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Who do you think you are: Genesis

I am working with Celia Kellett at BBC Radio Nottingham on an idea to present most of the books of the Bible, one a week, during 2011 as part of the celebrations of the King James Bible. The plan is to read some verses from the book, to give a one-and-a-half minute summary, to hear a human interest story which relates, and then include a short discussion making the connections.

Here’s the summary and key verses for Genesis, to be broadcast this Sunday 9th Jan from 8 am.

Verses: Gen 1.1–4, 26–27 and 31

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep, but the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water. God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light!  God saw that the light was good, so God separated the light from the darkness.

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”

God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.

God saw all that he had made–and it was very good! There was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.

Summary

The Book of Genesis starts off the whole Bible; its opening words are ‘In the beginning…’ It contains three stories (or collection of stories) of origins, not surprising, as ‘genesis’ means ‘origin’—first, the origins of the world, second, the origins of God’s relationship with people, and thirdly the origins of God’s distinctive people, the Israelites.

People are constantly asking about their origins. Where did I come? Why am I like I am? Science suggests we are random accident of the universe or a collection of selfish genes. Economics tells us we are units of consumption. But is there something more to being human?

The stories of Adam and Eve in the garden, of Cain and Able, of Noah and the flood, and the tower of Babel all tell us that the world is not simply random or evil or violent, but started good and was then spoiled—by our desire to go it alone, our jealousy, our selfishness, our pride.

The story of Abraham, Sarah and Lot tells us that God longs to know and be known, and invites us to know him and trust him. And the story of Joseph—as engaging as any West End hit—tells us that God’s special people are special because they know God’s love and protection, not because they are better than others.

This amazing book sets the scene for all that is to follow in 2,000 years of Bible history.

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