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.
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.
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 . . .
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!