On one level, the creation stories in Genesis offer explanations for different aspects of the human condition as we experience it, in the same way that the myths of Israel’s neighbors did.
But on a more fundamental level, they are concerned with the establishment of relationship. They are not meant to be reports about what actually happened “in the beginning,” in the long ago past. They mean to speak about the God from whom and with whom the world now and always has life and future. This makes speaking about creation and creatureliness very different from speaking simply about existence or contingency.
In fact, the biblical stories about creation are best understood as answers of faith, born of Israel’s experience of God, to the basic and terrifying questions raised by our threatened, contingent existence. It is God and God alone whose hand holds back both Pharaoh’s charioteers and the primal watery chaos, leading God’s creatures to fullness of life and freedom. It is only in relationship with this God that the world and those who dwell in it can find real life, life that lasts:
See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
Deuteronomy 30: 15-20
John Randall Sachs in his wonderful little book, The Christian View of Humanity
, speaks to one of the most distorted of secular images of the Biblical, human beings in the likeness or image of God and the relationship between man and woman. As you read below think of how the diabolists in our midst live their lives and conduct themselves and what the consequences of believing in “science and progress,” “oneself” or one’s “sexual orientation,” and that terrible trap they refer to when they say “Freedom” — what these things actually mean for the human.
Two reading selections from the book here
Hope you enjoy them. I look forward to comments and feedback.