These first 3 chapters have so much in them you could spend an entire lifetime unpacking them. So here are a few key beats.
In the beginning, the earth was disordered. It was like a lump of clay that had yet to be shaped. So God begins to bring order and beauty out of the disorder. He creates time with day and night. He divides the sea from the sky and then pulls back the waters to create land. He adds the sun, moon and stars that would ultimately give us seasons. Then comes trees and vegetation, followed by animals, fish and birds. Finally he creates a place that is perfectly ordered and beautiful, a garden and places human in it.
He makes these humans in his image, to be like him. Their mission is to use the garden as a model and to expand this order and beauty outwards. To take the whole earth and make it ordered and beautiful. Finally, he gives them a decision. They can journey with him and learn from him what order and beauty look like. Or they can ‘take the fruit’ and decide for themselves what is ‘good’ and beautiful. If they do this however, this will ultimately die because they are stepping out of God’s protection and life giving support.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they do and in Genesis 3 we get what we call the fall. But the reality is, it doesn’t stop there. As we’re going to see ‘the fall’ really stretches out from Genesis 3-11. In some early Jewish writings (the bits written in-between the Old Testament and New Testament) we see that the people during that time saw the fall as a 3-part drop. We’ll have a look at this other the next few days.
While Psalm 1 has no author attributed to it, it falls into the category of Wisdom Psalm (see also Psalms 25; 34; 37; 49; 73; 111; 112; 128). These psalms focus primarily on sharing wisdom with the reader and often preference the Torah or God’s law (the scriptures). The structure of this psalm is interesting, and is known as a chiasm. This is where a passage mirrors itself. See below.
(a) Psalm 1:1-2 - A blessed man should not stand in these contexts
(b) Psalm 1:3 - A blessed man is like a well-watered tree
(b) Psalm 1:4 - A wicked man is like chaff
(a) Psalm 1:5 - A wicked man can not stand in these contexts
Then the psalm ends with a comparison between the two. The focus of the psalm is to layout the key difference between those who are blessed or happy, and those who are wicked. Those who are blessed avoid anything wicked and take delight in God’s law. They meditate on it. The wicked do not.
As a result, the blessed will be sustained by God’s law and prosper, while the wicked will dry out and perish. Here right at the start of the book of Psalms, the psalmist is laying two paths before you. Are you going to join with many before you as they have meditated on God’s law to write these psalms, or are you going to ignore or reject them? One leads to life and prospering with God. The other to death.
Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.
Part of BibleProject's new visual commentary series, the guys unpack all that happens in Genesis 1.
This book will help reframe the role of Genesis 1 in your mind. To look at it as an ancient Israelite would have.Check the book out here
Picking up from 'The Lost World of Genesis 1' John H. Walton continues to place the story of Adam and Eve in an Ancient Near Eastern context, allowing you to understand these story as the ancient Israelites would have.
Understanding the context of your passage is always important. BibleProject always do an incredible job of breaking down each book so you can see how your passage fits into the wider story.
This video explores this idea we find started in Genesis 1:26-27, that all humanity is made in God's image.
For a slightly different overview of where we are so far, BibleProject have done an animated recap of Genesis 1-11 to help you fit today's passage into the overarching story of Genesis.
Spoken Gospel explore the story of creation in the Bible and compare it to the creation stories of other religions and cultures.
Spoken Gospel outlines the book of Genesis and point out some of the key themes, all in the medium of spoken word.
Spoken Gospel explore the fall and the impact that event had on the relationship between God and man.