Day 1: “In the beginning. . .”

Today’s reading: Genesis 1-11, Psalm 1-2

In a book that is meant to tell us about God and God’s relationship with humanity, what comes first? Well, a good place to start is, “In the beginning. . .” And what a beginning it is. In the first 11 chapters of Genesis, there is creation, deception, stories of origin, murder,  mystery, genealogy, flood, covenant, and pride, just to name a few. And we only have to get as far as the first two chapters of Genesis to realize that the early community of faith was willing to let multiple voices participate in telling the story.

Reading two different accounts of creation in the first two chapters is just one of a number of places in today’s reading that might have you scratching your head–which is why it’s important to ask the right questions as you read. Today, and at other points along the way, instead of getting stuck on the question, “Did that really happen?” ask, “Is it true?”

Is it true that God is the creator of all things? Is it true that we have a hard time resisting temptation? Is it true that we want to be in control? When we ask these kinds of questions as we read and begin to offer our own “yes” in response, we will find that the Bible has taken us to a much deeper place in our own journey of faith. And we will be free to appreciate the many forms in which Scripture communicates truth.

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7 Responses to Day 1: “In the beginning. . .”

  1. Pingback: Day 13: Consequences | theperfect100

  2. Nicole Gulsby says:

    I found it interesting that man lived 700+ years in the beginning. “Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal, his day will be one hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3 I had heard a man say that the Bible says he can live to 120–and now I know where it says it. I read Genesis through about 30 years ago, so this is good for me. :>

  3. Cindy Hewitt says:

    The part about the flood and having Noah collect all of the animals into the arc reminded me that yes, animals are in Heaven. I have seven little pet angels waiting in heaven-an Irish setter, a bunny, two parakeets, and four cats. I like thinking about that.

  4. Mike Kennedy says:

    And we’re off! This summer should be a fulfilling one as we journey through God’s good word together. I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

    Any time I read through Genesis, I often found myself reflecting on God’s creation – how wondrous and good it is. Throughout our reading today, we hear that “God saw that it (God’s creation) was good.” And, I reflect on our responsibility to be faithful stewards of God’s beautiful creation.

    A couple of years ago, I drove to Orlando to see a man named Matt Sleeth speak about creation care. I remember him talking about how the imagery of gardens and trees are found throughout the Bible. His remarks had a profound effect on me that day, as I confess caring for and appreciating the beauty of God’s creation didn’t influence me much back then. Today, after reading Genesis, I returned to his organization’s website (www.blessedearth.org) to remind myself of his message, and I found this, which is adapted from his introduction to “The Green Bible”:

    A number of years ago, I was told I had the “theology of a treehugger.” This was not said in a kind tone. So, I read through the Bible, to see what God had to say about trees. It turns out that, except for humans, trees are the most frequently mentioned living thing in the Bible.

    In the first chapters of Genesis, we see a relationship that will continue throughout the pages of history: God, humans, and trees. In Genesis, we learn that trees have a purpose beyond prosaic utilitarianism. They are “pleasant to the sight.” Trees are beautiful—it is a biblical truth.

    Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and omega is the last. If something is an Alpha and Omega in the Bible, it is worth paying attention to. This is the case with trees. We have encountered the Alpha of trees—the Tree of Life—in Genesis and the Omega tree in Revelation 22: 1-2.

    Noah is handed an olive branch. Abraham meets angels and the Lord while sitting in the shade of oaks. Isaac is spurred by a sheep caught in branches. Joseph is a fruitful tree. Moses hears God in a bush, parts the sea with a stick (Genesis 49:22), and makes the waters of Marah drinkable with bark (Ex 15:24).

    What of you and I? What if we find favor in the eyes of the Lord? Then we will be “like trees planted by streams of water.” (Psalm 1) Wisdom too is “a tree of life to those who lay hold of her. (Proverbs 3:18)

    Considering the importance of trees to us, and to God, it is not by chance that the most important events in the Bible are framed by trees. Jesus is one of only two named carpenters in the Bible. He describes the kingdom of heaven as a mustard tree that grows into a tree where birds can nest. He is the true vine and describes his followers as fruit bearing orchards. Palm leaves are spread before him. In the end, he will stretch out his strong calloused carpenter’s hand and die on a tree.

    When Jesus of Nazareth arose from his grave, the first person to see him was Mary of Magdala. It is no accident that at first she mistook him for the gardener. Jesus is the gardener, arisen to redeem all of creation.

    Christ the gardener has returned. This is the good news: God’s plan for redemption of the earth is no less bold or powerful than his original, creative one. The difference is that although we were not part of his original creative team, we are invited onto the redemptive one.

    A “treehugger theology?” You bet. I hug trees for Jesus, because He died on a tree for me.”

    I’m gonna go outside now and hug a tree, and thank God for God’s beautiful creation.
    Peace, Mike

    • runninrev says:

      Coincidentally, trees also factor prominently in the renewal of creation described in the Isaiah reading from today’s worship at Harvest: “. . .the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

    • Sue W-O says:

      A fellow tree-hugger thanks you for this wonderful perspective! I have always been thankful for God’s creation of trees, and will appreciate them even more after seeing them in this new light.
      Sue

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