Marco La Vecchia ’22
The Book of Genesis is the First book of the Bible and can be described in two main parts. First, in chapters one through eleven, we read about God and the world as a whole. Second, in chapter 12-50, we delve into the story of God and Abraham’s Family. The connecting story, if you will, takes place in between these parts at the beginning of chapter twelve. Let us dive into part one of the Book of Genesis as it introduces the story of the entire Bible.
The Book of Genesis
Part 1: Chapters 1-11
by Marco La Vecchia ‘22
The Bible opens with God extracting goodness, unity, and beauty out of disorder and darkness. The world flourishes and God makes creatures called humans. God made humans in his IMAGE. What does this mean? Well, humans are made to be reflections of God’s character out into the world. Being made in God’s “Image” has to do with role and purpose in God’s World. We were meant to be representatives of God’s rule in such a way that humans could create further potential and beauty in the world.
God blesses humans and gives them a garden where they can start to build upon God’s World. It is here that God provides choice and free will. God has been the one defining what is good and what is wrong but now God gives humans the choice to decide for themselves how they will build upon God’s world. Human choice is beautifully illustrated in the book of Genesis with the introduction of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
God has given humans a choice to trust in God’s definition of Good and Evil or seize autonomy and define good and evil for themselves. This is already a vital choice in the history of humans because it is a choice between God, the giver of life, or against God, which would be death.
A snake, in rebellion to the Lord, appears in the garden and tells the humans a different story. The snake says that seizing the knowledge of Good and Evil for yourself won’t kill you, in fact, you will become more like God. You have to realize the immense Irony in this moment. The snake claims that the humans will become more like God by defining good and evil for themselves, however, humans were already made in God’s Image.
Human Seize Autonomy and Define Good and Evil for Themselves
The man and woman God had created listen to the snake. Instantly, negative effects follow. The man and woman lose trust in one another in realization of their vulnerability. This causes them to hide their bodies from one another. They go further by hiding from God himself, or at least attempting to. You cannot hide from the Lord, so when the Lord found the humans, they both pointed their fingers at each other and everything but themselves.
Consequences of Actions
First, the Lord reveals the consequences awaiting the snake. He predicts the downfall of the snake from a “descendant of woman, a seed” who will crush the snake’s head, but in turn, the snake will bite at its crusher’s ankle, both fatal blows. This prediction reveals the mercy of the Lord. The human had just rebelled and God already had promised the coming of a wounded victor who will save them. Despite this the humans did not go off scot-free.
The Lord reveals the consequences for the humans. Grief and pain will infect the lives of the humans as a result of their rebellion. This will continue unto death.
Following this is a series of stories summarized below:
Story of Cain and Abel
Cain and Abel are brothers. Cain becomes so jealous of his brother that he murders him despite the Lord instructing him not to. Cain builds a city of sin, violence, malice, and oppression. The city’s characteristics are then highlighted in the Story of Lamech. Lemech is the first man with multiple wives because he treats them as property. He is an extremely violent and vengeful man.
Sons of God
This story is about fallen angels or Kings who claim to be divine. They have many wives and lived very much like Lemech. The point of this story is that humans are creating kingdoms that fill God’s world with evil and wickedness. At this point, God is filled with grief. Humans are destroying each other and his world.
In response to the creation of these corrupt kingdoms and destruction of God’s world, God brings forth a great flood over the earth. Although the great flood may seem like the opposite of a good act, the Lord brought forth the flood in order to protect the Goodness in the world. The Lord protects those who were blameless of this destructive world and save Noah and his family. Noah is made the new Adam, the first man God made, and commissions him out into the world.
Noah was meant to succeed where Adam failed. However, like Adam, Noah fails. The bible tells a story of Noah and his son to show his failure. Noah is very intoxicated and his son, with wicked intentions, commits disgraceful actions to his father. God erased the World that sprouted from sickness and ill-choices with Adam, only to find the same result with Noah.
The wickedness that sprouts from Noah’s failure is illustrated as the City of Babylon is founded. They discover the brick. They plot to build a tower that will reach the height of the Gods. This parallels human pride and arrogance. God has to step in to humble the people. He scattered the people and separated their languages.
Although these stories differ, they all connect to the same point. The Lord gives humans the opportunity to do what is right, but humans fail again and again. This idea reveals that the Lord created a good world and it is us, humans, who have turned it bad. By choosing to discern good and evil for ourselves, the world is corrupted with pain and suffering that leads to death.
But the Lord does NOT abandon us. Again the Lord gives us hope. The wounded victor will defeat evil. The Lord predicted and promised a suffering servant who will be our savior. God wants to save his world, save his people despite us humans being the ones who destroyed it.
For part 2 of the book of Genesis, chapters 12-50, you will have to come back for the next addition of The Salesian Spectator and find out what God will do to rescue his world.