Week 1 Reading: Genesis 1-24
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In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. With these all important words our journey begins. But why start with the account of creation? Those that treat the Bible as a book of myths will tell you it is because humans long to understand the origins of the universe and life. But in truth the Bible starts with creation because it establishes God’s power and authority. Power: Only the God of the universe has the ability to speak things into being. Authority: As the creator of all things, only He has the right to establish the rules that govern His creation.
This leads to an important question for each of us: will we agree with God’s determin-ation of good and evil or do we choose to define good and evil for ourselves? This is the issue that Adam and Eve faced in the Garden of Eden. They lived in a perfect world, in perfect relationship with God and each other. But instead of following God’s instructions they chose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This act symbolized that they wanted to define good and evil for themselves. Their action brought sin and death into the world and set in motion God’s plan to redeem us from our fallen state.
You can see all of the accounts throughout the rest of the Bible as the conflict between people choosing live by God’s way or man’s way. Unfortunately most of the accounts demonstrate the negative consequence of people choosing to live according to their judgement rather than God’s. We see this in the account of Babel where God instructed the people to disperse themselves across the land and glorify Him. Instead the people chose to concentrate themselves in a city and to build a tower as a sign of their glory. In the end God disperses them by confusing their languages and creating division among men that was not part of His initial creation.
This brings us to the third foundation lesson of Genesis. When we do not honor the God of creation, when we chose our ways over His way we harm our relationship with God and with each other. The intimate relationship between God and man was severed and a distance was created that would only be breached when God became man in the form of Jesus of Nazareth. But we also see that after the fall that the relationship between husband and wife becomes contentious.
We see the first set of brothers engaging in a jealous conflict that ends with the death of Abel.
This is why Jesus teaches the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength and the second greatest is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus is calling us back to the obedience to God that will restore our relationship with God and our fellow men.