07 What’s the Bible All About… Creation

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Eugene Peterson as part of a leadership class that I was taking through Spring Arbor University.  Eugene has been my ‘reading’ pastor for over a decade now… and I have spent much time with him ‘by my side’ as I navigated the waters of Christian Spirituality.

 

In the interview… I asked Eugene about some of the biggest ailments that he sees in pastors in North America.  One of the points that he made was that pastors tend to spend most of their time copying other pastors… and this is a cancer of sorts to the creativity that God has planted in them.  We are not able to make able to change the world if we are not allowing the colors that God has equipped us with to come out.

(Listen to the interview… if you want… It is about 45 minutes long… doesn’t have anything to do with the overall content of this post)

 I knew what he meant… in that I sometimes find myself imitating others that I admire until the message I am really wanting to convey comes out in my own way.

 

I also knew what he meant… because I was serving under a pastor that I am sure wanted to be Kenneth Copeland.

 

What does that have to do with anything concerning Genesis 1?

 

I’ll tell you…

 

I interacted briefly with Rob Bell recently over on his Tumblr after he began a series of posts that inspired me to do these posts about the Bible.  I had asked Rob if it would be ok if I used some of his posts in a teaching series, and he was very encouraging in giving permission… giving that I give credit where credit is due.

 

I tell you that because this post on the creation poem found in Genesis 1 has been articulated by Rob so well… that there is no point in me trying to avoid plagiarism by putting his teachings into my own words.  I’ll just let him do the talking.

 

It’s just good stuff…

 

And a bit controversial…

 

There is a debate between creationists and evolutionists that… from where I sit… has gotten a bit boring.

 

How did the world come to be?

Does the Bible talk about a literal 6 days of creation?

Where did Cain and Abel find wives?

 

While evolutionists would seemingly like to dismiss the Biblical account all together… I have to admit that the creationist side of the debate doesn’t do much to give us anything worth holding onto… other than facts that they can use to keep the argument going.

 

I’m bored with it all…

 

As the curtain of time and space is pulled open in the opening pages of this sacred text… we are drawn into a mystery of a God… that saw what had been made… and said… it… was… good…

 

So… giving credit where credit is due… Mr. Rob Bell…

(and a couple of the slides from the version of the teaching I did once or twice…)

Literally Reading the Bible.018 Literally Reading the Bible.021

06 What’s the Bible All About… opening number

Participation in musicals is an activity that some of our children find much enjoyment in.  The practice schedule is a long and tiring process that involves the coming together of many people learning their lines… songs… choreography… set design…techie stuff… and orchestral numbers learned by those in the pit.

 

The magic of theater for the audience is that when the lights go down in the room, they are looking forward to being whisked away into another time or place.  If all goes as planned… the play watcher will not even notice the intricate details that have been tended to by the actors, producers and directors.

 

Knick knacks on a bookshelf in the living room scene.

 

A bale of hay tucked away in the corner of the farm scene.

 

The way that the young couple in love holds hands… even if they are not the main characters in the drama.

 

Live theater is an art in the truest sense.

 

As an audience member of a musical… the experience begins… with the curtain closed… and the lights dimmed low.  It is then, that the unseen players… the orchestra members… begin a short number that serves as a medly of the themes to the bigger elements of the story that is about to be lived out in technicolor.  The audience may sit in the dark listening to this musice for a couple minutes… with anticipation… and wonder.  And just as you get settled in for the journey…

 

The curtain opens… Act 1… Scene 1.

 

This experience is quite similar to the way that the Bible opens up for us.  It employs words instead of music… but they are words of poetry… rather than scientific terminology or history…

 

Poetry by nature has a mysterious element that can relay truths that no other genre in literature can produce.  And maybe that is why the authors of Genesis (inspired by God) chose the poetic device… so that when we open the pages to this book… our hearts, souls, and minds would be opened to accept the awe and wonder of mystery.

 

This is probably a nice place to pause… because much debate has taken place over the scientific accuracy of the creation account found in Genesis 1.  I’m not going to spend a lot of time in this debate… because it deviates from the bigger point of the narrative that is about to unfold…

 

How does one argue for the scientific accuracy of a poem?

 

We don’t watch movies like, ‘Transformers’… and then treat them like documentaries…

 

We don’t listen to our favorite romantic songs with a loved one… and then use it as a means for determining our grocery list…

 

When it comes to Genesis chapter 1… there have been many attempts to read it as a history book… determining specifics like how many hours in a day… and how many days in a week… or what happened to the dinosours.

 

Genesis chapter 1… is a poem… designed to set the stage for a creative act… that was good…

 

Genesis chapter 1… has a rhythm and a medley… designed to open our hearts to a good God… who loves us…