A biblical novelist looks at Genesis - part 1

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” When I was a child, this verse was accepted among family, friends, and most acquaintances as simple truth. But time has a way of changing our views, and if ever an area of Scripture was debated, the beginning of Genesis is at the top of the debate list. Origins--where do we come from? how did everything around us begin?--are questions we all face. The cosmos is so vast and worthy of exploration that it captures our minds and our imaginations, and scientists have gone to great lengths in their search for the answers to these questions.

I am not here to debate that science, nor the Hebrew interpretation of the Genesis account for the age of the earth. I do not have the scientific background to make educated comments on that aspect of beginnings, and have a very minimal understanding of the Hebrew alphabet.

Mt. Gilboa8But I am a student of the Bible. And this commentary, which will carry over the next few blog posts is based on the Scripture—more particularly on the whole message of both Old and New Testaments and of the people immortalized within its pages.

Every person has a story to tell, every life is a book to be written. Authors spend years working to craft great stories, and some create masterpieces that are torn apart by generations that follow, all in an attempt to understand what the author meant to say.

The Bible is no exception. The best-selling book of all time, it carries the most amazing, sometimes unbelievable stories of any book ever written. Penned by numerous authors in 66 books, yet the overall book has one overarching theme – the redemptive story of Jesus Christ.

I will admit, that overarching theme is not immediately evident upon a cursory reading. But then, it’s not easy to sit down and read 66 books quickly, some of which can seem pretty dry reading (like genealogies and lists of names or numbers of people in a specific tribe or clan).

But the theme is there. It begins in this controversial book of Genesis and ends in the equally controversial book of Revelation. (Let’s assume for our purposes that these books are not simply metaphorical or mythical in their makeup.) The “seed of the woman” in the story of Adam and Eve is the Jewish Messiah, who fulfills between 300-400 prophesies when he takes on flesh, and promises to fulfill many more by the time Revelation ends.

Even if you don’t believe the book is literally true—as in these things happened in time and place in history—from a literary standpoint, I daresay, a greater story with such intricate fulfilled plot points, foreshadowing, metaphors, antagonists and ultimate triumph of good over evil has never, before or since, been written.

And yet…there is much more than a literary message in this book. The universal message of redemption, forgiveness, and love is a spiritual one.

That spiritual message starts in Genesis with the story of God’s presence in Creation, setting the stage for an attribute about Himself that we cannot deny if we want the rest of the book to make sense.

If God indeed is the Creator of all things, then perhaps we should consider what He says about Himself in that role. How does God as Creator fit with the rest of those 66 books? Why does it matter whether there was a Creator or not?

I hope you will join me in days to come to explore why it matters, and what those Scriptures say beyond Genesis about God as Creator.