Genesis Through New Eyes first posted on Joy DeKok’s website  12-06-11

Don’t you love it when there’s a great twist at the end of the story that changes everything? That’s what happened to me as I researched the book of Genesis for a novel I’m writing. Overnight I felt as though I were reading a whole new story as I began reading with the eyes of the original audience – the newly freed and dispossessed Israelites.

Until this year I had dissected Genesis with our modern arguments in mind. As if. How many times has “modern man” made declarations about the universe only to discover they were wrong?

The world is flat.

The sun revolves around the Earth.

Nothing is faster than the speed of light. (In case you missed the most important discovery of our time – Einstein’s theory of relativity is being challenged.)

Theories change. Isn’t it cool that God let us figure these things out over time? That He didn’t come in and explain all the stuff at once.

He focused on the big things. The things His original audience needed to hear.

Genesis was written to a people leaving the only home they had ever known to follow an unknown God. They weren’t asking if there was a god, or how the earth was created. They wanted to know who was in charge, and where the nearest fast food was going to be found in the middle of a barren waste land.

Remember they had lived with the Egyptians for over 400 years. They knew more about Egyptian gods than they knew about the God they were following. They probably believed that the universe was a volatile place filled with warring gods and demons lurking outside temple realms.

The gods were not there to care for man.  Man was there to care for the gods.

The gods didn’t provide food, they expected to be fed.

Not only was man expected to feed them, but he was to maintain order so the gods could concentrate their energy on sustaining the universe.

And oh, by the way, the gods had limited powers, they were region specific. So the further you stepped away from their cities – well… it just wasn’t good.

God inspired Moses to write Genesis in a way that would most effectively address these fears. God created everything. Alone. There wasn’t a counsel of gods whose approval He had to win.

He simply spoke.   And it was so.

He didn’t mate with another god. He didn’t kill another god, or steal powers. This God was honorable in His conduct.

But the differences didn’t stop there. After creating the functions of nature, God looked and saw It was good. Seven times He repeats that phrase, It was good ending with It was very good. The earth functioned as it was meant to, nothing was out of God’s control.

But the real kicker was afterward He rested! He didn’t need man to create His rest. He didn’t need man to complete His work. He wasn’t looking to man to sustain the earth. Don’t you think this is a message we still need to hear?

Genesis tells of a garden, not unlike the gardens the Israelites were familiar with in other creation stories, with a significant twist.

God’s garden was a place where man could be fed, not a place for man to grow food for God. Again, God’s in control, God’s the provider.The whole point of the garden is God desires to be known and communicate to man. Other ancient gods had no desire to be personally known; they wanted to be served.Imagine the comfort a caring, all-powerful God would have been to an Israelite facing a brutal desert. Don’t you still need to hear that about God?  

Throughout Genesis 1 and 2, God uses motifs ancient man would have been familiar with, all the while flipping the stories on their heads in order to reveal the truth of who He was.

Genesis shows God speaks in our languageoften through stories.

And just like with the Israelites, His greatest desire is to set us free and lead us through the barren places.

Just wait until you hear what He did at the Tower of Babel. But that’s my third book. You’ll enjoy it more if you start with Tamed. *author smiles knowingly*