The text we are studying for Sunday, September 2 is Genesis 1:1-13, the story of the first three days of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are a few questions that we might want to consider in class:

Normally, we think of things as having meaning within a context. In Genesis 1, God is revealed as the context for everything. Do we want to contemplate the implications of that?

In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word that’s translated “wind” in the NRSV could also be translated “breath” or “spirit.” Try reading the verse each of those ways – does it affect the way we understand it? In what way? Why, do we think? What if we try to understand it all those ways at once? (Is that even possible for us?)

In this story, God calls some of the things God makes by specific names. How do any of the ways we think language relates to things in the world work here? Any ideas?

When God says “Let there be light,” there is light (v3). The phrase “and it was so” is repeated three times (v7, v9, v11). What does this tell us? Does it shed any light on what we are asking for when we say “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?” How does that look to us? Why, do we think?

God “saw that it was good” three times in this part of the story (v4, v10, v12). The Hebrew word “good” can mean a lot of things, from something moral to something well done or fitting, to something lovely. Does it make a difference what we think it means here? What difference is that? Why, do we think?

What does this tell us about God?

What effect does spending time with this text have on us? Does it affect what we say to God, or want to say? How? Or how we think about God, or want to think? How? What will we do with that?

a conversation by a roadside