Genesis 1: Part 2

I woke up this morning and ran for 8 miles. My knees were grateful for the chance to sit down for an hour to look a little more closely at Genesis 1.

The first thing I noticed was that I counted wrong. Light is mentioned 13 times instead of 12. Oops.

Structure

Having counted enough words, I decided to chart out what happened on each day. As I did I saw what I am sure many people have seen before: The first three days and the second three days are sets that relate to one another. In the first three, God creates the spaces: Light and dark, sea and sky, and dry land with plants. In the second three God creates things that fill those spaces: Stars in the sky and in the light and dark, fish in the sea and birds in the air, and animals and people on the earth.

It all seems pretty well planned out. Everything has a place and a purpose.

Perspective

What I also found interesting was the perspective of the story. Even though it is a grad sweeping narrative of God creating the Heavens and the Earth, I can’t help but notice that the concerns of the narrator are quite limited. Stars are for telling time (seasons, days, and years). Water is gathered in one place. Knowing what the Earth looks like, I would say that the land was gathered in several places. But this narrator probably lives in the near east and his picture of the sea is the Mediterranean. The sky (in the NRSV translation) is called a dome. The sky really does look like a dome around the earth.

But what is really interesting is that all this is said before humans show up. The stars tell time. But for whom exactly are they telling it?

One might think that God was planning on making humans. (hint: I think he was)

Genesis tells us that creation is for us. Genesis tells us that God had us in mind when he made it. That is pretty exciting. We are not an afterthought or an accident. We are important and we matter. And speaking of us . . .

The Image

Men and women together are made in the image of God. Unfortunately the narrative doesn’t fill out exactly what that means. So I did a little digging and word studying and found the following:

  • Later in Genesis Adam will have a son who is in his image and likeness. It is the same phrase used here. So it is not a direct replica, but there is resemblance and common characteristics. Being made in the image of God is like being the offspring of God.
  • The same word is also used of idols (which I will get to in Exodus). So we are basically idols of God. That is weird but it kind of makes sense and clarifies why God doesn’t want people to create idols later in the story. Idols demean humans by taking away a piece of our identity.

Ok. That is all for today. I may or may not get to this tomorrow but definitely on Monday.

So for now, know that you are planned and part of something GOOD! You are made in God’s image, like his child. That is good news!

On to Genesis 2!

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5 responses

  1. I think you are putting to much emphasis on humans and not enough emphasis on God. In your word counts you should have noticed that the word “man” only appears twice and the word “God” appears 30 times(3 sets of 10). To often we study the bible looking for what we can get from God when we should be looking to find out who God is. So what is the character of God like in Genesis Chapter 1? At the end on the this creation story in Genesis chapter 2 God said “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.” He doesn’t say “This is the account of man when he was created.”

    Also you must keep in mind that this is the inerrant word of God. God is both Author and narrator here. So this is written from God’s perspective. Israel knew about more than the Mediterranean when they were given Genesis. Abraham live in the land of Ur which is next to the Persian Gulf and they crossed the Red Sea leaving Egypt. But all of the Oceans are connected and all rivers eventually flow to the sea. So if you look at the big picture(God’s Perspective) all of the waters are in one place. Also things have probably moved around a bit since they were created in Genesis. You should really get a good map of the middle-east. It will be helpful in studying Genesis.

    It is great that you are studying God’s word. Just keep in mind that everything that God does is for God’s Glory. That is the purpose of everything. And we should be looking for who God is when we study his word. What is the character of God?

  2. Dean- Excellent points. One of the things I am about to write about is how much I am probably going to miss. I actually did make a note about how much God is mentioned, I just didn’t write about it.

    I am always going to miss something or not write about something. I just don’t have the time to write a full commentary on everything I study.

    But if you are at all interested, feel free to jump in whenever. Peace!

  3. So let me say first, this is an awesome idea that I am truly enjoying. I went though Genesis 1 this afternoon in the MU and it was a blast. Anyhoo… I just wanted to get your thoughts about the “made in God’s image” idea. I’m wondering if it is more of a relational similarity rather than a physical likeness.

    So first off I defined the likeness of God through his actions. In my eyes God is loving, trustworthy, caring, etc. And he extends those qualities in excess to us by offering us living relationship. However, those qualities dont just exist in our spiritual relationship but in our human interactions. So if we take that and examine the whole Adam and Eve situation we find and interesting answer to the question of “Are we made in Gods image?”: Yes, No, and Yes.

    Adam and Eve, when first created were made in Gods image. They loved each other in all the ways that God loved them. We know that it doesn’t last though. After the infamous “fall from grace” God confronts Adam and Eve about what they’ve done. Adam responds “The woman you put here with me – gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it”. He puts most of the blame on Eve and allows sin to invade the loving relationship that God created for them. At this point the perfect likeness of God, the loving relationship between both us and God and each other, is forever damaged and we are no longer of the image of God.

    Yet, not all is lost. With the coming of Jesus Christ we find a new likeness. By accepting him we are accepting Gods invitation to repair our broken relationship to the state that He initially designed for us.

    So thats kind of how I though of “being in God’s image”. Let me know what you think.

    • Awesome! Glad you are joining in.

      While I think you are right about the image being messed up, I don’t think it is revoked. In chapter 9 God affirms that humankind is still made in his image. I think all the blessings and good things that come with being made in his image are still offered. The question is: will we choose to be who we really are?

  4. Have you noticed that on the Second Day, when God creates a Firmament (described as an actual physical dome, with gates that can be opened, in opposition of what we know is true of the heavens), that it’s the one day of Creation that doesn’t end with God saying it’s good.

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