Creation: What? How? So?

“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.”   Genesis 1:1

WHAT happened?

The Bible tells us that this was the beginning of everything we know today.  We are told that, for whatever reason, God decided to begin the creation process.  As we read through, we learn that this enormously complicated process was completed in one week.  Well, not even an entire week, because the seventh day was a day of rest.

   Day One:  Light was separated from darkness

   Day Two:  Creation of the sky

   Day Three:  Creation of the seas and vegetation

   Day Four:  Creation of the sun, moon, and stars

   Day Five:  Creation of sea creatures and winged birds

   Day Six:  Creation of livestock, wild animals, and…man.

   Day Seven:  Day of rest.

The second chapter of Genesis goes on to tell of man’s (Adam’s) formation.  We learn that Adam was created of the dust, yet didn’t live until the “breath of life” was breathed into him.  Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden, an earthly place where God would dwell with him.  Here, we have God’s first commandment.  Adam is told he should not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  He was free to eat all he wished from the Tree of Life, but that other one was absolutely off-limits.  This didn’t seem too much of a challenge for Adam.  He was plenty busy; as he was given the task of naming every plant, tree, and animal.  God realized this was not enough, and that Adam required a mate.  Placing Adam in a deep sleep, God removed one of his ribs, and created woman.

In Chapter three of Genesis, we learn of the terrible fall of man.  The crafty serpent convinced the woman that she would not die if she ate from the forbidden tree.  She and Adam, who was with her, ate.  With the eating, came knowledge.  Specifically, that they were naked.  They covered themselves.  And when they heard God, the two hid.  God, knowing something was amiss, questioned the pair.  The story was told; with Adam blaming the woman, the woman blaming the serpent.  God cursed the serpent to a life on his belly, fearing man.  The woman, who officially becomes Eve, is cursed with painful child-bearing and submission to Adam.  Adam is cursed with a survival based upon hard labor.  The shamed couple was given clothing and sent away.

HOW do we know?

There have always been creation myths about a place from whence God created everything.  Egyptians believed in a primordial mound, or island of creation, rising from the ocean.  This is where a specific God (Ptah/Thoth) created everything, depending upon what the Egyptian deemed the accurate site of the mound to be.  Greeks held that Gaia and Uranus were primordial deities, from whence all things originated.  In these myths, humans are not central to the stories.  In fact, they serve no true importance other than doing the bidding of the Gods.

The biblical recollection of our world’s beginning is widely attributed to Moses; though, technically, it is an anonymous work.  I am not sure he actually authored this book.  Remember, all the events happened prior to his birth.  Also, keep in mind that Moses spent his childhood and a large chunk of his young adulthood believing he was royalty…who did not even believe in the God of the Hebrews.  I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but things were a little too chaotic after he discovered his true origins.  It is highly doubtful the book would have been written then.  So, when would he have written it?  I believe, if he did pen the book, it would have had to occur during the exodus.  Even then, I am not convinced he had time enough to write this down, while simultaneously leading his people to freedom.  Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Moses did pen the book.    Once he found out he was a Hebrew, I am sure he emersed himself in his people’s history.  This version of events stems from that; a series of stories orally passed down through the generations.

SO…what do I believe?

The first three chapters are relatively short, given that they describe the beginning of ….Everything!  What made God decide to create and dwell among humans?  The seven-day concept is unclear.  How long was a creative day?  Did God, a figure not bound by time, follow our 24-hour framework?  Where was Adam created?  We are told that he was made and “placed” in the Garden.  Speaking of gardens, where is that?  And, that serpent…what was that about?  Was that Satan?  And, if it was, how did he worm his way into a perfect place created by God?

These are questions I have no answer for, even after reading the book a few times.  I don’t believe there are any answers, only speculation.  In truth, no one alive can know what happened at the beginning.  That is no clever dig at the religious or the scientific explanation.  That is the truth.  I believe in both.  A creator and evolution are not at total odds, as many are led to believe.  The problem we have is that the biblical version seems set in stone, where as science is always revising, changing, morphing.  I can not speak, with any authority, on how it all began.  No one can.

So…if I don’t believe in every word of the creation story, how can I believe in God?  It is my belief that the words in Genesis are meant to offer some explanation to those of us who believe in God.  I don’t believe in God because there is a story attached.  I believe in God, because of things that have happened in my life.  Things I have felt and experienced.  Faith CAN NOT be described in scientific terms.  The two things reside in totally different realms.  One doesn’t corroborate the other.  Neither can discredit the other.

I will probably always question both.  Unlike many of my fellow Christians, I don’t believe doubt is taboo.  Thomas was a doubter, and he was a disciple.  Doubt leads to discoveries.  One either discovers faith is not for him, or he discovers that there is more to the story than what’s on the surface.

I am sooo not a surface dweller.  So feel free to go to the shed, pull out your shovel, and tell me what you think.  Join me next time, as I keep digging.

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Categories: analysis, creation, evolution, faith and religion, personal, Satan | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Crucifixion Commentary

imagesCAJ0INB4“You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

John 13:  13-17

***** Life or Resurrection? *****

Before this blog begins its full journey through the Christian faith, I feel I need to address this question.  In truth, this is the fundamental divide between many of us.  I, as a Christian, have found myself at odds with many non-believers.  That would be expected, right?  However, I also find myself at odds with many Christians.  This, I believe, is due to how we answer the question above.

We all know the story, no?  Jesus, born of a virgin, came to Earth to teach the ways of the Father.  His ministry was a short one.  Conflicts between He and the Pharisees about what was Holy, and who was Holy, led to his trial.  Conviction and crucifixion followed.  On the third day after being sealed in a tomb, He arose.  This resurrection will be shared by any who believe in and follow Him.  Salvation given freely.  Sacrifice made by Him, yet for us.

What is my issue here?

Well, here goes.  My issue here is that I think too many people, especially Christians, forget His life.

Anyone who has read, or even skimmed through, the Bible knows that the resurrection is an extremely important part of Christian history.  About the only thing to rival it, in the New Testament, is the virgin birth.  I mean…what is more important to a Christian follower than the fact that Christ was born (to be our savior) and that Christ died (to solidify that salvation)?

However, it is also very clear that nearly every word out of Jesus’ mouth was a mandate on how to live.  He told countless parables about how to become a better person.  Those who would judge another, were warned that the very same judgement would befall ourselves.  Those who would take up a sword against another, were warned that they, too, would become victims of the same.  We were taught to treat the poor with dignity and respect.  We were to feed them if they suffered of hunger, provide water for the thirsty.  We were to turn the other cheek to any who may persecute us.  We were to receive strangers with the same love that God has for us.  We were to be good stewards of our money, without worshipping it.  He walked, miles and miles, to teach us…to be good to one another.  That’s the message, in a nutshell.

It is amazing to me that this is overlooked.  In all four gospels, the overwhelming bulk of the narrative is Jesus’ life.  That, in no way, takes away from the importance of his death and resurrection.  On the contrary, it add context for it.  His life is what makes His death (and the victory over it)…More.  This man, of kind and gentle spirit, led a life that God would be proud of.  He led a life, that we as followers, should mimic.

The idea of the resurrection appeals to us, naturally.  We are human beings.  And humans love nothing more than getting something for free.  It’s like winning Power Ball, right?!  Jesus came to us, and died for us.  If we believe this is so, we are granted eternal life.  It is just so….easy.  We didn’t have to do anything.  Who wouldn’t want the millions without buying the ticket?  What could be better?

I’ll tell you what could be better.  Hold on to your Bibles, because this will make me sound like a radical!

Christians following Christ would be better.

*Don’t just hear the stories…live them.

*Don’t cast stones from your glass house.

*Don’t avert your eyes from the hungry and homeless.

*Don’t lie, cheat, or steal.

*Don’t repay persecution with persecution.

*Don’t regurgitate Bible passages, regurgitate LOVE!

Don’t believe me?

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.  My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.  These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

John 14:  23-24

“My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Luke 8:  21

“A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:  34-35

***** So,…Life or Resurrection? *****

Categories: Crucifixion and Resurrection, faith and religion, personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the beginning,…

In the beginning, there was…what, exactly?

Faith.  Religion.  Christianity means different things to different people.

My goal with this blog is to examine the Bible in small pieces.  So, be warned, it will take longer than seven days!  I aim to help myself, as well as others, understand what faith is to me.  And to, I believe, many others.

The beginning.  The Garden of Eden.  The snake.  Noah and his floating ark.  Abraham and the ultimate sacrifice.  Are these stories absolutely accurate?  More importantly, does it matter how one interprets the Bible?  How can I believe in God and science?  Who is Jesus, and what did He stand for?  What does it all mean?

Does it mean I am crazy?  I don’t believe I am.  I am a perfectly sane wife and mother.  I am a daughter and sister.  I am an aunt and best friend.  And…I am a person of faith.

Whoa!!  Wait just a minute.  I know what you’re thinking, but…

This is definitely not a “religious” blog, as I detest religion.  I suppose you’ll come to see that, in time.  This is one woman’s journey through the Bible, with all commentary being her own.  No sir, no religious scholars here!  One woman…her own words.

Confusion reigns supreme in today’s world.  What with religious zealots attempting to control the laws we live under, is there any wonder faith gets a bad rap?  Fundamentalism is not the way of Christianity.  It is but one form of it.

It is my feeling that faith and politics should be separate.  As a Christian, I catch a lot of flack for feeling this way.  But I believe my interpretation of the Book bears my views out.  I intend to go through this mysterious, lengthy, confusing, and (often times) contradictory book passages at a time.

I hope to learn something.  When we stop learning, what is left?

Perhaps… some of you will make this journey with me.

Perhaps…you will agree with my assessments.  And maybe you won’t.

Perhaps…the only way to find out, is to get started.

Categories: faith and religion, personal, separation of church and state | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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