Genesis 1-2: some thoughts to guide our thinking

Our congregation has begun an undertaking to read  the book of Genesis together as families. My daughters are pumped about this time each night. They grasp more of the story than I realize. I written a little in my last post about my time away from Oklahoma at  the National Conference on Youth Ministries. One of our key note speakers was Chris Seidman. Chris is the preaching minister at the Farmers Branch church of Christ in Dallas, TX. He always brings a powerful message, and he did on our Tuesday morning keynote address:

He talked about the following pertaining to Gen 1-2

  • the author was writing primarily as a theologian. It is important to remember that he is not writing a comprehensive history, or even writing as a scientist. He is first and foremost a theologian.
  • there’s an element where the author of the text is turning the religious convictions of the ancient Mediterranean world on it’s ear. For instance in this ancient environment there was a god for everything, and in Gen 1, the sun, the moon and stars are not to be serve, and bowed down to, but they serve God and us!
  • In the ancient Mediterranean understanding of creation, there was a divine showdown between Tiamet and Marduke, but notice in Gen 1 God is powerful he merely speaks everything into existence. There is no need for a divine confrontation.
  • Pay attention to Day 7, let it be known, there is no competition for God’s throne. He is king.
  • Genesis is about who more than about how, more about what, then when…
  • Gen 1:1 has something to say to:
  1. polytheism
  2. pantheism
  3. materialism
  4. humanism
  5. atheism

The words, “in the beginning God created…” invites us into his story

  • God created us not because he needs us, but because he wants us
  • Chris talked about how our most of our ministries focus on Gen 3 and on, but we need to recover Gen 1-2. He goes on to point our 6 key themes to guide our understanding of Gne 1-2, but also to serve as a powerful witness to what God is up into the world:
  1. We were made for relationship with God
  • God speaks to human beings
  • have you noticed that humans are more like God than anything else God created
  • we were made in his image, and he breathed into us
2. We were made to choose
  • Psalm 135:6
  • God doesn’t impose himself on us, if he did we would cease to bear his image
3. We were made to live from the blessing not for the blessing
  • blessed in Hebrew means “bow the knee in dignity”
  • before God gives the first man and the first woman a command, he blessed them — gives them dignity
  • listen: humans are significant because of who they are, not what they do. We need to contrast that image with the false narratives of our world that tell us our worth is based on our jobs, our incomes, our toys, our homes, etc.
  • There is freedom here: living from the blessing, not for the blessing of what other people think of me
  • Jesus himself lived from the blessing, not for the blessing
4. We were made to rule
  • we were made to rule resources, not be ruled by them
  • God gave us a measure of authority over the planet
  • ruling and authority: that which allows life and growth. Gen 2:5, helping God to release creation to reach potential
5. We’re moral beings to an extent
  • Roma 2:14-15
6. We were made for community
  • In these early Gen chapters, God is spoken of as a compound oneness. There’s two Hebrew words for oneness. Mathematical oneness, and compound oneness
  • Community is the HOV lane of life — you can travel faster the stories of life together
Jesus is the 2nd Adam
  • note in John 20 Jesus is mistaken by Mary as the Gardener, John is emphasizing the new creation being innagurated by Jesus victory of death
  • John 19 — from the cross Jesus says “it is finished” sort of echoing the finished work of God at the beginning
Isn’t it interesting that there’s a garden and the beginning of the story and the end of the story in Revelation?!! Even in the middle of these two gardens there is another one… Gethsemane. For in this garden Jesus refused to live out of his own story.
May we too refuse to live out of our own story.

About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
This entry was posted in church, Culture, Helpful Places, Heremeneutics, Jesus, Leadership, NCYM, Old Testament, Revelation, sermons, Stuff, Theology, Youth Ministry. Bookmark the permalink.

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