Of all the Member Offerings in all the world that we here at Christ and Pop Culture could bestow upon our faithful and devoted readers, this month’s offering is by far the best. This month Christ and Pop Culture is pleased, in partnership with Crossway, to impart to our loyal readers… the secret of the universe.

Art and culture truly do have a place, and not just in the next life and world to come, but in this life and this world.

That’s right, I’m not playing games with you. Direct from the author’s very pen — which was transferred to a computer word processor and then emailed to an editor (who thought it was a good idea to keep it in the manuscript!) who then approved and sent it to a printer (or in your case a digital typesetter) who then formatted and produced the very ebook we are giving — comes the audacious statement: “The secret of the universe? I know what it is.”

So behold, dear friends, the secret of the universe is our members offering this month, and I doubt anyone ever will be able to top it. Through ten fantastic chapters Jared C. Wilson, director of content strategy for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO demonstrates his vast and great knowledge of the secret of the universe in his book The Story of Everything: How You, Your Pet, and the Swiss Alps Fit into God’s Plan for the World. Encompassing topics like creation, art, science, sex!, suffering, and fun; Wilson demonstrates how the glory of God revealed in the gospel is the center and unifying reality of all life.

And now I’ve just told you what the secret is as well… Jared might not appreciate that.

I don’t think Jared will mind that I just told you the secret of the universe. He gets that the glory of God in the good news of Christ is exactly that, good news! And that good news encompasses everything. Far too often we truncate the gospel merely to a spiritual realm or ideal in our lives. God is only worried about saving some disembodied spiritual thing called a “soul” and the rest of this stupid planet is just material fodder for the last day bonfire we like to call the “Apocalypse.” But Wilson displays how God’s good news impacts every sphere of life. He takes this to include things like pets and writes,

If God made something, you can believe he will remake it. And since death and danger are consequences of mankind’s sin, once sin is vanquished and men are restored, all God’s creatures will enjoy restored relationship with him, with man, and with each other.

We can expect, in fact, that all our animal friends will join us in the new heavens and new earth. Since grace is true, we can assume this includes snakes. And even cats, I guess.

Wilson’s approach encompasses more than just our pets. In one poignant and relevant chapter, Wilson speaks about the gospel and culture. Jared shows us how the glory of God in the good news of Jesus impacts and illuminates the rightful place of art and culture in our lives. He writes,

Art is transporting. Art resonates. The best art takes some experience or moment of the world and interprets it in a way that doesn’t just entertain but enlightens. When you think about it, actually, the creating of art is perhaps the closest we actually get to imaging God as Creator. When we build things that are useful, that is a kind of art, as well, and it’s a way that we carry out being made in God’s image, to be sure.

That’s something we can affirm and value — that art and culture truly do have a place, and not just in the next life and world to come, but in this life and this world.

So friends, take hold of The Story of Everything and discover the secret of the universe! Learn how you and this world fit into a greater and more beautiful and glorious story. Every other Member Offering from here on out won’t be as great as the “secret of the universe” but I’m pretty sure those things too will be included in that great story.