SoulBreaths

God’s Story Lens: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 1]

By SoulBreaths Author [ 1 year ago ]

 

Genesis 1. God, the master storyteller of truth that your soul needs, delivers factual accounts enveloped within His mystery. From a beginning of beginnings of beginnings to a particular love-fueled purpose behind His creation story.

 

This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 4 MINUTES.

 

INTRODUCTION TO SERIES

 
 

Like any good story, it’s best to start at the beginning. The beginning moment that will lead to or expose a protagonist’s unmet desire. But with God’s masterful storytelling, it’s not always that simple.

 
 

The sheer epic size and generational expanse of His story (the Bible) may appear to be a maximal approach. But in reality, it’s minimalistic, razor-focused on a single, eternally driven thread.

 

We read about what was, what is, and what is to come. But the exactness of time remains hidden. He talks of times but defies time, because He created time and exists beyond this physical dimension . . . yet all the while intersecting and embodying it.

 

He is the ever-present, omniscient “character” in His unfolding story.

 

GENESIS 1:1 INTENT

 

But it’s God’s opening line that gets us, capturing, enticing, pulling us. Those famous first words beg to be unraveled.

 

We sense that they’re the gateway to something immeasurably higher, deeper, beyond ourselves.

 

Rashi, the famed biblical and Talmudic commentator from the Middle Ages, said that those initial [Hebrew] words of Genesis scream for explanation. (Okay, my word choice, but he did say it “calls aloud” for explanation.)

 

The next post in this series more closely explores God’s intro line—but let’s take this step first.

 

Homiletically—per commentary notes in the Stone Edition of The Chumash (an orthodox commentary on the first five books of the Bible)—the first word of this creation process b’reshit can be stated as . . .

 

“The world was created for the sake of [for the things that are called] beginnings.”

 

Stone’s commentary equates that to “God brought the world into being for the sake of things that are of such basic importance that the Torah calls them reishit (ראשית), meaning first or beginning.”

 

That is, the world was created for the sake of bringing forth Torah (the Law).

 

But that for-the-sake-of-the-Law beginning unleashes two other critical “beginnings”:

 

(1) The Law reveals the basics, the reflections, of what is good in God’s eyes while exposing the beginnings of humanity’s self-desire nature .

 

A desire that, from the get-go, will fall short of His righteousness, His holiness—and launch a devastating spiritual rift, a broken bridge, between God and humanity. Because nothing is the same after the Garden of Eden rebellion.

 

(2) But even before the creation process, the impending God-humanity chasm would ache for restoration and grace .

 

So in those beginnings within beginnings, God brings forth another for-the-sake-of layer that trumps all others.

 

An indescribable love-move created for the sake of something eternally driven.

 

The world was created for REDEMPTION—hands down, God’s foundational story thread throughout the Bible.

 

MAJESTY DISPLAYED

 

The first word of Genesis 1:1 creates time and sparks its motion, establishing order and setting the stage for God’s breath-defying, mysterious creation work to unfold, revealing even more of what’s to come.

 

Mind you, that beginning-within-beginnings opening comes . . .

 

#1

 

Before God’s unrivaled, unimaginable might and presence hover over the “astonishingly empty with darkness.”

 

An earth that was “desolate and void” (Hebrew tohu va-vohu, תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ) with darkness on the “face of the murmuring deep,” a “wonder and astonishment”—that would leave us aghast at the sheer emptiness (bohu) of it , per author Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg (The Murmuring Deep, quoting Rashi and author Stephen Frosh).

 

God’s boundless power—reflected in the peals of thunder, lightning flashes, and deep rumblings around His throne (“the life source of the universe” as Dr. Ed Hindson had called it)—and the immeasurable weight of His glory move over the chaotic, the tehom, Hebrew for depths, subterranean waters, and even suggesting a deep soul-to-soul groaning.

 

It possibly is what Zornberg’s book suggests: God is cutting through the chaotic, the deep murmuring—”primal noise”—to form a “creative silence,” a clearing for His creation words to come forth.

 

We witness a similar process when all of creation groans under the chaotic darkness birthed from sin.

 

At the appointed time, God again arises, His presence now hovering over our souls’ darkness, its chaos, its captivity , to break through and silence our noisy, subterranean murmuring, our aching soul-deep calling unto deep—tehom to tehom, תְּהֽוֹם־אֶל־תְּה֣וֹם ק֖וֹרֵא (Psalm 42 ).

 

The silence He created was witnessed on a rocky hill outside of Jerusalem, two thousand years ago. His deep (His Word) transformed the silence into a glorious work and bore the weight of our chaotic sinful state to bring forth the way, the truth, and the life of God’s redemption plan.

 

#2
And the Genesis opening comes . . .

 

Before His kingship calls forth a curious mergence of darkness and light from His unique environment . . . and separates the two independent entities (darkness/light).

 

Neither elements are “dependent on the lights created on the fourth day” and yet they “exist in hidden places [of the heavens] dedicated to them (Job 39:19-20),” per biblical commentator Moshe Weinfeld.

 

#3
And it comes . . .

 

Before He commands water to separate from water—the puzzling upper and lower waters, placed above and below the sky (heavenly) and earth expanse—creating space and order . . . and before He places luminaries in the sky: sun, moon, stars. God’s light-source timekeepers for seasons, days, years, and signs for appointed times.

 

IT’S ABOUT HIS WORD

 

God created (ex nihilo) this dimension—this beginning of beginnings—with a WORD. Per rabbinical teaching, the WORD God spoke in the creative process performed the creation.

 

What or who is that WORD?

 

The next two posts explore more of the wording beneath Genesis 1:1 and the what/who WORD question.

 

READ THIS NEXT: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 2]

 
 
PHOTO CREDITS for this three-part post:
CREDITS: Steam Punk Minister w/Bible by Nathan Bingle on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Steps with child by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Follow the Line on asphalt photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: Woman in jeans with Bible by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.com
 
 
RESOURCES:
(1) The Stone Edition Chumash, the ArtScroll, Series, published by Messiah Publications, ltd, September 2005 edition, Parashas Bereishis/Genesis, p 3
(2) Sefaria.org
(3) The Murmuring Deep, Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg. Schocken Books, New York, 2009.
(4) Moshe Weinfeld quote: TheTorah.com

God’s Story Lens: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 2]

By SoulBreaths Author [ 1 year ago ]

 

God’s unfolding story thread. Genesis 1:1 is usually translated “In the beginning, God created.” But is it saying something more? Walk this way . . .

 

This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

HIGHLY SUGGEST READING FIRST: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 1]

 

READING TIME: 4 MINUTES.

 

Discussions—heated or otherwise—span the ages regarding the Genesis 1:1 wording, which is often translated “In the beginning, God created.” But considering a point of Hebraic grammar, is that what it’s really saying—and how does any of that fit into God’s redemption-focused story thread?

 

Some scholars and/or grammarians say those first words aren’t as traditionally translated. There’s no “the” in the Hebrew text. So they translate with a one-word shift: “In a beginning.”

 

A stirring literal translation on a gazillion levels. And how that ups the game on God’s story line. This in-a-beginning view has been discussed many times over the years at Torah study tables—and always sets my mind spinning in a thrilling, isn’t-God-amazing way.

 

Three other views help us branch that concept even further . . .
 
 

 
 

THE BEGINNINGS STORY THREAD: A FEW STEPS MORE

 

Stephen Rayburn points out in his 2009 “D’var Torah: Bereshit” article, that Rashi (esteemed medieval rabbi/Talmudic commentator) regarded the word b’reshit as a statement not about “the absolute beginning of everything” but when “God turned His attention to our own world.”

 

Now add a point of biblical consistency—discussed in this two-minute Genesis 1:1 Hebrew grammar note—the construct in Genesis 1:1 (needing a noun) would be translated . . .

 

“In the (or a) beginning of God’s creating.”

 

And lastly, factor in this intriguing view from Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser . . .

 

Back in October 2011, Reb Jeff wrote in his blog post (“Bereshit: In the Beginning of What?”) a more illustrative translation based on the grammatical analysis and infusing spiritual innuendos of timelessness.

 

He says the “world never stopped being created” since it “has a beginning, but it is a beginning that has never ceased.”

 

Goldwasser’s Genesis 1:1 translation goes like this:

 

“In the beginning of the beginning that is always beginning, G-d created the creation that is still [beginning and creating].”

 

The Creator is always creating. He “rested” from His earth project but never really stopped creating—everything He creates is in a forward, unfolding, beginning-within-a-beginning motion. Contracting, reaching down, extending out . . . beginning anew.

 

God IS the beginning.
 

The One who has NO beginning.

 

Yet WITHIN HIM is the beginning within a beginning within a beginning.

 

Simply complex. Like that time thing in Part 1. Rattles the brain, right? Causes our souls to ponder the magnitude of His being. In light of creation alone, we’re talking about the mind-bending, humanly incomprehensible dunamis power of our holy God.

 
 

 
 

ON OUR HORIZON: MORE CREATION UNFOLDING

 

Since that Genesis 1:1 opening that underscores God’s unfolding redemptive creation story, He’s been birthing new things all the time—and will continue beyond our era, per His sovereign desire.

 

Here are a few “new beginnings” examples . . .

 

GOD CALLS FORTH ABRAM

He makes a covenant with him, changes Abram’s name to Abraham,

forms a people for Himself to carry His truth to the world. —Genesis 17

 

HE GIVES THE LAW

And He gave to Moses . . . two tablets of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. —Exodus 31:18

 

MUCH LATER, A FUTURE PROMISE

He’ll write the Law on our circumcised hearts. —Jeremiah 31:33/32

 

Says, “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King . . . behold I’m doing a new thing.” —Isaiah 43:19

 

AND A MESSIANIC PROMISE

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD,

when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch

and he shall reign as king and deal wisely

and shall execute judgment and justice in the land.

In his days, Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely,

and this is his name that he shall be called,
The LORD is our righteousness. —Jeremiah 23:5

 

ANOTHER MESSIANIC PROMISE

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your king is coming to you;

righteous and having salvation,

humbled and mounted on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey. —Zechariah 9:9

 

FUTURE RESTORATION

I will give her vineyards

and make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope . . .

And in that day, declares the Lord,

you will call me ‘My Husband,’

and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal’ (owner/master) . . .

And I will betroth you to me forever.

I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice,

in steadfast love and in mercy.

I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.

And you shall know the Lord.

—Hosea 2:15-16, 19-20

 
 

THE RESURRECTION PROMISE

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth [the dead]

shall awake—some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting reproach and contempt.—Daniel 12:2

 

(Have you read John 5:28-29? The same promise is given.)

 

THE “END” OF THIS AGE—NEW BEGINNING, AGAIN

After the 1,000-year Messianic Age, God’s love story is far from over. He’ll create and unfold new things—birthing the coming new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem.

 

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,

and the former things shall not be remembered

or come into mind.

But be glad and rejoice forever

in that which I create;

for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,

and her people to be a gladness.

Isaiah 65:17-18
 
(Have you read Revelation 21? The same promise is given.)

 

QUESTION FOR YOU

 

What was going on with these beginnings within beginnings . . . when there was absolutely no beginning because God has no beginning and no end?

 

We know He birthed creation with a WORD. Rabbinic teaching says that the WORD God spoke in the creative process did the creation.

 

I couldn’t agree more.

 

It’s the apex—the critical story thread—linking God’s beginnings within beginnings and the reveal of the redemptive gift to humanity: the Messiah.

 

Let’s take that immense unfolding beginning of God’s story thread and the WORD igniting it all to peer deeper.

 
Read this next: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 3].

 

And stay tuned for more reveals in Genesis and beyond throughout this Bridge series.

 
 

PHOTO CREDITS for this three/four-part post:

CREDITS: Steam Punk Minister w/Bible by Nathan Bingle on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: Steps with child by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: Follow the Line on asphalt photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: Finally spring by Hannah Jacobson on Unsplash.com

CREDITS: Woman in jeans with Bible by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.com

 
 

God’s Story Lens: Beginnings Hebrew Grammar Note

By SoulBreaths Author [ 1 year ago ]

 

A quick Hebrew grammar note on Genesis 1:1, regarding Part 2’s Beginnings post.

 

The God’s Bridge series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.

 

© SoulBreaths.com. All rights reserved.

 

READING TIME: 2 MINUTES.

 

In Part 2 of the Beginning Within Beginnings series, there’s a mention of Hebrew grammar related to Genesis 1:1. Here’s a quick 4-1-1 on that.

 
 

First: two brief, need-to-know points.

 

#1. The Tanakh—”Old Testament”—is written in Hebrew, a consonantal language, read right to left. Meaning that it’s written without vowels. Spoken with vowels, yes, of course. And initially learned using a vowelized version.

 

But early biblical writings had no vowels—and no word or paragraph spacings. So it’s ironic that the spiritual clues to this universe’s beginnings in Genesis 1 lie in the vowel usage.

 

Here’s how Genesis 1:1 looks without vowels:
בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ

 

Here’s how Genesis 1:1 looks with vowels:
בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ

 

#2. The Masoretes—scribes and scholars in the 7th century CE/AD—created a vowel marking system and a grammatical guide (with word/paragraph spacing and punctuation) using an oral tradition from a millennium earlier.

 

Their work culminated in what’s known as the Masoretic Text, which preserved the Hebrew Bible and became the authoritative text for rabbinic Judaism.

 

EXPLORING THE TRANSLATION

 

Discussions—heated or otherwise—span the ages regarding the Genesis 1:1 wording, which is often translated “In the beginning, God created.”

 

Is that correct—given the Hebraic grammar?

 

Depends who you ask. Some scholars and/or grammarians say no. Their translation: “In a beginning.”

 

That always wows me. On like a gazillion or so levels.

 

And as I mention in Beginnings Part 2 of the God’s Bridge series, it’s a view that’s been discussed many times over the years at Torah study tables.

 

But let’s look at the vowel in question—a sh’va, two vertical dots under the first letter, which is a bet.

 

Simply put, that vowel gives us the word b’reishit in a grammatical construct state. In other words, a construction that’s lacking something: a noun.

 

There are four other biblical occurrences of this voweled wording (b’reishit) that are in the same construction as Genesis 1:1—and all are translated with a preposition:

 

Genesis 10:10.The beginning of his kingdom

Proverbs 8:22.The beginning of His way

Jeremiah 2:3.The beginning of His increase

Jeremiah 26:1. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim

And this . . . Deuteronomy 18:4. In the first fruit/beginning of your corn

 

In other words, the translation “In the beginning of” or “In a beginning of”demands a noun to follow—but in the conventional translation, we only have a verb (created). “In the beginning, God created.”

 

Based on biblical consistency (shown in the four scriptures above), the construct in Genesis 1:1 would be translated with a preposition and a gerund (verb+ing, forming a noun) . . .

 

“In the beginning of God’s creating.”

 

Hop back to the God’s Bridge series [Part 2] to see how all that just might create a stairway to some intriguing connections to your redemption.

 
 
PHOTO CREDITS for this grammar note:
CREDITS: Steam Punk Minister w/Bible by Nathan Bingle on Unsplash.com
 
 
RESOURCES:
Sefaria.org

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