Friday, September 11, 2009

I finished the first week's homework on Genesis 1-5 in two days. The approach includes marking key words and phrases in the text. I had to mark "Adam" and I found "the man" occurs more often (in the NASB). This is a translator's choice, isn't it.

My second time in recent memory studying Genesis; I studied it two years ago at a Presbyterian church. And I thought I got a good handle on the historical narrative, to the point of knowing what occurred in which chapters. But it gets foggy with time. And this study has a different focus, just on the first five chapters.

Something I was shocked to discover, then, considering my recent, intense exposure to the text was that a few of Cain's descendants listed in Genesis 4 make a second appearance in chapter 5 as Seth's descendants. Now, in my liberal brain, I have an idea of what's going on here. But I've yet to find a corroborating study note, as a footnote in the NAB merely points out what I observed without venturing an explanation. I'd better hold my peace until I look at a commentary or two. I have Waltke and Sarna from that study of two years ago. Those are probably good enough.

Since the homework takes a chapter at a time, it was suggested that chapter 1 really runs through to Genesis 2:4. The student is reminded that chapter and verse numbers were added later and not always well placed in respect to where a complete thought or subject comes to a transition. Now, it's clear and I agree that including the seventh day of creation with the other six in one chapter could make sense. But I learned from Sarna that the chapters and verses used in Christian bibles were introduced or adopted by a rabbi in 1330 CE for the sake of countering Christian polemics that made use of the references. Not a happy history. But, with all due respect to Eugene Peterson, freedom from the convention of chapters and verses has a price.1

Towards the end of Lesson 1, Second Timothy 3:16-17 is referenced and broken down into the four things that Scripture is good for: teaching (doctrine), reproof (showing how one is wrong), correction (turning the wrong into the right) and training in righteousness (how to live in a way deemed right by God). Then there are five fairly confrontational questions inquiring about one's willingness to obey the Scripture in Genesis:
Will you embrace the teaching of the Word of God or not? Were you reproved in any way by what you learned? Are you willing to correct that? Will you live in the light of what you learned? Will you obey?
I suppose it depends on the extent of the differences. All together, these questions seem to me like brainwashing, not unlike being informed, at the outset, that if I am a true child of God, I have the mind of Christ because of the Holy Spirit. That the Holy Spirit is like a resident tutor to me as a child of God.

A couple more things. I remember commenting two years ago how mind-boggling it is to think Adam living 930 years. How English has changed over that amount of time?! Imagine! Think about human progress2: culture, technology, one would be always adapting.

The other thing is how people move from being "blessed" of God to being "cursed" of God. God utters the words and it happens. I suppose I might benefit the most if I pay attention to the portrait of God presented in Genesis 1-5.

1: I see they've been added.

2: Alright, so maybe things don't always move forward but they always move. I'm still a bit of an optimist on progress.

No comments: