This Week's Texts: Genesis 1
Teaching Link: The Story: "Let There Be Light"
Additional Resources: Enuma Elish: The Babylonian Creation Myth
Things from the teaching to think about:
The key to reading any ancient test is putting it in its historical context
What is the relationship between the time in the text and the time the text was written?
What questions are the biblical texts trying to respond to when they tell stories about the past?
During the Exile in Babylon, the Hebrews were asking themselves the following questions:
- Why are we here? What went wrong? Did Babylon’s gods defeat our God? Is YHWH trying to teach us a lesson?
- Will we ever go back?
- Are we Babylonians now? How do we maintain our identity and teach our children who we really are?
Genesis Chapters 1-11 are a counter-narrative to the Babylonian worldview. Five ways that the Hebrew creation story was different from the Babylonian one:
- God’s creative word vs Marduk's violent action. All of creation, not just the city was the divine realm.
- There are no Gods but God and the created order is not divine but serve God only.
- Humans are the image of God- not idols.
- Sabbath-God has no competition so there is no tension after the creation, no conflict. There is Nothing left other than to celebrate and enjoy.
Questions for reflection:
Genesis is Israel’s counter story. Do you need a counter story, one that places your identity as a disciple of Jesus, rather than what the world says you are?
Who can we see the values of “empire” all around us?
What might we need to do in order to replace them with the values of God’s kingdom?