There’s something about the book of Genesis that captures the imagination.
And it’s really no surprise – this book contains the origin of our existence, the expansion of civilization, the rise and fall of empires, stories of romance and heartache, dreams and disasters, gain and loss; Genesis has it all, beautifully stitched together to dynamically open our eyes to who we are and who God is, and that impossible relationship that our Creator has relentlessly pursued.
Here in the Downline Institute, we recently studied Genesis chapters one through three. These chapters are particularly fascinating to me; in chapter one, the author stitches together a poem of epic proportions, culminating in the creation of mankind. In chapter two, a human-centric take on creation intimately tells of God’s unique attention to creating Adam and Eve, and the earliest pieces of their lives in the garden. Chapter three is that great tragedy, full of emotion and change – the first moment of despair as man steps beyond God’s careful instruction, and paradise is lost, but with a glimmer of hope.
As I read these stories, I see so much more than information. I feel a great deal – the creation of man draws me in, tugging at my heart in desire for such an intimate relationship with my Creator. The fall is much more tumultuous, at moments crushing and depressing, but with glimpses of the Messiah that bring joy. And because these chapters do so much more than inform, I know that they are more than mere history. These snippets of our history open my eyes to the character of God, and reveal so much about my own nature. I see more than a distant force callously removing us from the garden and delivering punishment – I see a Father, crying out in a garden, “What happened? My son, where are you?” I see children, ashamed and afraid, unsure of what lies ahead and full of regret for a single moment of foolishness with eternal ramifications, yet unaware of the weight of their new burden. And I see myself – hearing God’s promises, but so tempted to believe sweet sounding lies, and in weakness abusing God’s grace. I see myself hiding. I see myself feeling shame and regret.
But then I see God, sacrificing animals and using their skin to cover his children’s nakedness and shame, lovingly providing and mercifully moving them out of their place of temptation and sin. I see a God who, in the midst of sin’s curses, promises a Redeemer. And I see myself again, desperately wanting reunion with this God who shows unfathomable goodness and love in the midst of my brokenness. And I have the great and unthinkable privilege of seeing that Savior already mine, and praising the One who delivered on His promise.
You see, Genesis is more than the account of what happened. It’s the revealing of an Almighty God, triune and relational. It’s the description of His character – creative, loving, merciful, gracious, just, and generous. It’s the explanation of our design – in His image, but now fractured in sin. And it’s the honest unveiling of our situation – foolish, weak, and sinful. In a state of complete and utter depravity, we are in desperate need of infinite help. And in Genesis 3:5, this help is promised; later revealed in Jesus, we learn about a God who never forgets His promises, and who has the power to perfectly fulfill each one. Genesis is historical, yes; but more, Genesis is the revelation of a holy God worth running to.
Sam Meeks is a Downline Emerging Leader from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He loves coffee and bacon, and his favorite colors are red, white, & blue. When he grows up, Sam hopes to be paid to read, write, and drink coffee.