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Learning together, by God's grace, from Genesis

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  • Learning together, by God's grace, from Genesis

    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!

  • #2
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      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?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Scruffy Kid View Post
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          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

          Comment


          • #6
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              I personally like the imagery of the Holy Spirit hovering over the water in the Hebrew.

              Comment


              • #8
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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 God’s 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 God’s 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 God’s 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! It’s 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!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Scruffy Kid View Post
                      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.
                      Hell....the nightmare you can't wake up from.

                      Sin is like electricity, it takes the path of least resistance. (the shortest path to ground).

                      Jesus said He is “The Way”, not “A” way. Jesus said He is “the Truth”, not “A” truth. Jesus said He is “The Life”, not “A” life. No man comes to the Father but by Me. Are we serving a man or are we serving God?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dljc View Post
                        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?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Serve-N-Protect View Post
                          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?
                          Hell....the nightmare you can't wake up from.

                          Sin is like electricity, it takes the path of least resistance. (the shortest path to ground).

                          Jesus said He is “The Way”, not “A” way. Jesus said He is “the Truth”, not “A” truth. Jesus said He is “The Life”, not “A” life. No man comes to the Father but by Me. Are we serving a man or are we serving God?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dljc View Post
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.

                              Comment

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