Category: Riffs on Genesis

  • WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER: GENESIS 9 AND THE IDEA OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY

    Often when truths, even great truths, biblical truths, are formulated into doctrine they lose their connection to life. They become mere beliefs—statements to which believers profess adherence but which no longer motivate their daily life and decision making. These doctrinal beliefs may come to parody the truth they were meant to embody. Total depravity is […]

  • The Human Peril: A Reading of the Story of the Fall

    Some weeks back, the award-winning Tucson choral group, True Concord, presented the premier of a stunning new work for choir and orchestra: Earth Symphony (“Choral”), music by Jake Runestad and libretto by Todd Boss. The work tells a story with biblical themes, creation, fall, and restoration, but the story is both different from the biblical story and […]

  • DOES THE BIBLE HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR?

    Is the Bible ever funny? The question was put to me by an older friend. This friend had two worries about the Christian faith. One was that he would get to heaven and discover that there was no sporting competition there. He lived for his games and his teams. The second was that in heaven […]

  • JACOB’S LADDER: HOW OUR SPIRITUAL ANCESTOR GOT EVERYTHING WRONG

    The Bible is a subversive book. It subverts our assumptions about life, about good and evil, about where God is and where God isn’t; it often subverts even what seems like the obvious meaning of the story it tells. Few passages are as subversive in this last sense as the story of Jacob’s ladder in […]

  • CAN YOU STEAL A BLESSING? RIFFS ON THE STORY OF JACOB

    Because we often read the Bible woodenly, especially those of us who have been taught that the Bible is mostly about teaching religion, we often miss the point, especially if the point is in story rather than theological discourse. And especially if we are not inclined to see the humor and the humanness of these […]

  • THE TOWER OF BABEL: THE DIVINE PREFERENCE FOR DIVERSITY

    The intriguing, funny, and cutting story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) is the last in the collection of stories that makes up the preface to the book of Genesis and, therefore, to the Bible itself. We do well to attend to these stories, not as histories, which is to distort them and lose […]

  • WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER FALL STORY IN GENESIS?

    Fall stories are important (fall stories of the theological sort; not stories about the season). They account for what has gone wrong in our world. Perhaps, that’s not quite the right way to put it. “Gone wrong” implies that there was an earlier time when things had not gone wrong. But not all stories accounting […]

  • IS GENESIS 3 A FALL STORY AND DOES IT MATTER II

    They paved paradise and put up a parking lotWith a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spotDon’t it always seem to goThat you don’t know what you got ’til it’s goneThey paved paradise and put up a parking lot Oh, bop, bop, bopOh, bop, bop, bop – “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell […]

  • IS GENESIS 3 A FALL STORY: PART II
    ADAPA

    In my first post in this series, I left you, I hope, pondering whether the knowledge of good and evil is a good thing. Given the choice between the knowledge of good and evil and life without death, as are Eve and Adam in the story, which would you choose? This dilemma at the heart […]

  • IS GENESIS 3 A FALL STORY?

    My earlier question, “Does the Bible have a plot?” (see the posts at https://wp.me/Pdfqqo-23 and https://wp.me/Pdfqqo-I) leads to a second question, “Is Genesis 3 actually a fall story?” It is taken as such in the theological tradition of which I am a part. When the Bible is read in this tradition, the first three chapters […]