Learn by Topic: Salvation History
The Birth of Chaos
Since the beginning, God ‘s plan of sheer goodness is to allow Man to share in His blessed life (CCC 1). Satan rejected God’s plan, was irreversibly cast out from Heaven and has sought to corrupt Man ever since (CCC 391-92). Adam failed to accept God’s clear direction to “go forth and multiply” (Gen 1:28), to protect the Garden (Gen 2:15) and to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge (Gen 2: 17). Accepting Satan’s temptation in the Original Sin (CCC 385-406), Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden by God into the world tormented by sin and death (Gen 3:15-24); rather than enjoying the Paradise of Eden planned by God, Man struggles in the chaotic battle between good and evil (CCC 409).
The Chaos of Post-Modernism
Throughout the history of Mankind, all peoples and cultures have embraced God with varying levels of understanding of God’s Truth, ultimately seeking to participate in God’s plan. Today’s Postmodern culture is unprecedented as the first culture in human history in which large groups of humans militantly profess atheism or live like God does not exist. Secularists proclaim that God does not exist, Creation is a result of random processes and that Man is simply an evolutionary “accident.” This God-less delusion renders life is ultimately meaningless; Man lives and dies with no purpose and no future. Secularists, perhaps well-meaning but profoundly ignorant and arrogant, scheme to progress towards their vision of “Utopia” (literally, “No Place”), a place of hope and change where Man can finally find happiness. The Postmodern “strategic plan” is failing and leading to chaos and despair: the breakdown of the family, assaults on life (abortion, euthanasia, contraception, the rejection of children), the embrace of promiscuity, the decay of virtue in relativistic pluralism, gender and race conflict, antagonism between economic and social classes and warfare between ideologies and nations.
Jesus Christ – Divine Strategist
The word “strategy” comes from the Greek, strategia, meaning “command of a general”. Jesus Christ, the Eternal King and Divine Strategist, comes to proclaim the plan of the Gospel. Jesus:
- Has a strategy from the beginning – Jesus is with the Father from the beginning (John 1:1-5). Rather than a long string of meaningless events, human history has its beginning and end in God’s blessing (CCC 1). “Creation is the foundation of “all God’s saving plans” (CCC 280) by which “the Father accomplishes the “mystery of his will”…in a wisely ordered plan [called the]…economy of salvation” (CCC 1066). “The ultimate end of the whole divine economy is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity” (CCC 260; John 17:21-23).
- Is at the center of the Strategy of Salvation – To save Man, God’s strategy was to send His only Son (John 3:16) to save Man from Sin (Matt 1:21); “Jesus” literally means “God saves” (CCC 430) and is the only name by which men can be saved (Acts 4:12). The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that Man can be saved from Original Sin and death, that Satan has been defeated (CCC 1086) and that there is a way of life and a way of death (CCC 1696).
- Strategically prepares Man for His Advent in the Old Testament – “[T]he economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so oriented that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, redeemer of all men” (CCC 122) who fulfills all God’s Old Testament promises (CCC 1964-70; 280). At Emmaus, Jesus explains the meaning of the Old Testament to the disciples, filling them with awe (Luke 24:32). The Incarnation reveals that the hidden meaning of the Old Testament is the dying of the Savior for our sins (1 Cor 15:3).
- Makes series of strategic covenants with Man over time – God forms covenants, growing in reach: Noah (One Holy Family – Gen 9), Abraham (One Holy Tribe – Gen 15, 17,22), Moses (One Holy Nation – Ex 24/Deut 29), David (One Holy Kingdom – 2 Sam 7) and the Church (One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church – Mark 14). Each covenant builds on early covenants in preparation for the “new and perfect covenant which was to be ratified in Jesus Christ” (CCC 781).
- Deliberately “previews” His strategy of salvation in the Old Testament – Jesus offers “previews” (called typology or prefigurements) of Himself through the Old Testament (CCC 128-130); examples include Melchizedek (Gen 14:18-20; Heb 7:1- 3), Joshua, Moses and David. God also reveals the coming of Jesus through OT prophets (CCC 522, 702).
- Predestines Mary to be the New Ark of the Covenant – As early as Eden, God describes the victory over Satan in the protoevangelium (Gen 3:15; CCC 410), in which Mary, the New Eve, will bear Jesus Christ who conquers evil and death. Mary is predestined by God to bear Christ (CCC 488) and prefigured in the Old Testament (CCC 489). Mary is purposefully created without Sin in the Immaculate Conception (CCC 490-493) and by “the power of the Holy Spirit, He became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man” (CCC 456).
- Purposefully becomes Incarnate in history – Jesus strategically chooses to Incarnate in a particular time and place to give God a human face (CCC 1160). He irrefutably demonstrates that He is God through teaching, miracles, correction of religious authorities, the defeat of Satan and through His saving Passion and Resurrection (CCC 1019; cf. 1741, 601-02, 401-404).
- Prefigures and becomes the Eucharist – God purposefully prepares Man to accept the Eucharist in Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (Gen 22:1-12), the Passover (Exod 12) and the manna in the desert (Exod 16). Jesus, building off the sacrificial practice of Israel, becomes the true Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (CCC 523, 602), revealing the true meaning of the Passover during the Eucharistic celebration that is extended from the Last Supper to His Death on the Cross.
- Establishes the Church and endows Her with the Gospel and Sacraments – In the Church, Jesus Christ has left “”the fullness of the means of salvation”: the correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life and the ordained ministry in apostolic succession (CCC 830), preserved through Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium (CCC 95; 107; 126). Jesus establishes the Papacy in Peter (Matt 16:18) who passes along the authority for Christ’s Church on earth to bishops so that “the full and living Gospel might be preserved in the Church” (CCC 77).
- Continues to implement His strategic plan – Jesus, as Divine King, sits at the right hand of the Father and has an everlasting dominion over all men (CCC 664; Matt 28:18). Christ remains Man’s “advocate with the Father”, who “always lives to make intercession” for Man (CCC 519, 668). At Pentecost (Acts 2), Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; 15:26) is fulfilled, and the Holy Spirit continues to help Man (CCC 1811, 1889). At her Assumption, Mary becomes the Queen of Heaven, continuing to intercede to bring Man “the gifts of eternal salvation” (CCC 969).
Dr. Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins discuss their powerful book, “Walking with God.” This book offers a concise history of Salvation History and is a powerful tool for helping readers draw closer to Jesus Christ through scripture.