The Divergent Paths of the Yoghurt-Eaters and Genesis 1-3
It was a Norwegian who first demonstrated to me the delights of yoghurt + muesli. We ate a generous bowl of this stuff with fresh fruit every day we were in the Swiss Alps. After that, we attacked a huge pile of toast. Then, we pulled on our gear (with an apple and a bar of chocolate or two in the outer jacket pockets) and went skiing and ice-skating and tobogganing until we got crazily hungry and had to stop to stuff our faces again. As usual, I was the youngest in the group, very figetty and overeager to get out to the slopes or the frozen pond, and barely understood the implications of all the late night discussions about the dilemma of refugees, the politics of water etc. The waste.
Then, we went our separate ways. The Canadian last reported that good money was to be made from washing buses; the Frenchperson moved on from UNHCR to save lives under International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent; the Filipino was elected as a senator in Manila; I last saw the Finn briefly while staying with another Finnish friend in Turku, but no news of our mates from Norway, Britain and Pakistan (worryingly, our many mails to the Pakistanis were never answered).
Our common humanity is an amazing thing. But this commonality per se is nothing more than mere observation without meaning. So what if we are all humans – why should there be an equality of all races? Why should men and women be considered to be of equal value? Why, in fact, should human life be considered to be of more value than, say, a cow? The first little bit of the Bible (Genesis 1 – 3) explains our shared ancestry, our significance and also the way we are now.
Q: First, to avoid misreading the text, we look for clues to need to determine what sort of literature this is.
Stylised narrative – repetition of phrases:
– God said,”Let there be…”, “Let the…”
– “and it was so”
– “God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 25), “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Because this narrative is stylised, and not, say a blow-by-blow account of the act of creation nor an encyclopaedia of facts about creation, it will not answer questions about the Big Bang, dinosaurs or aliens. This (and in fact, all of the Bible) concentrates on what God thinks is important – we really don’t need to know the details of The Beginning, but it is essential we are told what is reality, what is truth, what God is like and what we are like.
Method of Creation
Q: What does this tell us about the way in which God went about creating the world?
– merely by speaking it into existence
– in an orderly fashion
*note use of plural and separate description of Spirit (Genesis 1:2, 1:27-28)
Q: What does God create on these days?
Day 1 (Genesis 1:2-5)
– light, darkness
– Day, Night
*before the sun, moon and stars! Obvious God decides whether there will be light or not, regardless of “sources” of light.
Day 2 (Genesis 1:6-8)
– expanse (sky)
Day 3 (Genesis 1:9-13)
– dry land (earth), seas
Day 4 (Genesis 1:14-19)
– sun, moon, stars
– days, seasons, years
Day 5 (Genesis 1:20-23)
– creatures for waters and sky
Day 6 (Genesis 1:24-25)
Stylised narrative structure explains the seemingly different sequence in Genesis 2.
Creator – Creation Nexus
The Bible majors on two subjects: it tell us firstly about God, then it tells us how creation relates to God.
Q: What does this tell us about God?
He’s the Creator, duh
Q: What did he create?
Q: What did bit of creation did he not create?
Nothing! (no philosophical flack about God not creating nothingness please!)
Q: What does God know about the world?
Everything, since he purposefully created everything; he didn’t have a little accident.
Q: What does God not control in the world?
Q: If nothing in the world has not be created by God, then how should God’s creation treat/relate to God?
– obey him (Deuteronomy 32:6), what other gods/masters/kings are there to obey? the greatness of God! (Isaiah 40)
– serve him (Romans 1:32)
– give him worship, honour, praise (Psalm 95:3-7), who else is worthy?
– find meaning in him (Isaiah 43) – since he is the Creator, and since he created purposefully, the reason for our existence and our purpose in life can come only from him
Note: the Bible thinks these response are really quite common-sensical, and of course they are.
Q: God blesses 2 groups of created things. Which ones?
– creatures of sea and sky (Genesis 1:22)
– man (man and woman) (Genesis 1:28)
Q: What blessing does he give them?
“be fruitful and multiply”
Q: But what’s so special about man? What was God’s purpose in creating man? (Genesis 2 = extended page space for a long lingering look at man’s creation!)
– humans’ fruitfulness and multiplication was for the purpose of filling the earth and subduing it, for having dominion over every living thing on the earth (Genesis 1:28)
– he would be created to work the ground to facilitate the growth of plants (Genesis 2:5). He was put in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it (Genesis 2:15)
Being made in God’s image, he (and Eve) have delegated dominion over the rest of creation
Q: What was God’s purpose in creating woman?
Not because Adam was lonely. He was alone, yes, and he had all of creation to look after. He needed to be fruitful and to multiply so as to subdue the earth, therefore woman was created as a helper for this work. She was “fit for him” in a way no animal was (Genesis 2:18, 20).
Q: What did the original perfect creational order look like?
man (woman as helper)
rest of creation
Q: How would you describe man’s relationship with God, man’s relationship with woman?
– very good
– very pleasant
– man/women: he adores her (Genesis 2:23) – though of equal value, having different, complementary roles – Eve is created to help Adam
The story didn’t just end happily because there was no sunset to ride into at the end of Day 6 (dumb joke). Read Genesis 3:1-7, 23-24.
Q: How is the serpent described?
“more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made” (Genesis 3:1)
Q: How does the way the serpent tempted Eve demonstrate this characteristic?
(1) misquotes God’s word (cf Genesis 2:16)
– exaggerates prohibition. Eve is then drawn into debate on serpent’s terms, that is, in her reply, she overcorrects serpent’s “error” and magnifies God’s strictness (Genesis 3:3 “and you must not touch it”)
= implication of unreasonableness
(2) casts direct doubt on the word of God (Genesis 3:4 “you will not surely die”)
– casts doubt on the truth of God’s word about reality
– casts doubt on the authority of God’s word
= assures her that there are no consequences or repercussions at all
= assumption that God’s word is subject to her judgement (but on what basis could Eve evaluate God’s word? any standard for testing the truth of God’s word would itself have to be an authority higher than God himself!)
(3) casts direct doubt on the character of God (Genesis 3:5 “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”)
– denies basic goodness of God
– accuses him of lying
– accuses him of being selfish and withholding something they ought to have. what about their human rights?!
= God cannot be relied upon as absolute authority and source of truth/interpretation of reality for mankind.
Serpent is crafty because he does not explicitly ask Eve to join him.
Q: How do we see him using the same tactics today?
Surely God did not say… Surely God must have been mistaken when he said…
Q: Why does Eve believe him instead of God?
(1) decides that God and God’s word cannot be trusted
(2) decides to rely on her own judgement (Genesis 3:6). Why cannot? I see, I like, I take.
– fruit of tree was good for food
– fruit of tree was pleasing to the eye
– fruit of tree was desirable for gaining wisdom
(Note: “knowing good and evil”
– cannot be that it gives them knowledge of distinguishing between good and evil. In God’s judgement of them in Genesis 3, they are treated as having known the difference between good and evil.
– cannot be to experience doing an evil act because knowing good and evil seems to be an act only to be performed by God (Genesis 3:22) and he does only good.
– more likely, determining, themselves, what is good and what is evil; making up rules that are only God’s prerogative to make (2 Samuel 14:17, 1 Kings 3:9) = grasping equality with God.)
Q: What is the essence of Adam and Eve’s sin?
– kenna magic fruit? no there are no magical objects in the Bible
– curiousity? nope
– sex (as some sections of society think)? huh? no, that’s God blessing to them.
– disobedience (not fundamentally)
sin = rebelling against God and his word (the same word that created the world!). And rebellion because we don’t think he really exists, or we don’t acknowledge him as creator, or a good one. We deny his authority as creator, his goodness, the truth of his word. Instead, we understand the world best and try to put ourselves in place of God by deciding what’s right and wrong, thereby denying our creatureliness.
Q: In what way are we guilty of the same sin?
Q: What happens to the creational order in the Fall?
Turned upside down: the serpent (mis)leads the humans, the helper (mis)leads the one she was created to help. Both humans want to usurp God’s position in the world.
Q: What are the immediate consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin have on:
– their relationship with God?
fearful, ashamed (Genesis 3:8) (cf. no fear, easy access, relaxed open relationship with God)
– their relationship with each other (cf 2:22 – 25)?
Q: How does God judgement relate to:
– the immediate consequences of their sin?
– the original creational order?
Pronouncement of the natural consequences of their sin – because they have disrupted the original perfect creational order, so they have caused broken relationships between humans and the rest of creation, and between men and women, and between humans.
Yet there some glimmer of hope of restoration:
– there is a faint restoration of the created order, though corrupted
– there is a promise of the woman’s offspring who would crush the head of the serpent, though the serpent bruises his heel.
– being thrown out of Garden means there is a limit to their lifetime of sin – a mercy of God.
Q: What does this tell us about God?
– serious about sin/rebellion against him
– simultaneously merciful, since he didn’t just destroy Adam and Eve and the serpent
Q: So who was right about reality – serpent or God?
Q: Who is right about reality at this present time?
God. Hence the need to keep reading his word, the Bible.
Q: What does the serpent’s punishment tell us about the theory of dualism of good and evil?
Satan and God are not equal forces battling for dominion. God has been and will always be in control. He punishes the serpent.
Q: How does Genesis 3 help to explain the state of the world today?
From the Fall came earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, droughts that we can hardly predict or contain; the toil of getting things to grow in the ground without disease or being eaten by pests; and also pain, suffering inflicted by unidentifiable or incurable illnesses and diseases or by other people – from jealousy, hate, anger, malice, greed, come murder, robbery, rape etc.
Q: Why is it important to understand the world in light of Genesis 3?
To understand it and to realise that there is no possible human solution because we have become so corrupt we could never make everything right. All our schemes for world peace and controlling nature though commendable, will ultimately come to nought. Heck, we can hardly live a proper life ourselves.
Genesis 1-3 takes up just 3.5 pages in a 1,252-page Bible. It is impossible to summarise the magnificent story that follows to do justice to magnanimity of an almighty God reaching out time and time again with such mercy to save such an undeserving bunch as us humans, and ultimately, his plan to save the world and restore it (humans and the rest of creation) to perfection.
Ported this over since not maintaining other site.
For future reference:
Mise en place: wrap table in cling wrap, ready-made fondant, different coloured edible food dyes, loads of toothpicks for getting dyes onto fondant, an empty film canister of water, extra cling wrap to protect the dyed fondant from drying out before you can use it.
Best to have some sort of production line in place – ie. make all the bodies and parts first before assembling. To attach, just apply the tiniest bit of water.