Genesis

The new message series is based on our readings in Genesis (You can find a reading schedule here). We’re calling it:

We’re going to spend 3 weeks reading through the first 12 chapters of Genesis. This will take us to Ash Wednesday, a day when Christians reflect on our mortality. With all the wrong choices we’ll read about in Genesis, we should be well prepared to reflect on our own wrong choices and our need for redemption.

“In the beginning…” is the way the Bible starts. It’s one word in Hebrew: B’reshiyth. When the Bible was translated into Greek, the fist book was given the name Genesis, which is Greek for “birth” and “origin.”

Where the Story Begins

The Bible begins with two stories of creation. Chapter 1 is a poem with meter, rhythm and cadence. Chapter 2 is a narrative. The accounts have similarities and differences.

Last Sunday’s message began with this thesis: Where and how you begin the story, where and how you end the story, determines what story you are telling.

Obvious, right? Well, it’s amazing how many Christians begin the biblical story with Genesis 3, focusing on sin and the fall of humanity. Neither the word sin nor the word fall occurs in Genesis 3. If you begin the story with Genesis 3, the primary issue becomes the removal of sin and the posture toward people is who we are not (not worthy, not holy, not good enough). If you begin the story with Genesis 1 and 2, the story becomes about the restoration/renewal/reconciliation of all things, which obviously includes the removal of sin but extends to the ends of the cosmos.

The audio of the message is here. (Footnote: two summers ago I heard Rob Bell talk about the importance of beginning the story at the beginning in which he made the (now) obvious connection between Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22. I drew much of the message from him.)

A Sailor in the Desert

The story of Noah takes up almost ¼ of the first twelve chapters of Genesis. It’s always been surprising to me that we turn this into a children’s story.

"Noah and the Ark" from Northminster's Children's Hallway Mural

The narrative is about a very human-like, frustrated Creator who decides to destroy creation and start over. After the deed is done you can feel this Creator wondering, “What have I done?” as the promise is offered that never again will all of the earth be destroyed by a flood. The Creator then declares, “I am laying down my bow in the clouds as a sign of this promise” (see Genesis 9:9-12). What an image: the rainbow as a weapon used to launch-not arrows-but a flood.

The story is so vast, rich and multidimensional that it can’t be captured in one sermon (unless we’re going to stay together through the afternoon!). Sunday morning I want to look at what it was about Noah that made him a person God was able to use—there’s a lot of carry over from his situation to ours. Then on Wednesday at our noon Lunch Break Bible Study we’ll discuss some of the theological issues in the story of the flood.

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10 Responses to Genesis

  1. Wendy says:

    Sammy,
    Thank you for so often including a word study from the Bible where you take a word and give the Hebrew word and meaning, which has been translated into our modern day Bibles. Often in translation it seems that we miss the feeling, intensity or the intent of the original Hebrew word. For instance, upon opening my Bible to the first Chapter of Genesis, I had written a statement heard at some point, “The Hebrew use of God’s names are always in context with what God is doing.” While most translations use mostly the name God throughout the word, as we move through Genesis are there different Hebrew names given to God and what are the different meaning of those names?

    Speaking of the Connection between Genesis and Revelation; Revelation 4:3 tells us about the “one sitted on the throne” 4:3 ” And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. God keeps his promises and it sure does sound like God’s covenant with Noah is ever before God.

    • logan jones says:

      Amen.

      The God whom Jesus calls Abba, is first and foremost, forever a Mighty Deliverer; not a capricious deliberate angry destroyer!

      He holds on to his promise to protect and redeem his creation.

      lj

  2. logan jones says:

    What a curiously amazing fact that the words “SIN” and “FALL (OF HUMANKIND)” while never actually occurring in the first Book of the Holy Bible occupy so much of humanity’s musings, and theorizings about our purpose here on planet earth.

    The restoration of the State of affairs referenced in chapters 1 & 2 and far reaching work of redemption really do seem to demand and more positive outlook.

    Isn’t it interesting and kind of sad that we so easily and with less effort choose to “harp” on the negative?

    is it maybe because it requires less effort and creativity on our part?
    Why is it we so easily focus on, and are fascinated by the negative (=even morbid) aspects and interpretations that we risk missing the point and joining the redemptive work … not because we HAVE to – but because we ARE INVITED TO!

    Please somebody follow up and add your thoughts, this is huge people!

    for the God of angel armies “so loved THE WORLD that he gave his only Son …”

    Grace and Peace,

    lj

  3. Paul Buckland says:

    Hello friends!
    I am LOVING this study! HOLY COW! Talk about changing my foundations. I love it! It is rocking my socks!
    So……what I find so incredibly interesting beyond what you’ve all mentioned is that God was focusing on the restoration of mankind and continuing the process of that…..life is continually evolving……we need to continually evolve. GOD continually evolved too! Somehow, someway that speaks to me so loudly! He didn’t have it all figured out in the beginning. It didn’t seem like there was a definate “plan.” He made it, saw that it was good, and went on to the next thing. He did it, decided it wasn’t the best idea to kill off mankind and made a simple promises not to do it again. OF COURSE He is God and all that includes, but still, I like that He is still evolving!
    PS- THANK YOU Sammy for this series! I LOVE that the story is ultimately about Gen 1&2 and not 3. SUCH good perspective, not an excuse.
    I’ll be evolving in some small way today……can’t wait to see what that is!

    • logan jones says:

      Kasey … how refreshing a thought it is that God joins … […] … “JOINS!” … literally the Divine “becomes linked, connect to” humanKind – the Word bacame flesh and dwelt among us – or, as we’ve just celebrated over Christmas, the Fullness of God pleased with Mankind to dwell … linked! JOINED.

      Wow.

      The intensity of that thought … thanks Kasey!

      lj

    • logan jones says:

      … OR Paul?!
      😉

  4. Ben Dacus says:

    Abraham was truly amazing… hearing God, trusting God, acting upon God’s call and believing in God’s promise… and he didn’t grow up with a Christian culture or a church or the Bible!

  5. Wendy says:

    Was the sermon taped on Sunday? Have heard several people comment on how awesome the message was and how it really spoke to where they were.
    I would love to listen to it!

  6. Pingback: Reconciling Theology: It’s Bigger than Gandhi Fate | Wendy McCaig

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