I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t read Genesis in a while. Done summaries of, yes, but actually dugged down into? Not for a while. This reading will probably prove challenging to me in some aspects, not the least of which is that the translation i’m using (can’t recall off the top of my mind but will let you know next time I am away from the computer :P), but basically it’s a very strict word-for-word interpretation…ahah! I don’t remember what translation, but I do remember it is the Macarthur Study Bible…adding an extra level of complication because it comes with a handy this-is-what-I-think sidebar that…I fundamentally disagree with, but of course we can get to that later.
Reading the stories of Genesis and Matthew side-by-side proves for a more collective view of the Bible, but also can lead to its own struggles in differences of tone. While both are filled with judgement and human error, there tends to be in general a…different approach to judgement when you hit the New Testament, due to the new promise Jesus makes in creation.
I remember, when chatting with a fraternity member or two, that he said to keep in mind that the narrative with which the old testament books are written are meant as an outsider’s story; one that simply tells the facts as-is, without condemnation. But when looking at the actions of Lot and some others, and some casual offhand mentions, I don’t know if I agree with that per say.
Anyways. Yeah I’m just gonna write these stream-of- consciousness, and see where it goes. When going through genesis, be it through Lot, or Abraham, or Isaac, the one key theme seems to be one of failure and chances of redemption.
In the origin stories (the first murder, the first sin) it strikes me in the contrast between that sin and the way in which Jesus teaches about sin. They seem like extreme events, in a set—Sodom and Gomorrah being exemplars of evil, or Cain having the first murder, while Jesus talks about sin not just in terms of murder but also in terms of simply being angry at one’s brother.
But even in their sin in the old testament, there’s a lot of contextual forgiveness. For while our God is a just God, our God is also very merciful. God listens to pleas from Abraham to find but ten righteous men in Sodom, and in the destruction there is sadness.
So what I take from it:
—we are all sinners. Some of us more than others, probably, but that does not change the fact we all screw up in a way that denies us from salvation.
—male and female he created them in his image. So doesn’t that infer that God isn’t necessarily a He? The patriarchy in the old testament really, really bothers me at times.
—Jesus brought in a new way of looking at the law, because clearly we weren’t doing so well in the old testament.
—At least with Matthew, there is a big point in informing that the OT is not invalidated or made dumb by the NT, but rather, fulfills it alongside.
-Sodom and Gomorrah definitely a question of hospitality and not-being-kind-to-strangers. Perhaps we should think about that with regards to how we view say, non-Americans…
-John the baptist always seems ridiculously awesome. Humble but also calling people out on their hypocrisy and phariseeness.
Questions I am still struggling with:
-Why was Lot seen as a good man mostly?
-whats up with random mentions of marriage to multiple women so casually? I know this isn’t how it’s supposed to come out, but it smells funny to me. So same-gendered individuals can’t marry, but thats fine, is how the author of Genesis is rubbing off on me.
-There is a lot of mandate and reference to reproducing and spreading across the world. Ok, great job folks, but…what does that mean in an era of 7 billion people?
Passages of interest to Ian:
Genesis 3:16 = Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Genesis 6:5-7 And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And Jehovah said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the ground; both man, and beast, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Genesis 12:18-19: And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? why saidst thou, She is my sister, so that I took her to be my wife? now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.