Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Faith in Genesis

The first thing we need to see to understand the connection between John and Genesis is the purpose behind the writing for both books. One of the features of the Bible is that it contains a series of ‘progressive revelation.’ That means that God slowly and gradually revealed both himself and his plan of salvation. He only gave the people what they were able to handle at that time. Receiving it all at once would have been beyond their ability to comprehend. (That’s very important to remember when we’re dealing with God in our own lives. How often do we fume when God won’t tell us ‘why’? If we realize that our understanding or ability to handle it is insufficient to process what God knows, we can gain a measure of trust and simply follow God. As we grow, we’ll be able to handle more. God will give us more in the right time.)
So, the story of creation in Genesis – it was not, as popular opinion holds, told as a scientific explanation for the creation of the world. It was told as a religious, a faith-based explanation. At the time of its original telling, the creation of the cosmos was generally accepted to have come about through the machinations, and sometimes war, of a pantheon of gods. Mankind had been created to serve the gods and their descendants. Mankind were intended to be slaves.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Creator-Redeemer

When you look at the prologue of the Gospel of John side-by-side with the opening of Genesis, you can easily see that John deliberately echoed Genesis:
In the beginning - was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God - God created the heavens and the earth. - Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. - And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. - The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. - Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness - to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. - Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. - The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. - "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." (From Genesis 1:1-4, 26; 2:7; 3:15 and John 1:1-14, John in italics)
Next time I will 'unpack' this, show what John was telling us by deliberately connecting to the story of creation, but why don't you look for yourself right now? See if you can figure out the connections.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Light and Life and Going Deeper.

I love the Gospel of John. It's an amazing book. I love the way it beautifully connects with two of my other favorite books of the bible, Genesis and 1 John.
You may have read all three of those books, but you may have never noticed their connection, quite deliberate on John's part. Look at this:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. .... darkness was over the surface of the deep, ... And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness." (from Genesis 1:1-4)
"In the beginning was the Word, ... and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; ... In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (from John 1:1-5)
"That which was from the beginning, ... we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; ... we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. ... This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth." (from 1 John 1:1-2, 5-6)
Do you see how each section has its own theme; creation, who Jesus is, who we are in Jesus; and yet they are woven together with the repetition of the images used to explore those themes? It is fascinating and you will never discover it through normal 'devotions.'
This is the wonders of deep bible study. I love it, and if you care to hang around for a while. I think I'll explore the interconnectedness of these passages for a while.