How often do we revisit the stories held within the bible?
Are we subconsciously convinced we’ve already mined them for treasures? That we already know the punchline? Or are we used to reading them in a certain way, or coming with the same old questions?
Genesis 1 tells the truth in the language it knows how – painting a picture for us, explaining something deeply profound. It is poetry, in its broadest sense. It is trying to convey the impossible – trying to get our heads round eternity and beginnings – always things that make our minds boggle.
It offers a glimpse of beauty and purpose.
In the beginning, God created. In the beginning, God. One God. The only God. A great shout of monotheism in a generally polytheistic culture. It is he who creates the world – when he says something, it happens. His words carry extraordinary power. He names things – gives birth to their very identity.
There are no gods before him – the sun and moon are not even mentioned here by their proper names, to disassociate them from godhood. They are not to be worshipped, they are part of the creation. They are good, yes. But they are not God. Nor are the great sea creatures. They are creatures, not creators.
God creates life – and that which is living carries not only the present but the future – the trees and plants are seed bearing, full of potential beyond themselves.
And it is all good. Goodness – genuine, dynamic, goodness is a vibrant reality. It is not random or disconnected, it is not purposeless. It is good, and its potential lies within it.
The repetition affirms these things – God speaks, and it is so, God sees that it is good.
And there was morning, and there was evening – a series of beginnings, a series of new cycles in what was previously chaos – that ‘deep’, those ‘waters’ – all cultural symbols of the chaotic. The whole amazing liturgy weaves into its very structure a new ebb and flow of life and light where previously there was only darkness.
God speaks. And chaos becomes intricacy, purpose, design.
- Have we forgotten to listen to God through the power of the divine story?
- What stories in Genesis are we over-familiar with? What would happen if we looked at them from a different angle?
- Have we asked God to show us new treasures in these stories?
This was originally posted at BIGBible.org.uk
I’ve also guest posted recently on the God52 blog – you can read it here: