(Image courtesy of https://i.pinimg.com.)

 "And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day..." (Genesis 3:8).
"The LORD came from Sinai and dawned from Seir upon us... Yes, he loved his people..." (Deuteronomy 33:2-3).
"And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.... The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me.... I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:5, 22-26).
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb... on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month" (Revelation 22:1-2).
There is a big picture to the history of our world. Literary critics as well as theologians refer to this as the meta-narrative, that is, the overarching story. Of course, in a big picture look at things there are many small details that are glossed over which are still important; yet, all the small details fit into the big picture, the meta-narrative.

In the Bible, we see the meta-narrative clearly. The three main, overarching parts of the story are three-fold: creation, fall, redemption.

God created the world and it was very good. There was no sin in the world yet and God enjoyed unhindered fellowship with his creation, including Adam and Eve. The very fact that they heard the sound of God walking in the garden seems to imply that they knew the sound well. When I was growing up, my bedroom was in the basement, so I would often try to guess which of my family members was walking around on the floor above me based on the sound of their footsteps. This is the image I think of when Adam and Eve recognize God's footsteps in the garden moments after they had sinned. (I also don't think Adam and Eve had a particularly difficult time knowing it was God, since there were no other people alive at that time....)

The main point is this: After creation, man enjoyed complete and unhindered fellowship with God in the garden of Eden. (Still, even before that, God the Father enjoyed complete and perfect fellowship with God the Son - and that fellowship never was/is/will be broken, much less hindered.)

When Adam and Eve sinned against God, it was a treasonous breaking of their fellowship. It can be likened to that of a spouse committing adultery against his wife; it is that serious and it is that fellowship-breaking. If you don't believe me that Adam and Eve's sin was that heinous, read the end of Deuteronomy 32, where God pronounces judgement on Moses because he hit the rock to produce water instead of speaking to it as God told him. God refers to Moses' sin as adulterous and corrupting his holiness. God is not arbitrary; sin is a serious, serious offense against the only holy and incorruptible God of heaven and earth.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God ordered them to leave the garden where they once enjoyed unhindered fellowship. Now, man would only hide from God; they would no longer enjoy fellowship (another word for this is unity) with him. It was a devastating day in human history.

The main point is this: When Adam and Eve sinned, they broke the unity they once shared with God. God the Father and God the Son, however, never break fellowship; they are one for all of time.

The goal of all human history has been, since the fall, redemption. God is not content to let things be as they are; he and the Son initiated their plan of redemption (which was not an afterthought, but which was foreknown and predestined before any sin was ever committed by Adam and Eve [i.e., 1 Pet 1:19-20]).

This act of redemption is completely based upon God's grace and love; it has nothing to do with humans being worthy of such fellowship; we already saw how man had broken fellowship with God and are no longer worthy of it. However, once redemption was enacted by the Son and the Father through the death and resurrection of the Son, fellowship between God and his people was restored, for all those who receive the redemption by faith! "More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation" (Rom 5:11, emphasis added).

Think about it like this: A prince wants to marry a common, peasant girl. She has neither rightful claim to union with the prince, nor rightful claim to his kingdom. However, if the prince "comes down" to the peasant girl and marries her, she instantly gains fellowship with the prince and rights to the kingdom. This is similar to Christ's work of redemption done for us, the bride of Christ. He came down to his people - literally - to choose us as his bride, so that we would have unhindered union with the Father and the Son again.

Profoundly, God has been redeeming his people ever since the fall occurred. The first promise and pronouncement of redemption is seen in Genesis 3:15, where God promises to send a seed (an offspring) through the woman who will defeat the serpent, the one who deceived man to break fellowship with God in the first place. By defeating sin and death, fellowship can once again be had between God and his creatures. This offspring promised is, of course, Jesus Christ, the Son of Man.

Furthermore, when Moses admonishes the people in Deuteronomy 33, he speaks of the blessing of God as being that he came down from his high place to dwell with man! Why? Because he loves his people: "Yes, he loved his people" (Deut 33:3)! This is amazing considering the description of Israel that we read throughout the Old Testament, how they were obstinate, disobedient, wayward, and idolatrous. Yet, this is precisely the motivation of God's redemption: his love and his grace. It has nothing to do with us being so nice that he just had to have fellowship with us or that he was lonely and wanted friends. No, we are the ugly, the outcast, the whore, the orphan, the destitute, the poor, the needy, the crippled, the beggar, the common peasant - his redemption is completely motivated from his own character, not from our "likeable" or high status.

Additionally, we see something truly amazing about redemption found in Jesus's high priestly prayer in John 17 that I have only alluded to up to this point: the same perfect union that the Son has (and always had and always will have) with the Father is ours through Christ's redemption. Look at the language that Jesus uses when he prays for his disciples in this chapter:
"And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.... The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me.... I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:5, 22-26, emphasis added).
There are extraordinary truths revealed by Jesus in this passage! For one, Jesus references the glory that he has shared with the Father for all eternity, and that this same glory is given to his people. Think about that: the glory that Jesus has is identical to the glory his people have! It is one in the same! We were once common peasants, but Christ the King has married us - made union with us - so that all that it his is also ours!

But what is this glory that the Father and the Son have shared for all eternity and that we also now share as children of God? It is the perfect fellowship, the sinless perfection, the holiness, and the unity of the Spirit which binds them all together! Indeed, he has given his Spirit to his people - the same Spirit that is in God himself! Additionally, the glory of heaven - which is the home of God's complete presence - is given to us, although we have not yet attained it; meaning, heaven is promised and it will surely happen, but only after death or the Lord returns to take us there to be with our King forever! (This is the already/not yet principle we find throughout Scripture.)

Secondly, Jesus states that the purpose of sharing his glory is to show that we are one. To be one, to be unified, is what Jesus is getting at here. All those who are in Christ are one with him! And to have union with Christ is to have perfect union with the Father - the same, only better, than the union Adam and Eve once shared with God in the garden! God is taking his people back to the garden! This is why in Revelation, John ends his book with the revelation that heaven has a river of life running through it; he describes the tree of life on its banks. His whole description is that of a garden! We begin with a garden in Genesis and we end with a garden in Revelation; we began with fellowship with God and we end with fellowship with God. What an amazing story of redemption! Jesus Christ is awesome (not in the vulgar sense of the word, but with awe-inspiring beauty and perfection!)!

Lastly, Jesus states clearly that the love he and the Father share together is the same love with which we are loved. Oh my, what a reality! What a promise! What a high thought! The love that the Father has for his Son is one and the same to the love he has for me! And how does the Father love the Son? With perfection, with completion, with purity, with honor, with unhindered fellowship and companionship, with unwavering unity. "What wondrous love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul; what wondrous love is this, oh my soul!"

So I conclude with this: the main point of the meta-narrative is that God has redeemed his people, common, dirty (even whorish) peasants; and he has loved them with the same love with which he loves the Son and they shall walk in the garden of heaven with him again. Praise be to God the Father!

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph 3:14-19).