Original Blessing, Not Sin, Came First
In the beginning...familiar words from the opening of Genesis, scripture’s first revelation of a loving God who breathes and speaks all into being:
Let there be light and there was light. Let there be earth and plants and vegetation of every kind.
Let us make humankind in our image. And it was so. And it was good.
The way in which God thoughtfully and calmly creates tells us so much. God does not react to a disordered universe, God acts within it, literally, for goodness-sake to illuminate a world of beautiful particularity. Everything is ordered for its potential benefit and connected within cooperative relationships. God creates and establishes this dynamic pattern of life as a reality of inherent goodness.
Goodness, however, is not what most of us recall when asked about the first story in the bible. Our minds go to story number two, the Garden, usually retelling it along these lines – Adam and Eve, tree, apple, snake, fall, sin, naked, ashamed and expelled. We hear and remember this as the “original sin” story and in doing so are saying that our beginnings are broken and sin is our inherent nature. That is not the beginning. We were created as a blessing, made in the image of God with a divine pronouncement that at our core we are good.*
This September we resume our weekly Tuesday bible study (9/12 at 10 a.m.) and we will start in Genesis, re-examining the opening chapters and the stories most familiar to us. I remember learning in seminary that Creation, the Garden and Noah and the Flood stories are told twice and in different ways in Genesis – which was quite a revelation! Hopefully all of us will learn something new about the bible as well as uncover new insights.
Several people have mentioned to me that group bible study is something they want to do, but understandably, a weekday time doesn’t work for everyone. If you are interested – when could you commit to regular gathering? One night a month? One Sunday evening (after yoga of course)? Would you be interested in an online discussion group? Reading scripture in community is vital to growing in faith and it is how we grow in community and discerning God’s call for our church.
In the beginning, it was good. I hope you will consider joining me to read, study and pray the words of scripture that remind us of God’s promise and our inherent goodness.
In Peace, Arianne+
*With thanks to the scholarship of Matthew Fox, in particular Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality