God Questions His Creation

God Questions His Creation:  A Look at Genesis 4-11

In the autumn of 2007 I decided to continue a project I had begun earlier in the year – writing a series of reflections on the Book of Genesis.  During Great Lent of 2007, I wrote daily reflections on Genesis 1-3, which I emailed to my parishioners at St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church, Dayton, Ohio.  That effort resulted in those reflections being collected and published as the book QUESTIONING GOD: A LOOK AT GENESIS 1-3

The response from those who read the reflections was positive and some encouraged me to continue writing such meditations.  I took up that work deciding to write daily reflections on Genesis 4-11 and emailed them to my parishioners each day of the Nativity Fast in 2007.  This is a collection of those reflections which I am now reproducing in this series of blogs.  Since during Great Lent, we Orthodox read through Genesis, I thought this an appropriate time to release these meditations.

These reflections are not a dogmatic treatise.  I did not set out to write an exposition of the Orthodox Faith.  Rather, the ideas expressed herein are my reflections that arose from repeatedly reading and praying through Genesis 4-11 during a 4 month period.  As in the earlier work, sometimes I provide no answers but recorded questions that came to my mind about the text.   That is for me part of the reflection process – forming questions that the text suggests.  As I studied the text I recorded ideas that I found in books I was reading about Genesis.  I scoured Patristic commentaries, and liturgical texts for references to the events and people recorded in these scriptural chapters.  Some of what occurred to me is simply word and theme associations to other Scripture passages or liturgical texts which I added to my reflections.

Consequently the meditations which follow the scripture passages are a collection of ideas, not a continuous thread.  Each paragraph following the quoted scripture verse is a separate thought and not meant to be read continuously like the paragraphs of a novel.  My hope is that you the reader might also find reason to pause and think about the scripture to which each reflection refers.  While I hope these reflections do touch upon issues of contemporary concern and will help the reader wrestle with living the Christian life, it is also my intention that you will be inspired to ask questions about the scriptures and to further reflect on them yourself.

It is neither wrong nor necessarily bad that the writings of the Bible trouble us, or challenge our thinking, or cause us to seek further clarification and understanding.  All of these things can be part of healthy spiritual growth and maturation of faith.   I hope that you will come to see the Scriptures as a rich and abundant garden which one enters to enjoy the variety of scents, colors and tastes, and to become nourished by the life-giving fruit.

I do welcome your thoughts and comments in the next months as I produce this series of blogs.  I intend eventually to make the entire series of blogs electronically available in a PDF format.  If at some point you think you would like to purchase a copy of these blogs as a book – let me know.  I would consider self -publishing them as a book if enough people are interested in purchasing a copy.

A Glossary of Terms for GOD QUESTIONS HIS CREATION is at https://frted.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/gqhc_glossary.pdf

The bibliography I used for GOD QUESTIONS HIS CREATION is at https://frted.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/gqhc_bibliograph.pdf

Next:  Introduction (A)

Chrysostom on the Scriptures

ALL SCRIPTURE IS INSPIRED BY GOD    (2 Timothy 3:16)

Three quotes from St. John Chrysostom on  reading, listening to, or talking about the Scriptures:

“The mouths of the inspired authors are the mouth of God, after all; such a mouth would say nothing idly—so let us not be idle in our listening, either . . . Pay precise attention, however: the reading out of the Scriptures is the opening of the heavens.”

“Any time must be considered suitable for discourse on spiritual topics.  If we have a precise realization of this, we will be able while relaxing at home, both before eating and after eating, to take the Scriptures in our hands and gain benefit from them and provide spiritual nourishment for our soul . . . This is our salvation, this is spiritual treasure, this security.  If we thus strengthen ourselves each day—by reading, by listening, by spiritual discourse—we will be able to remain unconquered, and render the snares of the devil ineffectual.”

“Let us not simply imprint this on our minds, but also discuss it constantly with one another in our get-togethers; let us constantly revive the memory of this story both with our wives and with the children.  In fact, if you want to talk about a king, see, there is a king here; if about soldiers, about a household, about political affairs, you will find a great abundance of these things in the Scriptures.  These narratives bring the greatest benefit: it is impossible – impossible, I say—for a soul nourished on these stories ever to manage to fall victim to passion.”