Greetings from week two of the SBS. My heart and mind are so full that I hardly know where to begin. These past fourteen days have filled me with awe and wonder at God’s love and redemptive plan for mankind. I can’t put into words how grateful I am to be able to spend nine months with the story; the metanarrative that shapes our world; the great romance (the original story of love)…the book that thousands have given their lives to preserve; a text that is alive, inspired, and carrying the breath of God. In our first week we learned the 12 Step Inductive Method to studying the bible. In order to practice, we went through the book of Jonah together as a class. Last week we somehow managed to work through the entire book of Genesis. I’d love to share more on the method in later posts or on a one-on-one basis. If you are curious/interested, I would be happy to send out more information on inductive interpretation and the process of self-study that we are learning.
For now, I want to share just one truth learned from Genesis: Genesis reveals a God who is intentionally involved in the human story. This directly contradicts ‘Deism’ a belief that is gaining much popularity among teenagers in the United States. Deism asserts that God created the world, set time/natural law into motion, and then removed himself. He sits back and watches (or perhaps doesn’t even watch) from a “deistic distance”. God is so transcendent and “other” that He cannot possibly be an object of our knowledge. He is uninvolved in the affairs of humans and provides us with no special revelation of His character. Yet you have only to read through Genesis to see that God is (undeservedly) invested in the story of humanity. In Genesis, God does not step back from creation, but steps into it: living, walking and talking with humans in the garden. In the face of widespread wickedness (Gen. 6) God does not give up on humanity, but uses Noah to begin again with a plan of redemption.
This plan begins in the life of Abraham. God promises to bless Abraham, making him into a great nation that will one day bless the entire world (Hint: It’s Jesus). When Abraham doubts God’s resolve, YHWH responds by preforming a cultural agreement (Gen. 15). In this agreement Abraham is asked to cut some animals in half (strange) and lay them on the ground. Now, in the Ancient Near East, both covenant parties should walk through the torn bodies, signifying that if they do not do what they promised, what happened to the animals would happen to them. Instead, God walks between the animals alone. In essence, He binds Himself to Abraham, to humanity, and to this plan of redemption (Hint: It’s Jesus). He isn’t going anywhere. He isn’t watching from a distance. He says, “Let me be destroyed if what I have promised does not come true”. He’s serious about this plan. It’s probably a good one. Over and over in Genesis God shows his desire to restore relationship between mankind and Himself. He is far from finished with us, and it’s a glorious thing.
We have not yet received all the funds for our SBS, so if you have not given, please consider contributing! For those of you who have already given, thank you so much for believing with and for us for this season of our lives. We are so honored.