The first chapter of Genesis, I can honestly say, is the most beautiful piece of writing I have ever read. And I’ve read Steinbeck’s East of Eden folks. The authors of the Bible were not just holy people, they were literary geniuses. The more I read the more I learn that the Hebrew language is powerful in ways that don’t even exist anymore. For example, puns are a huge part of Hebrew writing. If a bible author could get away with explaining a story using nothing but puns they would do it. And when they put down their inked feathers, or their chisels, or their sharp stones, or whatever, they would show what they wrote to their friends and get a solid round of high fives. ( A really good example of this wordplay is the account of Sariah laughing when God tells her she is going to bare a child in her ridiculously old age. This story starts in Genesis 17. I mean, she literally laughs at God. Out loud. And if that weren’t enough she names her miracle boy Isaac which means “the one who laughs”. But thats not the only pun. When Sariah sees Isaac’s half brother laughing during the celebration after Isaac is born she demands that the boy and his “slave girl” mother be ejected from the camp, a harsh demand. The way the word “laughing” is written though doesn’t mean that the boy was literally laughing. Its a pun on Isaac’s name “the one who laughs”. The boy is not caught laughing, he is caught “Isaac-ing”, or trying to take the place of Isaac as the promised source of many nations. Sorry, long tangent.)
Anyways, Genesis 1 is beautiful. Most people are at least cognitively aware of what’s in it. Creation and stuff. God creates the earth, the oceans, the dry land, the rains, the fishes, the animals and insects, and humans. This all happens in six days. In this account, God is written as a creator, a conjuror of worlds, a magician of physics, all powerful and everywhere at once. In another account which we’ll read about in a couple of chapters, he is portrayed as a craftsman, even a carpenter, which is ironic and beautiful all at the same time considering the famed profession of his son, Jesus Christ.
One thing to note about this marvelous account of the beginning of time is a very subtle shout out to humankind. After each day and each piece of creation God looks at what he created and says “its good” but when he makes humans, he looks back on his work at the end of the day and says “you know what, this is very good.” Not only that but the other days of creation he just calls “days”. But the day he creates us he calls “the day”.
So if you’re ever feeling insignificant, unloved, or otherwise not special … go read Genesis chapter one. There is someone out there who has thought that you were the coolest thing that’s ever happened to this world from day one, from the very beginning. And the day you showed up, well man that was the day and it was very good.