PDA

View Full Version : Learning together, by God's grace, from Genesis



Scruffy Kid
Oct 11th 2007, 02:46 PM
Learning together, by God's grace, from Genesis


In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth!

This is so wonderful: a foundational truth, that changes our whole way of looking at life. The New Testament writers refer explicitly to this truth, both by itself and in reference to Christ. But more than that, this great truth forms the unique presupposition of the entire understanding of God in Judaism and Christianity.


The Psalms

The Psalms continually praise God because He has created all things.
"The heavens declare the Glory of God, and the expanse of the sky displays his handiwork: in them he has made a tent for the sun, which comes forth from his chamber like a bridegroom, and rejoices, like a strong man, to run his race" (Ps. 19:1-4)
"Be exalted O God above the heavens, and your glory above all the earth" (Ps. 57:5,11)
"You have set all the borders of the earth; you have made summer and winter" (71:14)
"Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein." (Ps. Ps. 69:34)
"Sing to the Lord a new song ... [For] The Lord made the heavens ... Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad, For He comes to judge the earth!" Ps. (96:1,5,11f.)
"The Lord reigns: let the many isles rejoice ... the hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, the Lord of the whole earth ... You are high above the earth: exalted above all gods" (Ps. 97:1, 5, 9).
And "Who is like the Lord our God, who dwells on high, who humbles himself [merely] to behold the heavens and the earth" (Ps. 133:5-6)
These are only a few of the verses, in the Psalms and all the Old Testament, which proclaim God as our Gracious Creator!


A Few New Testament References

John emphasizes this verse in telling us the wonder of the fact that in Christ God came to be with us: "All things were made by him [Christ Jesus, the Word] and without him was not one thing made of all that is made."

The early Christians in Acts (4:24), after John and Peter testified boldly, yet faced imprisonment for their witness, prayed to God, saying " Lord, you are God, who has made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that is in them."
Paul and Silas, likewise, testify to the men of Lystra of "the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein."
Luke also tells us that Paul began his proclaming the Gospel to the Athenians by saying "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth" (Acts 17:24).

Paul often refers to the Creation, and to the opening staves of Genesis which elaborate it, in his letters.
In Romans 1 he speaks of the incomparable glory of the Creator, saying ''the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made."
In Colossians (1:16-17), he notes of Christ that "by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist [or "hold together"]."
For God made all things, and therefore "The Creation waits in earnest expectation" (Rom. 8:19) to be "delivered from corruption, into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God" (8:21).
For this reason, God "makes the things that are not to nullify the things that are" for He is maker of all, and, as Jesus said, if He wished could make the very stones cry out.


The Book of Genesis

The book of Genesis is foundation for our faith! It contains the beginning of the story of salvation (salvation-history, heil-gesichte) from the calling of Israel to be his people, through the (Gen. 12) call of Abraham, father of faith. And this call is a response to the understanding of God's creative goodness (Gen 1 & 2), and of humanity's terrible fall from the grace in which God originally made us (Gen. 3 & 4).

I love the book of Genesis. The whole thing. But perhaps more than anything else the first four chapters. I think about it and study it all the time. It repays the closest study; it tells us of our origins, God's purpose, our brokenness, God's redemptive love, and sets an important foundation for all our faith!! Study of these verses is not just academic study: as we come closer to God's words here, they educate the heart, they help me to follow God more closely, they open my heart to His grace. And that is what I want from Bible study: to know God, and to have Him change me, transform me.

God's words are not for scholars, not for a few, but for each of us. Each of us can read and reread these basic, simple stories; pause over each word, ponder what God says to us, share together, and build one another up.

Jesus thanks the Father that these things are not for the wise and learned, but are "revealed to babes." (Mt. 11:25, Lk 10:21). Moses tells us to read and reread these words, to discuss them with neighbors on the front porch, and with the family over dinner, and with people of the city in the city gates. (e.g. Deut. 11:18-21) These are words for us to constantly discuss and think about!!


About this thread:
Let God be Glorified in His Word!!

This thread is a spin-off from a thread in controversial forums. There, as so often, people get into heated debates about the age of the earth, evolution, and all that. THIS THREAD IS NOT FOR THAT PURPOSE. There are a zillion threads in which that happens. Instead, this thread is for the purpose of digging into the Genesis text, reading it closely, loving God's word, and letting it sink into our lives.

Let me repeat. THIS THREAD IS FOR READING GENESIS CLOSELY AND LOVINGLY, LEARNING FROM IT TOGETHER, AND LETTING THE TEXT ILLUMINATE OUR HEARTS AND MINDS. Some on this thread will believe that the genesis text is fully compatible with the theories of the big bang, and of evolution. Some actually embrace those theories. Some will think that Genesis 1 teaches a 6 day 24hr creation. We're not going to discuss or argue about all that. Rather, we want to look at the text and see what it teaches us about God's purposes and ways. Perhaps as we share a common love of God's Holy Word, we will come to love one another, as well as God, and His Holy Word, more closely, despite some of the theological or interpretive differences which we may, still, continue to hold strongly.

Please join in this common project of growing in faith and love of God through dwelling lovingly upon his Word.

By His grace, and by the Holy Spirit dwelling among us as sisters and brothers, we may draw closer to Him, that He may draw close to us, strengthen us, and heal us!

Kahtar
Oct 11th 2007, 03:07 PM
I like the spirit of this thread.:)
Genesis is the 'seed' of the entire revelation of God.
Within the very first chapter one can see the entire plan of God's redemption for mankind.
In the begiinning, God created me. But I was spiritually formless and void, and darkness filled my soul.
But God said, 'Let there be Light', and I beheld that Light, the True Light of the World which lightens every man, and behold, it was Good! And that Light penetrated the darkness within me, and within my soul Light was divided from the darkness.
Then God said, let the righteousness within this man be lifted up, into the heaven, and let that which is unrighteous, fleshly, remain below, and God made a Firmament within me, separating the rightousness of Christ within me from the sinfulness of my flesh. And behold, it was good!
Then God said this man rise up in newness of life, and let him begin to bear fruit, first the little things, the tiny seeds of life, but then greater things, useful fruit, and let that fruit bear the seeds of other fruit. And behold, it was good!
And God said 'Let My Words be written upon this man's heart, and let then rule him, in the day, and in the night. Let My Words be a lamp unto his feet, to lighten his way upon the earth.' And behold, it was good!
And God said, 'Let the righteousness of Christ within this man bring forth life, and let even flesh begin to bring forth life from out of the depths. And let that life multiply upon the earth, in the heavens and in the sea of humanity.' And it was so. And behold, it was good!
And God said 'Let even greater forms of life come forth from this man, to fill the earth', and it was so. And God said, 'Let this man be formed into the very likeness of Christ' and let him rule the earth with Christ.' And it (will be so!).
And on the seventh day, God said 'Let the man now enter his rest, in the day with no darkness, the day without end, a day to be holy and sanctified'. And so it shall be.

Scruffy Kid
Oct 11th 2007, 03:17 PM
Kahtar, I find your reading -- your applying of the Genesis 1 text to God's working and recreation in our own lives -- very helpful and illuminating!

Thanks!

This is one of many approaches I hope members of the board will contribute, as God, by His Spirit, works among us to build us all up, through our joining together (Eph. 4:16) in studying His Holy Word.

Another line of thinking we could work on comes directly out of your reading.

The text says "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" and then says "The earth was without form, and void, and darkness lay on the face of the deep". How are these verses -- and especially the second one -- reflected in the seven-day account that follows? How do we see God taking that which is formless, empty, and dark and transforming it?

Kahtar
Oct 11th 2007, 03:30 PM
The text says "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" and then says "The earth was without form, and void, and darkness lay on the face of the deep". How are these verses -- and especially the second one -- reflected in the seven-day account that follows? How do we see God taking that which is formless, empty, and dark and transforming it?I see it as Him taking us one step at a time, according to a predetermined pattern. We, as the Temple, are made according to pattern.
As He works in our lives on a day to day basis, little by little, He brings us eventually into that express image of His Son. As we are faithful with the little things He gives us to do, He gives us greater things. And we grow daily as we submit to His direction and will.

Serve-N-Protect
Oct 11th 2007, 03:40 PM
1:1 In the begining God created heaven and earth.

Beresheet bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'arets.

1:2 The earth was without form and empty, with darkness on the face of the depths, but God's spirit moved on the water's surface.

Veha'arets hayetah tohu vavohu vechoshech al-peney tehom veruach Elohim merachefet al-peney hamayim.

Or if you were reading the Hebrew word for word into English it would sound like this:

1:1 in-begining he-created God the-heavens and the-earth

2:1 now-the-earth she-was formless and-empty and-darkness over surface-of deep and-spirit-of God hovering over surface-of the-waters

Serve-N-Protect
Oct 11th 2007, 03:44 PM
thanks to this sites editing features, the Hebrew word beresheet is actually spelled phonetically instead of the way it should be. It is actually Beresh!t. You get the point.

Serve-N-Protect
Oct 11th 2007, 03:48 PM
I personally like the imagery of the Holy Spirit hovering over the water in the Hebrew.

Serve-N-Protect
Oct 11th 2007, 04:06 PM
Also, a concept I don't hear many people speak of is the creation of light as we know it.

God himself is described as light but if that were the case, In the sense that we know it, there would have been no need for it to be created. Not only that, once he did create it, we see in verse 4, that he actually had to do something (go through the work) to divide it from the darkness.

Also, God created things in the darkness like the waters. Then was hovering above it, in what can otherwise be considered an unimaginable darkness as light had yet to be.

punk
Oct 11th 2007, 05:53 PM
One thing to bear in mind about the first chapter of Genesis is the social and historical context within which it was written - namely a world dominated by polytheism.

The first chapter of Genesis is a profound statement of monotheism. In polytheistic thought you find a different god creating a different thing at a different time. So god A creates light, god B separates the land from the water, god C creates vegetation, and so on.

One can go to the extant ancient literature and find such things.

What we find in Genesis 1 is the affirmation that a single god did all the things that many gods do in other accounts. In fact in its ordering and wording it may well be a bit of a send up of the popular polytheistic account of creation in the region.

Genesis 1 should be read primarily as a statement of monotheism, with the text being chosen to make that affirmation.

Kahtar
Oct 11th 2007, 06:53 PM
Here's another perspective, for whatever it's worth---

The first chapter of Genesis is the first revolution of a continuing, expanding spiral, of which each revolution follows the pattern of the first.
The heavens and earth are created, but darkness is found therein, so God begins a process of bringing His creation into the fullness He desired.
He says let there be light. Then He divides the waters, raises up the land to bear fruit, causes the heaven and the water to bring forth life, and then the earth to bring forth life, and the formation of man in His image, and then, when all is very good, He rests.
But in that day of rest, in which all things were found to be very good, something happens. Man sins.
Once again, God finds His creation full of darkness. So He starts the same process again, but now with man. He provides the way to regain fellowship, through the skins and sacrifice of innocent blood, a picture of He who would come to offer Himself a sacrifice, the Light of the world.
Then, in Cain and Abel, there is the division, the righteous one lifted up, the unrighteous remaining below, cast out from Godís presence.
Then, in Noah, we see the new life (on the latter end of the flood) raised up, and made fruitful.
Then, in Abraham, we see the covenant, the promise that all nations of the earth would be blessed, that covenant that lights our path to this day.
And then, in Isaac, we see new life, the beginning of a family set apart, and in Jacob, the family realized, and in Joseph in Egypt, all now is finally once again good. But, something happens.
Pharoah puts them all in bondage, and God finds once again that darkness has overcome His creation, and so He again begins the process, providing first the way out of bondage, through the blood of the lamb, and then comes the dividing of the water of the Red Sea, and the children of Israel are raised up a new nation bearing fruit, and in fact eating it in the Manna, and at Sinai, the law is given, to light their path and show them the way.
And in process of time and struggles, the old generation is done away with, and the new generation, the new life, comes forth, and finally enters into the promised land, and, after overcoming the enemies there, finally, they are in the land, and once again, all is good.
But then, they want a king. One is provided, but he is found wanting, full of darkness. And through a process of various struggles, finally a man after Godís own heart is raised up to be king, and all is once again good.
But alas, corruption is found in the kingdom again, the kingdom is again full of darkness, and now divided, but through a lengthy process of prophets, captivity, etc., finally, the One to Come has come, the Prophet and King, the Sacrificial Lamb, now sacrificed for the sins of all mankind and the Good News is proclaimed, the church begun.
But, wait! Darkness is again seen, and the earth is plunged into the Dark Ages, but God begins again, by reestablishing His Word, through the printing press, so that all men can now read His Word, and come to know the Living Word.
And full baptism is re-established in the church, the dividing of the waters, and full communion brought once again to the church, the Bread of Life, and the Fruit of the Vine, and the law is written upon the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit, a Light to light our path, and in the power of the Holy Spirit new life is brought forth.
As our old man is put to death, and our new man is raised up in newness of life in Christ, our hearts are filled with praise!
And freedom in the expression of praise and worship is given to the church.
And further, we are given power over the principalities of darkness, we engage in spiritual warfare, and the prophets and apostleship (though still very controversial) are returned to the church, and the one thing remaining in this particular revolution of the spiral, is, entering into our rest.
And when that occurs, (and many will disagree), darkness will again overcome the earth, and Godís judgment upon that darkness will begin.
And it will be overcome, and Light re-established in the Coming of Christ, and the righteous will be separated from the unrighteous, and lifted up in resurrection.
And through the process of a thousand years almost, a new world will be brought forth, new fruit, and Christ will rule the earth, a Light to lighten the path of man, and we will rule with Him, and the earth will again be filled with new life, and all will be good again.
But wait! Itís not over! Satan will be loosed for a little season, and the earth will again be plummeted into darkness for a time, but through a short process, it will be overcome, and a new heaven and new earth will be made, etc, and then FINALLY, ALL WILL BE FINISHED, and ALL WILL BE GOOD!

dljc
Oct 11th 2007, 06:59 PM
The text says "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" and then says "The earth was without form, and void, and darkness lay on the face of the deep". How are these verses -- and especially the second one -- reflected in the seven-day account that follows? How do we see God taking that which is formless, empty, and dark and transforming it?Jesus said in Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

When we humble ourselves before God and become poor in spirit, emptying out "self" we allow Him to begin the process of forming us into what He had in mind. Oftentimes, our sinful nature is what gets in the way. Whether it is from alcohol, drugs, or any other compulsive behavior we have developed in our life, this is the beginning of our walk with Him. We are void and without form allowing for Him to begin to mold us into shape.

Later Jesus says in Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Generally speaking a child is void and without form. What I mean is, they are a clean slate for Him to work with. Again we see how our sinful nature comes into play when that person is an adult that is being converted to Christ. As an adult we have the world in us. Through teachings, and just basically life in general when we weren't walking with Him. These things are things like pride, ego, goals we want to accomplish, a worldly education. The list can go on to include greed, selfishness, arrogance just to name a few more.All of these things have to be put away. I'm not saying we have to become stupid and forget everything we've ever learned. No, that's not it. We have to realize that if we are to allow Him to finish the work in us He has for us. That would glorify Him. Just as His Creation glorifies Him. We have to be willing to allow Him to mold us the way He sees fit, not the way we see fit.

Going back to Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

If we allow God to mold us and we are truly seeking the Kingdom of God first. He will shape us into the person He wants us to be, not the person we want us to be. We allow Him to transform us to fit the mold He has set in place, not the one we want to be fit into.

Just as His Creation glorifies Him, when we become transformed we should glorify Him too. These are the things that are the beginning of our new life in Him. Representing the beginnings of day one of our new life with Him. We are nothing without Him, void, without form and full of darkness.

Serve-N-Protect
Oct 11th 2007, 07:22 PM
Jesus said in Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

When we humble ourselves before God and become poor in spirit, emptying out "self" we allow Him to begin the process of forming us into what He had in mind. Oftentimes, our sinful nature is what gets in the way. Whether it is from alcohol, drugs, or any other compulsive behavior we have developed in our life, this is the beginning of our walk with Him. We are void and without form allowing for Him to begin to mold us into shape.

Later Jesus says in Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Generally speaking a child is void and without form. What I mean is, they are a clean slate for Him to work with. Again we see how our sinful nature comes into play when that person is an adult that is being converted to Christ. As an adult we have the world in us. Through teachings, and just basically life in general when we weren't walking with Him. These things are things like pride, ego, goals we want to accomplish, a worldly education. The list can go on to include greed, selfishness, arrogance just to name a few more.All of these things have to be put away. I'm not saying we have to become stupid and forget everything we've ever learned. No, that's not it. We have to realize that if we are to allow Him to finish the work in us He has for us. That would glorify Him. Just as His Creation glorifies Him. We have to be willing to allow Him to mold us the way He sees fit, not the way we see fit.

Going back to Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

If we allow God to mold us and we are truly seeking the Kingdom of God first. He will shape us into the person He wants us to be, not the person we want us to be. We allow Him to transform us to fit the mold He has set in place, not the one we want to be fit into.

Just as His Creation glorifies Him, when we become transformed we should glorify Him too. These are the things that are the beginning of our new life in Him. Representing the beginnings of day one of our new life with Him. We are nothing without Him, void, without form and full of darkness.

If we are going to use Gen 1 to parallel a conversion, then can we say that darkness has it's place in our lives?

dljc
Oct 11th 2007, 11:35 PM
If we are going to use Gen 1 to parallel a conversion, then can we say that darkness has it's place in our lives?
Good question, what did Paul tell us in Romans 7:14-25?

Serve-N-Protect
Oct 11th 2007, 11:58 PM
Good question, what did Paul tell us in Romans 7:14-25?

Yeah... That is definitely a way of putting it. I like to say, that like the light that God created in the beginning, he is the light that puts the darkness in it's place in my life. Prior to that I was just darkness.

Kahtar
Oct 12th 2007, 12:52 AM
That Romans 7:14-25 goes along with the thought in Genesis that in each of the six days, we see the separation of darkness from light, the evening and the morning.
The darkness is not done away with entirely until the seventh day is reached. There is no mention of the 'evening' in the seventh day.

Serve-N-Protect
Oct 12th 2007, 12:57 AM
That Romans 7:14-25 goes along with the thought in Genesis that in each of the six days, we see the separation of darkness from light, the evening and the morning.
The darkness is not done away with entirely until the seventh day is reached. There is no mention of the 'evening' in the seventh day.

Here is an Idea. Lets base an entire doctrine on this and call it something.

How about the 7th day people? or even the 7th day clan? how about the 7th day of no end cult.

:rofl:

Scruffy Kid
Oct 12th 2007, 01:03 AM
Perhaps it may be helpful to consider that there can be different kinds of darkness, or, otherwise put, that darkness can be an image that is used to convey different kinds of things.


Sometimes Darkness indicates God's mystery, power, and His ways that are beyond our understanding

In Ps. 18:1-2 the Psalmist praises God, our deliverer:
I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
my God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. This Psalm's account of God arriving to rescue the Psalmist says, of God
He bowed the heavens also, and came down:
and darkness was under his feet.
He made darkness his secret place;
his pavilion round about him were dark waters
and thick clouds of the skies.
At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed,
hail stones and coals of fire.
God's coming is portrayed in the imagery of a storm --
not only with lightning, hail, and fire, but clouds and darkness.

Clouds and thick darkness characterize God's fearsome appearing in the account of his visitation on Sinai in Deuteronomy (e.g. 4:11 and 5:22), and similar imagery is used in Sam. 22:12, Habakkuk, Joel, and Zephaniah. Psalm 97:2 says of God -- and in the context of celebrating that God is king, and that we and all the earth rejoice in this --

Clouds and darkness are round about him;
righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. Here, arguably darkness represents the awesomeness of God, and our inability to comprehend him, and his wisdom and power that is beyond our ability to understand. Thus the Eastern churches have understood this darkness as a way of representing that true knowledge of God is more than just intellectual or emotional, and requires us to pass through things we really don't understand, and that seem very dark to us. We come, and Christ comes, to the splendor and new dawn of Easter through the darkness of Gethsemene, Good Friday, and the cross.


Sometimes Light Indicates God's Complete Goodness;
And Darkness Symbolizes Death and Wrong

OTOH, I John 1:5 says: "This is the message we have heard from him [Jesus] and declare to you: God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." James (1:17) similarly describes God as "the Father of lights, with whom is no shadow or variableness of turning." John's gospel says of Jesus "in him was life and the life was the light of men: the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never overcome it" or "has never been able to grasp it" or "has never understood it" Jesus says "I am the light of the world: he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12; cf. 9:5) There are a number of similar Johannine passages (passages in John's gospel and John's first Epistle). In these contexts, light, clearly, represents God's life and holiness, darkness something definitely bad. Thus "This is the condemnation, that the light came into the world and humanity prefered the darkness because their deeds were evil." (John 3; cf. I John 1:6-2:2)

In such contexts, also, God's mastery over light and darkness -- something Genesis 1 clearly indicates -- represents (just as John's statement that "the light shines in darkness and the darkness has never overcome it" does) that no darkness can foil God's goodness or His understanding, or defeat his saving power. Thus, the church has long used in the liturgy, to reassure us in the midst of trials, that verse (139:11-12) from the Psalms (also beloved of some contemporary songwriters) which says [INDENT] If I say the darkness will cover me, and the light around me turn to night
Behold darkness is not dark to Thee
To Thee the night and the day are both alike."


The night and day, dark and light, in Genesis 1

In the context of Genesis 1, probably the main meaning is just to note that the world has light and shade: that there is summer and winter, day and night. When God looks upon all that He has made -- including light separated from darkness, and lights that mark day and night and seasons (Gen. 1:31), He sees that it is "very good." Thus, it is probably not referring to evil in any way.

Yet that does not contradict the insights people have given: that we find ourselves full of darkness and full of chaos, and that God comes bringing light and order to our darkened and disordered inner world. I believe that those are correct interpretations -- correct in the sense that those are overtone of the text which are there, implied in the text, regardless of how we feel about them. In addition, the way in which several on the thread have talked about that matter is very illuminating and helpful to me, and deepens my understanding of that important line of interpretation.

Certainly, God is not the author of evil, in any way. The completion of the 7-day creation Hymn, or account, with God pronouncing all "very good" IMO makes that completely plain. Further, Genesis 2 and -- especially -- 3 develops a very clear account of how evil comes not from God but from disobedience to God, rebellion, attempts to be independent of him, and so on. (Let's mostly save that til we get there, though!)

But the figures of light and darkness in Genesis 1 -- and particularly Gen. 1:3 in which God begins the (7 day) process of creation by letting light shine forth -- is central to the whole account. All Scripture builds upon this. It prefigures John's direct affirmation that "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." There are clear parallels to Genesis 1 in the opening of John's gospel -- "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God .... All things were made by him .... In him was life and the life was the light of men [human beings]" and so on. Clearly these uses in John find in Gen. 1:3 teaching of God's unmixed goodness, beauty, truth and love. The Gen 1:3 beginning with the shining of the light also clearly prefigures God's revelation in the burning bush in Exod. 3. And in Genesis 1 itself, God's creative act is one in which God's Spirit, moving upon the dark waters, leads to the shining forth of light.

These are all reasons -- and there are plenty more -- why I think S-N-P, Kahtar, and others are absolutely right in seeing in Genesis 1 God bringing light into the dark places of our lives, order into our chaos, the fullness of His presence into our emptiness, and so on.

Serve-N-Protect
Oct 12th 2007, 01:18 AM
Perhaps it may be helpful to consider that there can be different kinds of darkness, or, otherwise put, that darkness can be an image that is used to convey different kinds of things.

IFurther, Genesis 2 and -- especially -- 3 develops a very clear account of how evil comes not from God but from disobedience to God, rebellion, attempts to be independent of him, and so on.

I am ashamed of how this describes me, especially the independent part. :cry:

This has been an awesome thread scruff. I shutter at those who poo poo the Tanakh and or are teaching and underlying tone that it has no real significance. Look at the glory to God and grace to his people it produces in just the first few lines.

Scruffy Kid
Oct 12th 2007, 01:54 AM
God Graciously Orders
the World He Graciously Creates
By His Word

Kahtar, emphasizing how God separates the light from darkness, brings up a point that is very important, I think, for several reasons.

(1) Definitely, God separates good from evil -- though, for good reasons he may wait a while to do this -- and this is certainly prefigured in God's separating the light from the darkness.

(2) The whole 7-day creation account emphasizes that God orders the creation, separating, and fixing bounds, for creation. God seperates light from darkness, and therefore day from night. God separates the waters above from the waters below. God seperates the earth from the land.
When God sets the great lights to rule day and night, he has them mark out separate times and seasons and boundaries. The separation of heaven from earth (the creation of the firmament: waters above and waters below), and of dry land from the waters, is reaffirmed when God separately creates birds and fish, on day 5; and land animals on day 6.

(3) Thus, the whole process of setting bounds, and various partings, or separations, is one of God creating not a jumble or chaos, but an orderly world, with well marked boundaries, different kinds of things as part of the whole, and limits and definite locations for all kinds of things. This is part of the process of "ruling" that God sets the lights in place, on Day 4, to do.

(4) The process of God bringing order begins when God says "Let there be light" and then separates light from darkness. Light is inherently ordering: light reveals the reality of things, and allows us to make distinctions. (That is why those who want to disorderly things often want to do them at night, when they won't be seen and caught.) Again, this is reiterated when God makes the lights on Day 4 as a means of ordering the world and ruling the world. So bringing light and bringing order are related processes from the beginning of creation.

Not only that. God brings light, and being, and order, and boundaries, and rule -- that is, God creates -- by His word. "God said ... and there was ..." is the formula for creation used again and again. Creation is the expression of God's life-generating, fruitful, creative and intelligent word thoughout the Gen. 1 text, although the word "word" does not come up. So God's word creates, illuminated, rules, sets bounds -- and the word God speaks places him in dialogue with, and thus in mutual relationship with, all He has made, and brings order, as well as existence to it.

(5) Finally, in my opinion, the whole 7-day hymn reflects what God does when his Spirit moves on the face of the waters, since the earth is "without form, empty (void), and darkness lay upon the face of the deep." Throughout the 7 days we see God take what is empty, dark, and chaotic or formless, and fill it, make it shine with His light, and order it.

(6) And He does these things by speaking, by His Word.

As part of the Psalter's concluding doxologies which call for "everything that hath breath" (Ps. 150) to praise the Lord -- and also for the inanimate creation to come alive with praise, Psalm 148 recounts the various things God has made -- heavens, angels, sun and moon, waters, dragons, depths, fire, hail, storm, snow, beasts, flying and creeping things, kings and all people -- and tells them to praise the name of the Lord. All things are to praise their Maker "because he alone is excellent", but also because "he commanded and they were created."

The emphasis here, as in Genesis 1, is that God made all things simply by telling them to come into existence. This reveals his graciousness (he speaks to things, asking them to be) as well as his power (He can do all things, and has only to say something and it happens; he has only to ask us to do something and we have power to do it, even if it be passing from non-existence to existence!)


Praise His Holy Name!!

Scruffy Kid
Oct 12th 2007, 02:20 AM
Perhaps it may be helpful to consider that there can be different kinds of darkness, or, otherwise put, that darkness can be an image that is used to convey different kinds of things.

Further, Genesis 2 and -- especially -- 3 develops a very clear account of how evil comes not from God but from disobedience to God, rebellion, attempts to be independent of him, and so on. I am ashamed of how this describes me, especially the independent part. :cry:
Thanks so much for your participation in this thead, dear bro.
(I thank all for their contributions, excellent every one.)

Yes, seeing God's goodness does show up the wrong in our own hearts. :cry:
It is something that does, and should, make us ashamed.

When Peter (Luke 5:8) encounters Jesus and starts to grasp Who He is,
Peter says to Him "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!"
But Jesus instead says, come on now Peter, I have much for you to do;
from now on you will be catching men -- that is, bringing others to me
who, sinful like you, also need my forgiving and healing presence!

My own name, "Scruffy Kid", is taken because I must acknoweldge that I constantly fall down, get myself in trouble, get messed up, and do what God our most loving heavenly Father doesn't want me to -- either by doing wrong stuff, or by not doing stuff I was supposed to do. But then, like a good Dad, who constantly picks up, dusts off, comforts, puts bandaids on, hugs, loves on (and, occasionally spanks) the scruffy little kid He so much loves -- God goes on fixing me up and getting me going again.

Yes, we are right to be ashamed of what we do wrong! :cry:

George MacDonald (a nineteenth century author and preacher) says a wonderful thing about this. He says "I would not lose my shame, for in my shame lies my hope!" He means, I would rather face God, and facing him know that I am ashamed, than go on without feeling bad about my bad characteristics. And I want to face God, and have to face up to my shame, especially because God is God: that in His looking on me when I have messed up I have great hope, for God is my Maker, my Father, and the one who loves me and aims to restore me. So as soon as I am ashamed before God I turn to him crying, and he starts to repair my messed-up heart at so many different levels I don't even know about them all.

Good and upright is the Lord,
Therefore He leads sinners in the Way (Ps. 25:8)

How good He is to us!! And because He is so good, we have joy, and hope, and peace, even though we know we have sinned. Because He is greater than all our sins and wrong attitudes, and He speaks to us day by day, to call us out of the deadness and nothingness of our wrong ways, into the reality and abundant life of His ways!

Oh how great is His goodness and His love!!

dljc
Oct 12th 2007, 03:38 PM
(6) And He does these things by speaking, by His Word.

As part of the Psalter's concluding doxologies which call for "everything that hath breath" (Ps. 150) to praise the Lord -- and also for the inanimate creation to come alive with praise, Psalm 148 recounts the various things God has made -- heavens, angels, sun and moon, waters, dragons, depths, fire, hail, storm, snow, beasts, flying and creeping things, kings and all people -- and tells them to praise the name of the Lord. All things are to praise their Maker "because he alone is excellent", but also because "he commanded and they were created."

The emphasis here, as in Genesis 1, is that God made all things simply by telling them to come into existence. This reveals his graciousness (he speaks to things, asking them to be) as well as his power (He can do all things, and has only to say something and it happens; he has only to ask us to do something and we have power to do it, even if it be passing from non-existence to existence!)


Praise His Holy Name!!
Good stuff Scruffy!

This portion of your post reminded me of something He revealed to me the other day. I've asked a question to a few people, that question being "What is the most powerful thing on the planet?" Answer: a Word or Words.

The most powerful thing on this planet is a word or words. With words you can crush someone’s spirit, leaving them to feel worthless and they possibly end their life. With words you can build that same person up out of that broken spirit. Words are very powerful. I can say the right words right now (as could you) that would push all the right buttons in you to provoke anger. If you never get the command to “fire” you will never push the button to fire the ICBM on the enemy. If you never hear the words “cease fire” you would never stop firing on the enemy. With words you can get someone to buy something they really don’t need. The criminal is not guilty until the “guilty” verdict is read.

So you see, words are much more powerful than anything else on this planet. Until the word is given, there is no action taken. When the word is given, something happens. If I tell you all your life you are a worthless, you probably won’t amount to much will you. You will be convinced you can’t do anything even before you start, because you’re just not smart enough to do it. But if I had encouraged you instead, there is not much you couldn’t do if you tried.

Now look at these verses:

John 1:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Revelation 1:And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

From what I wrote above these verses we know these things to be true, we can see the power of our own words. Whether they build someone up, or tear them down and so on. On many occasions in Genesis 1 we see the phrase "And God said". Not only giving account of what God said, but the fact it was His Words that brought the universe and all these things into existence.

From Hebrews 4:12 we see how powerful His Word is to us, whether we believe in Him or not, it has the same effect. From Revelation we see when He comes back, His Word will be the most powerful thing. We know from John 1 and the other Gospels who the Word is. Jesus Christ is the Word, and therefore the most powerful, He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, God Almighty! :pp It's about giving Him the glory, not us and not any other part of His creation. It's about Him!

Scruffy Kid
Oct 22nd 2007, 04:01 PM
Order, peace, blessing in seeing all things as the gracious work of the one good God!

Sorry for having been away from the thread so long: it was -- still is -- intended as an ongoing study of the early chapters of Genesis from which we can learn together about the important things God says to us in these chapters, without getting into disputes over how we interpret their relation to history, science, and so on.


Genesis 1 highlights the goodness and unity of God and His world

Punk raises an important thing to think about the whole of the 7-day creation account.
One thing to bear in mind about the first chapter of Genesis is the social and historical context within which it was written - namely a world dominated by polytheism.

The first chapter of Genesis is a profound statement of monotheism. In polytheistic thought you find a different god creating a different thing at a different time. So god A creates light, god B separates the land from the water, god C creates vegetation, and so on.

One can go to the extant ancient literature and find such things.

What we find in Genesis 1 is the affirmation that a single god did all the things that many gods do in other accounts. In fact in its ordering and wording it may well be a bit of a send up of the popular polytheistic account of creation in the region.

Genesis 1 should be read primarily as a statement of monotheism, with the text being chosen to make that affirmation.I fully agree with Punk that the Genesis 1 account of creation is specifically designed to speak to the polytheistic world -- the context of thought and society -- into which it speaks.

Terror and fear in a world of many potentially threatening gods, or powers

To fully understand the implications of that polytheistic world, it helps to have read about animist peoples who still believe in various nature deities.

From reading I have done, I can say that in many parts of the world beliefs in multiple gods are fear-filled beliefs. Often people are afraid that curses or spells have been cast upon them by witches, and in consequence "healers" and "exorcists" may persecute, beat, or kill defenseless women whom they accuse of being witches. More generally, people see themselves as being in a world of hostile powers -- the crops, the sun, the rain, the forest, fertility, wealth, and so on are at the mercy of a host of gods whose intentions are indifferent or hostile to human beings, and which have to be placated. In particular, in illness or misfortune, costly sacrifices must be made to such gods. And those who see this threatening world around them are filled with fear.


The peace and unity of the earth as God made it for us

As over-against all this, the Genesis account presents an utterly different picture of the world. It replaces a view in which we -- humanity -- dwell in a threat-filled world of independent (and often warring) powers, all of which may disasterously interfere with human life, and which have no particular love or solicitude for human beings, which must be feared or placated. Instead, the whole world, and the important features of it -- the heavens and earth, the light and dark, the waters, the sea and land, the crops, the sun, moon, and stars, the seasons, the fish and birds and beasts -- are all the unified creation of the one and good God.

These things may be enjoyed, and appreciated, for they are God's good gifts. The picture of the careful order in which God has placed all these powerful aspects of life emphasizes both His control over them, and the benign pattern and order -- the good architecture -- which God has provided for the world, and life, and our own life, as a whole. Many things about the 7-day creation, and other complementary things about the Garden creation account in Genesis 2, emphasize this protected, ordered, limited creation in which many different parts work together in the overall very good design of God their maker.


This hymn to God's goodness and order still has much to teach me, today!

We are not afraid of indifferent and hostile deities in the same way people from genuinely pagan cultures so often are. Yet the same sense that the world -- and our own personal worlds are -- filled with unpredictable and potentially threatening forces also affects us. The clear teaching of God's sovereignty and goodness in creating in Genesis 1 is entirely relevent to me as I struggle with various fears about my life -- things (finances, sex, work, relationships, material possessions, luck, and so on) that I fear may overwhelm me. The Genesis account emphasizes that God is the maker and the blessed controller of all things. The vision of the beauty, peace, and fullness of the creation which is expressed in Gen. 1, and in Psalm 19, reinforces our sense of the goodness of God's ways and provisions for us. Jesus, when he teaches us not to be anxious (a hard thing for me!) uses imagery -- of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field -- that brings our mind back to this same Genesis account.


In sum
And the details and orderliness of Genesis 1 again strengthen our feeling for God's good plans in creation, and God's special love for us, whom he makes in His own image, and blesses, as the culmination of His creation of all the world.


Now we need insight from all readers

Help us learn more together by sharing your insights, dear brothers and sisters!!

Teke
Oct 23rd 2007, 09:52 PM
Paul often refers to the Creation, and to the opening staves of Genesis which elaborate it, in his letters.
In Romans 1 he speaks of the incomparable glory of the Creator, saying ''the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made."
In Colossians (1:16-17), he notes of Christ that "by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist [or "hold together"]."
For God made all things, and therefore "The Creation waits in earnest expectation" (Rom. 8:19) to be "delivered from corruption, into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God" (8:21).
For this reason, God "makes the things that are not to nullify the things that are" for He is maker of all, and, as Jesus said, if He wished could make the very stones cry out.


God's words are not for scholars, not for a few, but for each of us. Each of us can read and reread these basic, simple stories; pause over each word, ponder what God says to us, share together, and build one another up.

Jesus thanks the Father that these things are not for the wise and learned, but are "revealed to babes." (Mt. 11:25, Lk 10:21). Moses tells us to read and reread these words, to discuss them with neighbors on the front porch, and with the family over dinner, and with people of the city in the city gates. (e.g. Deut. 11:18-21) These are words for us to constantly discuss and think about!!


About this thread:
Let God be Glorified in His Word!!

This thread is a spin-off from a thread in controversial forums. There, as so often, people get into heated debates about the age of the earth, evolution, and all that. THIS THREAD IS NOT FOR THAT PURPOSE. There are a zillion threads in which that happens. Instead, this thread is for the purpose of digging into the Genesis text, reading it closely, loving God's word, and letting it sink into our lives.



Hey Scruffy, good idea for a thread. Nice posts! :)

I'll just add a couple thoughts. I like that you put this notice about evolution in your OP. It is a modern temptation to follow such ideas as evolution. Patristics teach contrary to such ideas. I'm in agreement with Fr Seraphim Rose who said, "What is the beginning of all things but a miracle? "

God created from nothing, all things created. And God's light is not the light of creation, His is Divine Light (Taboric). God spoke (Word) and the creation came into being (the ontological work of the Holy Spirit).

Scruffy Kid
Nov 20th 2007, 11:00 PM
This thread is here because I am interested in discussing Genesis -- especially Genesis 1-12 -- which I think has vital teaching foundational to our understanding as Christians.

The thread is not for the purpose of debating the age of the earth, or the theory of evolution. Please don't do that. Instead, it is so that all of us -- regardless of what we believe on those topics -- can carefully read the Genesis text and try to learn things that it is teaching us. Most of those things, IMO, have nothing to do with whether one understands the text as a philosophical or literary work which is presenting basic cosmological concepts in symbolic form, or whether one takes the text as a more or less precise description of events. In any case, we're not here to debate that, but to try to learn from the theology of the text, irrespective of differing views on whether it's intended as precise chronology, geology, or history.

Let's all go on looking at Genesis 1:1-2:3 -- the 7 day creation hymn.

I'd like to pick up the discussion by thinking about the structure (the poetic structure, if you like) of this wonderful text.

One important starting place is to realize that the text is organized into two parallel sets of three days each, with a culminating 7th day of rest.

Day 1: light is created..........................Day 4: lights are created
.............dark is divided from light.....................ordering days, seasons, years

Day 2: firmament is created..................Day 5: clouds bring forth birds
.............separating clouds and seas...................seas bring forth fish

Day 3: land is established,....................Day 6: land brings forth
.............separated from seas...........................cattle and creeping things

..........land brings forth life:............................God creates humanity,
.............grass and trees....................................instructs and blesses them

.......................Day 7: All is finished; God rests;
..................................and God blesses the 7th day

Within this framework, there are many phrases -- verbal formulas -- that are repeated:
....God said ... and there was ...
....Let there be
....Let ... bring forth
....The evening and the morning was the _th day
....God divided
....after his kind
....yielded ... bearing seed ...
....multiply
....and God saw that it was good
and so on and so forth. These phrases or formulas also develop, change, or become more frequent as the Creation account goes forward through its days. Some phrases or concepts recur with a regular rhythm, or are repeated a definite number of times (3 times, 7 times, 2 times) in the whole composition, or in a particular part of it.

All this raises the question of the balance and structure of the whole composition, and how that is supposed to affect us, as listeners, and how it is supposed to show forth God's purposes and ways in creating.

Of course, our understanding of the details of the text, and of its structure and form are things that will point us to understanding of God's purposes and ways, and that, as well as the more detailed observation, is something we want to discuss!!

Please share your observations!!

Scruffy Kid
Dec 12th 2007, 05:21 AM
As noted in the previous post, the text is organized into two parallel sets of three days each, with a culminating 7th day of rest.

Day 1: light is created..........................Day 4: lights are created
.............dark is divided from light.....................ordering days, seasons, years

Day 2: firmament is created..................Day 5: clouds bring forth birds
.............separating clouds and seas...................seas bring forth fish

Day 3: land is established,....................Day 6: land brings forth
.............separated from seas...........................cattle and creeping things

..........land brings forth life:............................God creates humanity,
.............grass and trees....................................instructs and blesses them

.......................Day 7: All is finished; God rests;
..................................and God blesses the 7th day

Thus where on day 1, there is light, on day 4 God fashions many distinct little lights. Where on day 1 we get the first big division, or ordering, of things (God dividing day from night) on day 4 we have the lights God has made ruling over the ordering of things, and being the markers that set apart different times -- hours, days, months, years, and perhaps also set other bounds upon earth.

Thus where on day 2 God places a firmament and divides waters above (clouds and the like) from waters below, on day 5 God fashions swarms of living creatures for the waters above (birds) and for the waters below (fish).

And thus whereas on day 3 God makes the dry land appear, on day 6 he populates the dry land with the land animals. But the high point of the first half of the week, on the second part of day 3, is the appearance of life (specifically, plant life). This corresponds to the high point of the second half of the week, and indeed the whole creation sequence, the appearance of spiritual life on the second part of day 6. Here God, having formed land animals in general, now forms humanity.

Thus, we see God recapitulating the three day order that culminates in life with the three day order that culminates with the creation of spiritual life, that is the making of humanity in God's own image, as the summit of creation and, in a sense, the purpose of the making of the world.

In this regard it's wonderful to see how the account arranges the blessings, or affirmations, that God gives to preserve the balanced structure of the this creation hymn, while also giving the right number of blessings or affirmations (7) and making sure that the main one falls upon the creation of man on the sixth day.

After day 1 God "saw that it was good"; after day 2 similarly God "saw that it was good. What happens on day 2, however, the creation of the firmament -- mainly a divider, in a sense, although this is also beautiful, for the firmament is the dome of the sky, which we love for its beauty -- is presented as separating the waters from the waters and (uniquely) the hymn does not particularly note that God said that it was good. But on day 5 we do get God's affirmation of the fish and birds. God creates these, and saw that it was good.

This means that just as we have two separate times on day 3 where God "saw that it was good" -- the creation of the earth, the land on which we live and walk, and from which the crops come up; and the emergence of life (plant life) -- so likewise on day 6 we can have two separate times where God "saw that it was good", without exceeding the quota of 7 times. Thus God, having created the animals "saw that it was good." But the seventh time that God sees the goodness of creation is after the creation of humanity, after the creation is all finished. Then Genesis tells us "God saw that it was very good!" The surpassing goodness that God sees on the sixth day surely reflects two things: the creation of humanity as the crown of creation, the one thing created in God's own image, and the whole of the creation, the complete marvelous order of heaven and earth that God has now set forth in its entirety.

Another thing that is wonderful and significant about the Genesis 7-day account, IMO, is the way in which the living creatures propagate themselves. God calls for the earth to put forth vegetation -- plants and fruit trees and so on -- and in doing so notes that they bring forth fruit and reproduce their own kind through the seed that is within them. Plants bearing seed and trees bearing fruit each have seed "according to their own kind." Again, the creatures in the waters bring forth "according to their kinds"; the birds bring forth each according to its kind; and the beasts (on day 6) bring forth "according to their own kinds."

Certainly, the way this is described emphasizes the principle of seed, which is important in the redemption of humankind, because a seed (that is Christ) is promised to the woman who will redeem humanity from the fall; and also because seed becomes an important metaphor for the presence of the word of God within us. But what is most striking to me is that God, creating humanity, though he tells us to be fruitful and multiply, does not tell us to create "according to our own kind" -- nor say that that is what we will in fact do.

Why, one wants to ask, is it that each lesser being -- grasses, plants, fruit trees, and so on -- bring forth "according to their kind", but that no such statement is given concerning humankind?

I would be interested to know what people think!

This is bound up with the long passage 1:26-1:31 in which God creates humanity, and gives them their distinctives, setting them to rule and subdue the earth, and in which he makes them in his own image, and speaks to them directly.

Again, I hope we can go on to discuss the specialness of the creation of humanity!!