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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Genesis 1-11 Worldview

     Have you ever looked at Genesis and considered what it says about the natural world, human identity, human relationships or civilization?  Have you contemplated the worldview it represents or how that does or should affect your worldview?  

     Genesis chapters 1-11 take us from the Creation event through the death of Abel, at the hands of Cain, to the tower of Babel.  In those eleven chapters a strong biblical worldview is laid out if we are willing to examine it. 

     While working towards my AA in Religion back in 2013 during a survey course of the Old Testament, I was required to really examine the book.  Once examined I had to write an essay regarding Genesis chapters 1-11.  I was required to identify what Genesis 1-11 taught regarding the natural world, human identity, human relationships, and civilization and then to address how this teaching affects or has affected my worldview.  I had to attempt to be concise and yet careful to address each topic within certain time and word count restraints. Below I share with you the product of my examination with no edit of content and only the addition of sectional headings.

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Genesis chapter 1 begins with the creation of all things including the creation of man in the image of God.  It is the “beginning of the human race and the beginning of the Hebrew race.” (Hindson & Yates, 2012, p 51).  Through the intervening chapters we are immersed in the revelation of God's great power and humanities depravity.  God shows us how willing he is to bring mankind back into a right relationship with himself.  By the end of chapter 11 we come to the account of Terah who became the father of Abram.  In these chapters, if we will look closely we will see and understand what God would have us know about our natural world, human identity as well as human relationships and civilization as a whole. 

Natural World
            Through these chapters God shows us that our world was truly created for us and for our use.  This natural world around us shows us that there is a creator and he has a plan for everyone and everything.  Genesis 1:11 explains to us how God called forth the seed bearing herbs, grasses and fruit trees to yield after their own kind.  In Genesis 1:21, 24 & 25  God created water, air and land animals all to produce after their own kind.   He placed a light in the sky for daytime and a minor light for night.  Our natural world displays order at all times whereas mankind following evolutionary
belief systems not only denies it but is bent on chaos.

Human Identity
            In our world today, due to a lack of relationship with God, many find their identity in their occupation, their family, their accomplishments and any recognition they receive.   Yet, throughout the first eleven chapters of Genesis it is easy to see and understand that our identity should be found in God and God alone.  We carry the role of being his “image bearers” (Hindson & Yates, 2012, p 55)  for human kind was made in his image and his likeness.  He created this world and placed mankind in charge of it giving us dominion and a command to “subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28)  “We owe our existence to him.”  (Hindson & Yates, 2012, p 55)   No matter how far we try to run from God, to claim our life as our own, we can never get away from the fact that we have “made by God” indelibly etched in our soul.

Human Relationships
            God, through the beginning chapters of Genesis, proves that he desires an ongoing relationship with us.  He created Adam and Eve with relationship with him in mind.  Once sin entered the Garden God proved his desire for relationship by not destroying man but instead “providing for their redemption.”  (Hindson & Yates, 2012, p 56). And yet, human relationships are always in flux.  As we work on or fight in our relationship with God so goes our relationships with others.  Human relationships since the fall of Adam have been fraught with jealousy and greed.  As we see in Genesis 4:1-8, it was Cain’s disobedience to God in giving a right sacrifice and God's subsequent lack of favor for his sacrifice that propelled him forward in his actions.  Cain chose jealousy and greed over obedience to God which led him to murder Abel.  Throughout the first eleven chapters of Genesis we see how the wickedness of man only grew.  It is obedience to God and his teaching that brings us into not only a right relationship with God but also with others. 

            Civilization as a whole walks in rebellion to God.  When given up to their own devices, civilization is divisive and violent in nature.  When there is unity, as in at the Tower of Babel, (Genesis 11:1-9) it is not for the glory of God but for the glory of man.  So, while God may use people groups and nations to do his work, (to bring his judgments and correction), he will always come down through the civilization, through a nation, through a people group to an individual.  He will call on a man or woman to follow him, to do his will. 

Affect on My Worldview
            From before the time I was old enough to understand the song “Jesus Loves Me” I was immersed in the word of God.  I was raised in the church from the time I was 3 months old.  All my life I've been surrounded and enveloped in this same teaching that I'm receiving at this time.  So the teachings that I have received concerning these first eleven chapters of Genesis have bolstered and strengthen my Christian worldview.   They have made my faith foundation more sure and more deeply rooted in the knowledge of God's perfect love for an imperfect creation.

Hindson, E., & Yates, G. (2012). The Essence of the Old Testaments. Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group.
(New International Version Study Bible, 2008)
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     What do you think?

     I challenge you to sit down over the next few days and examine Genesis chapters 1-11 and answer the same questions.  Write down a paragraph per topic of what your studies uncover.  Don't be surprised if the way you answer each topic differs from myself and others.  It's okay.  We each perceive and need to receive slightly different things from the Holy Spirit at times because of where we are in Christ.  Gods word is true and it never changes but our perspective and our needs are individual and God will show you what YOU need.  God bless.

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