Continuing the discussion from Reading Suggestions:
I’m very reluctant to embark upon the development of this manuscript because I have so much respect for the scriptures that I proceed with fear and trembling any attempt to share it. It was a truly sartorial experience for my faith and understanding of God, His Son, the Holy Spirit and “what is man that Thou are mindful of him” (Psalms).
Maybe, I could scan and upload the one page of notes I took on Genesis (50 books in one page…impossible!) as an example / model of the format and truncated content style I used throughout other 65 books of the Bible.
If anyone is interested in seeing Genesis in one page and providing some feedback, let me know.
I also designed a one page map of the historical development of humankind’s faith relationship with God Almighty. It starts with the Middle Ages and ends NOW. I designed it in 2008 after listening to a series of lectures on the “New Atheism”. I can upload and send that to anyone interested, as well.
Actually, I think that I will upload it here!
Hey Katina, I’ve just been looking at your page for Genesis! I love how you show a progression, with each story building on yet developing what came before. I sort of “bounced off” the theme though – Man’s tragic inadequacy. There’s some truth in it, but I don’t feel it’s the whole story. Just thinking as I go along here, but I would perhaps articulate a theme that was more like, “God turns toward humans again and again in constant love despite their rejection.” That’s a bit unwieldy, I know; but I tend to think it’s important, theologically, to put God and God’s actions in the centre – the Bible as the story, not of our failures, but of God’s love.
But perhaps I’m missing the mark that you’re aiming for? Please tell me more!
You’re absolutely right, Mary! It is not the whole story. It is “Man’s tragic inadequacy…without God”.
I would love to tell you more and plan to. We have to exchange phone numbers or something because you’re my kinda’ lady! I cannot believe that you actually took the time to look at it. I appreciate it very much and would cherish to have a friend like you in my life that I can relish over these things with.
Thank you so much for taking an interest. Wow?!? Talk to you soon!
No, Mary! YOU tell me more!
I tend to fall in love instantly and darnitall, it has happened, yet again!
I am looking forward to getting to know you, Mary. I’ll bet that your Sunday School students get a whole lotta heart from you.
I accidentally incl. the above statement as part of your quote when it was actually my response to your quote.
RE: “Man’s tragic inadequacy” - in my Genesis notes I described this as the “essence of Hell”. That is, man’s awareness and sense of his own inadequacy…and then to just be STUCK there. That is the psychological domain of hell. The latter, also being synonymous with “eternal separation from God” - because it is at that precise moment or instance when man becomes inadequate.
Would you like to see my notes on Exodus, too? If so, let me know and I can send them to you. Though they will be scanned handwritten pages, as I did not neatly type them into tables, Yet, with every book of scripture that I exposed and summarized, I used a personally designed Cornell style note-taking template to render them easier to follow.
You’re really sweet to say that! It is so much fun to be able to talk about these things with another person who’s passionate about them. Yes, I’d love to see the Exodus page… let’s keep the conversation going!
I did a little more thinking about why I have an instinctive rebellion against the words “tragic inadequacy”, and here’s what I came up with. I think that one of the beautiful things about humanity is our inter-dependence, on each other and on God. Society places tremendous value on self-sufficiency, but this is actually a delusion; and when we perceive someone whose dependence is visible, for example a person with a disability, a common reaction is to punish that person – I think because they remind us of our own dependency that we try to conceal. Wouldn’t it be more joyous though to celebrate how our inter-dependency pulls us together into a community, making us more than we could ever be alone?
So, to circle back, our inadequacy doesn’t have to be tragic – dependence on God, like our dependence on other humans, is innate in our humanity, and indeed it is our glory.
Whew. Can’t wait to see what Exodus holds.
Amen! Yes, I love the notion of finding glory in our inadequacy. That is beautiful, Mary. And if we explored this further and embraced it in each other…it could revolutionize the way we interact with and express love and respect for each other, as well as, ourselves. It could literally alter the human heart in splendous ways. A whole new ethic.
When you have a chance, (757) - 998 - 1161.
Love you, Mary!
Exodus_Pg1_of_2.pdf (484.0 KB)
Exodus_Pg2_of_2.pdf (119.9 KB)
Mary, above is a link to my hand-written expository notes on Exodus. I hope that they are legible enough for you to decode and interpret. I would love your feedback.
I will (eventually) type my notes. But I am apprehensive right now for my own personal reasons.
Thanks again for your interest.
Hi @KPr2204 and @marythaler—just letting you know that I split these posts from the ‘Reading Suggestions’ thread into their own topic, so you and others can focus in on this specific project. Feel free to change the title of the topic, if another would be better suited.
Thanks Marco! I think we’re going to have some interesting discussions here
Hey @KPr2204, I’ve just started reading your Exodus notes (no problem for the handwriting) and it reminded me that I was talking about Exodus just the other day with my Dad, who’s a Methodist minister (well, United Church, but that’s what we call Methodism in Canada). He told me he’d just recently taught a Bible study that drew parallels, line by line, between the Lord’s Prayer and the events in Exodus. I’ll see if I can get him to send me his notes.
I’ll get back to you with more when I’ve read a bit more of your manuscript.
Okay, I’ve just finished! I think the theme you’re working with is that this book is about what God plans for us — that God has plans for us “for good and not for evil”, is that right?
Thanks Katina! I’m in Canada, so we should probably consider skype – You can find me as mary.thaler2.
Before coming out, I want to go back in to Genesis. The outline is just an overview. With the assistance of some of my fav Bible Expositors, Ray C. Stedman, J. Vernon McGee and Allistair Begg, I separated Gen. into themes. The themes were entitled by God’s identifying names.
Gen. - “The Method of Faith” - Theme I - Elohim (Creator of the Heavens and Earth)
Gen. 1: 1 to Gen. 2:1-3
Many are discouraged by the “Beginning” because they bring to the study of this book certain infantile concepts about God and the Bible, which have been retained from their childhood. My spiritual mentors have called these “Teddy Bear” ideas. Most of us slept with a Teddy bear when we were little, but discarded it when we grew up. But unfortunately we have not discarded many of the “Teddy Bear” ideas we had as boys and girls about God and the Bible, but instead have carried them over into adult life. When we impose these Teddy Bear ideas upon the Scriptures we discover that the Bible has a tendency to turn us off, and that the book becomes dull and uninteresting to us, and understandably so.
Still others come to Genesis rather prejudiced by the widespread rejection of this book as unscientific or primitive in its concepts. So they read the book, especially the first chapters, with a sense of distaste. They read it simply to be informed about a book that is as widely known as this. But they are already prejudiced against it, and consequently they never really see what is here. They never really hear the words of this book.
Therefore, I would like to suggest that in this present series we attempt to read this book as though we had never read it before, to carefully note what is said here, and what is not said. We must remember, as we study, that Genesis is the first chapter of the story that ends with the presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ and the declaration of the way God has found to obtain the release of human life from despair and death, and to bring it into power, excitement, and grace. In other words, the God of Genesis is the God of the rest of the Bible.
It is a completely false idea, and one that is essentially infantile, to assume, as many do, that the God of Genesis is different from the God found in the rest of the Bible that he is an austere, stern, harsh, rather remote Being – a Creator only – that his attitude toward humanity is quite different than that found in the New Testament. But this is not true at all. The idea has come into being only because people have taken isolated texts from the Scriptures and used them to build a montage of God which presents him in this aspect. But you will find the grace of God shining through the book of Genesis as much as it does in the New Testament. The love of God, the compassion, the tenderness, the sweetness of God, are manifest as much in Genesis as they are anywhere else in the Bible.
I’m greatly impressed. Would be interested to stay in touch.
Please do! I welcome and appreciate any feedback. This is going to be a long haul, as I have already documented my expositional summaries and notes. Now, I am just transcribing them to this particular platform for input, guidance and feedback.
Thank you so much for your interest. Wow!
If this is your first REAL exposure to the Bible or Genesis. Then, MAGNIFICENT!!! I am going to pretend as though it is my first time, too. Let’s join hand-in-hand and take the first step out into the cosmos, from which we will use as one of our vantage points. Sometimes, the cosmos, at other times, we will return to this chosen planet, Earth.
I’d like to start exposing Genesis by shedding light upon four major questions that God answers for us in just the first few verses. One of the marvels of the Bible is that it uses language that communicates with people of the most primitive and limited understanding, while at the same time it still has significance, and inexhaustible meaning, to the most erudite and learned of men. It addresses itself with equal ease to all classes of mankind. No other book that I know of has that distinction.
Our perspective will follow the directionality of the Cross upon which Christ was crucified. Switching back and forth from the vertical axis of Abraham’s bosom, inhaling the spiritual, cosmic dust particles of the stars, to the horizontal axis of Earth’s solid ground exhaling the dust of Adam’s bones.
So, close your eyes, take a deep breath, open your eyes and let us BEGIN!
In the Beginning…each of us began life as a baby and as such we paid little attention to what was going on around us or to what the world was like. But as we grew older we started to take note of the world – the sky, the sea, the winds, the birds, the flowers, the animals, the trees, and all of life around us. As we became aware of the world, we inevitably asked some questions about it. It is those questions which are answered for us in very brief compass here in these opening words of the book of Genesis.
What are the questions?
FIRST, we ask ourselves, “What is all this?” Driven by an insatiable curiosity, man has been attempting to answer that question ever since he first appeared on earth. He seeks to explore the universe and the world in which he lives.
SECOND, we ask, “How did it begin?” The question of how is the question, primarily, which occupies science.
Then we ask, “When did it begin?” When did it all start? How long has the world been going on like this?
FINALLY, we come to the great philosophical question, "Who is behind it?" Who is in the back of these strange and remarkable processes? These questions are answered here in this verse, and thus it serves as a tremendous introduction to the great themes of the Bible.
FIRST QUESTION: What is all this? (Gen. 1: 1): ANSWER: we read, “God created the heavens and the earth,” (Genesis 1:1 RSV). There we have them – the heavens and the earth. Someone has said that this phrase is the beginning of true science because a fundamental part of the task of science is to observe and classify all that can be observed in the makeup of the world of nature. Here is a very early attempt at classification. What do you see around you? You see two great classes of things – the heavens and the earth.
This universality is evident in this phrase, “the heavens and the earth.” As my fellow explorer, dwelling upon the earthly, horizontal perspective, these words offer meaning for a savage in the jungle, simply perceiving the land in which he lives and the sky over his head. We note the earth, with its yield of trees, plants and animal life, and we note the heavens with the birds flying and the wind blowing, the clouds, and the stars. That may be all we are concerned about but God describes it for us as ‘the heavens and the earth.’
Now, let’s turn our perspective onto the vertical plane, as modern astronomers, looking out into the far reaches of the universe through a great telescope, we would also use the phrase, ‘the heavens and the earth,’ i.e., the planet on which we live (horizontal plane) with its relationship to the solar system (vertical plane) in which it moves, and beyond that the illimitable reaches of sidereal space, involving vast galaxies almost unimaginably removed from one another. But either is described by this simple phrase, ‘the heavens and the earth.’ That is the beauty of Bible language. Sigh…Deep Breath…
The Bible completely avoids the utter ridiculousness of some of the early myths about creation and origin, found in other religions. In this creation account there is nothing that needs to be laid aside as man’s knowledge increases. This is true of the entire opening chapter of Genesis – a most remarkable passage in that respect. Later, the Bible takes these two words, the heavens and the earth, and expands both, disclosing a remarkable knowledge of nature which anticipates by many, many centuries the discoveries of modern science. That is another proof that this book is not of man. It comes through man, but from God.
it was the Bible that first said that _ the number of the stars is beyond computation_. It declares that God “stretched forth the heavens” (Isaiah 51:13 KJV) into limitless expanse which can never be measured, and filled it with stars which are as numerous as the sands upon the seashore, (Genesis 22:17).
Yet, as primitive observers looking into the heavens, the visible stars are not uncountable. They are a vast number but they do not seem impossible to count. But the Bible flatly states that the number of the stars can be compared, literally, to the number of the grains of sand upon the seashore. Modern science has now established this to be true. Man cannot possibly begin to assess the number of the stars.
It was also the Bible that said the earth is hung upon nothing (Job 26:7). In that poetic way it describes the mysterious force of gravity which no one even yet understands but which keeps the earth suspended in its relationship to the sun and the other planets. The earth literally hangs upon nothing. It was the Bible that said that "things which are seen are made of things which do not appear," thus predating by many centuries the discoveries of modern science which finally recognized that all matter is made up of invisible energy, and that matter and energy are interchangeable.
At this point we must make crystal clear a truth that is of supreme importance in our study, and to which we will return again and again as we go through Genesis. We must recognize at the outset that it is not the intention of the Bible to be a textbook on science. If it were, the book would be much thicker than it is, much less comprehensible. Gen. introduces the Bible as a Book of redemption. It is not so much about how the heavens go, but rather, how to go to heaven. A way out for a troubled race. The supreme concern in God’s heart is revealed here as He offers a way for us to understand what is going on at the spiritual level of our hearts. it is the only book that speaks with authority in this realm. And it constantly uses the physical and material to illustrate and to reveal truth that is on a higher level – the spiritual. That we might understand what goes on in the human spirit, affecting everything we do. God has deliberately made the physical to correspond to the spiritual in such a way as to illustrate to us what is going on within.
Dr. F. A. Filby, who is the Senior Lecturer on Inorganic Chemistry at an English technical college, inspired this revelation when I read a statement from one of his lectures (at the time that I was engaging in this particular study of Gen,), which says:
**"The material world is designed to produce parallels – parables – of the spiritual. There is indeed a spiritual law operating in the natural world, and God put us on a planet where light is separated from darkness for our spiritual education as well as for our physical needs. There is a spiritual, as well as a physical reason, for the pattern of creation and he who divorces science from true religion will never be able to come to a real understanding of the world"
Granting this to be true, then it is evident that the physical heavens and earth are used to illustrate the fundamental difference which exists between human and divine life. God is not man. He operates quite differently from man. But it is his intention that man should share his life, and live as he lives. Obviously, then, we must learn a wholly different way of living. That is the supreme subject of the Bible: how to live on a different level of life – the level on which God intended man to live (SEE Isaiah 55: 8-9).
I will cover the SECOND QUESTION Genesis addresses in my next post. In the meantime, I want to express my love and appreciation for anyone who took the time to peruse or read through my passionate summary of the first few verses of Gen. I know that we haven’t even moved beyond the first verse, yet, I thank you for your patience and welcome your feedback.
Love Y’all to Life,