The Beginning of Our Story

The Hebrew Bible begins in the beginning. But, the beginning of what?
The Text begins: “In the beginning, God created….” Some think this is our creation myth. Others think this is a religious person’s account of how the universe was physically created.
I don’t want to argue with either side of that dispute. Rather, I want to suggest that something more fundamental is going on here.
Let’s start with a more accurate translation of these first words: “At the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth,” God created light (which – interestingly – precedes the sun and moon), and soon thereafter created humankind.
In other words, after creating the world, God creates the light that will always remind us of the Divine presence, and then creates man and woman. We see very quickly that we are created in God’s image, that we are cared for by God, and that we are expected to live true to God’s ways.
So, just a few verses in, God creates human beings whose story takes up much Divine attention for the rest of the Text.
The rabbis pictured this beautifully when they asked us simply to look at the very first letter of the Bible – the Hebrew letter, bet. This letter is closed on all sides but one. It is wide open to all the text that follows from the beginning, just as we must live, fully attentive to the future and mindful of God’s hopes for us.


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