Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Canonical Bible Reading Plan for Jan 1, Gen 1-3

Today's readings are Gen 1-3. (click for the text)

Moses is credited with writing Genesis, most probably sometime between the mid-fourteenth to mid-twelfth centuries BC. Genesis is the first book of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. 

The Bible begins with God who, by the sheer power of His spoken word, brings everything into existence. There is no mention of His beginning, He simply is. With Him, we see the Spirit (Gen 1:2) and later will learn the Christ is present as well (Col 1:16). There is apparently no motivation for creation other than God's sovereign will.

He makes man, then woman. They have a unique-in-all-creation relationship, unlike that of any of the animals. They are "one flesh". God gives them dominion over the earth. He's putting them "in charge" without relinquishing or diminishing His sovereign authority. He is sovereign at the beginning, throughout (Acts 4:24) and at the end (Rev 6:10). God is the Commander-In-Chief. They are His generals. They, along with everything else, are His creation. They belong to and are accountable to Him. This will be made very clear in Gen 3. God declares everything up to this point to be good. Creation is beautiful. It is pure. The relationship between man, woman and God is holy and intimate. For the man and woman, all their needs are met. Their communion with God is unencumbered and sweet.

There is a serpent in the garden. He is another created being. The serpent entices the woman to disobey God's word by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She does and gives it to the man who is there with her. As soon as the man eats, the fall occurs. Curses are pronounced over the man and woman. There are consequences for their sin, the foremost being separation from God. 

Early on, we see that God will not tolerate unholy behavior. The relationship with God changes and they are both ejected from the garden. Even so, God exhibits grace, providing clothing for the man and woman. He does this by sacrificing animals and covering the man and woman with the skins. This is another early lesson about the character and nature of God. God's grace comes through the shedding of blood. 

Yet another display of God's grace is found in Gen 3:15. This verse is known as the "protoevangelium", the very first gospel. Within lies the promise of redemption, the hope of restoration to a full and intimate relationship with God. 

The rest of the Bible is the story of that restoration, the story of man's redemption through Jesus Christ and his ultimate return to the garden. God has set everything in motion, sits in sovereign authority over all of it and will use it for His glory. This is the beginning of the story of all stories.

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