September 01, 2007

The Bible In A Year: Day 1 (January 1st)

Follow-up to The Decision from The Utovsky Bolshevik Show

This is the first of my daily readings which should culminate in my having read the entire Bible within the next year or so. The writings below are not intended to be a complete commentary on the texts in question, nor are they necessarily correct and properly considered. They’re just notes of things which occurred to me as I was reading the passage, which I thought worth remembering.

The reading for January 1st is Genesis 1-3 and Romans 1.

Genesis

Chapter 1

Most of Genesis 1 is concerned with the creation. I should say that I find that the account given in this chapter in no way forces belief in a young world or contradicts the theory of evolution. All civilisations of the time had a creation ‘myth’, Genesis is the Judeo-Christian creation ‘myth’ . It is not intended as a literal account of what happened, but is intended for comparison and contrast with creation myths of contemporary civilisations, which tended to involve a number of gods emerging from a chaotic mess. Genesis 1 gives an account of a single God who with royal commands creates everything in this world. These are just a few facets of God that are shown in this account.

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

It’s interesting to note that, even this early in the Bible, there is the suggestion of God and the Spirit of God as separate entities.

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God created both male and female. He then blessed both of them and said, again to both of them what they should do. The following verses are also addressed to both of them. If man is greater than woman, why is God addressing them equally?

Chapter 2

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested [a] from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

The Sabbath, as this seventh day would become, should be kept apart. It should be spent differently to other days. It is not, however, specified on which day of the week God rested, nor is it suggested that it should be the same day every week…

21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman, ‘
for she was taken out of man.”

Again, at no point does God place man above woman. Man came before woman, but this doesn’t imply superiority. Do parents universally show more favour to their oldest offspring? Speaking from experience, the answer is no. Even if it is true for some parents, Isaiah 49:15 suggests that while earthly parents may fail in their parental responsibilities, our heavenly Father will not fail in his.

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 is the account of the fall of man, in which the serpent encourages Eve to eat of the tree that gave knowledge of good and evil. Eve then encourages Adam and hence they are banished from the Garden of Eden.

16 To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

It should again be noted that both Adam and Eve were punished for sinning, it was not only woman who was punished.

20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

Eve is not named for the evil which has happened just now. Adam does not seem to blame her for its happening. Why are so many keen to do so now?

Romans

Chapter 1

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

It seems to me that church should be centred on these two verses. Are we all ‘mutually encouraged’ when we go to church?

16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

The gospel is not something to be ashamed of. It is for all, Jew or otherwise. Both important things to remember.

27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

This seems to be a fairly clear statement that homosexuality is sinful in God’s eyes. However, is not all lust shameful? So is this just a statement against practicing homosexuals? Can we be sure that the verse is talking about all homosexual behaviour?


- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

    Are we assuming that earth means the planet that we are now on? If so, this passage would indicate that the Sun was created after the earth.

    01 Sep 2007, 19:25

  2. To quote myself mere lines above:

    [Genesis 1] is not intended as a literal account of what happened, but is intended for comparison and contrast with creation myths of contemporary civilisations.

    01 Sep 2007, 19:47

  3. Is that your own interpretation or the teachings of Christianity in general, if such a thing can be said to have a general form?

    Why would the bible, being the supposed base for all Christian learning and the word of god, be written so as only to give an alternative to other ideas of creation? Surely it should be considered the definative version of events?

    I’m asking as though you’re a Christian, but from your entries in the last few days I think this might not be the case.

    02 Sep 2007, 01:09

  4. Is that your own interpretation or the teachings of Christianity in general, if such a thing can be said to have a general form?

    This is my own interpretation, though I am certainly not alone in holding it. For example, the footnotes in my NIV Study Bible express the same opinion. And I think there are general teachings of Christianity (Jesus was the Son of God, for example), but they don’t extend to the creation of the world.

    Why would the bible, being the supposed base for all Christian learning and the word of god, be written so as only to give an alternative to other ideas of creation? Surely it should be considered the definative version of events?

    It’s important to remember that Genesis was written for the nation of Israel several thousand years before Christ. There is no such thing as the scientific method, they don’t know how a lot of things work. A scientific account of Creation would have been about as much use to them as a chocolate teapot. The first part of Genesis is intended to lay down the distinctions between other ‘gods’ and Yahweh, the LORD God, I Am. It doesn’t seem especially revolutionary to us now, because we’ve read it before, but when it was written it wasn’t a passage that had to be read carefully to find the differences between other religions and Judaism. Every sentence screamed out the differences between Judaism and its contemporary religions.

    I’m asking as though you’re a Christian, but from your entries in the last few days I think this might not be the case.

    I am a Christian. What I am not is a conservative American values voter. :P

    02 Sep 2007, 12:13

  5. Antz

    “27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

    To me that implies the direct consequences of homosexuality, e.g. not bearing children, is a punishment in itself. Therefore no other punishment is needed.

    02 Sep 2007, 19:41


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