Creation Story, Part 3: Cosmic Conflict – Genesis 1-3

adameveeatingtreeofknowledgeclipartAnd I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”(Genesis 3:15, NIV).

In the Creation Story in Genesis 1 God created a good and perfect world populated by vegetation, animals, and human beings. Genesis 2 is perhaps a continuation of the Creation Story–possibly the next chapter in God’s already created order–describing the first people God chose to work His redemptive plans and purposes for all of humanity.

Genesis 3 is a creation story of sorts as it describes the formation of a different kind of world from God’s good and perfect creation–a new world order contrived by human beings. Genesis 3 describes the beginning of evil among humanity and it prognosticates the cosmic conflict between good and evil played out on the stage of this world.

In fact, this cosmic conflict may be the main point of the Creation Story in Genesis 1-3.

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Creation Story, Part 2: Gender Equality – Genesis 1-3

Adam&EveInGardenOfEden2The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18, NIV).

In the Creation Story in Genesis 1 God created man and woman at the same time (Genesis 1:27). Genesis 2 seems to describe a second creation story providing details about human origins. In fact, most of us consider Genesis 2 an elaboration or embellishment of the first creation story, believing it to amplify the description of the sixth day of creation in Genesis 1.

Instead of a replay of the Creation Story described in Genesis 1, perhaps Genesis 2 is a continuation of the Creation Story, possibly the next chapter, in God’s already created order describing the first people God chose to work His redemptive plans and purposes for all of humanity.

Nevertheless, we must not interpret the Creation Story as a scientific explanation of the origin of human beings. We should receive the story for the redemptive message it delivers regardless of how allegorically or literally we believe the message is expressed.

To find a suitable helper for Adam, God had Adam search through all the animals and none were equal to him to become a “suitable helper.”

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Creation Story: Part 1, The Naked Truth – Genesis 1-3

Adam&EveInGardenOfEden“Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25, NIV).

Lately, I’ve been considering and re-considering the Creation Story in the first chapters of Genesis.

When I read the Creation Story, I think I typically read it from a scientific point of view, looking for explanations of human origins. But, the more I read it the more I’m convinced that neither the writer of the Creation Story nor the Spirit of God who inspired the writing of the story was trying to provide a scientific explanation of the beginnings of the universe and origin of human beings.

So, what I believe the story is about is relationship and restoration. Human beings were created in the image of God to live in eternal relationship with Him. They defied God and turned to their own devices and because they were created in the image of God, their defiance was a spiritual defiance of cosmic proportions, which impacted the whole created order. Thus, only God could bring restoration to His created order and to His eternal relationship with people.

When read without the baggage of scientific interpretation, the Creation Story provides considerable spiritual insight into the human psyche and the character of God. It may not exactly explain in scientific terms how the universe began, but it does give a good explanation of why we are the way we are.

In fact, the Creation Story exposes the naked truth about human defiance of God’s order and God’s response to this defiance.  In the Creation Story Adam and Eve roamed completely naked in the Garden of Eden where God placed them to live. I guess you could say that the Garden of Eden was the world’s first nudist colony!

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Failing Forward – Philippians 3:10-11

girl-in-pink-helmet-falling“The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the participation in his sufferings. It includes being conformed to his death so that I may perhaps reach the goal of the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11, CEB).

I often take my kids to the skating rink to roller skate. Since they are still learning to skate, I tell them to keep their heads in front of their skates. Then, if they fall, they will fall forward and can catch themselves on their hands and knees and can get back up and continue skating. If they  fall backward on their head or back, they risk hurting themselves and not wanting to skate anymore.

I’ve spent much of my career trying to understand how people learn. And one thing I’ve learned about learning is that some of the best learning occurs from failing. For example, it’s easier to learn how to skate when you know how to fall.

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A Half-Empty Glass – Philippians 4:11-13

glass half empty“I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13, NKJV).

Is the glass half empty or half full?  This expression is commonly used as a litmus test to determine an individual’s worldview. Half full expresses optimism and half empty expresses pessimism.

The Apostle Paul seems like a “glass-half-full” type of guy. Unfortunately, I often fall into the “half-empty-glass” camp…

Sure, I try to look at problems as challenges, troubles as opportunities. But hard as I try, problems are just problems, trouble is just trouble. Although I don’t consider myself a pessimist, I try to avoid problems and trouble, not embrace them!

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After the Screaming Stops – Psalm 3, Part 2

rescue from drowning“Lord, I have so many enemies! So many are standing against me.
So many are talking about me: ‘Even God won’t help him.’
But you, Lord, are my shield! You are my glory!
You are the one who restores me.
I cry out loud to the Lord and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down, sleep, and wake up because the Lord helps me.
I won’t be afraid of thousands of people surrounding me on all sides.
Stand up, Lord!
Save me, my God!
In fact, hit all my enemies on the jaw; shatter the teeth of the wicked!
Rescue comes from the Lord!
May your blessing be on your people!” (Psalm 3:1-8, CEB)

When I was a young child, each summer my parents would send me and my sister to swimming lessons. But, I never really learned to swim from those swimming lessons. My swimming fail may have been due to the philosophy of teaching swimming that was used. The teaching philosophy was something along these lines: Throw them in the water and if they don’t drown, then they will swim!

The way the lessons worked was the lifeguard would show us the swimming stroke and then we would practice it in the shallow end. After practicing for a short time, the lifeguard would take us down to the deep end and make us jump off the diving board and swim to the side…whether we could swim or not!

And when you’re a little kid standing on the diving board, the water below you looks extremely deep and the distance to the side of the pool looks extremely far away!

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Who’s Got Your Back? – Psalm 3, Part 1

rescue from drowning“Lord, I have so many enemies! So many are standing against me.
So many are talking about me: ‘Even God won’t help him.’
But you, Lord, are my shield! You are my glory!
You are the one who restores me.
I cry out loud to the Lord and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down, sleep, and wake up because the Lord helps me.
I won’t be afraid of thousands of people surrounding me on all sides.
Stand up, Lord!
Save me, my God!
In fact, hit all my enemies on the jaw; shatter the teeth of the wicked!
Rescue comes from the Lord!
May your blessing be on your people!” (Psalm 3:1-8, CEB)

Have you ever felt like your critics were starting to outnumber your allies?  Maybe it seemed that way because some of your former allies turned into critics!

And, then it makes you wonder, “Who’s got my back?” Who’s on my side? Who do I trust when friends become enemies?

Undoubtedly, David felt that way when he wrote this Psalm. Only, he experienced the most extreme form of betrayal, that of his own family, his own son.

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