It’s not a very satisfying revenge, but an authoritative proofer nixed my favorite phrase in a little paragraph I just wrote for my current project at BJU Press, one focused on biblical worldview and the CFR metanarrative. This phrase must see the light of day—or, well…, the murky light of an obscure blog! See if you can guess which phrase it was…

You can only know a pole is bent if you have some idea of what it looked like when it was straight. And that’s why the Creation, Fall, Redemption metanarrative of Scripture is so important. It tells us that every created thing was originally good, and it gives us guidance as to what that good looked like (what we’ve called “creational norms”). This guidance is something other prominent worldviews out there fail to give.

Here are just two examples:

  • Classic secularism (see Government unit) steadfastly refuses to describe what the ideal world would look like (what the pole looks like when it isn’t bent). They point out that different cultures and religions disagree over the shape of the perfect world, and if you try to claim that your view is right, someone else will just come along and offer a different opinion. Then you’ll have a fight on your hands. Better not to talk about the pole.
  • In philosophical materialism, matter is all that exists. Who can say which states of matter are “good” and which are “bad”? They’re just there. They’re just obeying physical laws; they’re not guided by any intelligence. Birthday parties happen, genocide happens. The Big Bang giveth and the Big Bang taketh away. Blessed be the Bang.

But the Bible gives us the power to make moral judgments, in part because it tells us that the world has a structure, and a good one. It isn’t just churchy, religious stuff that can be good (that’s the way other religions tend to view the world). No, the New Testament says that “everything created by God is good” (1 Tim. 4:4). Mere stuff can be good. Not neutral. Good.

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.


  1. Duncan Johnson on November 12, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    I’m guessing that this is what got struck: “The Big Bang giveth and the Big Bang taketh away. Blessed be the Bang.”

    I actually used your variant form of this phrase the other day in class: “technology giveth and technology taketh away.” I really like that one, anyway. It captures so well what John Dyer talked about in From the Garden to the City.

  2. bethyada on November 12, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Presumably it is not the Big Bang, but the proofer who taketh away.

  3. Layton Talbert on November 12, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    I’m guessing it’s “Birthday parties happen, genocide happens” (although what should’ve been struck was “Classic Secularists steadfastly refuses to . . . . :).

  4. Mark Ward on November 13, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Fixed! Good eye! =)

  5. Dan Olinger on November 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I suspect it was just the clause “Blessed be the Bang”–perhaps for its sexual implications.

  6. Mark Ward on November 13, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Neither confirming nor denying that you’re right, Dr. O., I confess that those implications did not occur to me until after my conversation with the authoritative proofer—and that (whether this is the phrase nixed or no) he or she did not bring up those implications in evaluating the text.

    You can’t always guess accurately what associations will arise in readers’ minds, but I hope the context would be sufficient to preclude that thought from even arising.

  7. Mark Ward on November 20, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    It’s time to reveal the answer: it was the phrase “Blessed be the Bang” that the authoritative proofer nixed. He or she thought it was sacrilegious.

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