The notion of redemption or salvation is a basic constituent in the plot of the story which Christian faith tells about human existence in God's world. The characteristic designation of this story as 'gospel', good news, already bears within it the assumption of a human race in some serious need or lack or crisis, whether it is aware of it or not. To unpick this central thread and seek to remove it in order to accommodate the more optimistic and comfortable stories furnished by the cultures of premodernity, modernity and postmodernity alike, would be to run the risk of the tapestry of Christian belief and self-understanding unravelling, so vital is it to the design and structure of the whole. Humans, Christians contend, need to be rescued from a plight which currently distorts and ultimately threatens to destroy their creaturely well-being under God, but which lies utterly beyond their control or influence. But just what sort of threat is this? And by what means are we to think of it as having been met?