Sunday, December 19, 2004

Genesis

There is only one God, who has created the world. God has called all objects and living beings into existence by his word.
The universe when created was, in the judgment of God, good. Genesis expresses an optimistic satisfaction and pleasure in the world.
God as a personal being, referred to in anthropomorphic and anthropopathic terms. God may appear and speak to mankind.
Genesis makes no attempt to give a philosophically rigorous definition of God; its description is a practical and historical one. God is treated exclusively with reference to his dealings with the world and with man.
Mankind is the crown of Creation, and has been made in God's image.
All people are descended from Adam and Eve; this expresses the unity of the whole human race.
The Earth possesses for man a certain moral grandeur; man must include God's creatures in the respect that it demands in general, by not exploiting them for his own selfish uses.
Unlike other ancient religious texts from the near-east and middle-east, Genesis posits the existence of a one and only being that may properly be called God. All other non-human intelligences implied or stated to exist in the text may only be considered angels or the like. God is presented as being the sole creator of nature, and as existing outside of it and beyond it.
Some historians believe Genesis to be a more recent example of monotheistic belief than Zoroastrianism, interpreting the commandment "have no other gods before me" as an artifact of early henotheism among the Jews -- i.e., as evidence that the Hebrews were not to worship the gods of other peoples, but only their own tribal god. On the other hand, Genesis, in its present form, purports to give a record of beliefs prior to any surviving religious texts, describing the worship of other gods and local deities as a gradual development among the nations, who departed from original monotheism.
The primary purpose of the book is not historical or legal, but to explain man's origins, and to describe man's relationship to God, and how man's relationship to man must be seen in that light.
God created an eternal, unbreakable covenant with all mankind at the time of Noah; this is known as the Noachide covenant. This universal concern with all mankind is paralleled by a second covenant made to the descendants of Abraham in particular, through his son Isaac, in which their descendants will be chosen to have a special destiny.
The Jewish people are chosen to be in a special covenant with God; God says to Abraham "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you; and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed". God often repeats the promise that Abraham's descendants shall be as numerous as the stars in heaven and as the sand on the seashore.
The article on Biblical cosmology discusses the Bible's view of the cosmos, much of which derives from descriptions in Genesis

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