In the Beginning …

Today we look at Genesis 1:1-19. Written approximately 3,500 years before the scientific age, its interest is about the ‘why’ God created the world, rather than the ‘how’. As you read it, keep in mind the religious context in which Israel lived. The gods of Egypt and those of the Sumerian cities of Ur, Babylon and Nippur claimed to be the creators of the world and worthy to be worshipped.

Genesis ch 1, affirms the following, much of which is a polemic (critical attack), on the claims by these gods:

(1) The Creator God has made everything: the heavens above, the earth and everything in the sea. The god of Babylon, Tiamat who was the dragon of the primordial sea, did not create the land. It was God’s Spirit, who brought into being out of the formless chaos, order and land (Gen 1:2).

(2) The sun, moon and stars were made by God. They are not explicitly named in Gen 1:16-17, but are stripped of their deity. They serve God’s purpose marking the time and seasons and should not to be worshipped.  They do not control human destiny, God does – who created them. Astrology, therefore, has no basis.

(3) The pinnacle of God’s creation is humanity, whereas the Sumerian gods claimed humans were made to serve them as their slaves. In contrast, Genesis teaches that all humanity, and both men and women, are created in God’s image (1:26-27). In Egypt, their supreme god Ra, whose son, the Pharaoh, was the incarnation of Ra, boldly claimed to be the only person to bear his god’s image.

(4) The 6 days of creation are divided into 3 days of preparation, then 3 days of fulfilment. And it is declared very good by God (1:31), not evil.

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