Beginning in Genesis
This month we begin our look at the book of Genesis. This book of narratives is the first book of the Holy Scriptures that shape our lives. Why? What is so special about these stories that they shape how we are to read the rest of the Bible? Why do we call them “The Word of God” and what in the world am I to do with them?
Stories are powerful things. Stories are deeply embedded in our souls. We long for our heroes to be somehow bigger than us, better than us. Particularly when speaking about Bible stories (particularly when telling them to children) we use the stories that show the main character as a virtuous person, always choosing the right path so that the kids will learn to follow the example. Yet it seems that Genesis is the opposite. Every time a hero is presented to us something awful happens that tarnishes their reputation. How could they! Why would they let us down like that! How could they do something so… human? Normal? Just like what every one of us does?
As we are going to discover this summer, the Bible is not written to give us heroes to emulate. The Bible was written by people who were chosen by God to receive from God a special revelation. Revelation is a fancy way of saying they saw who God was. We can see who God is from the world around us (like in the way the world is ordered, the beauty of the sunset, the hug of a friend, etc; this is called “general revelation” to expand your theological vocabulary) and this should be enough to drive human beings to God. Yet, as John Calvin said, we have bad eyes that can’t read the world properly, so God gave us “special revelation” to make his love and grace obvious to all. Special revelation is the super-natural way that God is revealed to humans. This is seen most clearly in the Bible, and most particularly in the person of Jesus.
As we journey through summer, through the oldest stories of God told through the experiences of God’s people, we are going to explore the first book of the Bible and try to answer one important question. Who is God in this passage? I would encourage you to read the book of Genesis as we work through this book.