Sunday, September 19, 2010


Pentateuch. sounds like something you might catch from being improperly dressed, no? but actually it is the name for the first five books of the Bible.

i enrolled and began coursework at Luther Seminary. and now, i am knee-deep in the Old Testament. i debated for a bit but ultimately decided that some of you just may want to hear what i have to say on the subject...for all sorts of reasons (you, dear readers, are a varied lot!).

the text for week 2 (this week...the first week was "hello, my name is so-and-so...this is where i live and who i am, etc...but you already know that) is Genesis 1-11. the question for contemplation is "how is the Bible true?". this, my friends, is what i've come up with thus far:

Genesis is a faith confession. As such, it seeks to tell us the way God intends our world to be. God is. God created every thing, and we are the paramount event in all of Creation. God saw what God had made and declared it good. We fall, falter, fail and God recreates. God makes all things new.

The truth in these chapters for me is that God is a giver of blessings and a keeper of promises. “God blessed them…” Gen 1:28. When we miss the mark, when we disappoint God, God picks us up, sets us again on the path, and blesses us so that we may try again. “God blessed Noah…” Gen 9:1. Time after time in the text, humanity shows its frailty. We turn from the instructions we are given. We shame ourselves and seek to hide from God and from one another. We give in to anger. We disclaim responsibility for our actions. Time after time, God redirects our actions, forgives our sins, and blesses us.

This truth is a source of great comfort to me. I know there is nothing that can keep me from God. God has chosen me for good and has saved me from sin. All that God requires of me is faith and trust.

This is not a revelation in my life. I was blessed to be born into a family of faithful, trust-filled people. The “ah-ha!” for me is that each time I revisit God’s promises and blessings, I have a much longer list of sins and shame and things-I-wish-I-had-done-differently, yet each time, the message is the same. “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good…” Gen 1:31. No matter how far I fall from rightness, God still claims me. God still calls me “very good” if I am able to be redirected in faith and to trust in the path God places before me.

Genesis is also a book of beginnings. The world is made. Humanity is born. Faith is created. Sin is forced into being. God begins his covenant(s) with us. It is a launching pad to the relationship that God is continually forming with us from the Beginning to the End. “See, I am making all things new….” Rev 21:5. Thanks be to God.

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