September 24, 2014 - Power Point Presentation

Genesis as an Introduction to the Bible
Creation Narratives and The Fall
◦ Notice the Plural—narratives
Adam’s Family (not the Addams Family)
Noah and the Flood
The Tower of Babel
Not the first book of the Bible by accident
◦ Introduces biblical vocabulary and overarching themes
◦ Sets the stage for the full purview of the Bible
 Genesis 1-11 deals with all people, not just Jews/Israel
 God dealt with all people; all people turned away from Him;
thus, all people are in need of redemption
“In the Beginning…” (ἐν ἀρχῇ)
◦ ἀρχῇ (“arch”) means first as in basis, not necessarily first
in chronological time
◦ Shows the story in Genesis is not necessarily to be
viewed as a scientific/historical text, but as a basis to
understand/interpret life
 Often juxtaposed to the general Babylonian understanding
Two Accounts of Creation
◦ Genesis 1:1 – Genesis 2:3
◦ Genesis 2:4 – end of Genesis 2
◦ Genesis as compilation of earlier, separate sources
Differing, Irreconcilable (from literal
perspective) Accounts
◦ First account is the one with which we are most
familiar and is most often cited by “literalists”
◦ Second account is the famous “Fall of Mankind”
◦ Notable differences, most especially the order of
creation (man first vs. man last; Elohim vs. Yahweh)
Creation of Heavens and Earth
Creation of Light
◦ Earth was tohu wa vohu (without form and void)
◦ Nothing was functional
◦ Notice God does not explicitly create two of the
human/biblical enemies: darkness and water
◦ God immediately begins conquering human
◦ Light named first; given priority
◦ “One day,” not “the first day”: definitive of a day
◦ Evening first, then morning
 Liturgical tradition
 Death, then Resurrection
◦ Notice no sun yet even though there is light
Creation of Earth and Seas
◦ On third day God now conquers the second enemy: seas
◦ “Mother Earth” is put under God’s jurisdiction
◦ Notice, again, still no sun despite vegetation
Creation of “Two Great Lights”
◦ Sun and Moon not mentioned by name
 Referred to as “larger lantern” and “smaller lantern”
 Placed as essentially equal to the stars; placed after light and
after vegetation
 They were deities in Babylonian pantheon
 Set in place by God like a star on top of a Christmas tree
 Three times the passage mentions they are simply a
reference, not deities
Creation of Animals
◦ Sea animals on 5th day
◦ Land animals on 6th day
 They co-habit the earth with us
 Blessed by God with humans, not separately like sea
◦ Blessing is clearly related to ability to produce
Creation of Humanity
◦ In the image and after the likeness of God
 In ancient Near East, Kings alone considered to be the
image of God
 Means we are to behave like God
 Our task is to make God’s presence known in this
◦ Given dominion over sea and land animals
 Just as kings have dominion over a city
 God is the model—i.e. stewardship not lordship
◦ “Male and female He created them”
 Anti-individualism
Creation of Adam (i.e. “man”)
◦ Occurs at the beginning of this second story
◦ Only the male was made at the beginning
◦ Formed from dust, but given the breath of God
The Garden of Eden
◦ Planted by God and given to Adam
 Consistent problem: humanity thinks it owns/controls
what God gives as a gift
◦ First commandment issued by God
 Not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil
 Shows primary problem with humanity is conceit
 Death (i.e. shortened life) is punishment
Creation of Animals
◦ God formed them same as Adam, but without
breathing His own breath into them
◦ God brought animals to Adam to name
◦ None was found as a comparable helper
Creation of Eve (i.e. “woman”)
◦ Eve was “built,” not “made”
◦ Adam presumptuously considers woman to be a
product of him and not of God
◦ Adam unilaterally names Eve
◦ Interdependence of male/female
Woman tempted by serpent
Sin is two-fold
◦ Disobeying God’s commandment
◦ Attempting to be as knowledgeable as God
Problem happens after Adam eats
◦ He was the one to whom the command was given
God does not immediately cause death
◦ First act of God’s forgiveness
The primary punishment is by adding
difficulty to the previous blessings
Eve said she “acquired” Cain
◦ Cain’s name comes from same root as property
Abel means “breath” or “vanity” (i.e. passing)
◦ Names are often functional in the Bible
Cain kills Abel
◦ Difference in offering (Abel offers “firstfruit”)
◦ God sets a mark on Cain so Cain will not be killed
by others; vengeance belongs to God alone
Cain builds a city
◦ Contrary to God’s commandment to spread out on
the earth
7th Generation – Lamech introduced
Introduction of Seth
◦ Seems to be a play on “king” (malak)
◦ Lamech lives like kings (multiple wives, arrogant
view of himself)
◦ Thus far, negative view of humanity; but a different
option is now presented
Seth is Abel’s “replacement”
His name means “appointed” or “posited”
The geneaology continues through Seth
Enosh, his son, means “human being”
After Enosh “men began to call on the name of the
Lord” (Genesis 4:26); through him comes Noah
Immediately before Noah
◦ “Now it came to pass…that the sons of God saw the
daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and
they took wives for themselves of all whom they
chose” (Genesis 6:1-2).
◦ “And the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with
man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days
shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ There were
giants on the earth in those days” (Genesis 6:3-4).
◦ “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was
great…and that every intent of the thoughts of his
heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was
sorry that He had made man on the earth” (Genesis
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the
LORD” (Genesis 6:8).
◦ Introduction of one man as savior of all
 And notice that at no time is that man YOU
◦ Noah is said to be “blameless” (legal terminology)
◦ Noah is said to be “culticly pure” (like the sacrificial
lamb must be pure)
◦ Notice Noah has only one wife
Two accounts merged into one
◦ “P” or Priestly account
◦ “J” or Yahweh account
Priestly Account
◦ Refers to God as Elohim (more universal name)
◦ Merged accounts open and close with P account
◦ In these accounts, God commands and Noah does
Yahweh Account
◦ Refers to God as Yahweh (more restrictive name)
◦ References “clean” and “unclean” animals
 Indicates notion that rituality pre-dates the text itself
Preview of God’s Final Judgment
◦ Nearly total destruction
◦ Both man and beast pay for humanity’s sin
The Flood is a passing event
◦ Contained within one person’s lifetime
◦ God’s punishment in this life is meant for
instruction, not destruction
God’s Covenant
◦ One-way, unconditional covenant
 Man has no control over the rainbow
◦ Made with all humanity, not specifically with Jews
“Baptism of the earth”
◦ Like a new creation
 After the first year, during the first month, on the first
day the earth was finally dry and habitable again
◦ New opportunity for humanity via the faith of Noah
Three Sons: Shem, Ham, Japheth
◦ Noah’s “family tree” is established in such a way in
Genesis 10 as to show the entire (known) inhabited
world to be populated from Noah and his sons
◦ Indicates God’s concern is with all humanity, not
only Abraham’s descendants, on whom the biblical
story will begin focusing in Genesis 11 and 12
◦ The covenant made with Noah, and the blessing
that comes through the faith of Noah, is open to all
People of the earth are united in one language
They wish to “make a name” for themselves
Contrary to God’s command, they do not want to
be scattered
Like Adam, who wanted to have knowledge like
God, they tried to “reach to the heavens”
The text, like the rest of the Bible, is antiimperialistic
Babel is likely a reference to or play on the
Babylonian Empire
Their punishment is to be scattered and for the
language to be confused
Genesis itself serves as an intro to the Bible
The (hi)story of Israel is told within the
purview of all creation/all humanity
The stories are meant to inform our views of
our relationship with God and each other
Humanity’s primary job is to represent God
God is shown as supreme; humanity
constantly turns from His ways; humanity in
need of redemption
God does not like human selfish ambition
(buildings, acquisitions)
God wants us to behave like Him, but does
not want us to try to be Him
◦ We should not attempt to usurp God’s position
The way to God is through faith and trusting
in His appointments

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