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Dunash ben Labrat

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The Bible as seen through the eyes of . . .

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Stephen Barkley

Well said. 500 words is quite a limitation! I'm looking forward to the rest of these introductions.

dave b

well done! this will be a helpful resource when you are done. I'm curious--will you be taking the books in order?

JohnFH

I don't know for sure what I'll do next. I'm just having fun. There is a need I think for carefully written short introductions to the various books that are as uncluttered as possible with stuff like, "Genesis" means "origin," and JEDP.

My feeling: a first priority must be Bibelkunde, a strong sense of what the biblical text contains, unit by unit and if possible, chapter-by-chapter.

Simon Holloway

I like this too, and I look forward to reading your 500 word introduction to Obadiah. Might be quicker just to type out the whole text :)

Everett Gossard

I enjoyed that very much, thanks!

JohnFH

Yeah, Simon. Good one. I'm thinking of course of 500 words to spend on the XII.

dave b

yes John!

since I've been spending a fair bit of time with Qohelet lately, I'd love to read your 500 words on the enigmatic book!

Gary Simmons

Very excellent summary!

The stage is set by a description of the creation of the cosmos, its manifold destabilization by human and angelic initiative, and its restabilization by sovereign divine choice (chaps. 1-11).

On this, I suppose the angelic initiative is in 6:1-4? Would you be interested in dialoguing about this with me a bit?

The dynastic-kings-and-their-harems interpretation seems rather foreign, but I think "male descendants of Seth" and "female descendants of Cain" fits the immediate context well.

I do not see anything in the immediate context that would make "sons of God" angelic, but I confess that I am not familiar with how the term is used elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible and Hebrew thought generally.

These are the only three interpretations I know of. I have the impression that ancients interpreters often/always held to an angelic "Sons of God." The only resources I know of to gain this impression are the books of Enoch.

But why did they hold to this interpretation? And why do you (if you do)? I would be very grateful for a quick explanation, John! Thanks in advance.

JohnFH

Hi Gary,

You have been reading your ESV Study Bible, I imagine. That's a fine place to start, but from there you will want to branch out.

For those who value their ESVSB - and I do - it is always worth comparing with two or three other study Bibles.

For Genesis, I recommend Ron Hendel's contribution to the HarperCollins Study Bible (NRSV based). Hendel is the author of the forthcoming new Anchor Bible commentary on Genesis. I follow Hendel's take, which is the consensus point of view.

But another take on this passage is that of Theodore Hiebert, easily accessible in the New Interpreters' Study Bible. I'm not convinced, but it's worth pondering. He doesn't think the passage is meant as a negative prelude to the flood. He sees it as describing positive realities.

But both Hendel and Hiebert concur with the oldest exegesis of this passage available, found in the Enoch tradition and Giants tradition, and amply attested at Qumran: the sons of God are divine beings.

Gary Simmons

Thank you for the references. I will admit that I know little of the usage of "sons of God" elsewhere (though I don't doubt it can be used of angels), nor am I familiar with any exposition of nephilim.

I'm impressed you remembered I use ESV! Apparently there is an ESVSB, but I use the ESV Literary Study Bible, which contains excerpts from Ryken's Bible Handbook. Sometimes I wish I had simply purchased Ryken's Bible Handbook separately, though.

I also use the NIV Study Bible and an NASB Life Application SB. Together with Victor Hamilton's Handbook on the Pentateuch, I think that covers the basics. However, if I can get my hand on the sources you've mentioned, I will readily do so. Thank you very much!

If I cannot, of my own initiative, see the reasoning for the traditional interpretation, then it must be my youthful inexperience. Dedication, study, and prayer are the remedies for this.

Tim Bulkeley

This is a fine stirring, and thoroughly partisan introduction (these are all good things :)

I do wonder a little at its intended audience some ideas cry out for explanation to the average beginning student, what for example is "pietas" in the sentence "The God of the book of Genesis is filled with pietas for everything he creates."?

I also wonder about the claim "The book’s take on cosmology, the divine-human relationship, family, anthropology, and sociology is presented as perennially valid." where and how does such a "presentation" take place? These things are assumed to be valid, but presented as "perennially valid" not I think in nthe texts I read...

JohnFH

Thanks, Tim. You are a honey, you know that? That's what I need: loyal critics.

I will purposely be using weird words on occasion in this series. Words that will force the average reader to do a Google search.

Why? I learned this from my son Giovanni in the college selection process. (It is permitted to learn from one's children in my religion. In case someone is wondering.) He chose Emory over college x, y, and z because, when he sat in on a lecture, he told me, "I didn't understand all of the words. He seemed to purposely use words his students didn't know yet, and old words in new ways. That kept my interest." Yep, I thought, a poet's trick.

Giovanni, like his father, is prone to an attack of ADD in the presence of the known and familiar.

Maybe what I need to do is prepare a glossary.

You're right about "perennially valid." An overstatement. I'll fix that later.

Steve Pable

I'll take a stab at the "perennial validity" matter, insofar as the authors/editors and their audience would be accepting the cosmology, anthropology, sociology, etc. as valid by virtue of its inclusion in the Torah.

The fact that the content is worth remembering, and setting it down (i.e. presenting it) just so is of itself a vote for its validity. The covenant is made with Abraham and his descendants, so the historical and cultural backdrop to the covenant retains its value for the people of Israel in perpetuity.

If it were being dismissed as "back in the olden days", the entire presentation of Genesis would have come down to us differently. I vote to keep the "perennially valid" language. You've only got 500 words after all, and if you can do Genesis in 500, then you're home free!

(By the way, I like the concise treatment of themes and characters to lend at least some sense to the overall narrative. It offers some key guideposts, "what to watch for", along the way. Based on what you said you were hoping to do with this piece, I think it's well put together, and ought to help the reader get his or her bearings before diving right in.)

JohnFH

Great points, Steve. I'll think about this some more.

Dead Man Walking 2

I found that after reading Geneis that I had a feeling like I was really missing something and by reading this my interest has been peaked in what I may have missed or not gotten to as of yet. I also found that when I read this post with the readings in Geneis I have begin to read things that I didn’t realize were in the bible because up until this point I had never read or been taught about in a church setting. I hope that you have time to post more of these short introductions to help expand my, and hopefully others, knowledge of the bible.

Nell1

The book of Genesis is important to believers; it states how we were created and the kind of ruler God wanted to be over his people. He makes promises to his believers and intends to fulfill them. There are passages that state the hardships for some believes, such as in Genesis 13 when Abram left Egypt with his family. They had to pick up everything they had and trust God to lead them in the right direction to escape Pharaoh and the other hardships in their live. The book of Genesis paves the way for all of the promises that God will make and how his believers can trust that if they stay true to their faith, God will be with them and take care of them. This is a very well presented summary that engages the reader in the book of Genesis. Although I was brought up reading the books of the Bible, I often forget what information came from what book. This short introduction does a great job giving me a sense of what to look for, what events took place, and some of the people discussed in this book. I hope to see more introductions to other books so that I can become engaged and want to open the Bible and read the whole chapter. The only thing that confused me was the some of the word choice presented, such as “pietas for everything he creates.” For a reader who may be unfamiliar with the Bible, using more common terms may make it easier for them to read these blogs and understand the message more clearly, rather than having to take the time and look up terms.

JohnFH

Hi Nell 1,

Your way of reading the book of Genesis as a resource for your own journey of faith goes back to one of the reasons the book was composed in the first place. It helps to keep in mind how broad the horizons of the book are. It teaches not only about one's walk with God, but about cosmology, why the world is a mess, the place of Israel in the world, the meaning of the rainbow; the list goes on and on.

Pietas is a Latin word that was used for the virtue of devotion a Roman was to have for his family, city, and gods. In the depiction of the book of Genesis, God cares for everything he creates in the same way. Are you familiar with Michelangelo's Pieta? That is a good visual for a character trait of God according to the book of Genesis.

Nell 2

The book of Genesis created most of my first impressions on the Bible, God, and my beliefs within him. Going to a catholic grade school and high school I learned very much about this book and the different aspects within it. Growing up in a catholic society helped my decision on my faith and how I endure every moment of it. As Nell 1 mentioned, most of this book in the Bible is the starting point to believers in Christ. I too, agree with that statement. Through the story of adam and eve the first sin to ever be committed happened. Individuals who learned this story can relate to this circumstance as they mature and make decisions within their life long journey.

In agreement to another one of Nell 1’s statements I feel the context of the words in many of the blogs posted are difficult to understand. The word choices from other languages prolong the reading of the article and make it harder for the reader to follow along. However, I must mention they are written very well, and even though the difficulty persists it is widening my vocabulary.

JohnFH

That's one of my goals, to enlarge vocabulary. It does slow things down. It's not fast food; think of it as slow food. In the end, it's better for you.

Praying with Lior 2

I never realized before that the majority of the stories that I was told growing up were from the book of Genesis. I really enjoyed reading this particular book, because it does not only tell about those who trusted God completely like Abraham did in chapter 22, but it also tells of those who fault God, even for a second. One of the accounts where this is apparent is when Eve eats the forbidden fruit in chapter three. I like this because it demonstrates that not everyone is perfect, but God will still accept you even if you make some mistakes.

I was confused as to why there were two different accounts of how the world was created in the first two chapters of Genesis. I have heard of both of them before, but never knew the two of them were told in the same bible.

JohnFH

Hi Lior 2.

We will be looking at the creation accounts next week.

Truman 1

Truman 1,

One of the things that I didn’t realize before reading this book was that so many of the individuals that God choose such as Abraham and Moses had so many flaws. I was always led to believe that these individuals lived lives that were perfect if you will. Know I wonder why these individuals were chosen by God over other individuals. I think that God may have made this decision because he knew the potential that these individuals had and that they were capable of carrying out the important duties that God had assigned them. God also is testing their faith through out the book as well. In the example of Abraham and his son, God tests Abraham to see if he will sacrifice his only son.

Truman Show 2

The book of Genesis is great to read whether it is your first time reading it or you are reading it again. I know the first time that I read it I learned a lot of historical facts and events, but I never took the time to look deep enough to find the hidden and obvious lessons in the Scriptures. In Iraq I had to see friends losing their lives and became very angry and confused, which led to me drifting away from God. I now wish I then had the book of Genesis with me. There are numerous people in this book who go through hardships and have blemishes, but in the end God always took care of his people. He also puts them through very difficult tests. One of which, is having unbreakable faith (the one I then failed). You also see how God’s love for his people is unfailing and he does forgive. He originally told Adam and Eve if they ate from the tree they would die, but he showed mercy on them. This book does a great job of showing you that God is in control and if you follow him he will bless you and your family indeed.

Dead Man Walking 5

Growing up in a catholic school, I have pretty much read every part of the bible. The one that stood out the most to me was the book of Genesis, because it explained in great detail the question that we all ask ourselves; How was the world created?
When I was younger I never really got a full understanding of how important this first book was. We viewed short video clips and read stories about this, but we never went into this amount of detail reading important passages. I think that by reading this over, I have found out many things that we have not gone over in grade school. I would really like to further my understanding of this book, and many other books of the bible, through the many readings to come.

G. Kyle Essary

Hendel's thoughts on the beginning of Genesis 6 can be found at his site: http://6080214509876802567-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/rshendel/HendelDemigods.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7coDNuSKkJfF8OvDCKEOTss-lyplBppR_yaav6UEs6xkpItfK9oXpp6jGGzXH6ladt6eALFSKahoA9rj4br3_sqqrNmdkb30F8eR5Oy-l8jn075i_h32jABuMcXXYqiJ9cmeoPgOVmsCs7902RtSIvIXTJYxYbu8PJgAxu62J60vIDF0BIv3_sHTyHEzmn3BzInBKSnW&attredirects=0

G. Kyle Essary

Oops, that last link is long and I don't think will work, so here are his uploaded articles: http://sites.google.com/site/rshendel/

JohnFH

Hi Kyle,

The long link does work, as a matter of fact.

Chariots of Fire 2

I feel that the book of Genesis is a valuable piece of reading for anyone even if they are non-believers or follow a different religion. The creation of heaven and earth have so many different interpretations and some believe in God being the creator of it all and some believe in the scientific aspect of it. I think there are valuable lessons to be learned from this book for anyone. For example in chapter 3, God punishes Adam and Eve from eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This shows that there are consequences in life, whether they are good or bad, and people can learn from them. Also, in chapter 12, Abram is told by God, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” Abram listens to God and leaves with all his belongings to travel to a place where he doesn’t yet know. I think that this shows that you have to take risks in life and that there are going to be hard times along the way.

True Grit 1

Genesis is the first book of the Bible, revealing how everything was created. It is an extremely important book for all believers seeing as it is the backbone for you and me, animals roaming, and even the mountains and waters. Remembering back to when I was first learning about the story of Adam and Eve and Genesis in Elementary school (similar to all of the previous students to comment on this post), it was taught very simple. Adam was created by God and then Eve. They were to stay away from the forbidden fruit, however they sinned thanks to the snake. This taught me two things as a child, all things were created by God and sins will be forgiven. As I’ve grown older, it has recently become an interest to expand my horizon on the book of Genesis and reread it. It will help me to support my beliefs and stay firm to what I believe.

Learning more on this important book will develop my relationship with the Creator and allow me to educate others who frequently ask me the question of creation when I tell them that I am a proud Catholic-Christian.

True Grit 2

Hi,

This is a very good summary of the book of Genesis which is the backbone for thought, belief, and action for many. Many of these stories are the more well-known stories out of the bible.

I wanted to offer up the question why God would ask Abraham, a father, to offer up his own son, whom he created, to show that he feared and was loyal to God? I understand that it is a true test of faith but I know I’d never want to be put in that situation.

JohnFH

I think the lessons that Chariots of Fire 2 and True Grit 1 were taught have a firm foundation in the book of Genesis. The next challenge might be to wrestle with other life lessons Genesis seems to teach. For example, whereas God is merciful to Adam and Eve and Cain even he punishes them, he refuses to forgive Sodom and Gomorrah for the violence of their ways. There is a time to forgive, but there is also a time not to forgive.

These are stories which believers inhabit. But it is also possible to think of rebellion as a way of life to be proud of, not as a fall from grace. There are many who choose to live in narratives of a very different kind from those in the Bible.

We may be surprised to find many characters in the Bible who are anti-heroes and heroes at the same time - the kind of characters we are familiar with from contemporary film not to mention real life. But they are there. An example: some people have been hurt badly enough by others that they give themselves permission to hurt others, including the innocent, and themselves as well. Samson in the book of Judges falls into this category.

JohnFH

That's a very good question, True Grit 2. As a basis for discussion, I suggest this post:

http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2011/02/the-primacy-of-faith-in-genesis-22.html

Nell3

Just as many others have posted, the Book of Genesis consists of many of the stories that I was taught as a child. However, now that I am older and have not been taught about the Book of Genesis in a while I am seeing things that I never noticed before. For example, I noticed that many of the people God speaks to have something unique about them. As a child I always wondered how God selected the people in these stories but never got a real answer. I always assumed it was basically random and there really was not method to his selection process, rather he spoke to people he knew needed him or knew could help carry out his will.

Now after reading it again after many years I can’t help but wonder. So, I would like to present the question: was there a process to selecting the people that God spoke to in these stories? In other words, was there a test that these people unknowingly went through before God spoke to them, or did God know whom it was he’d speak to without testing them at all?

JohnFH

Nell 3,

Your question is age old. In much of both Jewish and Christian interpretation, it is assumed that the people God calls did something to prepare the way for the call. For example, Abram is thought to have smashed idols or even to have been an atheist before he heard the one true God speak to him.

But this kind of interpretation goes against the grain of the text itself. The thought behind Deut 7:7 is more usual: in choosing, God makes the last first and the first last. It commonly appears that God chooses the foolish to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong, the wicked to shame the righteous.

Nell 5

Genesis is probably one of my favorite books of the Bible, at least so far it is. I didn’t realize that quite a few of the common stories that everyone knows, come from this book. It is one of the more interesting books. I believe this because it is for the most part, relatable to our daily lives in some way and easy to understand. In chapter five, it’s amazing to think that some people lived to be hundreds of years old. I wonder how anyone could live that long, but I guess it’s one of the many unanswered questions of the Bible.

Pulp Fiction 3

Nell 5,

I agree with you about the book of Genesis.It is also one of my favorite books of the bible as it has always been one of great interest to me through the years. The bible does bring about many unanswered questions that make you begin to think and reflect more upon it. Like you stated it says that people lived to be hundreds of years old. That is a very astonishing figure that nobody these days would ever be able to believe considering most people are lucky to reach 100 years old.

Pulp Fiction 4

Pulp Fiction 5,

I would also have to agree with you, Genesis is also my favorite book of the Bible. I think it is the most exciting books, because it is the start of everything. There are so many wonderful stories that come from the book of Genesis. And as Nell 5 stated there are many common stories that come from the Book of Genesis, that many people know and still talk about to this day.

However, reflecting on how people back then lived to be hundreds of years old, this is amazing to me. I think the way our society and the way we live life now, there is no way we could live that long.

Nell 3

Genesis is the most essential book to the Bible in my mind. The stories within it set the stage for the rest of the Bible as well as set the stage for my beliefs. Being raised in a Catholic family, I have read and heard stories from the book of Genesis many times throughout my childhood, and I would have to say they have been the most influential on me because they seem to be real and applicable to life today.

As was stated earlier in the blog some of the language and wording can make it a bit more difficult to understand what is trying to be said. I have found that understanding these words through looking up there true meaning is a great way of understanding the stories and connecting with them at a deeper level because it gives you a greater understanding of what God is saying; resulting in a feeling of comfort with the Bible.

Shawshank Redemption 3

I definitely agree that the book of Genesis paves the way for the rest of history. The book of Genesis is very important and also one of my favorite books in the Bible. It was the first part of the Bible that was taught to me and so many stories that I was taught in my Sunday school classes came from the book of Genesis. It is even the basis for one of my favorite movies, East of Eden starring James Dean, which is based on the story of Cain and Abel. So many of the stories can be related to people's life experiences in any time in history, even today. I think that is what makes the book of Genesis so great. A lot of people can relate to it, which is why so many of the stories have been taught in schools and made into plays, musicals, and movies.

Breaker Morant

The book of Genesis is the start of everything and is a strong introduction to everything else in the Bible. It is also somewhat metaphoric with the predictions of what is the come. Also, almost everyone knows and learn about the stories about Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Moses, etc. Those are the stories that are remembered the most. Again, it is because they are such powerful stories in the bible. Although Genesis is important, this was before Jesus Christ was physically 'in the picture' so we shouldn't based off our lives off it but learn from it.

Pulp Fiction 2

Something that I instantly notice strange about the Book of Genesis is the two differing accounts of creation. How can a book, which is supposed to have the answers for a religion, have two very differing stories of the same event – right away? Before a reader even gets three chapters in, he/she has already been confused by these two conflicting stories. I have watched TV specials and read articles that claim many differing hypothesis’ for this ranging from there having been two actual creations of the planet all the way to the story of Lilith being the first female before Eve. I am not necessarily attempting to make an argument, just stating an observation I made that I find quite intriguing.

True Grit 4

The book of Genesis is a very interesting book of the Bible. It is really the basis for everything that follows in the Bible. After just three chapters of Genesis, Adam and Eve mess everything up and sin enters the world through them. And death came through sin. And after Adam and Eve sinned then everyone who was born after they are damned to hell. This is why there needed to be a Savior to die for all mankind. That Savior is what God promises to send in Genesis. This promise comes in Genesis 3:15 “And 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.” This is the savior that all the prophets prophesized about and all the generations after Adam and Eve would look for. Genesis also sets up the New Testament. The New Testament is all about how God fulfills the promise he made in Genesis and what happens after the promise is fulfilled.

Nell 6

When I think about the book of Genesis all I really think of is Adam and Eve but once I read this summary it really made me think about how much actually happens in this book. This summary was a little hard to understand at some points but for the most part was written very well and really helped me to see how many stories about people and some of their struggles with God there really are. I had learned a lot about the book of Genesis in the past but I guess I never put two and two together to figure out that all of the actually happened right in the first book.

Pulp Fiction 3

Genesis is and always will be “the beginning.” I accept your views if you have a more scientific and evolutionary approach to our being. I have always grown up knowing and learning that this was the beginning of our lives here on earth. As I am growing older, becoming my own “adult” I still believe and am not forced into belief as some would think. Genesis explains in much detail, how the world came to be. Genesis sets the stage for the rest of the Bible, it introduces us into a world we never got to know on a familiar level. It takes us deep into the story of our Lord, and his people. All together a great collection.

The Truman Show 5

The book of Genesis is a very interesting and entertaining book to read. It is creation, these very works of God are in our lives every second of every day. I enjoy this book because of the direct contact we have with the script. Unlike some of the other books of the Bible this seems to be the “break-in” period for man kind. God is testing man to make sure he is devoted to God’s will.

Breaker Morant 1

The book of Genesis would have to be the most fulfilling part of the bible for me. I love this book due to the fact that it lays out the basis for the rest of the Bible and it even gives us a perspective on why things are the way they are today. It tells us in great detail about how we got here and what had happened to the earth as it was being created. Not only does this book set the basis for the Bible, it set the basis for our lives.

True Grit 1

The book of Genesis is the first book that I have read when I was at Sunday school. I do have to agree on what Breaker Morant 1 that the book of Genesis does tell you everything of what happened and what God had done to people on earth and how he created the Earth and human being. This book of Genesis gave me a good understanding of what God really is and how we became human being such as talking about human being like how he sent Adam and Eve to earth. How he made them as a couple and how Eve made a mistake by eating that poison apple. The book of Genesis is a easy book for little kids to slowly understand what is Church and who God is. Also learned how to read a Bible and go to Church.

Chariots of Fire 4

Hi Chariots of Fire 4,

I love the summary of Genesis you hit all of the highlights of the book and it was very easy to follow. Genesis like you said is the beginning. I mean this in multiple ways, it's the beginning of the Bible, it's the beginning of how the earth and the universe was created, and why thing that most people don't notice is that it's the beginning of the main idea of church. Of how we need to believe in God at all times and how he knows whats best for us. For example Adam and Eve. Eve ignores what God tells us by eating the apple and humanity got exiled from a land were everything was great. It shows also when Abraham nearly sacrifices his only son Isac that God will guide you and protect the innocent all he wants is us to follow. He shows this by telling Abraham to stop and Isac ends up not getting sacrificed and Abraham becomes blessed showing us why God should always be followed. Genesis is a great start to many things and you did a great job summarizing it, keep it up!

Truman Show 2

I greatly enjoy the book of Genesis. I really like how the books tells us about how everything was created, and how humans fell into sin. I also like how the book shows the struggle between God and man, and how God tests people. Genesis is the beginning of the Bible, and the book sets a basis for the rest of the Bible and a basis for our lives.

Pulp Fiction 4

I had always imagined Genesis as a boring historical description of the ancestors of the Israelites, but upon reading a few of the passages, I was surprised by how well the personalities of the characters were described. Abraham was worried about telling his son he would sacrifice him. Jacob made excuses in order to not travel home with Esau. It makes Genesis interesting as a story rather than just as a religious text.

True Grit 3

The book of Genesis is one of the most important books in the Bible. It describes how everything got started and how God shows his love for us. With out this book the rest of the books would not make sense, I think this is why most people are familiar with Genesis the best. They know about how the creation went and how the lord made human kind in his likeness. I think this is really important too.

True Grit 2

As a girl I read some of Genesis such as, Adam and Eve but I never read through all of it. Reading this article really helped to deepen my want to read all of Genesis. Sometimes when I read I do not really understand all of the hidden meanings and what things mean. This article helped to tie up some loose ends that I wondered about and had not really thought of before. I feel like even people more familiar with this book do not always see everything. Having an article like this really helps them to see everything and to help them get the most out of the bible. The passages I have read from Genesis I really enjoy because I feel it is very descriptive and detailed which helps me to put my whole body into what I am reading. I really feel as if I was there.

Truman Show 4

The book of Genesis is an introduction to the Bible yes, but also it lays the groundwork for the style and organization of the rest of the Bible as a whole. It has stories, law, and even an introduction of a Savior figure (Moses). Really I think that without this first book, the rest of the Bible would be harder to understand than it already is. Not only from a narration standpoint (missing the very first parts of the story of the world), but also it helps sort of ease into one of the most incomprehensible books ever written. Not having Genesis in the Bible would be like not having God in it, there would be no point.

Shawshank 2

Genesis is interesting and has many meanings but I feel raises one of the most controversy subjects about the Bible and our world today. The book of Genesis talks about powers that man cannot use or replicate in regards to creation. Many scientists will not agree with the idea that God created the universe and man. This is well-known to all of us. Many, not all, scientists are realists, meaning that they believe in only what they can see and do. Christians and believers in faith do not need the idea of realism; they simply can read the text and grasp the understanding of how creation and everything to follow was made. When the Bible has verses such as Genesis 1:3 Then God said “Let there be light.”, it makes scientists upset because something so complicated in theory is made so easy by the works of an authority called God. Believing in something so simple like that can be challenging for many scientist as well as people. Genesis I feel is a great tool for finding answers if you’re a believer as well as a great motivation for scientists to find the answers they are truly looking for.

True Grit 5

I really have to say that the book of Genesis among other Old Testament books is hard to read for me. Though I do favor the book of Genesis because it gives, and the world, identity. It tells the story of God and how we all came into being. Starting with the creation of the Earth, animals, man and woman, and then going into stories of how the nations were created by God blessing his people and giving them land that great nations will be raised in their name. To me it gives us a chance of existence and belief that there is so much more to this earth than we can describe and written evidence from man given to us through God himself to know for further generation why we believe in a God that gave us a purpose here and existence.

The Mission 3

The book of Genesis really illustrates in great detail how life came about and what it was like. Even the first two humans on Earth that God created were imperfect and made mistakes – mistakes that determined the future for humankind. Though they were not ashamed, Adam and Eve made their own clothing and wore it. It shows even then that they were modest by clothing themselves and that characteristic is one we still practice today.
This is a precious story because this is how Heaven and Earth were created – by the power of God. God also created us more superior than the animals that roam. Even God rested on the seventh day.

Pulp Fiction 6

The book of genesis is a great chain of narratives that takes you from the beginning to the end. I find it very easy to follow because it is chronological order. I found it interesting how it explains that although God is the highest power, not even everything he intends to happen happens and it is completely unpredictable. When reviewing the material I also never realized how ofter the gift of life is threatened to be taken away but never actually revoked.
The book of genesis also goes into great detail about studying the universe which I have always found to be very profound. I learned more about how nature and humanity fit together in the universe.
I also never knew that Christians tended to always tell people in times of suffering that everything will work out, but I do catch myself doing that on a regular basis, but I was wondering what the reasoning behind that was.
Also, True Grit 2 makes a very good point about why God would ask Abraham to give up his child.

Shawshank Redemption 3

Hello all,

I too agree that Genesis is one of my favorite books of the bible. Like has been mentioned before it is the beginning. Genesis sets the "stage" for everything else that happens throughout the rest of the bible. God creates the heavens and the earths, and he creates Man in his own image, which I feel is often forgotten in this day and age. It was mentioned several times in class today that God created Adam in his Image and Created eve from Adam. This got me to think that in the end all of God's Children are made in his image. This also brings to mind the fact that we are all a family. We all came from Adam and Eve and it just makes the whole earth one big "Happy" family! Genesis Covers it all it shows how man and God struggle and how God is eternally Merciful to his people.

I agree that Growing up Genesis was always hard to read because of all of the names. But it is truly a magnificent book, filled with stories that most children who grow up in religious home grow up hearing. Sunday school stories filled with bible characters and heroes of the bible that help them to remember them as they grow up. I to this day can recall numerous stories of bible characters and what God had planned or did for them. These biblical stories are there not only to entertain the children but they also play a great part in teaching the children lessons that will stick with them for all of their lives.

TheMission7

I love the book of Genesis. To me, it's the introduction of the deity, God, and as with any story, the introduction (Genesis) has to be able to capture the reader in order to continue with the rest of the book. In Genesis, you experience this world where there is a higher authority and how he/it tries to help his creation (humans) know that they are loved and in turn, they learn to not only love him, but love themselves as well.
God chooses people who we all think were these monk-type perfect beings but in fact they were just as flawed as any other person. They all made mistakes, but what made them different is that they chose to learn from their mistakes and for some reason had such deep faith in something bigger than themselves or any other person. So to me, Genesis teaches me that humans, as a whole, are capable of such incredible things. Choosing to believe in something that they've never seen means that they accepted, even then, that humanity was not the only thing to exist in this world and that openness to the unknown is really captivating to me.

Shawshank 4

I absolutely agree with the post above by Truman Show 4. Having started my experience with the bible out of order I don’t think anything has really made too much sense to me until now. In clarification, I’m not saying I magically understand the bible now that I have read the book of Genesis-for I’m not sure that I will ever truly understand a text that is so profound and complex in my eyes. However, I feel reading and attempting to understand the book of Genesis-while using it as a means of reference in understanding everything that comes after it in the bible-has helped me to further understand not only the viewpoints of others but also their devotion to God and the bible. For example, my lack of knowledge of the bible previously led me to believe that Abraham was indeed forced by God to sacrifice his one and only beloved son Isaac; something that I had never been able to wrap my head around. However, I was never inclined to actually look into the bible for myself to find understanding. Now, after having read the book of Genesis I have a clearer understanding of the entire situation. Abraham had such faith and devotion that he was willing to follow his God at all costs-another concept that I am just now beginning to comprehend-even if it meant his own son was that cost. God returned and respected Abraham’s faith and blessed him with his child. Abraham was ready and willing to follow his God, and that was all his God needed. The book of Genesis has started clearing up a lot of subject matter for me, and disregarding the scientific explanations, the way this section of the Bible is written gives me a better understanding of the religious idea of serving a great, and all powerful God.

Praying with Lior 2

The parts of the Book of Genesis that intrigues me most are the sections where it talks about human interactions with God. Chapter 22 of Genesis is most intrigues because in it, God command Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. Abraham has a huge dilemma. Should he follow the wishes of his God and kill his only son or disobey and suffer the consequences. Abraham obeys the lord’s wished and set out to Moriah to sacrifice his son. When Abraham is about to sacrifice his son, an angle appears tells Abraham obeyed, he will be rewarded.
In Chapter 22 of Genesis, God challenges Abraham to do something that most people couldn’t do, sacrifice their own child. God’s challenge made Abraham a better person.

breaker Moran 4

The book of Genesis is easily my favorite part of the bible when I was younger I use to watch these clay motion videos in my religion class and most of them where from Genesis. Now that I am older and reading the passages from Genesis it helps me understand the rest of the bible.

PrayingWithLior1

The book of Genesis helps explain how God works and what he expects. God made promises to Noah and Abram, which he kept. Before the promises were fulfilled their were tests. This can be viewed with all people. God has sent his only son to save us from our sins and giving us eternal life. We will experience tests throughout our lives as well. They may not come in the form of a direct voice telling us to kill our son like Abram, but more subtle. We need to be alert at all times and remember the covenant God has promised us.

Nell 3

The book of Genesis is an amazing book of the Bible because it is where life begins. It is the creation of night and day, the rivers, animals, and of course man and women. It is the start of our life and how we begin as a world made by God. The book of Genesis is easy to understand and read which really keeps my attention due to the creation of everything and how it is all done. Not only this but how there are also challenges within the Bible and how these challenges are overcome by those believing in their faith in God. This is important to point out and remember just because we too have challenges and if we also believe in our faith the challenges will subside as well. Believing in why things happen for a reason is something that I remember many telling me when things start being complicated. Only God knows why these certain things happen to individuals and when they happen, all happening for a reason only God has planned for us.

Nell 2

Genesis can be interpreted many different ways and has many depicted meanings that are very controversial in the world today. The major controversy within Genesis is with the creation of the world. Many people including well known scientists argue the idea of God creating the world and instead have other theories. Most scientists will only believe in physical matter and things that they can explain how they happen. This is the first point in the Bible in which the reader’s faith is really important. While going through public school especially faith will be challenged in the area of creation. Many argue with the fact that there is no possible way that all of the earth can be created in six days with God resting on the second. Genesis also goes on to show people being tested like Abram being called to leave a promising life style and eventually sacrifice his only son in whom he waited so long for. Genesis is so jammed packed and such a fun book to study!

Breaker Morant 3

As it has been stated many times above, Genesis is kind of a difficult book to read. There are a lot of names and places, and it seems to get confusing at times. However, this article helped clarify a few things. While reading some of the passages again, as an adult,I realized that a lot of the stories in Genesis are the sort of stories we heard in Sunday School as young children. It's very interesting to here these stories from a more educational perspective. It's very thought provoking to try to understand that these events truly occurred and how different things are today. When I read about Abraham I can't help but think of the old song..."Father Abraham, had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham, I am one of them, and so are you, so let's all praise the Lord!"

Praying with Loir 5

The book of Genesis is the first book for a reason. It explains creation and then gives a series of stories with moral lessons. It is always interesting to see how far people will take faith,(Abraham) or what humans do with free will ( Sodom and Gomorrah). There are some disturbing aspects also. How do you reconcile with brothers that sold you into slavery. (Joseph) Why would a murder be protected? (Cain) While the religious are blessed, the wicked are destroyed. Except, the family of Abraham. The most dysfunctional family seems to have the loving hand of God. The first book of the Bible holds more drama than the season finally of Grays Anatomy.

Breaker Morant 6

The book of Genesis is an interesting book to read and study since it is where God creates man in his image and likeness, and gave him the authority to rule over all creatures. It tells us that human beings are the only special creatures created and only human beings can participate in the divine life of God through communion with Him. Man hears his voice and talk to God face to face. But it also tells us Man lose his communion with God through disobedience, which Jews, Christians, and Muslim agreed calling it “sin”, sin disrupts our communion with God; for he is holy. It also tells us how few walked with God in the days of the flood, how God calls Abram out of a pagan nation to serve, fear and have communion with God. Calling is special word for Jews and Christians, since both believe that God calls them into a relationship with him. In the book of Genesis, ones see God as righteous and merciful, and ask human beings to walk with him and be blameless like he is. How he initiates covenant with man, how he is deeply grieved at sin, as he judged the world through the flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah. There are many interpretations concerning the creation, the fall, and the flood. But from the book of Genesis, we can see how God longs to have relationships with us, human beings.

Pulp Fiction 5

The book of Genesis, in my opinion, is one of the most controversial books in the bible. I think this is due to the fact that scientists and believers in Christ have clashed for decades over the issue of creationism versus the evolution theory. Obviously the book of Genesis gives the best description of how God created man in his own likeness and how he also created all of what we have today including the animals and Earth itself. I think it is quite interesting how over the years the creationism versus evolution debate has evolved as more things are discovered about both sides.

The book of Genesis is much more than about the creation of the Earth and man. It gives many good stories that deal with the beginning of man and how we have become who we are. The story about Abram was very interesting to me as I had never read it prior to this past week. It is very inspiring to me that a man would be so faithful to God that he would be willing to sacrifice his only son because God told him to. Obviously this might be a little extreme today but if we could try to be a little more like Abram in our day to day lives I think we would become much more happy.

JohnFH

Hi Pulp Fiction 5,

On the topic of being a "true believer," to the point of doing counter-intuitive and horrific things like offering up one's own child as a whole burnt offering, you might be interested in reading Eric Hoffer's reflections which I reference here:

http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2011/02/the-primacy-of-faith-in-genesis-22.html

Perhaps it is fair to say that "true believers" are responsible for both the best and the worst things that humans do. If that is true, if we tried to be "a little bit more like Abra[ha]m" things could easily turn out worse rather than better.

The Mission 21

I think this will be a very good book to start with. I have no biblical back round and I am looking forward to reading and getting familiar with the whole thing. Also, I noticed some familiar stories in the book of Genisis such as Cain killing his brother Abel and the story of Jacobs older brothers selling him into slavery. So I am a little bit familiar with this. But I hope we can dive deeper into this book for a deeper understanding.

Galle Lister

I am not really into reading bible, but I have some important verses that I know from attending a mass. I know that in Genesis, it was stated how everything started, how we are made, why God made us, and what's with Eve and Adam. But it doesn't mean that I don't believe on Him, I believe Him with all my heart. Genesis maybe explains how everything started but only God knows how He made us and what is our purpose here on earth that he also made.

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