To read the Bible is not to march through a cold and bloodless philosophical treatise about right and wrong. Nor is it to step in a rationally and topically organized dogmatic textbook.
Opening the Bible is more like tumbling into a long and furious romance between the Lord and his Lover.
This is the archetypical love story. Everyone from Shakespeare to Harlequin riffs off it. The oldest of the old, old stories. If you’ve ever been enraptured by someone, you’ve sipped from the chalice of this ancient wine and swayed at its intoxicating effects. This is the story that rises and falls and cries and screams and laughs from Eden’s innocent garden to the wild-eyed Apocalypse of St. John.
Robert Capon, who wrote often of the romance between God and his world, rightly said that the scriptural story could be summed up this way: “Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl.” There you go. Those nine words could serve as the Bible’s subtitle.
Boy Meets Girl
Boy meets girl when the Lord of love speaks the apple of his eye into being. God created the world not out of boredom, necessity, or because he stood in need of armies of sycophantic slaves. He who is love tilted and spilt that love out of heaven to pool below into a creation that made him dance in delight. Every day, he couldn’t stop gushing about it. “It’s good, it’s good, it’s good, it’s so very good!” he laughed, this God giddy over his girl.
He bent down to kiss the earth, to breathe life into its kingly Adam and queenly Eve, to show it off to his angelic watchers, to love and adore and grin like the Cheshire cat over her gorgeous existence. Boy meets girl. And boy loves girl with a wild and reckless love.
Boy Loses Girl
Boy loses girl when their romance had barely begun. While he’s still dancing in the clouds she begins backpedaling in the garden, pursing her lips to kiss lies, opening her mouth to forbidden fruit. They’ve barely arrived at their honeymoon getaway when his beloved is sweating in the arms of other gods, hooking up in Baal’s back seat, or rolling in the hay with a golden calf.
So, with the jealous fury borne of selfless love, he chases her wayward soul down into the deepest and dankest gutters of adulterous idolatry to bring her home again. Boy loses girl, but boy still loves girl, and he will trail her through the fiery gates of hell itself if that’s what it takes to get the girl again.
Boy Gets Girl
And the boy does get the girl again, but only through the tears and heartache and blood droplets of sacrifice on her behalf. He jumps from his throne above and lands inside a virgin womb, this true God become true boy. If being only God won’t get her back, he’ll become man as well. He’ll have skin like her, hair like her, heart and lungs and eyes and ears like her.
If she’d have been a fish, he’d have grown scales to swim after her into the deepest depths of the sea. If she’d have been a bird, he’d have spread his wings to fly to the end of the universe to woo her back. He becomes what she is to see with her eyes, to feel with her skin, to bleed with her blood and to break with her bones.
So as to write his love story for men and angels and even demons to see, he is lifted up above the earth, spreads his arms to embrace the universe with all her woes and wrongs, and writes in crimson ink across the scroll of the skies, “Behold, here, my dear girl, is how much your boy loves you.”
Boy gets girl back by giving all he has. Holding nothing back. Because nothing will hold him back from the world, from us, from the romance that he has been penning since before time began.
Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. It’s the kind of story that not only makes the world go round, but that made the world, pursued the world, and redeemed it. It’s the love affair of the God whose outsized heart beats bigger than the cosmos, and in whose heart are portraits of every man, woman, and child he has ever created.
Your name and picture are there, too.
For this is not only God’s story; it’s yours.