Saturday, September 26, 2009

Genesis Has Strengthened My Faith

Recently I was asked what these 30+ years of research on Genesis have meant for my faith. That gave me pause, and I’ve been asking myself how the research has edified me as a Christian? I believe that I’m ready to answer this question.

First, I have been blessed to be so deep in God’s written Word. I meditate on it night and day. I often dream about what I'm studying. Sometimes the dreams are glorious and I am unable to describe them with words. Such dreams involve patterns and symbols of the ineffable. This must be how the rabbis and fathers of old came to understand what is not teachable by words.

Second, I have come to understand how the whole Bible rests upon the foundation of Genesis. This may seem obvious to most people who read the Bible, but for me the recognition involves tracing the threads that are interwoven from Genesis to Revelation and realizing that this unity is God’s work. He who creates all things has created a unique book. The author of our salvation has authored the greatest tome ever written.

There is also the discovery that this book testifies to Holy Tradition so that one must, by the witness of Scripture, conclude that Holy Tradition precedes the Holy Bible and is preserved for us in the pages of Scripture. This tells me that every generation has a witness to the Truth of God’s love, not only in creation as St. Paul attests, but also in the Tradition received through the passing generations of Abraham’s people. We who have been grafted into the Faith of Father Abraham are heirs of this Holy Tradition concerning the coming Christ. Were the Bible to be lost or taken from us, we would still have the Gospel. May God be praised!

Finally, I have come to the unshakeable persuasion that the Bible is truer than we can even conceive as empirically-minded moderns. Were we to allow it to speak for itself, not insisting on our interpretation, but accepting what it says, we would be led to see the truth and our view of reality would come into clear focus.

Some will regard what I’ve written as too intellectual and for that I make no apologies. That is my character and I trust that God has a place for intellectuals in the Kingdom. There is a notion within some circles that head knowledge blocks or interrupts the work of the heart. Orthodoxy is said to be “a religion of the heart, not of the head.” In humility, I ask why? Were not the Fathers men of intellect and good hearts? St. Paul was one of the greatest intellects of all history and yet he was also a man of great passion.

Doubtless some will use this emphasis on receiving Christ through the heart as an excuse to be lazy in their study of the Scriptures preserved supernaturally for our instruction and reproof. Beware! Faith comes by many avenues. Do not put limits on the work of the Spirit.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hey Alice.

I 100% agree with you that there's a lot more going on in Genesis that most people give credit for! However, I do have to admit, I'm a bit confused by one of your statements.

You said, "We were to all the text to speak for itself, and not insisting on our own interpretation, and just read what it says... etc.,". But doesn't everyone, regardless of who you are, "interpret" the Bible? To me, interpreting, just means trying to understand what it is you're reading, and what the author was attempting to communicate. Both you and I, I think, would both agree that the long patriarchal ages are probably some form of symbolism (perhaps even lost on us today) ... but isn't that an interpretive choice? It's not something that is immediately obvious, but it becomes more striking once you compare the numbers to modern genealogies and random number generators.

I think it would be more accurate to say that there are good, bad, better, and worse interpretations ... rather than just "reading the Bible for what it says", because depending on who is reading it, they will come to different conclusions by simply reading, "what's obvious to them".... does that make sense?

Keep up the great work!