1/28/2015 Dave about 30
Went for an outreach walk around the University of Chicago today with Andy, a church brother, and the cold wind brought us inside a Starbucks where we ended up talking with Dave, a U of Chicago philosophy professor. Dave teaches a freshman course on western civilization so I asked about his required reading for the class. Although he labels himself an agnostic, leaning against the idea of God and an afterlife, he nonetheless requires his students to read Genesis and parts of the Gospel of John. We agreed that the Bible is foundational to understanding the history and culture of western civilization, and the relatively short readings from the Bible don’t really do it justice, though it is a short class with a lot of reading to fit in. But I wondered what he thought of Genesis? “An understanding of Genesis is foundational to understanding the rest of the Bible and most Christian writings up until the 20th century” I told him. “If you get the foundation wrong, the whole house will end up crooked, and in the same way, if you don’t understand the foundational ideas found in Genesis, the rest of the Bible really won’t make a whole lot of sense.” He agreed, but I could tell he thought he had a pretty good handle on Genesis, so I went on… “Most people, even church people, believe that man is basically good, since we were made in God’s image and after this final act of creation it was called “very good”. But we conveniently ignore or downplay the fall into sin, and the fact that not only did Adam and Eve break God’s law against eating the forbidden fruit, but now all of us, having the knowledge of good and evil, break God’s laws every day, even though we know better. It’s not just Adam’s sin that broke our intimate relationship with God, but it is our own sins as well. We can only understand all that happens in the Bible if we understand that we are not in a right relationship with God and deserve punishment, not the “good life” that so many churches have started promising people in the last century or so”. It’s hard to summarize a half-hour conversation in a short account, but I basically just tried to help Dave have a clearer foundational understanding of the Bible, beginning with Genesis. May the implications of these foundational truths start to sink in for Dave and all his students as they read and discuss Genesis.