Bible Bites (Genesis 1 to 11): B’reshiyth בְּרֵאשִׁית
I am still yet to purchase a new Bible (I still intend it to be a CEV, EDIT: or the NCV, whichever I can find first), and print off the Bible Reading Plan. But I have kept up to date, having had read Genesis 1 – 11 today, which is pushing it a bit I guess, but that’s a freedom allowed by this Reading Plan. I have purchased and used my Prayer Journal, which is reflective of my prioritising. And being that I am in a hospital as I write this (to be present for a family member), I have had a lot of waiting time to really consider my words as I pray. I didn’t end up buying a Moleskine after finding a cheaper alternative in the form of a Piccadilly Notebook. It has the same quirks as a Moleskine, including a pocket inlay which most appealed to me for keeping small pieces of paper with prayer points on them.
So for today I’ve used one of the NIV Study Bibles I was given in high school for Biblical Studies. Study Bibles are great for their introductory notes and commentary below the text. Although it can be distracting, I found it interesting to read that bereshith, which means “In the beginning,” was the original title of Genesis. And ‘Genesis’, being the Greek for ‘birth’, ‘genealogy’ or ‘history of origin’ was given by the writers of the Septuagint.
I feel like I’m chewing on a pretty significant chunk of Genesis with at least three eras of importance that had occurred. To give a comprehensive digestion of the passage is too big a task for this blog. Thus I will suggest nuggets that I’ve considered in reading this passage, a fun-semi-related-fact, and bit of further reading.
- In retrospect, Jesus is the ‘Serpent Crusher’ we find in Genesis 3.15. No other time has there been an offspring from a woman (as it is attributed to a man) than with Jesus, born from a virgin, Mary. And we realise in Revelation 20.2 that the ancient serpent is Satan after all, and it is Jesus who defeats him.
“And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
- I find it interesting how sin permeates throughout all of creation and the “man” [5.2] (regarding both males and females) that subdue it, especially through Cain’s discovery of murder and how he realises and fears its consequences (which he is protected from by “a mark” [4.15]). The age of death decreases with every generation and evil reaches its pinnacle in “violence” [6.11] which resulted in God’s judgment. He washes the earth clean of that, and having found Noah righteous and saves his household on an ark (more likely a box shape, rather than a boat… according to my studies of Ancient History in high school).
- God’s interactions with mankind is made extremely personal in the writing of the earlier parts of the Genesis He “walks in the garden in the cool of the day” [3.8]. And, even in his omniscience, he asks Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” [4.9] like the way my dad might ask me where my brother is if he had been out one night. But as sin spreads through the generations, God’s separation with mankind becomes just as prevalent until he has to come down [11.5] – as a pathologist would come down to look through a microscope – to see the tower they aspired to build in Babel. And that distance remains a constant problem as we read on until it’s flipped on its head with Jesus.
It’s obvious from my first post that I’m a massive fan of the Harry Potter series. Little did I know that there were so many references to J.K. Rowling’s understanding of Christianity in these books. The least obvious is probably the meaning behind the name ‘Harry Potter’. Now, Jo has explained the onomastic behind most of her characters, but seems to give the unsatisfactory “I like the name” answer when questioned about Harry’s. But the people of PotterCast seem to assume that the name in fact means, Heir of the Creator (or something to that effect), making Harry the Christ figure of the series (as Aslan was for Narnia).
With regards to Evolution and Creationism debates that might come up with passages such as these, I would like to read ‘God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?’ by John Lennox . I’ve heard his speak on the matter and I’ve found him to be quite good at speaking in a discourse that appeals to scientists being that he is one.