Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Right Questions (Genesis Introductory Issues: Purpose)

I may have written about this elsewhere, but one of my most formative educational experiences took place in a class I took devoted entirely to Genesis 1-11. (It was so in depth, in fact, that it ended up being devoted to just Genesis 1-3.)

To start the class off our professor, Dr. Johnson, asked us to study our watches for an entire minute. He asked us to memorize every detail, color, and aspect of our watch, and to be prepared to answer his questions after the minute. Once we had all concentrated and memorized, he asked us just one question: “What time is it?”

Well, we felt pretty stupid but we all fell for it. Not a one of us knew the time. We had spent so much of our study preparing for all the wrong questions. And that was the point.

People often approach the Bible, and particularly the book of Genesis with all the wrong questions. As a result, over time believers have also cast a bunch of sacred cows built up around those misguided questions and the answers we have imagined as a result.

As you read Genesis you need to always start with the correct mindset. What is the text trying to say? What issues and worldviews is the writer addressing? What is the purpose of the story I am reading? If you press Genesis into answering things for which it was not designed, you will miss what God is trying to say.

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