Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 1 of 365 days through the Bible: Genesis 1 - 3

Man Made in the Image of God, as in Genesis 1:...Image via Wikipedia
One of the most interesting things about the Book of Genesis is that it starts with
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

From the very outset, God introduces himself to man as the One who was there for the beginning; as the One who created the earth and the heavens.  God shows himself to exist outside of time, space, or matter.  In fact, he states that he created these phenomena.  (Time is not an absolute - it's a function of the directed movement of matter, through space, relative to another object (matter)  in space.)  

The first three chapters of Genesis are the Creation narrative.  God is recorded as speaking  reality  into being in seven literal days.  "Yom", the Hebrew word for a 24 hour period,  is first used in Genesis 1:4.  Of interest here is the counter-intuitive application of day.  In verse 5, God defined day as beginning with evening.
     "And  there was evening, and there was morning, the first day." Genesis 1:5

There is so much incredible material dealing with the Genesis account of Creation.  Ken Ham's site: is a very compelling site which devotes itself almost exclusively to the study of the first eleven chapters of Genesis.  Also, Ben Stein's documentary Expelled is very informative.

Because my academic training was in zoology/chemistry, with coursework in evolutionary genetics, I wrestled with the Genesis account for years. Over time God has shown me that he is bigger than my perception of this universe.  I see that God created a logical, orderly universe with Laws that apply across disciplines.  God created a world which man has the ability to puzzle out. 

I think that to understand Creation in terms of God's Word is not a matter of giving it lip service or a nodding acceptance. To understand is to make it a part of one's perspective and  outlook on all of life.  I understand and see life through the lens of my convictions and beliefs. I fully believe that this world was created by God.  This understanding changes the way I view the world and my life.  Nothing is outside of God's purview.  All is his to start with.

The first three chapters of Genesis depict how carefully and purposefully God created the universe.  Man was made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26)  I often wonder about that.  In a purely speculative mode, I think that it is man's creativity that is one of the ways in which he reflects God.  Beautiful music such as Handel's Messiah, Mozart Requiems, Beethoven's symphonies, etc. have no inherent survival benefit.  But my soul soars when I hear these performed.  Renaissance paintings can propel me into lives of people who lived in centuries past.  Art is uniquely man-made for man's pleasure.  Classical principles of aesthetics are universally understood and appreciated across varying cultures.  But, art of any sort has no real value in terms of survival.  Clothing does not have to be fashionable to be functional. 

In Genesis, man was also given a purpose.   Adam was instructed to work and to tend the Garden of Eden.  God stated that Adam shouldn't be lonely, so he brought all of the animals he created earlier to Adam  who was allowed to name these and maybe to search for a friend or help-mate.  Again, it's interesting that God allowed Adam to experience the limitations of relationships with animals, so that Adam, himself would understand that he needed something more.  God then created Eve out of Adam's rib.  Perhaps this was done so that Adam would know that Eve was a part of him - that they in fact had a bond, a union created by God.  The first marriage account is in Genesis 2:24 - 25.

The idyllic life of Adam and Eve ends with the account of the original sin, which separated Adam and his offspring forever from God. 

So, tomorrow Genesis 3 - 6.  I invite you to read along with me - maybe you can post your reflections either about my thoughts or about the Scripture passages in the comments section.
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