Monday, March 26, 2012

Moses and the Angels--Gen 2:4-5

"These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground." (Gen 2:4-5)

I was reading Genesis again the other weekend, and thinking again about how cool it is that when the seven-day creation story in Gen 1:1-2:3 ends, the next verse doesn't just proceed straight on to day eight. Instead, a new story of the "generations of the heavens and of the earth" starts, uncreating mankind for a moment before creating us again in a different set of words.

And this time reading it I got this strange and lovely image: of Moses and the angels, sitting around a campfire. The sun just barely gone down. The first angel speaks, and Moses hears one truth wrapped in one story of the creation. Then the second angel speaks, and gives Moses another truth wrapped in another version. And so it goes, from angel to angel, story to story, history rising in zigzagging layers, wisdom building line upon line. Because Moses knows what it means to have ears to hear.

Because for Moses, sacred stories are the promised land.

And after all, isn't it only natural that the mountains are high while the rivers run low?

Who but a fool would wish for a country that's lined up straight in every direction: that's stubbornly, barrenly consistent?


  1. Apart from not being a personal fan of campfires, except for making s'mores, I like the imagery. Lots of vivid colors come to mind, both in the campfire part, and then the story-within-the-story, the creation stories told around said campfire.

  2. What a fun image! I, too, don't have a problem with the different stories. It reminds us how much is layered into this story, how much doctrine is hidden, how much needed information. That we turn it over and over in our hands is a good thing. "History rising in zigzagging layers." Love that. I like the terrain as well.



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