Genesis 1-11 – The Beginning and a New Beginning

In the beginning, God…

That’s how the Bible begins – in the beginning, before anything, God.  That sets the tone for the rest of history.  God is the Source, the Point of Origin.  He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Provider, and the Savior.  Yes, eternally our Savior.  John 1 says of Jesus Christ, the Word and Light:

John 1:1-5: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

And, if the Son is eternal, that would make God eternally Father.  He is eternally loving, relational, and life-giving.  Jesus said,

John 17:24 – Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

So this eternally loving, relational, life-giving God made humans in His image, as the crown of His creation.  We, as male and female, were created to reflect God’s loving, relational, and life-giving character by being fruitful and multiplying on the earth.  We were also given dominion over creation, to rule as stewards on His behalf.  God, the Source of the universe, also has given us our purpose.  The two main questions of a worldview are covered.

What do these two truths mean for your life?

What happened next?

As the first chapter indicates, Genesis (and the Bible) is all about God, and His relationship with us.  As you read through Genesis, consider making a heading for each chapter, outlining what God does, and how people respond.  It could go something like this:

  1. God creates – Humans reflect & rule
  2. God provides – Humans fruitful & multiply
  3. God commands – Humans sin & cursed
  4. God gives – Humans kill & divide
  5. God sustains – Humans walk with God
  6. God distinguishes – Humans evil or righteous
  7. God cleanses – Humans destroyed
  8. God promises – Humans saved
  9. God renews – Humans blessed, cursed
  10. God multiplies – Humans unite in pride
  11. God divides – Humans disperse on earth

Out of all His creation, God sets aside humans to bear His image and represent Him on earth.  He blesses them to be fruitful and multiply, but they rebel and are cursed with death.  Their offspring divide, veering in two directions: a sinful line, and a righteous line.  The seventh generation of evil is Lamech, who kills two people; the seventh generation of good is Enoch, who walks with God.  Humanity is sinful and divided.

So, God decides to start over.  He sets aside Noah and his family, the only remaining members of the righteous family line, and wipes out the rest of evil humanity.  He promises to never again do this, and renews the blessing and affirms their value as image-bearers.  But, by the next generation, we are already seeing both blessing and curses.  This time, humanity rebels against God by pridefully uniting, to make their name great, and to reach up to God.  God comes down, and disperses them into many languages and nations, so that they will fill the earth, as intended.  Now, a third new beginning is in order

What a story!  Do you notice the flow?  The repetitive cycle that has begun?
More such patterns occur as you continue through the Bible, especially in books like Judges and 1-2 Kings.

Many have wondered why God would create such a world – that would “mess up” and need to be “re-started.”  If God is so powerful and perfect, how could His creation go so wrong?  That’s where His purpose comes in – He has always planned to work through people who choose to love Him.  He is raising children, not robots.  He started by setting aside humans from animals.  Then, He set aside the righteous line of Noah.  Finally, in chapter 12, He will set aside one family to be a blessing to all…

He has always been inviting people into a relationship with Him – people who hear His calling and recognize their God-given purpose.  He invites us into a lifelong journey of transformation, an eternal experience of love, hope, peace, and joy.

We have the privilege of learning about this in the Story that Scripture lays out for us – including the stories of many individuals who walked with God.  This year, I invite you to journey together through “God’s Story” – a sequence of historical books in the Bible that make up its main narrative.  I look forward to getting to know God and His purposes for us in the year ahead!

***This post is part of a series, titled “God’s Story,” which also involves a God’s story and sermon series.

Skyline Trail, Manning Park, BC

The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

This time of year, I hear of many people’s plans to fly south for a period during the winter.  In Canada, we call these people “snow birds.”  Some squeeze a week-long trip to Mexico into their busy plans.  Others spend half the year in Palm Springs or Arizona.  As for me, over the past month, listening to C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy audiobooks has felt like a bit of a virtual vacation.  These books captured my imagination and offered new perspectives in a way that I could compare to my experience of international travel.

To briefly summarize, without spoiling: the books take place on Mars, Venus, and Earth – in that order.  Their main protagonist is Dr. Ransom, who is originally kidnapped by two academic colleagues and taken to Mars in their spaceship, against his will.  Once there, he becomes acquainted with the intelligent species on the planet – both organic and angelic.  It is these angelic beings who then bring him to Venus in the second novel, where he is given an important task.  In the third novel, Dr. Ransom holds more of a background role, working behind the scenes of the other characters.

Though the trilogy takes place in sequence, in the same universe, with some of the same characters, the novels are also strikingly different from each other.  Personally, I likened the first two to an exotic vacation, from which I felt sorry to return.  While following Dr. Ransom’s travels on Mars and Venus, I found myself gaining new perspectives of my own world – just as I have gained insight about my own culture while immersing myself in other cultures on Earth.  In contrast, the post-war English setting of the third book was a more specific context that did not easily connect with my own.  Rather, this book had more to offer the reader in terms of its plot and characters.

On Mars, (Out of the Silent Planet) Lewis depicts an old world that had never fallen into sin: different intelligent species coexisted in a complimentary fashion, in trusting obedience to their angelic overseer.  While their appearance, habitat and language awakened my imagination, it was their culture that I found most striking: they were content.  They felt no need to increase their population, amass literature, or develop technology; they embraced the seasons of life, and trusted in divine providence.

On Venus, (Perelandra) Lewis depicts a newly created world, where its first woman inhabitant is completely innocent and ignorant.  She lives completely in the moment, without perspective of time or space.  Her home is a floating island that is always changing form, and her food grows bountifully on trees.  The food satisfies, leaving no desire to gorge oneself; the land moves, offering no way to store possessions.  When she encounters an evil tempter, Dr. Ransom realizes his purpose in being sent – to intervene on her behalf.  While he struggles with the thought that his circumstances are predestined, he realizes that he still holds the freedom to choose his course; God’s will can take another route, if necessary.  After considerable deliberation, he breaks out of his passive resignation, opting for physical intervention in place of intellectual argument.  While doing so, he reflects on the proper application of hatred and the effect of evil on a person.

On Earth, (That Hideous Strength), Lewis chooses quite an un-exotic setting: a college town in post-war England.  But, while this book lacks the exotic setting of its prequels, it offers much deeper characters and a more complicated plot.  In fact, it is as long as the first two books, combined.  At the outset, Lewis informs his readers that he is presenting his argument from The Abolition of Man in the form of a story: when academics abandon truth, all hell breaks loose.  The The story’s conflict is instigated by the N.I.C.E., a government-sponsored research organization that plans to develop a new race of humans who can live eternally in a mechanized-disembodied state.  They are opposed by Dr. Ransom and his companions, aided by a combination of mythological forces from the previous books as well as England’s past.  The main two characters are a young couple who must choose a side, while working through the ordinary struggles of career and marriage.

As one might expect of Lewis, offers a “moral to the story” that was contemporary to his historical context.  Having extensively studied the historical period in which these books were written, I cannot help but see connections between these novels and the events in England during the time of their writing.  The first book was published in 1938, shortly before the imperialistic powers of the world would plunge headlong into World War II.  This human vice, clearly depicted in the novel’s main antagonist, Dr. Weston, is sharply contrasted with the contentment of the Martian races.  The second book was published in the midst of World War II, as Britain literally fought for its survival against the Nazi regime.  An apologetic for their efforts can be found in Dr. Ransom’s own intervention against evil on Venus.  The third book was published at the end of the Second World War – as the ugly effects of the Holocaust and Nazi plans to create a “master race” were being uncovered.  Interestingly, the antagonists in the third novel are also trying to manipulate the evolution of the human race.

Overall, the books are imaginative without being technical, and intentionally philosophical without being religious.  One might be disappointed if they approached this trilogy with hopes for “hard science fiction,” or “religious dogma.”  Rather, like Narnia, these fictional works serve as allegories that carry ethical considerations.  Similar to Lewis’s area of study, they might fit best into the category of mythology.  By approaching the books with these expectations, I hope that you can enjoy them for what they are!

While originally found in the form of 24 CDs, the 30 hours of audio are now downloadable on