God as Author: A Biblical Approach to Narrative

I skimmed through God as Author by Dr. Gene Fant before we interviewed him as a candidate for North Greenville University’s President.  In one of our interviews with him, I asked him some questions regarding his presentation of the “hermeneutics of optimism” in his book for two reasons: 1) I loved the concept, and 2) I wanted him to know I wasn’t messing around and had done my homework on him.

On the other side of those meetings, I am so thankful for God’s timing and leading to have him serve as President of my alma mater, NGU.  It also was a joy to read it through thoroughly this week.

One of the main reasons I think Dr. Fant has been loved by so many so quickly at our institution is that he isn’t confined to one discipline.  In this book, he develops a wonderful resource for those studying theology and literature.  Within the pages, he connects biology and music theory and so much more.

I love the concept that God is telling his story through our stories.

Keep your eyes open, people!

Book Overview

God as Author takes a thoughtful literary approach to understanding the Gospel. Gene Fant writes in the preface:
“Most of us have heard that Christ is ‘the Author and Finisher of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:2), so it makes sense that the Gospel would be God’s story. As many a church message board has noted so succinctly, ‘History is His Story.’ In our easy discussions of special revelation, I cannot help but wonder if we
have missed something awe-inspiring that may be revealed by a reversal of the lens that we turn toward narrative. Perhaps the Gospel is not just like a story; perhaps story, narrative in general, is like the Gospel. My clear conviction is that something stands behind the power of narrative. In fact, I believe that Someone stands behind it. There is an Author whose skill and grace imbues the broad range of the stories that we tell. There is a Father who gave us a story to help us understand our place in this world, a story that points back to Him. His story is, in many ways, the only story that we know. When we use that realization as a foundation for interpreting and generating narrative, it changes everything, including ourselves.”

Favorite Quotes

  1. Perhaps the gospel is not just like a story; perhaps story, narrative in general, is like the gospel…There is an Author whose skill and grace imbue the broad range of the stories that we tell (xv).
  2. Philip’s example is important, for it underscores the importance of interpreting Scripture through the use of other Scriptures, as well as the importance of using the Incarnation as the ultimate rubric for understanding the entire arc of the Scriptures (17).
  3. I term this a hermeneutics of optimism.  Bu this I mean that a cogent approach to narrative that is distinctively Christian will reflect these elements, each of which both demands a sense of optimism (that connectedness, hope, and purposeful meaning are possible) and produces a sense of optimism (that connectedness, hope, and purposeful meaning are identifiable in narrative) [28].
  4. He is creating a narrative that reveals His own nature.  By reading His story, we are able to comprehend Him (50).
  5. There are many stories contained in the Bible, but there is only one primary Story told by the Bible: that of God’s glory as revealed in His justice and loving-kindness toward His creation (66).
  6. In the same way, our fallen nature has thrown our souls off balance and has generated a deep longing inside us that craves after the kind of satisfaction that only God’s grace can afford (79).
  7. We won’t begin to understand our lives, or what this so-called gospel is that Christianity speaks of, until we understand the Story in which we have found ourselves (100).
  8. The Restoration Narrative is not our story, for if it were, it would be weak, indeed, and quickly become irrelevant…He is the hermeneutical key; humanity is not (101).
  9. Christ is reconciling all things to Himself (Col. 1:20) in eternity, restoring balance to the universe that was lost in Eden and effected at Calvary (123).
  10. Regrettably, though, something tends to happen as children grow into adulthood: they stop reading (136).
  11. For people who call themselves “The People of the Book,” most Christians do not read the Bible very much (140).
  12. Works that engage the culture are ones that follow the Restoration Narrative’s insights into the human condition (178).