Bookends of the Bible

Sometimes in stories the author will include bookends, a storytelling device that frames the entire story. With one occurring at the beginning of the story and the other at the very end, bookends are very important to the theme and development of the plot. Bookends denote a complete, unified story, shaped by an expert storyteller.

And when we look at the Bible as telling one story, we can find bookends right where they ought to be. Yet these bookends are not what we might first expect. It is not about Israel, the law, or sacrifices. Instead, the beginning of the Bible (Genesis 1-2) starts with God and creation. God is eternal, and he brings forth creation from that eternity. And this creation features a garden where mankind can dwell with God.

Likewise, the ending of the Bible (Revelation 21-22) mirrors the beginning. We have God and [new] creation. God is eternal and he brings forth this new creation from eternity. And this new creation features a city where mankind can dwell with God.

These bookends set the stage for the middle—the storyline of the Bible. Some call this the journey from Creation to New Creation, or from the garden to the city, or perhaps the story between the two trees.

Whatever you call this story, the bookends highlight the unity and purpose of the biblical story: to redeem and restore what was ruined. Moreover, it points to the truth that there is an end to the story, one that is greater than we can ever imagine.

Brandon Schmidt

I am Brandon Schmidt: writer, husband, father, brother, reader, and laugher.

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