by Lois Tverberg

 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. " Genesis 1:1-2

As the year 2004 begins, many of us are committing ourselves to new goals, and often these include being more diligent in studying the scriptures. Many of us are picking up a Bible and enjoying Genesis once again. Whether we are reading it for the first, dozenth, or hundredth time, the book of Genesis is amazing in its depth.

Genesis is the story of the origin of all things. We as Westerners imagine that the most important origin for us to understand is that of the physical world. But in the biblical mind, the most important thing to understand is the spiritual reality of the world - who God is and how people relate to him. So, as Genesis begins we read the fundamental story of God's goodness, man's preciousness, and the sad story of the separation of man from God by sin. This sets the plot line for the rest of the scripture - how is God going to fix this terrible problem?

Genesis also tells the beginnings of God's plan of redemption for the world. God chooses one man, Abraham, and makes a covenant that through him all nations will be blessed. The rest of Genesis tells of God's fulfillment of his promises to Abraham's family and the beginnings of the nation of Israel, through whom the redeemer of the world will come.

Christians sometimes leap from the story of the fall in Genesis 3 straight to Matthew 1, as if the story of Israel is irrelevant, and God was not working out his redemption through that people too. We tend to want to leap to the punch line rather than to take a slow walk with God through the story of his people. But the fundamental realities of humanity are all within them, and their story is our story. As we read their beginnings, we should remember that their beginnings are ours too.

This month we will examine what we can learn about our humanity in Genesis, and the beginnings of God's plan to redeem us. It will be a rich journey as we discover ourselves and see God's great graciousness too.

   ©2003 Lois A. Tverberg, Ph.D., All rights
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