Shalom as a way into the Biblical story

Transformation After Lausanne - TizonThere are numerous concepts or images that we could use to trace the storyline of the Bible (covenant, election, kingdom, etc). What about the concept of the presence, disruption and restoration of shalom?

Here’s a nice quote from Al Tizon’s very helpful book, Transformation After Lausanne: Radical Evangelical Mission in Global-Local Perspective:

Only a shallow translation of the Hebrew word shalom would limit its definition to the idea of the absence of conflict and peace. Although it certainly includes peace, shalom also conveys the justice and righteousness that produces that peace (Jer. 6:13, 28). Shalom denotes a state wherein God rules, resulting in a harmonious relationship between God and humankind. And flowing from that relationship come: 1) the wholeness of persons, physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional well-being, 2) the wholeness of human interactions – love and family, social justice, righteousness and peace, and 3) the wholeness of the relationship between humankind and the rest of creation – ecological sustenance and environmental stewardship…

God’s affirmative evaluation of the entire created order reflects the biblical theological fact that the world began in a state of shalom. Shalom existed because God ruled the universe.

The account of the fall of humanity in Genesis 3 conveys the tragic disruption of that shalom. Through Adam and Eve’s disobedience via the serpent’s deception, sin entered into the world… In essence the act [of disobedience] challenged God’s rule, and consequently shalom existence collapsed.

Tizon’s book is well worth a read. You can read a review of it by my colleague, Darrell Jackson in issue 33 of Redcliffe’s Encounters Mission Journal, which was on the theme of The Psalms and Mission.