Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Bible, Day 1 - Genesis 1:1 - 16:16

The world's greatest small group (ours) has decided to read through the Bible in 90 Days. We're using the plan in this book. 12 pages a day for 90 days. Abby and I read day 1 last night, and I decided to make some notes to post here. Look for this to be ongoing. Either that or I am a backslidden apostate on a fast train to Hellville. Your guess is as good as mine.

Here we go:
- During the creation account, Day 2 is the only day that is not called "good". It's true. Go back and read it again. I didn't notice this on my own, somebody had to point it out to me. But now I can't read Genesis 1 without thinking about it. Creation scientists would say that it's because that's the day God created the "firmament" (KJV) - a highly compressed layer of water that surrounded the earth in its upper atmosphere. They theorize that God knew he would later destroy this layer of water when he flooded the world (see Noah, Ark, Genesis 7), so he refrained from calling it "good". I, however, do not consider myself a creation scientist.

- Genesis 1:29-30 (you're gonna have to go back and look these up yourself. It can only help you.) This is before the fall. Before sin entered the world. When things were as God had created them and intended them to be. Did God intend for all men and beasts to be vegetarians/herbivores? It seems so from this verse. This would also suggest that there was no death before sin entered the world - not even animals killed for food - which makes sense to me, since death comes as a result of sin. Well, maybe there was large-scale plant death - but nobody cares about plants. They're not
real life. Right?

- Maybe this is a little too John Eldredge - but Genesis 2 reminds me that Eve was created in the Garden, and that Adam was created somewhere else and "placed" in the Garden.

- Genesis 2:19, 20 - Assigning a name to something/someone means you have authority over them. Adam and the animals... parents and their children. This will become more important when we consider Abram/Abraham, Jacob/Israel, Saul/Paul, etc.

- Genesis 3:3 - Eve tells the serpent that God told them they weren't to eat of the fruit of that tree,
or even touch it, which is a step beyond what God actually said. Since Eve wasn't around at the time God gave this order, I'm wondering if Adam told her that part - "Look - don't even touch it!" - just to cover his butt. How'd that work out for you, bro?

- Genesis 3:22 - Apparently, the Tree of Life is a completely different thing than the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I have more thoughts on this than I'd like to type here. But woe unto my small group on Sunday!

- Cain and Abel. (HT to Brian McLaren on this)
Cain (Farmer. Field owner)... KILLED Abel (Shepherd. Livestock owner)
in a field!
Two livelihoods that are fundamentally in conflict.
McLaren suggests that these two represent huge shifts in human culture. One agrarian, tied to the land for life, prone to accumulating stuff, nervous about protecting its boundaries and interests. And the other nomadic, free to wander, trusting in God to provide new land for animals to graze in. Perhaps Cain killed Abel over a boundary dispute. I fear I've said too much already.

- I have no idea what Genesis 4:26 means.
"At that time, people began to call upon the name of the Lord."

- Genesis 6:4 is one of the classic "What the!?!" verses in the entire Bible. I love Madeline L'Engle's book Many Waters, and its take. She tells a story where the Nephilim and Seraphim are angelic beings, 9 feet tall and beautiful, who also take the form of some animal. They scandalously intermarry with the daughters of men. It's fiction, of course, but interesting fiction, nonetheless.

- Noah entered the ark on the 17th day of the 2nd month, and finally exited the ark on the 27th day of the 2nd month -
1 year and 10 days later! I'm not sure what the calendar differences are between them and us, but I do know this - that is one long stinky boat ride.

- Genesis 9:3 - God officially opens up animals as an option for food. Meat is no longer murder. Why now? Why wait this long?

- Genesis 10:25 - "To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg,
for in his days the earth was divided" Not sure what the heck that means. Commentaries and the New Living Translation tell me it might refer to the Tower of Babel, when people began to speak different languages, and went separate ways. But I certainly wouldn't get that from a straight reading of most translations.

That's all for Day 1. Stay tuned - I'm off now to read for Day 2.


hello jamie: said...

what exactly does a "creation scientist" believe?

I really enjoy these posts; I hope you continue.

J.T. said...

I think a creation scientist believes that:
1) the Universe, or at least Earth was created by God in 6 literal days

2) all that happened no more than about 10,000 years ago

3) Earth was much different climate-wise then than it is now

4) Dinosaurs (if they even existed) roamed the earth alongside humans until...

5) a catastrophic worldwide flood killed them and all other land-based life save one man and his sons and daughters-in-law, and created brought about the Earth's current climate conditions.

6) Unicorns existed, but were strictly virtual - coming into the physical plane only when summoned by a pure soul.

(this last point may just be Madeline L'Engle)

I totally took a class on this stuff at my fundamentalist home church back in high school.

hello jamie: said...

so what do you believe?

(and also... 10,000 years ago? that's just... silly.)

J.T. said...

Honestly - what I believe is that it doesn't matter one lick how it was done, just that it was done.

I will say, however, that creation science makes a lot more sense to me than I would have imagined. Not that I prefer it as a theory - just that the theory as a whole is more cogent than I would have thought, being birthed by religious folk and all.
But it's probably because I'm not a scientist of any merit.