Bible in a year: Genesis 1-12

Since the United Methodist appointment year started July 1 (at least here in Indiana), I made a new year’s goal to take up an old pastor’s habit, reading the Bible through every year.

If my count is correct, at four chapters a day, I will end with plenty of time left over.

One thing I want to do while reading is record some of my thoughts, observations, and questions, especially ones that touch on Wesleyan themes. To keep this reasonable, I’m going to use that old preacher’s gem: 3 points and a poem (or a quote). So, without delay, catching up for the first three days

Genesis 1-12

Point 1: The Doctrine of Original Sin is rooted in this section, but it also seems there are some pretty questions raised about the doctrine even here. Noah is described as righteous and blameless, which would seem to contradict Romans 3:23 “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Is Noah just an extraordinary exception?

Point 2: God is quite an interesting character in these chapters. Creator of the universe. Down in the mud with his hands forming the first human. Blowing breath into Adam’s nostrils. Wandering in the Garden. Flooding the Earth. Wrecking the tower of Babel. Coming down hard on Pharaoh for not seeing through Abram’s lie. What an interesting God this is.

Point 3: The pattern starts here. The first two things God tells us, we ignore. Don’t eat this fruit. We eat it. To Cain he says, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain lures Abel out into a field and brains him. Pretty much the rest of the Bible follows this pattern, yes? No wonder God went down to Babel with a wrecking ball.

The Quote

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

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9 thoughts on “Bible in a year: Genesis 1-12

  1. I’m reading through right now myself and just finished Numbers this afternoon. I’ll wait till a later read through to add my comment.

    Dr. Kalas recommends that pastors go through reading 3 chapters a day with 7 on Sundays (if I remember correctly). I think that comes out to almost exactly a year.

    He’s read through the Bible every year for at least 70 straight!

  2. The disturbing thing about the Babel story is that God is portrayed to react with fear to human achievement. There is no sin that’s cited in the text. We have to eisegetically import sinfulness in order to rescue God from His depiction. What do you think?

    • I think it paints a picture of a God who isn’t content with us living without Him. All of humanity was one, in rebellion. Crushed, that unity can only be found in Christ Jesus and the cross.

      • I tend to eisegete the sin of pride into the passage (“Let us make a name for ourselves”) but it’s still eisegesis.

        • Well, there is pride and ambition, but those do not appear to be what God is reacting to so much as the achievement itself.

    • That said, I haven’t done any research on this passage or ever heard a sermon or lecture on it. That is my limited view alone from my most recent reading of the next a few weeks ago.

    • I think your point about sin not being there is spot on, but I also think it is disturbing only if we start from an opinion about what God should or should not do. I find the dangerous God of Genesis an invigorating God compared to the rather neutered God that fits in our boxes.

      I also like God’s answer to Job, though, so I might have a problem.

      • But he’s not a dangerous God in that story; he’s a God who’s riddled with anxiety about what the Babylonians might accomplish if He lets them do their thing. That suggests emotional insecurity, not strength.

        • Well, an anxious God is certainly dangerous, as we see here. I’m not sure exactly how to interpret the words here or in Genesis 3 with the concern about the tree of life. God in both places certainly appears to be concerned with humans striving to rival God or break barriers.

          Is it “riddled with anxiety” or something else? I’m not sure. I don’t want to explain this away, though.

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