Cheer Up (it’s not the end of the world!): a commentary on Genesis 1 & 2
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_wp_text text=”Once upon a time…
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
In the beginning…
These words have a mythic quality to them, don’t you think? I don’t mean that they are all equally myths, just that the way they sound makes me feel like I’m about to learn something important about who I am and why I’m here in this moment.
They are framing words – words used to set up everything that comes after them.
‘Once upon a time’ precedes the damsel in distress.
‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away’ comes before Luke and Leia contend with Darth Vader.
‘In the beginning’ presages the fantastic true story of the downfall of humanity, our redemption through Jesus Christ, and our return back to our true selves in him.
These words set the stage for all that we know to be true about Christian spirituality.
But what of these words? And, how are we to take them?
Some may choose to take them as history. Some may choose to take them as oral tradition. Some may choose to take them as description. Some may choose to take them as poetry. But I’ve come to read (and re-read, and re-read) these words as something else entirely.
I read Genesis 1 as a kind of criticism. Criticism of the disorder in our world; Of the selfishness and vanity of our world. Criticism of the emptiness of our world’s lies; And of the promises those in power make to keep them believed. Criticism of any system that removes people from other people; And from their shared world and all who live in it.
And how does it criticize? By name-calling and rough speech? No. Genesis criticizes by telling us that in the beginning everything was created as it should be…and when we look at the way it is now we know that something has changed; something has gone wrong.
That is the critique: reality.
I don’t believe that this story was written as a pre-scientific description of how the world was formed; rather, I believe it is a prophetic critique of the brokenness of this world. I believe it is a theological statement that speaks of God the Creator who authored the world in perfect love. As such, I’ll explore this God-made world in terms of its identity as a Kingdom, and a Temple filled with God’s people.”][/vc_column][/vc_row]