What is the Denouement?

Welcome to lesson 3 where we will define the Denouement as a storytelling element.

I hope you have enjoyed this course so far as we seek to understand the story of the Bible. In this final lesson, we will discuss what this story means for us today.

And once again, I’m going to look at the Pixar Story structure. In the last lesson, we looked at the “until finally” section, but this time we’re going to focus on the “ever since then” portion of the story.

Defining the Denouement

Now, a literary term that you might remember from school is the “denouement.” This is the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved. The climax is the turning point, and the denouement is the ultimate result of the climax. It is when the broken things from the story get put back together.

This isn’t to say everything goes back to being the same, however. Things will have changed, but the wrongs should be made right.

Let me give you a couple examples: At the end of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the climax is the scene where Aslan defeats the White Witch, and the denouement is what happens after. Narnia wakes up and Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are crowned in Cair Paravel.

At the end of the original Star Wars, the scene where Luke destroys the Death Star is the climax, and then the denouement is when he gets reunited with Han and Leia and they celebrate and eventually they receive their medals of honor.

The Denouement of the Story of the Bible

So in the Bible, last week we saw the turning point or the climax – the moment when Jesus conquered the serpent and He conquered death. But the story isn’t finished yet – the broken things are still being put back together, and we’re still waiting for that final scene where the people of Narnia gather with their new Kings and Queens.

I want to skip to the very end of the Biblical story, where we get a small glimpse of the end of God’s story of redemption. We’re going to read Revelation 21:1-5. This is a picture of the future, when the denouement finally gets completed. The passage describes things this way:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

And that, is the denouement of the Bible. The broken things will be put back together. He will make all things new! There will be no more mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore.

There is a famous moment at the end of Lord of the Rings, right after the dark lord Sauron has been defeated. The character of Sam wakes up from a deep sleep to discover that his friends are alive and they are back together again. He says this, “Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”

This is, ultimately, what will happen to our world.

But it is no secret that today, our world has not fully been put back together. God’s Kingdom has been established and Jesus is on the throne, but the new heaven has not come down to earth like in Revelation 21. There is still pain, and there is still mourning and crying.

So the question we should be asking ourselves is this – what do we do now? How should we live in light of the work Jesus has already done, and the work He has yet to finish. We’ll jump into that in the next topic.