I just finished reading the five passages in the first category, “In the Beginning.” At the beginning of the week, I’m hoping to make it a practice to read all five in one sitting in order to get a broad view of the category. After doing this I plan to return to each one on following days, slowing down to journal about what I’ve read as I meditate and listen to God’s Word. I noticed something in my heart and mind as I read this morning; something that affirms one of the primary points of these passages, I believe.
These passages establish the foundational understandings about God’s relationship with people; understandings that will inform the rest of Scripture. In short, here’s my synopsis of what I read: God created everything and people are the pinnacle of that creation. God blessed people in every way, even inviting them into a relationship with him to “rule” the earth. People were not satisfied with their role as subservient rulers, instead “wanting to be like God, knowing good and evil.” After rebelling against God and his rule in their life, people truly did know “evil” where at one time they only knew “good.” The fall (chapter 3) reveals the consequences of sin (rebellion) having entered into the world, the flood (chapter 6) expands on this same theme….“every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (v.5) The tower (chapter 11) continues to illustrate the people’s evil desire from chapter 3 as they give physical expression to that desire by seeking to “build a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.” (v.4)
So, here’s what I noticed in myself as I read. Instead of lamenting rebellion and a heart bent towards evil in the lives of the people I read about, I found myself questioning; even judging, God himself! (Why did God allow the serpent in the garden? How could a loving God wipe out humanity in a flood? Is God so insecure that he could not allow a people with one language to rival him?) While I believe these are legitimate questions, shouldn’t I first be asking questions like “Why did my ancestors forsake the blessing of God?” “Why does God persist in being gracious to people even though they persist in evil and rebellion towards him?”
I believe that the nature of my questions reveals the orientation of my heart and mind. That is, I reflexively question, judge and even compete with God before examining myself, being thankful for the grace of God in my life. But isn’t this what I should expect if I’ve properly understood theses passages and the condition of people that it presents? Still, it surprised me to notice this about myself!
What do you think? Am I off base here? What things are you noticing or what questions are arising as you read?