The Rest of The Story -

Beginning of Life as We Know It

Genesis 1:1-19, Story 1: The Beginning of Life As We Know
Genesis 1:20—2:3, Story 1: The Beginning of Life As We Know It
Genesis 2:4-25, Story 1: The Beginning of Life As We Know It
Genesis 3:1-13, Story 1: The Beginning of Life As We Know It
Genesis 3:14-24, The Rest of the Story: 1. The Beginning of Life As We Know It

More of the Rest of the Story

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Genesis 1:1-19, The Rest of the Story: 1. The Beginning of Life As We Know It (7/16/12)

On Aug. 19, St. John’s is going to begin reading The Story, which uses study materials developed by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, and Adam T. Barr. The Story covers the major themes of the Bible in 31 weeks. In this email study, we are going to work in parallel, but sometimes we’ll cover the material in more depth and sometimes from a different point of view. The readings here will always precede or be at the same time as the church’s schedule, and we plan to post them weekly on the website for reference.

The Story covers the book of Genesis in three weeks; we’re going to start now and take six weeks. Genesis contains many of the basic theological points made by the Bible: What is the nature of God? What is the nature of humankind? What is the relationship between God and humanity? Where did all this stuff – both good and bad – come from? It’s this last question we see answered in the first few chapters of Genesis.

Recently my hubby and I learned a new word: henotheism. Henotheism is the theological position that there are lots of gods, and many of them may be worthy of worship, but I personally am only going to worship one of them. The early Jews were henotheistic (at best), not monotheistic; in fact, it wasn’t until after the Exile that the Jews as a group became monotheistic.

However, the writer of Genesis (widely presumed to be Moses, whose story does give every indication that he was monotheistic) clearly was ahead of the curve on this issue. Most of the Middle Eastern pantheons had a flock of gods and goddesses – sun gods, moon goddesses, male and female gods of fertility, storm gods, crop gods, sea gods, mountain gods, river gods, etc., etc. Genesis says, “There is one God. Everything else is made. The sun is made. The moon is made. The stars are made. Water, air, land, plants, animals, and human beings are all made. And they are all made by God.

Genesis 1:20—2:3, The Rest of the Story: 1. The Beginning of Life As We Know It (7/17/12)

Let me say right up front that I’m not a vegetarian, I don’t belong to PETA, and I don’t think my cat should have the rights of citizenship. Nevertheless, I do suspect that the difference between me and my cat is much bigger in my eyes than it is in God’s eyes.

Several verses in Genesis 1 and 2 use the phrase nephesh chayah living being. These are Genesis 1:20, 1:21, 1:24, 1:30, 2:7, and 2:19. Look carefully at how these verses are translated here from the ESV and in the translation that you normally read: Many translations use different phrases to describe me and my cat, most commonly creature for my cat and being or soul for me. More accurately, the Schocken Bible uses living being for both, and the ESV uses living creature.

Genesis 2:4-25, The Rest of the Story: 1. The Beginning of Life As We Know It (7/18/12)

My husband’s theology professor said that the point of the naming story is not that the man gave the animals names, but that the man recognized that every animal was nephesh chayah, just as he was! I’m more interested in the idea that apparently God entertained the possibility that a suitable helper could be found among the other creatures. It didn’t work out that way, as we all know, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact and God and the man looked for a helper among the other creatures.

This part of The Story is called “The Beginning of Life As We Know It.” As my college biology professor said, “As opposed to what? Life as we don’t know it?” Well, Genesis 2 describes life as we don’t know it: perfect harmony between God and his creatures, and among the creatures themselves.

Genesis 3:1-13, The Rest of the Story: 1. The Beginning of Life As We Know It (7/19/12)

This is the real Beginning of Life As We Know It: We know God’s rules, and we break them. We get into trouble and blame someone else. We hide from God when he calls us. And we die.

Genesis 3:14-24, The Rest of the Story: 1. The Beginning of Life As We Know It (7/20/12)

Things are in a sorry state in the Garden. The serpent, the man, and the woman have all conspired to disobey God, and now they are in trouble. Please notice that the serpent is cursed because of what it has done, just as the ground is cursed because of what the man has done. Sins have natural and inevitable consequences on ourselves and on our surroundings. God also deals out some punishments: enmity, pain, toil, and a degree of separation from God. We continue to see “the beginning of life as we know it.”

Just a word on names. The man adam was so called because he was made out of soil adamah, and gradually it became his name Adam. The woman Eve chavah is the mother of all things living chay: the explanation in vs. 20 makes perfect sense in Hebrew.

More of the Rest of the Story

Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
Apocalyptic writings in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time

Copyright 2009, 2011 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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