Come. Turn the pages of the Bible with me and wonder at the variety of its many books, styles of writing and glimpses of the people who wrote those books.
Book of Genesis:
Chapter one is a poem in which the author imagines God’s creating the world’s in a working-man’s week of six days followed by a day of rest. In the final part of the 6th day God says; “Let us make humankind in our own image and likeness.” Our? Yes! Sofia (Wisdom) is with God – she tells us herself in the Book of Wisdom, chapter nine, that she was with God in the beginning and has delighted being with us throughout human history.
Chapter two is a myth – a story revealing religious truth. The man is lonely and God takes one of the man’s ribs and forms a woman. The man(ish) awakes and looks at the woman (ishah) with delight made from his giving her life. They love one another.
Chapter three tells the sad story of the man and the woman misusing their freedom. They choose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They blame each other, blame the serpent, but they must leave the Garden. Just before they do the man gives his wife the name ‘Eve’ because she is mother, life giving.
In Chapter four begins the story of a family. Sons, Cain and Abel, are born to Eve and the man. Cain kills his brother and flees to the land of Nod where he marries a local woman. Only at the end of chapter four do we have a name for the man – Adam (‘Adamah’- made of soil).
In Chapter twelve we meet Abra(h)am and the story of a people begins – Isaac, Jacob, and the promise is made that their descendants will inherit the land.
The Book of Exodus:
The second book of the Bible. Moses takes his people out of slavery to lead them to the promised land. Moses sees the land before he dies.
The Book of Joshua:
This is the ugliest book of the Bible – conquest, genocide and a brutal Joshua determined to wipe out the native peoples, the Palestinians, whose home this land had been for centuries.
The Bible is not the title-deeds for the Holy Land to belong to the Jews. That is a false claim, and we hear from the books of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, etc, the heartbreak of God who loves the whole human family.
“Listen, remotest islands,” is a call of God’s love to the world and everyone included: the stranger and the migrant and refugee to be welcomed and helped. God’s universal love runs throughout all the Bible and is completed when Jesus brings the Good News (Gospel) of that love.
The Bible is a love-story.
We share God’s love and blessing,
(20th November 2022)