The Bible is historically the most well-read, well-circulated, commonly quoted, yet widely-criticized book of all time. There is no shortage of topics to debate, and pages one and two of Genesis have unfortunately been a frontrunner for controversy due to the creation vs. evolution debate. Whichever side of that argument you might agree with, it begins with the interpretation of the book of Genesis, and that sort of makes sense as Genesis comes from a Hebrew word Bereshit, which means “in the beginning.” It’s here we see God set the stage for the Garden of Eden and all that will unfold with Adam and Eve. Nevertheless, before we move onto the Garden and the Fall, there is so much to explore in this first chapter of the first book.
As we read through the entire Bible this year, we think you’ll come to find God has a flair for drama. He reveals himself through burning bushes, elaborate visions, and births himself into the world by a poor, working-class, teenage girl. That said, something God does not seem to typically do when he reveals himself in history, is provide science lessons. We are not saying God couldn’t do such a thing, we are simply saying that, in the Bible, he doesn’t. To put it another way: if you read the Bible in its historical and literary context, you will not find any text in which God updates our understanding of astrophysics or biochemistry.
God revealed himself to the people of ancient Israel (the original audience of the Bible), and when he did so, he spoke in terms of their cultural understanding of the cosmos. This simple observation has huge implications for understanding what on earth is happening in Genesis chapter one.