Skip to main content

Through the whole Bible: Genesis 1

Today, let's take a look at Genesis 1. If you click the link there, it will draw up the whole text (or it should, if the old RefTagger code still works). Otherwise, grab your Bible or click here for the text in both the NIV and NASB.

Genesis 1:1 is likely among the five most famous Bible verses, It's also among the five most strife-causing verses in the Bible. Why?

It's the foundation for everything else to come. Really. Whether you're a day-ager, frameworker, literalist, or atheistic evolutionist, guess what? You have formed an opinion on Genesis 1:1. For the atheist, it's a complete falsehood. For the theist, it's critical in terms of timing and causation.

It's actually the one thing that is agreed among many differing views on the rest of Genesis 1: God did it.

If it's true that God created the heavens and the earth, then there are certain implications for that creation. The Creator will have done so for a reason. He will have done so with certain purposes and structures that continue that affect all of it.

Of course, if God didn't create it, then there are all sorts of questions regarding whether or not the universe carries an underlying logic or not. That's a deep line for someone else's blog. For a host of reasons, I accept and believe the statement that God created the heavens, the earth—all that we see and know.

What, then, do we do with the rest of Genesis 1? That's where the controversy within Bible-believers arises. The rest of Genesis 1 presents an orderly creation account as God creates first light, then the rest of the physical universe, followed by living things and finishing with humanity.

There's a few possible understandings of the rest of this passage. These are:

1. Literal. This is the simplest reading of the text: evening, morning, first day, sixth day, all lead to the conclusion that we're dealing with a literal time frame of 144 hours, followed by 24 hours of rest. This would seem the most likely in light of such passages as the Sabbath Commandment that treats the time frame as literal.

I like this concept. It's what I am most familiar with and it takes the text at its word. Moreover, it's in keeping with general high-views of Scripture and God: He did not put things in the Bible that are not true.

2. Symbolic. Every other interpretation of this text becomes symbolic: the days are symbols, stand-ins for something else. It could be that the days are stand-ins for eons or that the structure is a literary framework for understanding God's general work.

These views take the position that the text should be understand in view of spiritual meaning against it being a literal, historical viewpoint. The argument being that the passage does not fit the general revelation of the universe: 6 literal days, followed by not enough literal years in following chapters, does not account for what we see.

Personally, I see more weight in the first view point than the second one, but cannot count this as a fellowship-breaker. Neither is it the reason we homeschool our kids—that they not be taught evolution/Big Bang Theory ideas. The science book we're in now with them is from a completely atheistic viewpoint and they read the whole thing, not a white-out version that erases the controversy.

I think it does matter, more perhaps for theologians than for others, but it's not a question of salvation, either. That comes from believing whether or not Jesus Christ is the Savior you need for your sins.

If I can highlight parts of this chapter as "more important," which is always a danger: all of Scripture is important, so it's difficult to make that claim, I would highlight Genesis 1:1, Genesis 1:26-27, and Genesis 1:31. The summary is this:

I. God created all of it. It's His universe.

II. God created men and women as part of that universe. Humanity was created in the image of God and so has value, purpose, and ability. That applies to all humanity: regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. Man and woman are in the image of God.

III. God created everything such that it was "very good." Not bad, not half-bad. Very good. That which God does is good. Seeking God's direction and His ways? Also good.

That's my summary of Genesis 1.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Independence Day 2017

I don’t know if Thomas Paine will be aggrieved that I paste his thoughts from Common Sense here, from the electronic edition. It’s a Public Domain work at this point, so hopefully none will be bothered that I am not paying for it...I think there is value in seeing the underlying reasons of Independence. I find a couple of things noteworthy in his introduction:First, he speaks of those who disagree and, while calling those out, holds the strength of his affirmative argument will be enough to straighten them out. We could do well to think more like that.Second, his final sentence should be a required view: the influence of reason and principle. Not self-interest masquerading as principle. Not party propaganda disguised as reason.That being said, not everything Paine said is right. If he and I lived at the same time, we’d argue religion over a great deal. However, the idea of “natural rights of man” follows from the idea of humanity as a special creation—that all are created equal and en…