Archive for the ‘Genesis’ Category

What are We Doing Here?

March 10th, 2012

Job 42:1,2 reads: “Then Job answered the Lord and said, I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (ESV).

At the end of the day, with tired feet and well spent energy, one might still question what we are doing here?      We want our supporters to know  that Job 42:1,2 is a reminder of a faith that is based in God; not based in economy, politics, selfishness, avant garde,  polemics, or any other fleeting reality.   What we are doing here is all about God; it really is that simple.   Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”    What is this simplicity that leads us on every day?  What is this ultimate sophistication?   Just this, that God is (Hebrews 11:6); that he is “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1; Hebrew: El Shaddai); and that, His purposes will be maintained throughout history (Job 42:2).

This is the simple and solemn reason for our toiling in the backyard of history.   It is enough.  That is why what we are doing in Milan matters.

Angela, Michelangelo, and Genesis

November 8th, 2011

My current view of Genesis is wrapped up in a song which was written by Charlie Chaplin.  Yes, the comedian, Chaplain, who knew so well how life could be (“I know why the world is smiling / Smiling so tenderly / It hears the same old story / Through all eternity / Love this is my song”).  In this post, we shall attempt to render the significance of the book of Genesis to modern-day Christians (the Lord’s people). 

street vendors

The route to church in Milan, which Marla and I take on Sunday mornings, goes right past the Italian vendors.  Sunday morning is a time for the coin dealers, stamp-collectors and artists to display their works.  The photograph (adjacent) shows the paintings of life in Italy.  It is this sense of story (history/storia) which overlaps with the lovely and often tragic stories of the book of Genesis.

What we do with Genesis is extremely important.  In my opinion, Genesis will influence your understanding of Romans.   In my Romans study (2008), I found myself relying on the phrase, “the human experience.”  Recently, one, Angela, asked why the players in Genesis (God’s people) were so troubled.  Little did she know that that observation is a huge insight into our own experience, as well.  In the Italian, sin is peccato.  So, when one says, “Peccato che,” the phrase becomes, “What a pity!”  Yes, peccato (sin) is a sad concept in Genesis: indeed, what a pity.   But, it is not only sad in the book, it is sad in the cross.  A fascinating study might be to trace the tears in the Genesis text; the tears at the cross; and, the tears in your own soul.  That is not at all to negate the joy.  Genesis is packed with laughter, surprise, and overwhelming burgeoning of happiness too!   Jesus, also, exhibits the whole gamut of emotions in the gospel accounts, that is, in his own human experience.

Genesis condenses well into Italian with a package of five words beginning with the letter “P”:  Paradiso; Popolo di Dio; Peccato; Passione and Promessa [Paradise, People of God, Sin, Passion, Promise].  In fact, the Genesis drama may be understood along these lines with significant progress being taken in understanding what this ancient book is all about.  Angela’s notes on Jacob (Israel), for example, find meaning not as a random story, but as a Hebrew heritage.  This is a heritage which applies to all who have the ability to understand the matter (Be sure to see Galatians 3:7, 29; 4:19; 6:16; and Romans 4:16!).

Michelangelo said something meaningful: “Io citico costruendo, quel cosa de bello” [I criticize by creating something more beautiful.]  The application being that when you encounter the pain of peccato in your own life, do realize that even though it ends with a sarcophagus in Egypt, the promise remains, “Surely I will visit you!” And, again, “Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear saying, God will surely visit you” (Gen. 50:24-26).


The Moon

March 21st, 2009

Do you have a Christian worldview about the Moon? Look up into the night sky with the following data in mind (Ps. 19:1-2; 2 Cor. 10:5,NASB).

1. Gen. 1:14-16 (the principal luminary of the night has interdependence with the sun)

2. Ps. 72:5 (both the sun and the moon are expressions of permanence)

3. Ps. 8:3 (the moon is the work of the Lord; set it in place by him)

4. Mk. 13:24 (portrayed as eclipsed at the coming of the Son of Man)

5. Matt. 4:24 (the moon is associated with mental affliction, literally “moon-struck” (from selena, the moon = lunatics, NASB Zondervan Interlinear.  Other translations interpret as epileptic, etc.)

6. Ps. 121:5 (the moon was once thought to influence the mind-loony thinking).

7. Job 31:26-28 (the moon is associated with idolatry-worship; Nanna, Sumerian/named Sin by the Assyrians)

8. The moon’s appearance is that of highlands (craters); maria (lava); mnt. ranges (debris); and, valleys (1000’s of km).  The moon is geologically dead.  Its average distance from Earth is 3.8 x 10.   It is the only satellite of the Earth.  Its diameter is 3,476 km./ .25 that of Earth’s.    All lunar rocks are formed by cooling lava (igneous).  Its gravity is 1/6 that of Earth’s.  Its period of rotation is 27 1/3 days; period of revolution is 29 ½ days.

9. Four Major Theories of Lunar Origin – (1)  Condensation (same material and time of formation as Earth)  (2)  Fission (the moon was once part of the Earth and split away)  (3)  Capture (a separate stellar object captured by Earth’s gravity, and (4)  Large impact theory (a Mars sized object hit Earth; splashed off and formed the moon).

-Robert M. Housby

The Gospel Must Be Accepted

February 19th, 2009

“Behold now is the favorable time; behold now is the day of salvation”

(2 Cor. 6:2)

The gospel was meant to be accepted (2 Cor. 11:4).  The gospel must be accepted because it was meant to be accepted; meant by the Lord to be received by men (Acts 11:1; 1 Thess. 2:13).  The appeal of the gospel always has urgency and expectancy within its message (2 Cor. 6:2).

1. Accepting the gospel is an individual affair.  Notice the emphasis upon “each one” in 2 Corinthians 5:10, and throughout the New Testament.  Individual responsibility is clearly meant.

2.Accepting the gospel entails ownership. Ownership also infers responsibility-a right of possession.  2 Peter 1:1,3,4,8,12, etc.  indicate ownership by verbs such as-“have obtained,” “granted to us,” and “you have.”

3. Accepting the gospel means accepting the consequences of following Christ (1 Pet. 4:12-19).

My son has a personal web site which displays the Sphinx of Egypt; the Eiffel Tower of Paris; and the Tower of Pisa.  All of these are places which he has visited in person.  They are not mere hopes nor dreams; but for him they are realities, facts, moments of his life.  Is the gospel such a reality for you?   Have you owned it yet?

Robert M. Housby

New Archaeological Discovery—The Saqqara Pyramid

November 21st, 2008

Katarina Kratovac reports in the Associated Press (Southeast Missourian, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008)-Archaeologists have discovered a previously unknown pyramid under the sands of Saqqara, [Egypt]…The 4300-year-old monument most likely belonged to the queen mother of the founder of Egypt’s 6th Dynasty, and was built several hundred years after the famed Great Pyramids of Giza, antiquities chief, Zahi Hawass said while announcing the find. The discovery is part of the sprawling necropolis and burial site of the rulers of ancient Memphis, the capital of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, about 12 miles south of Giza…the structure had been buried under 65 feet of sand. There was so much sand dumped here that no one had any idea there was something buried underneath, Hawaas said….To find a new pyramid is always exciting,..And this one is magical. It belonged to a queen (likely Queen Sesheshet). Calculations suggest that the pyramid was originally some 45 feet tall. The article concludes, “This find is important because it adds to the understanding of the 6th Dynasty, which reigned from 2,322 B.C. to 2,151 B.C. It was the last dynasty of the Old Kingdom…considered the first peak of phararonic civilization.”

The interest of the pyramids to Bible students, although not mentioned in the Scriptures, per se, seems to us to be nestled in several scriptures. These references include: Genesis 12:10; 47:7-11,21; Exodus 1:11; and Matthew 2:13-15. Memphis was in the south-east corner of the land of Goshen. We are not told who, among the Lord’s people, actually viewed the pyramids; but, the possibilities are present.

-Robert M. Housby

Reasons for Learning Genesis

June 29th, 2008

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:5, ESV)

Before we provide some major thinking about why one would (and should) desire to learn Genesis, we wish to point out something about Romans 15:4, within the very context of Romans. Let it be said and settled that Romans 15:4 includes the book of Genesis. By consulting the United Bible Societies’ The Greek New Testament (eds. Aland, Black, Martini, Metzger, and Wikgren) Second Edition, Index of Quotations (pp. 897-98) we have counted not less than 22 references to Genesis in Romans.

Why Study Genesis?

1. It is Scripture (Matt. 19:4-6).

2. It gives us a past perspective, increasing our sacred memory.

3. It reminds us that the Lord God is not detached from the world, but active in universal history.

4. It develops a Theology of Blessing (barak , see 5:2; 9:1,26; 12;1-3); which unifies the pre-patriarchal narrative (1-11).

5. It develops the Theme of Seed (see 1:29; 3:15;4:25; 7:3; 9:9,27!; 12:3/Gal. 3:16); this will involve suffering, “bruised heel”.

6. It develops a Theology of Covenant ( 6:18; 9:9-17; 15:18; Ch. 17); contributing significantly toward a unifying center of Genesis.

7. It develops a Theology of Promise (17:7; 28:21; and, another formula: 15:7). Note a three-fold (tripartite) promise in the former formula). 2 Cor. 1:20 is important.

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Genesis, New Testament, Romans Tags:

Secondhand Faith

April 6th, 2008

“If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the fear of Isaac,
had not been on my side…”

(Genesis 31:42)

E. Stanley Jones sees in Genesis 31:42 a generational progression away from God. “The thing that has happened to this generation has happened to the three generations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob could say, “my father’s God, the God of Abraham, the Awe of Isaac” (Genesis 31:42, Moffatt). God was God to Abraham; he had ventured forth with him, his “Friend”; He was intimate firsthand and real. But in the next generation God was not “the God of Isaac,” but only the Awe of Isaac.” He had faded and become secondhand. Still Isaac stood in “Awe” of his father’s God. In the third generation—in Jacob—the result of this gradual fading of God began to shown in the decaying morals of Jacob; moral rottenness appeared. He stole his brother’s birthright. He was ready to take the main chance without regard to God.

Jones goes on to say that we also, like Jacob, often involve ourselves in a secondhand type of faith. “We have lost God…[but] Jacob met God on Jabbok’s banks in his midnight wrestle and emerged a new man. Unless we, like Jacob, find a moral renewal in finding God [afresh, RMH], we are done for” (“God Fading Out,” Abundant Living (New York: Abingdon Press, 1952), p. 3).

Still, God was on Jacob’s side. But, things were scary for a time. Will you yourself find God afresh in your own life? Can you say this is “the Lord my God”?

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, faith, Genesis, Old Testament Tags:


January 13th, 2008

Three reasons may be assigned as to why man occupies a special status in the universe:

  1. Creation –

“So God created man in his own image,

In the image of God he created him;

Male and female he created them”

(Genesis 1:27)

  1. Chosen people (through whom would come Messiah) –

“Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem…”

(Genesis 9:26; see also 1:22,28 and 14:19;Deuteronomy 7:6)

  1. The Cross –

“In him we have redemption through his blood…making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth”

(Ephesians 1:7-10; John 3:16; Col. 1:20)

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Genesis, Old Testament Tags:


December 30th, 2007

The Road Out of Eden

Leads to Your Back Door

Believing, as we do, that the book of Genesis holds extremely important information for Christian believers today, we are excited about our upcoming series: Genesis: The Road Out of Eden.

If you have never studied Genesis before, or have never understood the connectedness of these Hebrew stories, you are about to be blessed. We think that this Genesis study will bless you personally
(Hebrews 2:16).

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Genesis, Old Testament Tags:

Learning to Count Again

December 2nd, 2007

Sometimes people in the hard sciences such as physics have said daring and even spiritually applicable things. Such is the case in the following observation-quote from the great German physicist, Albert Einstein.

Not everything that counts can be counted,
and not everything that can be counted counts.

We think that Einstein was making a statement here, not only about materially quantifiable data (including star-light), but also about a sociology of valuing people above things. As Christians, we trace our religion back to the patriarch Abraham (Romans 4:16). And, the promise of Genesis 22:17 inevitably comes to mind—“I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven…” (see Hebrews 11:12).

The French mathematician Blaise Pascal also said something about the counting of the stars. In his Pensees, he wrote, On Man’s Disproportion to the Universe…
marvel at the fact that Earth is merely a tiny point compared to the stars which roll through the firmament. But if our gaze stops there…it will grow tired…For
finally, what is man in nature? He is nothing in comparison with the infinite, and everything in comparison with nothingness, a middle term between all and nothing…we are something, and we are not everything.
Listen to Pascal’s breathtaking conclusion—“Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed…the universe knows nothing of this.”

Yes, man is immensely disproportionate to the stars! But, man can comprehend the stars; the stars will never reciprocally ponder man! May we learn to count again—to learn; to live; to love—the things which truly matter (John 17:3).

– Robert M. Housby