Last week was the start of a study in the Book of Genesis that I am leading at Northland, A Church Distributed, on Sunday mornings. Here is the link to Northland’s Archive of first week.
Hope you enjoy and look forward to engaging with you in the study of this foundational book of The Bible
3 thoughts on “Genesis Week 1”
A most enjoyable video. If I could make one suggestion for the future, perhaps you could repeat the questions as they are asked, since they are sometimes inaudible to the viewer (or at least to me).
I would be grateful if you could address some observations and questions I have:
Does it seem odd to you that a relatively slim document such as the book of Genesis, which might be reasonably consumed in an afternoon or two of study, should require 50 hours of classes such as this to fully tease out its meaning? If this methodology is to be followed for the remaining 65 books it would seem that properly comprehending the bible would consume much of the average human lifetime and many poor souls must necescarilly die in ignorance.
It seems to me that the creator the universe aught to be able to communicate in untterly clear terms. Why do you feel that it is necescary to spend an hour on caveats and throat clearings cautioning against misinterpeting the data. If the bible has, as you say, a “miraculous effect” on those who read it, shouldn’t you let it speak for itself?
You mention that people vary wildly in their interpretation of Genesis, and the bible as a whole. And of course there are many poor souls who read the book and are unconvinced by it or find that it somehow leaves them with more questions than answers. Furthermore, many people are convinced of the inerrancy of competing documents that often flatly contradict the Bible. What makes you believe that the Bible is in fact written by the creator of the universe?
Given the “miraculous effect” you cite for the effect of the bible on those who read it, how do you account for the aformentioned multitude of people; who, taken as a whole, represent the majority of the human species, who are unconvinced by the Bible’s claims?
Why do you feel that you have the authority to accurately interpret the will of the Yahweh and to guide others in doing so?
Finally with regard to your interpretation of the tale of the Ghadarene swine, it seems clear that you believe, as Jesus did, in the existance of devils and other supernatural creatures. It seems to me that the incident is extremely unfair to the poor pigs destined as they no doubt were for imminant slaughter. Now I would grudgingly admit that the well being of a human would trump the well-being of a herd of pigs but it seems to me that Jesus could have dealt with the Devils in a way that didn’t result in the apparantly callous destruction of some inoffensive livestock. Would you say that the treatment and well-being of pigs is a matter of indifferance to Jesus?
Thank you for your comments and questions. Let me try to answer them as best I can.
As to the length of time studying Genesis and the rest of the Bible i would say this. It doesn’t seem odd to me at all to take 50 hours of class time to study a book with 50 chapters. At the same time it is not required to do so in order to have a sufficient understanding of who God is and what the Bible teaches. I have done an entire survey of the great themes of the Bible in a 25 minute message. Part of the richness of the Bible is that you can do both.
Concerning God communicating clearly I would say he does. He communicates exactly what he means to. We just don’t listen clearly. That is true in every relationship. Sometimes a person clearly states the point and we just don’t get it or hear it. As for letting the Bible speak for itself, it often does. Yet at the same time, the Bible itself calls for people to study and teach it to others. Jesus did that with his first followers and commanded that all subsequent followers also make disciples. Making disciples requires teaching the things that Jesus said and commanded. One of the reasons for this is a major point of week one. The Bible was written for us but not to us. It an original audience that it spoke to and for us to fully understand it we need to try and understand what it meant to them first and then what it means to us.
Why doesn’t the whole world accept the Bible? The answer to that is human sin. We work very hard to reject God and keep him at bay. Our hearts and minds are effected by our sin. Not an answer many want to hear but I think that is what the Bible teaches.
Why do I feel I have the authority to accurately interpret the Bible? I could cite my degrees and academic experience and years of teaching but that it not the key point. I would say that I don’t feel I have authority to teach as much as a responsibility to teach. Authority implies that someone else is bound to follow and obey that authority. That is in no way the case when I teach. I believe strongly that God has called me to be a student of His Word and to share that with others. I recognize that I am a fallible person and will often get things wrong. What I hope to accomplish is give people some tools and understanding so they can dig into the Bible and make it their own. I don’t want them to believe it because I say it, but because they have examined it for themselves and own it.
Finally, concerning the pigs, all I can say it I wonder the same thing. But that does not put me off from continuing for follow Jesus just because I don’t understand why he did something.
I look forward to hearing from you again
Thanks for your response Dan, I appreciate your candour. You offer a very nuanced view of the Bible that is interesting to listen to.