Imagine you want to become a movie director and Steven Spielberg invites you to spend a summer working with him individually. Perhaps basketball is your thing and Michael Jordan said he would work with you one-on-one. Or your passion is the art of politics and Benjamin Franklin could be recalled from his "resting place" to tutor you. What if you want to learn physics and Albert Einstein could be "prevailed upon" to give you individual lessons.
Couldn't get any better, right? Geniuses in each of their chosen fields. Well guess what. There is even a better teacher Whose knowledge covers every subject. Moreover, there is no charge; He has placed His wisdom in a five volume set—the Pentateuch—that is translated into over 100+ languages, so it is accessible to everyone. Indeed, in the Pentateuch there is something for everyone—at all levels—the child who has just begun to read, the 12 year-old who likes adventure stories, the newly graduated attorney, artisans, architects, historians, physicians, mystery lovers, even soap opera fans.
So why not take advantage of the Best Teacher of all: God! For as any good teacher, God designed the Pentateuch to enable and encourage us use our minds—and hearts—so we can discover and mine the gold and diamonds that lie within.
To illustrate what is possible, I will suggest ten lessons we can learn just from the Story of Creation. With two exceptions, all come from my own heart and mind and are not derived from biblical or secular sources. I say this reluctantly less I be seen as self-glorifying. But I do so in the hope of inspiring you, the reader, to devote a portion of your day to the study of Pentateuch so you may find similar insights and the same joy as I have.
Or do you want to continue go on living brain-dead, like more and more of us in our society; people just passively sitting back and getting fed volumes of useless and, in many cases, harmful information that not only diminishes our mind, but our soul. Why are we so complacent just sitting in front of the TV and watching brainless comedies, shows depicting graphic violence, morally repugnant talk shows, or 30 second news spots that are an assault upon our senses without any value to our spirit...Don't we realize how damaging it is? So consider starting the study of the most profound writing on the face of our earth and the joy that will come to you is beyond description.
Now we know from Genesis that God created our universe in six days. Why six? Was it beyond His capability to do so all at once? Rather, He did so, I believe, as an example for us humans; to guide us by conveying a number of very important principles that would make our lives a bit easier, less stressful, and happier, if only we’d pay attention.
STOP!!! TAKE 15 MINUTES TO USE YOUR NOODLE
Please read Genesis 1:1 until 2:4 (Only 41 verses) and consider the matter. What lessons could you come up with?
CONTINUELesson 1: A rotten apple DOES spoil the bunch.
In moral issues, we really need to think more in terms of black and white. Being too liberal in allowing destructive behavior by others in our society is not wise. For example, there are those who insist "substance abuse" is a disease and should be treated as such, say like mental illness. To me, that is clearly contradicted by the Pentateuch, as well as common sense. In the former case, one has a choice; "to drink or not to drink" as Shakespeare might have put it—and how much. Indeed, if we DO NOT make that distinction, we may as well absolve all crimes committed in that state as "unavoidable illness" and throw out the Driving While Intoxication laws, for under that scenario drunks who maim and kill others while driving have a disease, and therefore no moral responsibility for their action.
Explanation: How do we know this? From the very first day when God created light, and separated it from the darkness, I believe He was making an initial statement confirmed by rest of the Bible—that in the moral sphere, there are NO gray areas! Behavior must be seen as either black or white, smart or foolish, good or evil! And God said, "‘Let there be light.’ And there was light. And God saw the light and it was good, and God separated the light from the darkness." (Genesis 1:3-4)Lesson 2:Workaholics, Kick The Habit!
Are you a workaholic who remains in the office or work at home past 10, 11, even midnight to finish various tasks for the following day. For what reason? Truly, does anyone really care? Is it that critical for your firm, college, or place of business to have what you are working on first thing the next day—without which everything would cease and gridlock would ensue? Perhaps your dedication is just an escape, as an excuse not to attend to other matters. Or are you trying to please an insensitive boss who lacks wisdom pressuring you to do more than your job requires so he/she looks good? Give me—no, yourself—a break. Please! I worked long enough in corporations and I have observed first hand that 99 percent of the time what was stated to be most critical and needed ASAP, never was even made use of until days later, if that soon.
There is always tomorrow! Nothing is that important that one needs to spend night after night whiling away precious hours. That is downright foolish! You are giving your life away! So give yourself a cut off time; say 7 or 8 PM, at the latest, and get away from work. Read a book, listen to music, study the Bible, call someone who is ill and tell them a joke, or hug your wife or husband. Relax and get a good night sleep. You'll be far healthier, and calmer, and everything will get done at its proper time.
How do we know this from the Bible? Let’s look at Lesson 3—the psychological counterpart—and answer it there.Lesson 3: Toss out Ritalin, Xanax or other anti-anxiety drug you take.
Are you constantly worrying about all that is left undone? Do you feel guilty about having 15 minutes of free time; that you're driven to spend it finishing a task, catching up on reading, washing the dishes, checking your email? Well, stop worrying this instant! Life is difficult enough doing what is necessary, let alone worrying about minor issues, most of which merely clutter up your brain with useless information, when sitting quietly and trying to relax. (Indeed, when learning a skill, it is the inactive times--the in-between times--between sessions that integrates what you have learned and makes it part of you.) Learn these two important lessons from Creation.
Explanation: My former wife, Jan, must get credit for these 2 insights. We were trying to figure out why God did not say "It was good" on the Second Day after He made the firmament (heaven) to separate the waters. Certain there +must be a reason, 1 came up with the idea that only when God created content would He evaluate it, while when creating structure or form He would not. But that theory was complex, required too many questionable assumptions that on the whole did not feel right or fit together. Jan then suggested a much simpler explanation: God did not say "It was good" simply because He did NOT finish that particular "task" of creation on Day 2! Accordingly, it was premature for Him to evaluate His work!
That made immediate sense to me—for as I often assert, the simple solution is almost always the best solution. And therein lies Lessons Two and Three. God waited until the Third Day to gather together the waters below the firmament and create dry land—which He called "earth." Only then, when God finished with that particular task, did he evaluate it and say "It was good. "
Now if God, Himself, was not in a hurry to finish such an immense task as creating the structure for our universe, certainly nothing we do, however important we think or are told it is, necessitates spending all day and night to our own detriment to complete! Indeed, during the latter half of Day 3 God created "the herb yielding seed, the grass, and the seed of fruit trees after their kind. Only then, when He was done did He state, "It was good."—for the second time that day!(Genesis 1:12)PREVIOUS ARCHIVES NEXT