“God is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere.” — Hermes Trismegistus?
I listened to The Bible in a Year podcast Days 5 onwards, but not the Days covering Joseph (Genesis). I read Max Lucado’s You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times to cover Joseph’s story — I highly recommend the short read. I can’t recall anything about the pre-Joseph story that stood out for me personally, so I skipped a bit to Day 26, which covers both the end of Genesis and Job.
As I skipped, I watched the first three lectures of Dr Jordan B Peterson’s YouTube playlist called The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories: Genesis. I stopped there because, well, it was getting too psychological for my liking…
There are parallel themes in the Books of Genesis and Job, so up until this point Fr Mike goes through both Books. Both Books seemingly end on a good note, then the beginning of the Book of Exodus gives us a nasty surprise, a turn of events for the Egypt-Israel relationship. This apparent suddeness (the gap in time is actually 400 years) kinda reminds me of the sudden transition from The Fall to Cain murdering Abel.
Of interesting note on the Exodus from Egypt, a realistic explanation for the Crossing of the Red Sea is that the Israelites and Egyptians experienced a mirage, where each group may have believed the other to have been submerged in water, resulting in the Egyptians assuming the Israelites drowned and thus called off the pursuit.
The Ten Commandments revealed at Mt Sinai are well known, but there were more (consider Leviticus the footnotes) — 613 in total. The Mosaic Sanctuary/Tabernacle, the re-creation of the Garden of Eden, kinda reminds me of a church building. Due to the Golden Calf incident, some Levitican pain before entering the Tabernacle, to ensure no repeat of The Fall.
Leviticus was a sign of the times, a reflection of surrounding and therefore competing (Canaanite) cultures, and it has some parallels with Catholic beliefs and practices. Animal sacrificing practices seem to be the prelude to the Eucharist, Torah expectations of priests kinda remind me of expectations of Catholic priests, and scapegoating reminds me of the Penitential Act. Finally, the aspirational state of cleanliness/purity reminds me of the state of grace required before receiving the Eucharist.
To be honest, I’ve been skipping a lot of Days in the Torah part of the podcast. But I did listen to some with interesting titles:
Day 39 — Slavery in the Old Testament: on slavery mentioned in this part of the Bible… indentured servitude is probably a more accurate term for our purposes. Those overseeing such arrangements also have moral obligations — the Bible does not condone slavery as we understand it today.
In listening to Day 71 — The Source of the Law, it contextually occurred to me that the laws of Deuteronomy are the terms of the Sinai Covenant given to ancient Israel, to set itself apart from surrounding cultures. As a trans woman of the 21st century, I need to discern that I’ve no connection to ancient Israel, that Deuteronomy (22:5) isn’t about me. What it is about is that these laws contrasts with ancient Israel’s neighbours for good reason (1 Corinthians 9:9).
I relied on BibleProject macro summaries to fill in my knowledge gaps of the Torah. At this point, we are still left with the following questions unresolved:
- When will the descendant of Woman (Christ) come to defeat evil (Genesis 3)?
- How is God going to rescue the world through Abraham’s family (Gen 12)?
- How can a Holy God be reconciled to rebellious people (Exodus-Numbers)? It reminds me of why Christianity has so many branches and denominations.
- How will God transform the hearts of His people (Deuteronomy 30)?
I was kinda sad that Moses met the same fate as Adam…