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Advent Bible Blitz: Reflections on Genesis

Well, it has begun.  So far I am on schedule.  Here are a few of my thoughts from my reading today of the book of Genesis:

1.  I was struck by the description in Genesis 3 of Eve’s way of evaluating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  She looks on it and sees it as “good for food”, “delight to the eyes”, and “to be desired to make one wise”.  This description is striking to me in light of the recent discussions of capitalism and the way in which “commodity fetishism” preys on such desires and draws persons away from the love of God and obedience to God.

2.  Covenant.  Covenant is everywhere in Genesis and in all places it is is utterly gratuitous, completely non-necessary.  In the story of the flood, for example, God has a whole litany of reasons for removing humankind from the earth, and his reason for not doing so is not a reason at all, rather it is simply an assertion of utter grace: “But I will establish my covenant with you” (6:18).  God’s covenant love cannot be worked into any system of necessity with regard to how God treats humanity.  God establishes covenant simply because he is that kind of God.  It is pure grace and as such is completely ineffable and on it everything depends if there is any hope for humanity.

3.  I found it interesting the way that the discussion of Abram and Lot separating in Genesis 13 was described on the basis of how they each had “great possessions”.  Maybe I’m reading something into the text here, but it seems as though the possession of abundant resources drives people apart, bringing separation.  Thus my mind goes immediately to the story of Jesus and the rich young ruler who is asked to part with all his possessions for the sake of Christ.

4.  God, in Genesis is constantly giving people children.  God is the good who gives children to the barren woman, especially if she is unloved.  God is fundamentally concerned with bringing about fruitfulness, human flourishing and life.  He brings life and posterity to those in need, lavishing it on those who have not the ability of secure such things for themselves.

5.  The stated purpose of all of God’s actions among the patriarchs is the preservation of a people.  All of God’s actions, through all of the flawed characters in the narrative are ordered towards securing life and hope for a people in whom his purposes for the world are intimately invested.


  1. Ben wrote:

    Some more thoughts on Genesis (currently reading Robert Alter’s awesome translation):

    God preserves this people though his grace towards individual persons of that people.

    God is into family. No lone visionaries upon lonely mountains. (Not yet anyway.)

    God is not constrained in his choice of blessing by societal status indicators: he is often blessing the second born over the first.

    Overall, the “shape” of Genesis seems to be “out and down”– out from Eden, out from the land of your fathers, down into Egypt. Or, to phase another way, out from Edenic heavenly life, into Egyptian worldly death (lured, ultimately, by promises of food.)

    Keep it up!

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at 5:33 pm | Permalink
  2. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Good observations, Halden. You must have honed these as a “Lab Instructor” ;~).

    Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 11:31 am | Permalink

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