Why is this called NothinsGonnaStopIt!?
We have already told the story of the pastors in 1990 who, to Bill's question, “Can anything stop the gospel?” began to shout, “Nothing’s going to stop it!” The reasons for calling this seminar NothinsGonnaStopIt!, however, goes much deeper than this initial experience so here we want to delve more deeply into the theology behind the “nothing can hinder it” motif in the Scripture and demonstrate that it is a major biblical theme.
The key verse for NothinsGonnaStopIt! is Isaiah 46.10: "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please."
This verse says that encapsulated in the stories recorded for us in the early chapters of Genesis are the themes and motifs that will one day culminate in the end of history, thus vindicating God's purposes for creation. Central to the drama of human history, made so clear at the beginning, is that God's plan is opposed by a serpent, who is later identified in the narrative as Satan. In the biblical narrative human history is cast as a war between the seed of the woman, Eve, and the seed of the serpent, Satan. As we shall see, God promises to bring forth from the seed of the woman a male child who will destroy Satan's kingdom in a battle that is really no battle at all because God's purpose will stand and he will do all that he pleases.
The story of God’s unstoppable kingdom, then, begins in the book of Genesis. Most readers aren’t aware that the creation narratives are written as an apologetic against the ancient gods and the creation stories of the Ancient Near East that depict the creation of the earth as the result of a great battle. The God of the Bible, however, is completely sovereign over the realm of the deep, thought to be the dwelling place of the mythical creature called Leviathan. In the biblical creation story the deep is not pre-existent matter but just water that God creates simply by speaking. And the great Leviathan thought to be the god of the underworld? He’s just a really cool fish in the sea. And the two greatest deities in the ancient world, the sun and the moon? Genesis says that they were just lights in the sky. This is the greatest put-down in ancient history. The writer of Genesis is making a mockery of these so-called gods. The creation account is depicted as a mock battle that is really no contest. We might call it the "un-battle."
The un-battle motif continues in the story of Noah's flood. In response to the power of human sin, God easily returns the earth to its chaotic state and essentially starts over. He preserves a remnant by his grace and re-commissions Noah as a type of new Adam to multiply, fill and rule the earth as God’s co regent, as he had done with Adam. God set his war bow (his light manifest as the colors of the rainbow) in the sky as a giant post-it note to "remind him" to preserve the earth until his plan of redemption had come to its consummation.
The ultimate Old Testament expression of the un-battle theme occurs at the exodus. Most people are not aware that each one of the plagues sent by God through the hand of Moses was a defeat of one of the Egyptian gods. After the Egyptian magicians can’t duplicate the third plague they say, “This is the finger of God.” Defeating these so-called gods was so easy for Israel’s God that he would do it with his finger!
The un-battle is demonstrated very clearly in the ministry of Jesus. He casts out demons with only a spoken word, just like God’s victory in the un-battle at creation. Jesus connects his deliverance ministry to the exodus saying that he too casts out demons by using only his finger. The un-battle is ultimately demonstrated, of course, in the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus defeated Satan by apparently losing the battle at the cross but and then the finger of God simply raised him from the dead. It was so easy the grave clothes were just vacated and sunk down onto the stone.
So, when we get to the book of Acts, we can see that the advance of God’s unhindered kingdom continues the story of the battle that is really no battle at all. The last word in the Greek text of the book of Acts is the word “unhindered.” As was already mentioned, in Acts Luke bends over backwards to show that despite overwhelming obstacles the story of God will march forward from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth and nothing can hinder it.
All this culminates in the book of Revelation where history crescendos with a great "battle" between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. God defeats the kingdom of darkness by the testimony of those who follow the way of the male child who destroys Satan's works. Creation then enters New Creation where the themes and motifs set in motion at the beginning of the story find their completion at the end.
God has made known the end from the beginning. His purpose will stand and he will do all that he pleases. NothinsGonnaStopIt!
So…that’s how this material got its name and I like what it communicates. Human history is not some deadlock between good and evil. This is not a light-saber battle between Darth Vadar and Luke Skywalker. When we hear God's story we realize that he is not only in complete control of our lives but that he is in complete control of human history as well. His purpose will stand and when human history plays itself out God will get all the glory that is due his name.
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