“A Garden and a Gardener, Four Rivers and Two Trees” (Genesis 2)

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we continued our preaching series entitled “In the Beginning,” drawn from Genesis 1-3. This is the first part of a two-part series on Genesis 1-11 that will stretch from January through Lent up to Easter. This third week of the series I preached from Genesis 2:4-15, walking through the Genesis 2 account of creation.

You can find the message outline and video below. You can access the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

The Toledot Structure of Genesis

Ten toledot in Genesis:

The story of God’s work with generations and peoples

God Creates a Garden (2:8-10)

God is not only a craftsman but a gardener or farmer

God brings forth beauty and diversity in creation

God Creates a Gardener (2:7-8, 15)

God the gardener creates humanity as sub-gardeners

Humanity is rooted in creation

God’s Garden and the Four Rivers (2:10-14)

The one river 

The four rivers

God’s Garden and the Two Trees (2:9)

The garden with many trees

The two trees in the middle of the garden


Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

“The Genesis 1 Account of Creation”

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we continued our preaching series entitled “In the Beginning,” drawn from Genesis 1-3. This is the first part of a two-part series on Genesis 1-11 that will stretch from January through Lent up to Easter. This second week of the series I preached from Genesis 1:1-2:3, walking through the Genesis 1 account of creation.

You can find the message outline and video below. You can access the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

Approaching Genesis 1:1-2:3

The relationship between faith and science

The limitations of human understanding

Openness to receive Genesis on its own terms 

The Flow and Structure of Genesis 1:1-2:3

God’s ordering of creation through separation

God creates domains and then the entities which exist within them

The structure and variety within God’s creation

The “10” of creation and the “7” of God’s creation

The supremacy of God over all creation and all others

Day 0 (1:2)
Void and Vacuum
Day 1 (1:3-5)
Light
Day 4 (1:14-19)
Lights
Day 2 (1:6-8)
Firmament
Waters below
Day 5 (1:20-23)
Aviary life
Marine life
Day 3 (1:9-13)
Dry land 
Vegetation
Day 6 (1:24-31)
Land animals 
Human beings
Day 7 (2:1-3)
Creation completed
Holy

Genesis 1:1-2:3 and God 

God the Kingly Priest

God the Author of Delight


Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Genesis 1:1-2 or Psalm 19:1
  • Draw, ink, or paint the account of creation in Genesis 1:1-2:3. As you do that, thank and praise God for the wonderful variety of His creation. When you finish, consider sharing your prayer reflections and/or artistry with a friend.
  • Watch the Bible Project’s video, “Genesis 1”
  • Read one of the following:

“Before Anything, There is God the Creator”

This past weekend at Eastbrook, we began a new preaching series entitled “In the Beginning,” drawn from Genesis 1-3. This is the first part of a two-part series on Genesis 1-11 that will stretch from January through Lent up to Easter. This first week of the series I preached from Genesis 1:1-2 on the revelation of God as Creator in the book of Genesis.

At the very beginning of this message I share an update on a tragic situation within our church and lead in prayer related to this situation. The message from Genesis 1 begins right after that.

You can find the message outline and video below. You can access the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

An Introduction to Genesis

The name of the book of Genesis

The structure of Genesis

Questions raised by Genesis

Our focus in this series

Genesis as a Revelation of the Kingly Power of God

God’s power to create

God’s power to rule over creation

Genesis as a Revelation of the Creative Craftsmanship of God

God’s powerful creativity and the creation from nothing (ex nihilo)

God’s manifold creativity seen in the variety of creation

Genesis as a Revelation of the Triune God

The Father, the Eternal Word, and the Breath of God (1:1-3)The plurality within the One God (1:26)


Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Genesis 1:1
  • Consider going outside this week to explore God’s creation. Even in this cold time of the year, the world is full of wonders. Notice things and give God thanks for them. 
  • Watch the Bible Project’s video, “Genesis 1”
  • Read Tremper Longman’s book How to Read Genesis
  • Listen to all or part of Joseph Haydn’s The Creation

A Prayer for Wholeness: drawn from Psalm 80

Restore us again, O Lord God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance,
and we shall be whole.”
(Psalm 80:19, New Coverdale Psalter)

You, who are beyond me yet near me,
who are at One with Yourself,
yet interacting with a confused world:
speak wholeness into me.

You, who are God of all and over all,
who are holy, holy, holy,
yet are merciful beyond measure:
breathe wholeness into me.

You, whose presence is brilliance and light,
whose majesty is incomprehensible,
yet whose light brings illumination so personal:
shine wholeness into me.

You, who know all things comprehensively,
who have created the world in grandeur,
yet who intimately knows each one:
mold wholeness into me.

You, God, holy and mighty—
You, God, loving and merciful—
You, God, majestic and personal—
make me whole like You.

The Weekend Wanderer: 25 June 2022

The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, stories, resources, and media on the intersection of faith and culture for you to explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like. Disclaimer: I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within these articles but have found them thought-provoking.


abortion ruling“Dobbs decision and the fall of Roe is met with rejoicing, dismay from faith groups” – Bob Smietana in Religion News Service: “After nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, is no more. In a 6-3 decision Friday (June 24), the Supreme Court overruled both Roe, decided in 1973, and a 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed the constitutional right to abortion. The ruling came in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which challenged a Mississippi law that imposed strict restrictions on abortion. ‘Abortion presents a profound moral question,’ the Supreme Court ruled. ‘The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.’ The Dobbs decision has been anticipated since May, when an early draft of the ruling was leaked to Politico. Friday’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion was met with both rejoicing and dismay by faith leaders, who have been loud voices on either side of the abortion debate since before Roe.”


Dates“Charlie Dates to Succeed Retiring Chicago Megachurch Pastor; Will Lead 2 Churches” – Sarah Einselen at The Roys Report: “Nationally known pastor Rev. Charlie Dates is set to succeed Rev. James Meeks next year as senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church—one of Chicago’s biggest megachurches. Meeks, a former state senator, founded Salem Baptist 38 years ago. He announced Sunday he’ll preach his last sermon to the 10,000-member church on January 8, 2023. The 65-year-old has been a pastor for 42 years and said he feels like he’s “got 42 more years in me.’ But Meeks added he’s learned from King David’s life ‘when it’s time to come off the battlefield.’ ‘It’s time for Salem to move forward,” he told his congregants. ‘It’s time for Salem to have younger leadership . . . We need new ideas. We need new opportunities. And God has blessed us with our own son’ as the church’s next pastor. Dates, 41, is senior pastor of Progressive Baptist Church—a position he’ll keep, despite assuming the pastorate at Salem. In a video message to Progressive, Dates said the two churches will stay distinct, though he’ll pastor them both.”


Leithart progress“Radical Hope: When worlds die, we need something sturdier than the myth of technological and social progress” – Peter Leithart in Plough: “The year 2020 came down like the wolf on the fold. Then came 2021. And 2022. It feels like ‘the end of the world as we know it.’ It feels like an apocalypse. It may be one. Worlds do die. Historians and junior high students debate the precise end of the Roman Empire and whether it should be described as a ‘fall,’ but no one doubts the Roman Empire now lies peacefully in the graveyard of history. Remnants of medieval life persist in our world, more than we realize, but we no longer live medievally. Worlds can disappear speedily. Less than a month after the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, France’s National Constituent Assembly abolished feudalism and the mandatory tithe, shattering the foundations of medieval order and slashing the alliance between the French monarchy and the Catholic Church that began with Clovis’s baptism in the early sixth century. Within two years, the royal family fled the palace and early in 1793 Louis XVI was executed. More recently: the world that existed before the Russian invasion of Ukraine is gone, a memory of the age of American unipolarity and what was in retrospect a shockingly fragile European peace. The change was rapid and distinct: the week after the invasion, one felt a nostalgia for a stable geopolitical order that simply didn’t exist anymore. Once it was destabilized, its former stability in retrospect looks illusory.”


harmful social media“How Harmful Is Social Media?” – Gideon Lewis-Kraus in The New Yorker: “In April, the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt published an essay in The Atlantic in which he sought to explain, as the piece’s title had it, “Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid.” Anyone familiar with Haidt’s work in the past half decade could have anticipated his answer: social media. Although Haidt concedes that political polarization and factional enmity long predate the rise of the platforms, and that there are plenty of other factors involved, he believes that the tools of virality—Facebook’s Like and Share buttons, Twitter’s Retweet function—have algorithmically and irrevocably corroded public life. He has determined that a great historical discontinuity can be dated with some precision to the period between 2010 and 2014, when these features became widely available on phones….These are, needless to say, common concerns. Chief among Haidt’s worries is that use of social media has left us particularly vulnerable to confirmation bias, or the propensity to fix upon evidence that shores up our prior beliefs. Haidt acknowledges that the extant literature on social media’s effects is large and complex, and that there is something in it for everyone. On January 6, 2021, he was on the phone with Chris Bail, a sociologist at Duke and the author of the recent book ‘Breaking the Social Media Prism,’ when Bail urged him to turn on the television. Two weeks later, Haidt wrote to Bail, expressing his frustration at the way Facebook officials consistently cited the same handful of studies in their defense. He suggested that the two of them collaborate on a comprehensive literature review that they could share, as a Google Doc, with other researchers. (Haidt had experimented with such a model before.) Bail was cautious. He told me, ‘What I said to him was, “Well, you know, I’m not sure the research is going to bear out your version of the story,” and he said, “Why don’t we see?”‘”


The Convivial Society“Trading Solitude for Loneliness” – L. M. Sacasas in The Convivial Society: “We live in a world of pervasive connection but also rising rates of loneliness. How do we make sense of this state of affairs? I suspect there are a few answers that may come readily to mind, particularly if you already take a dim view of social media. But I’m intrigued by a certain possibility that had not occurred to me until recently. As I’ve thought about loneliness and digital networks over the years, I’ve done so in conversation with the work of the 20th century political theorist, Hannah Arendt. For one thing, I think Arendt was right about the political stakes. Loneliness and isolation, she argued, were the seedbeds of totalitarianism….But Arendt also helps us distinguish among a variety of experiences that may bear a surface resemblance. Loneliness, for example, is to be distinguished from solitude, and solitude is essential to thought.”


webRNS-Gallup-God1“Poll: Americans’ belief in God is dropping” – Yonat Shimron at Religion News Service: “Belief in God has been one of the strongest, most reliable markers of the persistence of American religiosity over the years. But a new Gallup Poll suggests that may be changing. In the latest Gallup Poll, belief in God dipped to 81%, down 6 percentage points from 2017, and the lowest since Gallup first asked the question in 1944. Even at 81%, Americans’ belief in God remains robust, at least in comparison with Europe, where only 26% said they believed in the God of the Bible, and an additional 36% believe in a higher power, according to a 2018 Pew poll. Throughout the post-World War II era, an overwhelming 98% of U.S. adults said they believed in God. That began to fall in 2011, when 92% of Americans said they believed in God and, in 2013, went down again to 87%. The latest decline may be part of the larger growth in the number of Americans who are unaffiliated or say they have no religion in particular. About 29% of Americans are religious ‘nones’ — people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity. ‘Belief is typically the last thing to go,’ said Ryan Burge, assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University. ‘They stop attending, they stop affiliating and then they stop believing.'”


Music: Sandra McCracken (ft. All Sons & Daughters), “Trinity Song” (Live), originally from God’s Highway