Today I begin a year-long reading plan to get through the entire Bible. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. I invite you to follow as I journal through my reading. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions. Let’s begin.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Genesis, chapters 1 through 3. This is the account of creation, of God’s rest thereafter, and of the fall of mankind into sin and death. Some impressions from the text:
- This first chapter of the first book in the Bible may be its most controversial, even among professed believers. It offers the astounding claim that God exists, that He existed at the beginning (and therefore eternally), that He made all things “according to their kind,” and that He made man “in his own image.” Each of these claims is disputed today, even within the church. This is where God’s authority starts, which is why it is where the Bible starts. This happened, as written, or there is no reason to mind the rest of the book. That is why the creation account is attacked so vehemently. The creation account is true, or there is no authority for anything which follows.
- God placed man in the “garden in Eden,” a place overflowing with variety and abundance. God is often portrayed as a stoic or some kind of ascetic cloud monk, as if he were against pleasure, or as if he were against us. But God provides! He provides abundance and beauty and flavor and passion. He provides everything that we enjoy, so that we might enjoy Him. He asks for nothing in return except that we acknowledge who He is.
- “It is not good that the man should be alone…” This matters. It’s an important aspect of who we are, and who God is. God has never been alone. He exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He has always been thus. Made in his image, we too were meant to coexist with others as one. That’s part of what marriage models, the unity of the Godhead.
- The formation of Eve from the rib of Adam has profound theological significance. When Adam celebrates that “this at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” he delights in his own completion. Eve’s arrival finishes Adam’s creation. She is, quite literally, the rest of him. This again points to the triune nature of God, and stands as the essence of the family. How can a man not cherish his wife? She is him. They are one.
- God is lying. That’s the claim Satan makes in his guise as the serpent. It’s the first lie, the great lie, the basis for all lies which have followed. It remains the essential claim underscoring all challenges to biblical authority, including challenges to this creation account.
- The world is broken. This is something we tend to forget, even as believers. We build our understanding of the world upon our perception of things as they are, rather than as they were first created. We therefore accept as “natural” things which are not, from our sinful inclinations to the presence of death. But sin was not our design. Death was not our purpose. The world is broken, and so are we. We, and it, need to be restored.
Return tomorrow as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.