Tag Archives: Genesis 1


John Ortberg, 15th September 2013, Transcript is here

Begins by talking about community- that if you have relationships then you are less likely to die in the next year (“Join our house groups otherwise you will die”) and you are more likely to catch cold (“Isolated people are snottier”).  This all comes from a man called Robert Putnam who wrote a book called “Bowling Alone”.

Talked about the first three verses of Genesis, and that already we see God, Spirit and Word – the inner ring at the heart of all social circles.  We must live in such circles of sufficiency.

Community is where we grow.  We can hypothetically believe in Love, but then we can meet real people and suddenly that becomes too difficult.

In community we learn acceptance of each other – it is not for nothing that the two dimensions of the cross point up and across.  This is brought out in Ephesians 2 and John Ortberg says that hear you can insert any kind of hostility instead of Jew and Gentile.

We serve in community.  Volunteering comes from the Latin to give up, and giving up is what God does on the cross.  He is the ultimate volunteer.

Then talks about the kind of community that we need to be – each of us serving and honouring our different gifts, and that is the community of God.

Community is where we are healed and make ourselves accountable to one another. The human is the only animal where we talk about ourselves being naked.  Every other animal does not need clothes.  But we need a place where we can be unveiled to one another.

We die in community

We are resurrected in community

The Bible Alone

Brilliant bit on the whole of the scriptures being fulfilled by Jesus. Also about the guy ah Jacobs who lives literally for a year. The Bible cannot be read like this. It has to be about understanding the era

Good illustration of the allies fighting and then helping the Germans during the second world war. This was not inconsistency but understanding the era that we are in.

Look at the literalism of Genesis. Looks at the way the sun is talked about in Genesis. how the ancient writers would have known that the sun does not come late. This was a polemic against sun worship. W should not claim too literally for example the arguments about the earth being at the centre of the solar system.

The best thing to do with this book is to chew on it. Memorise it and do it

God created children


After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the

first thing he said was

‘ DON’T !’


‘Don ‘t what ? ‘ Adam replied.


‘Don’t eat the forbidden fruit.’God said.


‘Forbidden fruit ? We have forbidden fruit ?  Hey Eve..we have

forbidden fruit ! ‘




‘  No Way ! ‘ ‘Yes way ! ‘ ‘Do NOT eat the fruit ! ‘ said God.





‘Why ? ‘


‘Because I am your Father and I said so ! ‘ God replied, wondering why

He hadn’t stopped creation after making the elephants


A few minutes later, God saw His children having an apple break and He

was ticked ! ‘Didn’t I tell you not to eat the fruit ? ‘ God asked.






‘Uh huh,’ Adam replied.


‘Then why did you ? ‘ said the Father.


‘I don’t know,’ said Eve.

‘She started it! ‘Adam said.


‘Did not ! ‘

‘Did too ! ‘

‘DID NOT ! ‘


Having had it with the two of them, God’s punishment was that Adam and

Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it

has never changed.


If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give children wisdom and

they haven’t taken it,

don’t be hard on yourself.


If God had trouble raising children, what makes you think it would be a

piece of cake for you ?




1. You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk

and talk. Then you spend

the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up.


2. Grandchildren are God’s reward for not killing your own children.


3. Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young.


4. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for

word what you shouldn’t have said


5. The main purpose of holding children’s parties is to remind yourself

that there are children more awful than your own


6. We childproofed our homes, but they are still getting in.






Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home one day









Hionest Creationist

The Honest Creationist

Key Words Creation Doubt Belief Evidence Science Evolution Proof Revelation
Source Secular humanist magazine
Author Dawkins
Quote Dawkins gives a biography of Kurt Wise. This is a man whom he regards as a scientist with impeccable credentials.

He discusses with incredulity the honesty of his position which is that even if there were incontrovertable evidence, he would still believe in creation because the Bible said so.

Dawkins describes this as “believe 2 plus 2 equals 5 because Big Brother says so”

References Creation of the World (Genesis 1)
The mind’s transformation (Romans 12:1)
The revelation of creation (Romans 1:20)

Community, context for change

10th October 2010

Magnificent tour round the scriptures from John Ortberg.

This a talk on community, and living together, and mostly when we do such a thing we start with the ethics, with the need simply to love.

Instead what Ortberg does is ground this in the being of God, and then the plan of God (Lukan fans of Salvation history are on home ground here, indeed as we all ought to be – how come salvation history got marginalised as an idea, here’s to you Oscar Cullmann).

He begins with ancient societies – hierarchies of kings, nobles, artisans; then peasants and slaves; and the way that the king was said to bear the image of God, this is how is rule was authorised and respect was due.  And then looks at the revolutionary nature of the Genesis verse (Genesis 1:27) which is so radical in saying that all bear the image of God.

Here we pick up the idea from Tom Wright that the king used to send his image to different parts of the empire, so that the people knew who was in charge; and that the image was to represent the king.  But here it is all of us who represent the king, who bear that image.

Here he makes the central theme of the sermon that we bear the image, we represent the king, and we reflect the glory back to God and the image to creation.

Then Ortberg goes through the fall (and the break down of community and enmity between man and woman); through to the story of the Exodus and the giving of the law.

At this point a connection I had never noticed, that with Moses on the mountain top there are seven speeches from God, over seven days.  This is not the only Genesis resonance but also tabernacle (which measured only 45 feet across) in the smallness it was not mean to be the home of God, but to represent a mini cosmos.

Once again here you get the idea of glory (there are allusions to looking forward to the day when the glory of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea) and of things being finished.

Then to the life of Jesus who tabernacled amongst us (John 1:14), who inaugurated a kingdom and who declared at the last “it is finished”.

Then to 1 Peter 2 – you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood – the idea of being kings and priests is present again;

And finally to Revelation (cannot get the reference) where the people will be with God and reign with him.

And in this context, we are to be community; a community of God’s people, a royal priesthood, a chosen race, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.

Begin At The Beginning

13 mins – whenever we sift, sort, order, create, gather, manufacture, turn impulse into something, when we write and author, then we are exercising our creation impulses.

The story of God moves from garden to city, which is in fact many gardens.

If you took sin out the Bible you would have short pamphlet of four chapters Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22; but within that you still have growth, change, the move from one garden to a city with many gardens.

Genesis 3 – “Where are you?”

God could be asking our location, or God could be saying “Where are you? / What has happened to you?/ How have you relocated yourselves?”

Words for sin which come out of this moment are things like disruption, rebellion and missing the mark.

Your starting point is so important, because it determines your posture for articulating Jesus.  If you are starting at Genesis 3, then this is the God who fixes, and you are talking about beginning with people’s sense of being bad.  If you are starting at Genesis 1, then you are talking about the God who creates Shalom.

The Spirit and The Feminine

A Treasure We Don’t Understand

Phyllis Tickle at Mars Hill – 3rd May 2009

Very funny intro about not being a true feminist because she has seven children.

Spoke about the 500 year cycles of Church history, and being in the great emergence

Also spoke of prophecy of Joachim of Tournee who spoke about history being divided 2000 year cycles

2000 – 0 – the era of the Father

0- 2000 – the era of the Son

2000 – 4000 – the era of the Spirit

And after that 1000 years of the dispensation.

Exegesis of Genesis 1 – the “Let us” of God, the parts of God, including the feminine – this includes the Shekinah (the ineffable glory and beauty of God) and Sophia (the wisdom of God).  This is not Trinitarianism.

That in each faith we have to cling to our mysteries, these are the parts that we fall down before.

Best way to think about this is to think of H20 and that this is something that we do not know ever as H and 0, but at different times as water and ice and steam.  The best fleshing out of this illustration which I have never been particularly sure of.

Then to Genesis 18 – the three parts of God which visit Sarah

Talks about the three language groups (Latin, Syriac and Greek) that come out of the room at Pentecost, and how these are the forebears of the three great strands of Christianity (Western, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern).

Goes through and Icon which is about this, and explains the meaning of the icon – which is a picture of Genesis 18 and also a picture of the Trinity.

Then talks about the Nicene creed and the Filioque clause (The Filioque clause made interesting, and it’s importance understood – not just an argument over semantics).  For Tickle, the Filioque clause created a hierarchy of Father, Son and then Spirit which relegated the Holy Spirit.  In addition, the Spirit’s identification with the feminine also relegated its importance in patriarchal Western thought.

Tickle then talks about Bet Qu’ol – the daughter of voice, the voice of God which is replaced by the Spirit, but is still present in the gospels.

Trible then moves to John 14, and the feminine task of home preparation in “I go to prepare a home for you” (not sure how accurate this is, check out Rob Bell here).

There is also a closing section on the Spirit who draws beside (the Paraklete), with a quotation from Kipling’s “Mother of Mine, O Mother of Mine”.

The knowing of the Spirit, is an erotic relationship.  Augustine talks about this in his Confessions

“Late have I loved you Oh beauty ever ancient

Ever new

Late have I love you, you were within me, but I was outside

It was there that I searched for you

In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things that you created

You were with me but I was not with you

Created things kept me from you

Yet if they had not been in you, they would not have been at all

You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness

You flashed, you have shown and you dispelled my blindness

You breathed your fragrance on me

I drew in breath

And now I pant for you

I have pasted(?) you, now I hunger and thirst more for you

You touched me and I burned for your peace”

That’s the love affair we are invited to.

The Entrance Gate

The First talk from Adventure Unlimited At Abernethy 2009

A History Of How We Got Here Today

I would like to do a wee history of how we got here today.

So how many folk came by train

Any planes

Any boats

How many by car

How many folk walked

And then where did we sleep last night

Hands up who slept in Scotland

Hands up who slept in England

Hands up who slept in another country

And then before that

We had a whole lot of stuff.

But if we keep going back and back and back

It started with something like this.

Light a match…

The Bible says, in the beginning was God.

So everything started with God.

But the beginning was a time when there was something that wasn’t God

And that was this….

A tiny bit of light.

Things we need

  1. Match
  2. Fire eating stuff
  3. Water and step ladder
  4. Flowers
  5. Head torches
  6. Ducks and fish
  7. People

And then the tiny bit of light got a bit bigger.

Hand over to Paddy to eat fire…

And after the light, there was the water,

And with the water what happened, was that the top stuff got separated from the bottom stuff.

Step ladder with water and watering can

And then there were the earth, which got created with the nice flowers.

And then were the lights in the sky

People with head torches.

And then there were the birds and the fish

Shadow puppet birds and fish

And then there were animals

Including the creepy crawly things

Get some spiders and insects in a few jars.

And that is what God did in creation.

But of course there was something missing.

There was man, and woman.   Created in the image of God.

And to God there were given three kinds of instructions.

Could have these in golden envelopes

1. Multiply and be fruitful

2. Fill The earth

3. Subdue

So just three instructions

There would be a couple more in a few moments

Eat fruit

And don’t eat the forbidden fruit.

That was it.

Five instructions, and the rest was kind of freedom.

We could be trusted to get on with things.

Some of the simplest gadgets have huge instruction manuals, but here God is trusting his people, just five things

Multiply and be fruitful

Fill the earth


Eat lots of fruit

Don’t eat the forbidden fruit.

Multiply and Be Fruitful

Multiply and be fruitful.

Now what’s that about.

One aspect of it is  “Have lots of babies.”

That’s what multiply here means.

I was at university with one guy called William Campbell

His Dad was a very religious man, came from the island of Skye

And William’s Dad treated this passage very seriously indeed.

So that William, and I have been trying to find the correct number on the internet, but it was I think 18 brothers and sisters.

It seemed that every time William’s Dad read this verse

William got another brother and sister to play with.

But being fruitful is about more than having babies.

It’s about doing things that count.

You know the amount of time we waste on stuff that doesn’t count.

Think of the amount of time we waste on the TV

Do you ever switch off the TV and think, that was a great evening of TV watching

Know, you think, what waste of time that was.

Same with computer games

Multi-player games are a bit different, because you can enjoy being with your mates

But single player games, as soon as you get to the high score table, how long does that feeling last, maybe about 10 minutes top


No, God wants us to do things that count, that last, that make a difference

And we’re going to be saying a lot more about that during the week

Fill The Earth

The fill the earth command that is interesting.

Why did God want us to fill the earth.

There is going to be a story on Monday night, when people don’t fill the earth, they stay in one place

But God says to the people, no I want you to fill the earth

To spread out, to get round and see the place.

God doesn’t say that about the planet mars with it’s acres of red dust, not does he say it about Jupiter with the funny clouds

But he wants the earth to be seen.

I am only guessing here, but I think this has something about God wanting us to enjoy the place

To see what he has created.

So that we look at places and just go “Wow”, nice job God.

Places like here:

  • Tower islands in China
  • Trango towers in Patagonia
  • Cliffs at Arbroath

So much of the world is good,

And we are going to see a bit more if this week.

*** This video ****

What we are going to do this week, as a sign of our instruction to fill the earth, to spread out over the earth

Is we are going to take the chair all over this place

We are going to pretend it is our backyard, and enjoy the view

And on Thursday night we are going to see the pictures.

So that is the second instruction.

Third Instruction

The third instruction is to “Subdue the earth, or have dominion over it.”

In fact have a look at the wording, because this is an interesting one.

“Fill the earth and subdue it

And have dominion over the fish of the sea

And over the birds of the air

And over every living thing that moves over the face of the earth.”

And you think that might be about food

So the man is to eat the fish of the sea

And to eat the birds of the air

And to enjoy chomping over every living thing on the face of the earth

So it’s a kind of early Biblical justification for the Bush Tucker challenge on I’m a Celebrity get me out of here.

Except that’s not right

Because look at the next verse

“See I have given you every plant yielding seed and every tree with fruit

And you shall eat them for food.”

It’s the plants for eating

This is the Bible before everything goes wrong

You notice that that there is no killing of animals

And that there are not poisonous plants

So if the subduing and dominion isn’t for eating the fish and the birds

Maybe it’s about just telling them what to do.

You know that you spend Monday morning telling the geese where they can fly

And you spend the afternoon telling the sharks that you would like them to do some fancy jumps like the dolphins

And you go up to the fish and you say “Over there, swim over there,”

And you would teach them to do tricks.

No, the subduing and the dominion I think is about making the earth better, and looking after the earth in the way that God looks after it.

And just tending it.

Let me tell you a wee story

It comes from South Africa

The story is of a farmer in his field one day

His field of plants – tomatoes, and oranges and grapes

And plants in the ground, like Pineapple and melons

And potatoes and tapioca

And flowers like sunflowers, these great golden sunflowers

And he is admiring the field, on the fence

And a traveller comes along, and traveller says to the farmer

He’s a very spiritual traveller, very holy man

And he sees the beautiful plants with the grapes and oranges and satsumas and pineapples

“What a wonderful field it is that you and God have created together”

And the farmer takes a sook on his pipe

And he says

“You should have seen what it was like when God had it to himself.”

What that’s not about is that God is no good at gardening

What it is about is that somehow God wants to partner us on this great planet

That God wants to make the world better

God wants to look after the world

And we are the ones that are asked to help

In fact, he’s not going to do it without us

It’s your job to make this world better

To look after it

And the people that live here

To go places so that lonely people are befriended

And poor people can see a way to looking after themselves

It’s to look after the planet so that it stops heating up

And to care for our neighbourhoods so that there is less crime

I am always inspired by people from Adventure Holidays who do just that

This is my friend Sheona, and she works in Primary Schools in Glasgow, this is school she was in, and through her being head teacher the staff were turned around and people started to get much better results

This is Jackie who does dental work in Peru

And this is Morven who turned a farmhouse in Brazil into a an outdoor centre where people from the poorest backgrounds have a weekend away, a holiday like the one that you are about to have this week.

*** Find out when people made the world a better place…