made Evil to be “good” in our own scripts. Yes, God is good and absolutely loving. But He is so good that He hates evil. He is so loving that He loathes evildoers. God’ hatred of evil means that He has a passionate love for goodness and righteousness and that He wants to get rid of evil. God is the superhero who will defeat evil once and for all in His story. The problem is that the antagonist is us. It is this conflict that arises in the plotline of the story of redemption: if God is perfectly just and wants to destroy evil once and for all, how can He save anyone, since we are the evildoers?
Truly, we are authors of lies, made-up fantasies that blind us like badly prescribed lenses. When once we believed we were the superheroes, the “good guys,” in truth we are the villains, the ones who naturally are inclined to work against the true Protagonist, whether we realize it or not. We are not the righteous that God loves and the evildoers are not some force external from us. Romans 3:10–12 ASV tells us:
There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one.
We are the evildoers, and God, in order for Him to be perfectly just, holy, good, and righteous must ultimately do away with us in order to do away with evil. The antagonist of the story must be destroyed and the Protagonist must prevail…
…But God, being rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), and raised us up with Him, and made us to sit with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:4–6 ASV).
This is the Good News! The Author of all things became a character in a world that is hostile and turned against Him, putting on all of the weaknesses and finitudes of His characters, living a life of perfect righteousness on behalf of His enemies (us), dying by suffering the punishment of God’s hatred against evil due to us, and coming back to life, proving that He has conquered death and sin! In the true script, the Author became the Superhero to not only destroy evil but to save evildoers.
So, what now?
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe in the gospel. (Mark 1:15 ASV)
Jesus tells us to drop the scripts we have made for ourselves. He lovingly tells us that the world we have created is a lie. He calls us to tear our scripts up, resign as authors, and realize that we are not donning the cape of a superhero but cowering in the shadows as the supervillains. Like two sides of the same coin, Jesus calls us to repent (turn away from our sin and ourselves) and to believe in (grasp and entrust our entire lives to) the Gospel. Jesus tells us He has played the role of the Superhero on our behalf. He tells us to resign as authors and to receive the new script of Jesus’ Gospel—His life, His death, and His resurrection—not as a new act to play, but as an act that has already been played for us and we can live out. He calls us to surrender as supervillains and unite ourselves to the Superhero, the only one who can cover all of our wickedness and cleanse us from the inside out.
Truly, we fall so short of loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. But remember, Jesus Christ loved you enough to do all of that on your behalf, and He tells you to put aside your script of religiosity for His script of pure religion—a life driven, shaped, molded by the Gospel. You never go beyond the Gospel, and it must be a daily remembrance. Every waking moment we ought to continually cast aside our scripts and receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing that we come to Him with nothing and, in love, He clothes us with His vestments of the true superhero.