Posted by: Bobby Desulme | January 25, 2010

Rediscovering Genesis

When I first came to the United States, I was amazed by the many different Christian denominations I encountered here. When I first asked my peers in class why there were so many different denominations within Christianity, they simply explained that all of them had different views and disagreed on some passages of the Bible. One even suggested that separation made Christianity more organized. He said “We are created in God’s image; we are made to put order in this world.” Are the many denominations within Christianity an example of what it means for human beings to be made in God’s image? I truly doubt it.

I believe that the message in the creation account of Genesis says human beings are created by God, both man and woman, in the image of God. However, many have used this story to make an ontological argument against the theory of evolution. I have heard many say that if evolution was true, then the Bible would have mentioned it in Genesis.

Some circles decide to use this biblical narrative as a tool of oppression against women and to advance the idea that women were created to be a help to men; that their main purpose is to facilitate men in their task of ruling over all living creatures. During the last few years the story has often been utilized to discourage same-sex marriages. It is almost impossible to see a protest against same-sex marriages without a sign saying “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”

But, believe it or not, the true message that is meant to be expressed by this story is quite different from the ones mentioned above. The story was written within a certain context and worldview that is quite different from today’s zeitgeist. The author (or authors) of Genesis were not concerned with things such as the theory of evolution or the issue of same-sex marriages.

The most important idea expressed in Genesis, one that is unfortunately often missed, is that God created human beings as free individuals whom God loves and calls “very good”. Compared to the other creation stories from Ancient Babylon and other Ancient Near East civilizations written during similar times it is the only one where humans are not created as enslaved beings or as a deity’s mistake.

The God of Genesis is a God who loves humans and created us to be free creatures that possess the capability for conscious love of other creatures. This love story is one where human beings are invited by God to love; to love God and to love each other.

The message expressed by the story is clear even though for some it is difficult to comprehend. The real message is that human beings have value and we are loved by God and called to love each other.

When I first came to the Christian Association (CA) the message that I heard was one of acceptance, love and caring relationship for all human beings. It is a beautiful feeling to be accepted and loved; to have the story of my life valued by members of a community simply because I am part of that community. The message of the CA is one that encourages people to come together in loving unity. It made me want to communicate this message to all around me, to share the love and the acceptance that I had received, to communicate this message of love because I was loved. I was free to be myself and still remain loved by my community.

I find it sad that the Genesis story was used by my friend as a justification for separation rather than for unity.  Unfortunately he is not alone. Many others have used different passages from the Bible to alienate and to divide God’s creation while furthering an agenda that goes against the love that God expresses for all human beings. Rather than inspire love and unity they are used to do otherwise. But our enduring testimony is that we are created in the Image of a God who loves and welcomes all of us, just as we are.

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