Today’s reading was interesting. Both the OT and NT readings were challenging, but for different reasons. Mostly though, I don’t really understand what I’m reading in Genesis.
Why The Face?
The thoughts below are just the random notes I took while reading.
As recorded/written, God’s interactions with His early people come across as a little passive aggressive (I suppose, that is, until the flood). After Cain kills Abel, God asks where his brother is, knowing all along what’s up. I think that’s annoying when humans do that today.
I can’t remember how I used to read chapters 4 & 5 when I read the Bible as a factual account. Where did all the other people come from – an entire land (Nod) of people sprung up somehow? When did people start offering gifts/sacrifices to God? One man was the father of all who played stringed instruments and pipes?
The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. – Genesis 6:6
The flood account as a whole makes me uncomfortable. But in particular, 6:6 is troubling. God regretted making us? That’s not very omniscient of Him.
Most people know that other cultures have flood accounts/myths. I think the Jewish version is a good one. But I’m not especially compelled to defend it as the “factual” one.
One of the things I fear is lacking from my current paradigm is God’s holiness. I really, really like the idea of a relational God. But that emphasis can cause me to ignore or downplay the perfection of God and His desire for me to be holy.
I don’t understand Genesis 9:18-28. Noah made a mistake, his son laughed, and Noah cursed him. If he hadn’t gotten drunk and disrobed, none of that would have happened.
Things I want to know more about:
- Why is Naamah specifically mentioned?
- Who did Lamech kill?
- Did people really live that long?
- What are the Nephilim and why is their mention so casual? Where did they go?
John 2 & 3
Turning water into wine is an interesting first miracle. I’m curious why Jesus’ mother asked him to help – and what she expected him to do. This story lends a little credibility (very little) to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas – perhaps his mother had witnessed some previous power and was turning to him now. But, as she was there for the miraculous pregnancy and birth, it’s also possible she knew he could do something awesome. Whatever the reason, she asked him to help with a relatively mundane request – but one that required some resourcefulness. I wonder what the servants thought – and how many of them became disciples as a result?
Knowing where the story is going, I’m struck by the irony (probably not the correct use) of Jesus’ words about destroying and rebuilding the temple. The temple was an earthly “portal” for engaging with God – the thought that someone would destroy it would have rightly enraged the pharisees. And yet Jesus, an earthly embodiment of God, is destroyed by the people who cherished the temple.
Chapter 3 is simultaneously beautiful and troubling. Verses 16-21 are amazing. It’s a great executive summary for the Bible (at least as far as I know, since I haven’t actually read it yet). And it doesn’t say that we are evil, but rather our deeds are. I like that distinction (as discussed in the last post). But the last verse of chapter 3 makes me uncomfortable.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. — John 3:36
I know, I know – the Bible isn’t written for my comfort. But I’ve read the Old Testament as the account of the wrathful God and the New Testament as an account of the gracious God. I recognize this is a faulty reading – and one I’m hoping to rectify with this experience. But this verse is a pretty strong statement that God’s wrath is real and present in some way.
Day 2 Conclusions
I realized this morning that I’m reading – and writing these posts – with what is perhaps an unhealthy amount of cynicism. Having read these stories before, it’s incredibly difficult to not bring prejudices into it. But, I suppose, this exercise is less about a “fresh” read for the stories I’ve read before, and more about an “engaged” read with them. I would just like to tamp down my cynicism a bit as I progress.
Thanks to any and all who are reading these posts. I’m writing them for my own benefit – both as a tool for daily discipline and perhaps as an archive for when I finish – but I hope they’re fostering something for you.