Tag Archives: Genesis 1

Cabin 18: Frozen Waters

A couple summers ago, I wrote about an imaginative trip to The Father’s Cabin to spend the weekend with Jesus. I wrote out of desperation, from a spiritually dry place, in hopes that the creative writing process would force me into a real conversation with Jesus. It worked!  My soul was nourished as I spent time chatting with Jesus, riding shotgun in his car, walking with him in the woods, fishing with him in a boat, planting with him in his garden, dancing with him in the rain, and imagining the kind of room he goes to prepare for me out of love. 

And then I stopped writing. The end of summer came, and as I launched into the fall of ministry, I left the story hanging with Jesus and I sitting peacefully in a rowboat on calm waters. Its been 2 or 3 years now, and its time to continue the story.  However, unlike last time, this time I am writing in the middle of a cold Minnesota winter, and that will shape the scenery and experiences of this second part of my adventure at The Father’s Cabin. I invite you to come along and join me!

Jeremy Berg, Midwinter 2017

(For the record, the popular novel The Shack never even crossed my mind while I was writing. Any similarities are completely unintended. My experiences and conversations with Jesus have originated from within my own imagination shaped by the Scriptures.)

Read Part One (first 17 chapters) in PDF form HERE

Read them all in blog post form HERE.


Frozen Waters

So, there I sat in a boat with my Lord, bobbing gently up and down on the calm waters of the ocean blue lake. The warmth of the midday sun on my neck, the fluttering of butterflies overhead, the sounds of June bugs all around. For a moment all was right in the world. Complete shalom.

Suddenly, without warning, a gust of frigid arctic air blew from the north, stirring up the calm waters into an angry tempest. The blue sky was replaced by a dark, ominous gray. The pleasant sounds of summer were replace by the angry howl of a whirlwind.

In an instant, like a great magician waving his wand, an arctic blast and blowing snow transformed the summer lake setting into a frozen, desolate winter wasteland. Green trees were now covered with frosty white snow. The blue sky was now a dull gray. The blue water was now a snow covered glacier. It felt like I was inside a snow globe that had just been violently shook.

Still sitting in the boat, now frozen solid into the lake, I turned to Jesus for some explanation and reassurance.

But he was gone.

Continue reading Cabin 18: Frozen Waters

N.T. Wright: The Gospel of John & Second Genesis

The following post is worth reading. I found it during my Easter sermon study and preparation as I prepare to trace the New Creation theme through the Gospel of John. I have read the book he’s referring to by N.T. Wright. I, too, am a huge fan and student of Wright. Get the book!  Enjoy! -JB

The Gospel of John, the Creation Story in Genesis, and Discipleship by Danny DaVinci

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; we beheld his glory, glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1: 14)

It’s official: I’m an N. T. Wright fan.

I think every Christian should at least read one book by N. T. Wright.  You may or may not agree with everything he writes (for instance, I’m not quite sure if I agree with his take on justification), but he’s one of the most top-notch and accessible biblical scholars today.  Go to any major bookstore and you’ll find several of his works in the Christian/religion sections.

Basically all of the thoughts here on this post are from the 4th chapter of his book Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship titled “The Glory of God: John.”  His brief, yet profound insights into the meanings and nuances of the gospel of John really opened my eyes to not only the text itself, but more importantly, how everything in it connects (eschatologically) with the message of the whole Bible and how it ties to what it means to be a Christian, or more specifically, a disciple of Jesus Christ today.

So let’s get right to it.

The gospel of Matthew takes us into the synagogue if you will, where the people of God are learning to recognize Jesus as their King.

In Mark, we’re given a handbook on discipleship and how to be a follower of the Servant King.

Luke presents Jesus to the cultured Greek world and is presented to a predominantly Gentile audience.

With the letters of Paul, we feel as if we’re in a seminar room: we argue things out, look up references, take notes, think deeply about things, reflect, and analyze what the gospel means and then we’re sent out to preach the gospel to the nations.

But then we get to the gospel of John and we’re not even given a chance to breathe or to even take a moment to catch a breather.  Almost immediately we’re thrust up to the mountain top.  He invites us to be still and peer deeply into the human face and eyes of Jesus of Nazareth.  As we read his text, he leads the reader to be inundated with the awesome reality that we’re not just looking into the face of a great prophet, teacher, or revolutionary, but rather, we’re brought face to face with the living God as we look at the face of Jesus of Nazareth. Continue reading N.T. Wright: The Gospel of John & Second Genesis

FATHER’S SONG (2): Creation Song (Creation)

day-one-creation-of-manThe Creator could have chosen an infinite number of methods to bring the universe into being.

God chose to sing.

Well, we don’t know if God actually sang, but the creation narratives make plain that the first stars, moons, trees, oceans, platypuses and people danced into existence through the spoken word of God. (“And the Lord said…and it was so.”)

Scholars are quick to point out that Genesis 1 has a clear poetic rhythm, a certain beat, cadence or ancient groove.  Unfortunately contemporary readers often tend to impose rigid, lifeless, “just-give-me-the-facts” scientific interpretations on this rich rhythmic narrative.  All the heated debates over dating and the fossil record can deafen one’s ears to the sheer beauty of the creation song.

Like a pebble striking a glassy pond and rippling outward, the pulsating energy and mutual love of the Trinitarian dance struck the cosmic void with a decisive chord of creative power that began the rippling effects of those first six days.  The poem slowly builds in tempo and tone, from the quiet sounds of the Spirit hovering over the deep to the energetic flashes of light and syncopated splashes of the sea.

The song’s thin melody grows fuller as new life fills sea, sky and land with each passing day.  The creeping of the crawlers builds to the march of the beasts of land and sea.  The suspense grows and the volume increases.  The angelic choirs join the Divine Trio, adding texture and depth as the creative music builds to the grand crescendo of the sixth day.

Every note, every melody of the Father’s Song has been leading the attentive ear to this shocking, show-stopping lyric:

“Let Us create man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Gen 1:26).

And all heaven was silent.  Awe fell over the angelic hosts.  The perfect harmony shared between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit could not be contained.  A dance this perfect, a song this sweet, a love this strong spilled over and echoed out beyond the perfect trinitarian fellowship.

And so God created human beings in his image — His triune, interrelational image.

But why?

91828the-creation-of-man-1956-58-postersI believe the only adequate answer is: We were created to join the Dance of the Trinity.  We were created to join the angels in singing the Father’s Song.  We were made to join the symphony of God’s holy, creative, life-giving, relational love.

We are all instruments of God in the deepest, truest sense.  We are created “in the image of God” — we might say “in tune with God”   — in order to perform the Father’s Song with our lives as we walk in rhythm with God.

The song’s opening measures were absolutely flawless: “And God saw all that He had made and it was very good.” For a blissful moment the first human couple enjoyed a life of perfect harmony (or “Shalom”) with the earth, with each another, with themselves and with their God.

But the Father’s Song would soon take a tragic turn as God’s instruments so went so quickly out of tune….

Tim Keller on Adam & Eve

At Jesus Creed, RJS has a great discussion of Tim Keller’s essay “Creation, Evolution and Christian Lay People” exploring the topic of the historical Adam and Eve, evolutionary theory, the trustworthiness of Scripture and the complex relationship between science and the Bible. Keller first addresses whether one needs to take Genesis 1 literally, and second whether all theories of evolutionary processes violate the Scriptures. RJS focuses her discussion on the third question of Keller’s essay.  Here is Keller’s introduction:

Question #3: If biological evolution is true and there was no historical Adam and Eve how can we know where sin and suffering came from?

Answer: Belief in evolution can be compatible with a belief in an historical fall and a literal Adam and Eve. There are many unanswered questions around this issue and so Christians who believe God used evolution must be open to one another’s views.

My answers to the first two sets of questions are basically negative. I resist the direction of inquirer’s thought. I don’t believe you have to take Genesis 1 as a literal account, and I don’t think that to believe human life came about through EBP (Evolutionary Biological Processes) you necessarily must support evolution as the GTE (evolution as Grand Theory of Everything).

However, I find the concerns of this question much more well-grounded. Indeed, I must disclose, I share them. Many orthodox Christians who believe God used EBP to bring about human life not only do not take Genesis 1 as history, but also deny that Genesis 2 is an account of real events. Adam and Eve, in their view, were not historical figures but an allegory or symbol of the human race. Genesis 2, then, is a symbolic story or myth which conveys the truth that human beings all have and do turn away from God and are sinners.

Before I share my concerns with this view, let me make a clarification. One of my favorite Christian writers (that’s putting it mildly), C.S.Lewis, did not believe in a literal Adam and Eve, and I do not question the reality or soundness of his personal faith. But my concern is for the church corporately and for its growth and vitality over time. Will the loss of a belief in the historical fall weaken some of our historical, doctrinal commitments at certain crucial points?

Read the rest of Keller’s essay and RJS’s discussion of it HERE.

What do you think?