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Monday, March 1, 2010

Easter Bible Studies - Ash Wednesday to 1st Sunday in Lent

I guess I'm a bit late posting (and writing) this, but I'll try to catch up...

Easter
A 7-week Lenten Bible Study in “What IFS ?”
Inspired by Faith and Science:


What if… you could put the whole Bible back into Easter?
What if… it Easter is the most important Christian festival?
What if… you can add Bible readings to Lent as well as giving something up?
What if… the story is more than words can tell?

What is the aim of this study:

• To make Easter special with Bible readings for every day from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday
• To remind us that all the stories in the Bible belong to one tale.
• To provide a companion volume to Easter: Creation to Salvation in 100 words a day

Pre-History in the Bible

Creation:
Genesis 1 tells a story of creation that fits the scientific record – light, then water, then plants, then clearing skies revealing sun moon and stars, then fish and birds, then animals, then man. Although Christians may argue about the length of time between each step, or how God designed the steps to work, the sequence is beautifully scientific, and very familiar…

Unlike Genesis 2:5-7, where man exists before even the plants…
Or Genesis 2:21-22, where female is created from male rather than both at once…
Or Ecclesiastes 3:20 where we are made from dust.

But perhaps they’re answering different questions: How were we made? Why were we made? And what does that make us without God?

Flood:
Were there 2 of each animal, or 14 (Genesis 6:19-20, 7:2-3, 8-9, 15)? Did it rain first or flood first (Genesis 7:6-12)? Did the flood last 40 days or 6 months (Genesis 7:4, 12, 17, 24)? Did God create a rainbow as a sign, or just declare than rainbows would be signs (Genesis 9:12-17)? And did people really not eat meat until after the flood, or was the injunction not to eat meat with blood in it a way of teaching them not to eat flood-kill? (Genesis 9:3-4, 2:16, 1:29-30, 4:3-4)?

Sometimes we remember interpretation and tradition better than we recall the words of the Bible, which really doesn’t matter as long as our focus is on God and we don’t turn other people away by arguing.

Just for reference, there is strong scientific evidence for massive flood forming the Black Sea, that would have covered all the “known” world at the time.

The Patriarchs:
Was Abram the first man called to go to Canaan, or just the first to complete the journey (Genesis 10:11-31)?

How old was Ishmael when Isaac was born (Genesis 15:16, 21:5)? The whole sorry history of Sodom and Gomorrah came in between. Ishmael marries an Egyptian, and stays in touch with his father’s family, as is clear from his presence at Abraham’s funeral (Genesis 25:9-10)

Isaac marries a cousin from the branch of the family in Haran (Genesis 22:20-24, 24:10). Esau marries one of Ishmael’s daughters (amongst other wives) (Genesis 28:6-0). And Jacob again marries into the Haran branch of the family (Genesis 29:4-6). Meanwhile Abraham also marries again and has other children (Genesis 25:1-6).

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