Monday, January 3, 2011

Bible In a Year - Genesis 1 to 3 (#1)

*Based on's Chronological Bible In a Year schedule. If anyone would like to join in, this blog's comments sections would be a good forum in which to share insights from the text.

Genesis 1
Did you notice that God hates Mondays too? The second day (Monday) is the only one that He does not call “good.” On the other hand, the first day of Creation -which is also the first day of the week- corresponds with the day of Jesus’ resurrection; Sunday is the day of both the beginning of God’s work in the world, and the creation of light, and the rising of Christ, who is “the light of the world” (see John chapter 1).

The real gem of this chapter, for me, is the doctrine of imago dei which shows up in Genesis 1.26-30. For my thoughts on the imago dei, check out my series on it here.

It is also humbling to see God presented in majesty, standing back from Creation and speaking it into existence. The Trinity makes a showing here too, where God translates the word Elohim, which is the plural form of El, meaning “God.” Interestingly all the pronouns are singular, even though the noun is plural – a picture of more than one ‘person’ within the being of one singular God.

Genesis 2 Given my views of the first chapter –that it is a poem and an allegory- the differences between these two chapters really do not bother me very much. In Genesis 1, the earth “sprout[s] vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit” before the creation of man, and man and woman are created on the same day. In Genesis 2, the Lord God forms a man “when no bush was in the land and no small plant had yet sprung up,” and woman is not created until the man has named every single creature on the earth – not a one-day task!

The picture of God as personal, in contrast to the majestic Creator of Genesis 1, drives home an important truth: the transcendent, all-powerful, holy God of Creation also loves us and walks together with the human species that He made in His image.

The picture of manhood and womanhood really comes out in this chapter. The man works (2.15) and protects (2.15 – protect is the same as ESV’s “keep”) and obeys the commandments of God (2.16-17) and takes responsibility over things as God’s representative (2.19)… but it is not good for man to be alone (2.18), so the woman is made as His companion and helper (2.18) whom he leads by naming her (2.23).

Genesis 3 Whether the serpent here is really Satan, or just a snake, or a possessed snake, doesn’t really matter here (although I think the snake is possessed – after all, in the Gospels, demons possess a herd of pigs). What matters is how temptation happens: we sin by taking good things (the tree of knowledge was “good for food and pleasing to the eye”) and disobeying God to use them in a way that He has told us not to. Sex is not wrong, but outside of God’s boundaries it is. Food is not wrong, but when it crosses the line into gluttony it is. Likewise, there was nothing wrong with the fruit of the tree, except that eating it crossed a boundary that God laid down. Sin is not so much in the act itself, but in rebelling against God by means of that act.

It’s also interesting that Satan gets the man (Adam) by going through his wife. It’s said that women are more easily deceived by Satan, and sometimes the only weak spot that a man has in his spiritual warfare is in the area of his wife – the nature of the relationship means that he can’t defend well against her when Satan tries to get at the man through her. So this makes it really important for us as men to pray for our wives’ discernment, to pray spiritual protection over them, to lead them in studying the firm truth of the word, and to discuss spiritual warfare tactics with them. If my fiancĂ©e (soon to be wife) is my spiritual blind spot, and if wives in general are their husbands’ spiritual blind spots, then we need to work extra hard to protect our spouses from Satan’s deceitfulness.

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