Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Thoughts On The Early Chapters Of Genesis

As I read Genesis 1-3, there are 3 main things that stick out: Firstly, God alone is Creator, and He is distinct from that which he has created. It was a point of emphasis for Moses, (and the Lord God) because he knew that the surrounding cultures worshiped "gods" in such a way that creation and deity weren't so distinct. Secondly, that mankind and creation were both created good, and in some sense, both remain good. Thirdly, it is proper to worship God, and now, living with the reality of sin, both original and personal, we know that forgiveness must be part of the story, our journey back to life with God.

Let me talk about these in reverse order. Adam and Eve both worshiped God before the Fall. It will always be right to do so, and we know this because our pictures of Heaven from later in the Scriptures tell us this. After our first parents sinned, the Scriptures here say they heard the Lord walking in the garden and hid themselves! We have to be careful here, because God doesn't actually have feelings, but I feel a deep sadness when I hear the Lord's question in 3:9: "Where are you?"

They were friends. They walked and talked with Almighty God a lot. That's how they knew what it sounded like.

We give God what he's due, but we're being offered more, and that's friendship. In this context, grace is God's own presence and power indwelling us as a special gift. A finite being couldn't be friends with the infinite God Himself, even if we were innocent, unless God elevated mankind. So He did.

We have a qualified goodness now, because we know that we are sinners, but also that we naturally gravitate toward sin, and away from God. God didn't make us this way, though, and we're not intended to stay here. We call the tendency toward sin "concupiscence," and we call the gift that was lost "integrity," which means that our passions are subject to reason. They had an original righteousness or justice on account of grace, also. As well as infused knowledge and immortality. Thanks, Dr. Marshall!

We know that later, plagues befell the enemies of God's people in the book of Exodus. Many commentators suggest that the specific plagues corresponded to false gods worshiped by the Egyptians. It is also probable that Moses (and others) wrote Genesis and the other books of the Law while he led the Israelites out of Egypt, and into the wilderness.

You'll notice that God created everything in chapter 1, including the sun and moon, stars and planets. You can bet that other people worshipped those things, and that's why the people are told not to.

Did you notice that the account of the days always starts with evening? The descendants of Abraham and Moses still count days this way! We do it, too, in the Church. This is why you can fulfill your Mass obligation on a holy day, or on the evening of the previous day. And yes, eight human days of the Easter and Christmas octaves count as one day to the Church! God is reminding us always that He is Lord of time, and everything else.

Books and books could be written, but I need to go, and dear reader falls asleep when I go on and on!

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