In the Beginning

Foundational, ultimate questions

Dave Gobbett | 07:25, 25 September 2015

In the Beginning - Studies in Genesis 1-3

Imagine Sally were to walk into my kitchen and sees the kettle boiling. 'Why's that kettle boiling,' she asks me?

I might say, 'Well, darling (in my least patronising voice) the alternating current from the plug is providing the electricity to excite the nickel & chromium molecules in the element, which in turn gets hotter & hotter, before conducting the heat to the water. This causes the water molecules to vibrate more & more, until after around a minute, water liquid turns into water gas and it starts to boil.'

At which point Ella-Beth looks up from the table: 'Daddy, don't be so silly: it's boiling, because you're making Mummy a cup of tea.'

I was answering the how questions of the kettle: mechanisms, timings, processes and systems. Whereas the really important question was the 'why' question, the purpose question: Why's that kettle boiling?!

The early chapters of Genesis are much more concerned with why questions, purpose questions, questions of significance:

• Why are we here?
• Why is life is as it is?
• Why is the world both so dazzling beautiful & achingly broken?
• Why do we need to spend so much of our lives working?
• Why is work so hard?
• Why do we need to rest?
• Why are relationships so hard?
• What are to we make of things like art or culture or the environment?
• Why have things gone wrong with our world?
• What's can be done about it?

And I'm convinced that Genesis studied correctly, and science studied correctly should lead to no conflict whatsoever. Which incidentally should be no surprise as God is God of them both—as philosopher Francis Bacon taught four hundred years ago.

This term, on Sunday mornings at Highfields, we're going back to the very beginning to explore some of these foundational, ultimate questions together. I very hope you'll be able to join us.

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