For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
~ Genesis 4:19
Today’s reading was the first 15 chapters of Genesis, which covers a lot of biblical time. From the Creation story, which we just experienced over Easter, to God’s covenant with Abram. In between, we read such notable stories as Noah’s ark as well as some of the less repeated stories, like the Tower of Babel. In additional to all of the good old fashioned “Bible Stories”, we also saw a lot of the oft-dreaded “begats”, lists of lineage indicating how certain major players, like Abram, were related to others, like Noah and Adam.
Genesis, as a book, sums up a lot of the early history of the Hebrew people. It explains how God came to create the world (and man), how man came to endure suffering, how he came to his various professions (mostly herding or farming at the time), and what caused the division of man into groups with differing languages and origins. It also does a lot to flesh out man’s relationship with God, from the introduction of sin, to God’s covenants with Noah and Abram assuring man safety from God’s all-encompassing wrath as well as ongoing lineage.
Now, I mentioned earlier the “begats”, and here I mention lineage. I’d like to spend a moment on this because it is very important, particularly though Genesis. The genealogy of these major players is maintained throughout the Bible to show several things: the connection between every man and the origins our relationship with God (i.e. we are all descendants of Adam, Noah, and Abram), the importance of bloodline for situations of loyalty and fair divisions, and eventually, the purity of the bloodline leading to the birth of Jesus. Also, while the “begats” throughout the Bible can make for dry reading, every once in a while you find a gem. For example, in Genesis 6:24, Enoch is the only member of the genealogy from Noah to Abram who does not have a sentence that reads “…then he died.” Instead, it says “Enoch walked with God, and he was no longer here, so God took him.” Careful reading can highlight interesting items like this, even in the somewhat dull “begats”.
However, I think the majority of Genesis can be summed up in the verse above, spoken by God to Adam at the Fall. This is the point at which the cycle of mankind came into being. Man had been brought forth from the dust, and God deemed that the dust should in turn be his resting place. We remind ourselves every year on Ash Wednesday, but it is good to keep this in mind year-round. The God who gives us life allows us but a brief time on earth before our mortal beings return to the dust from which we came. We are never more than the earthly dust around us, until we come to the end and depart for heaven’s gate to live forever in God.
Did you read today’s chapters? Let us know about the verses that spoke to you and your interpretation of the text by linking up to this post below!