Genesis 1:3

A mechanism is needed to deal with a fluttering desertion of sense—something more than a next technological plateau. In this case a sword of division, a separation of each this-and-that. Here is a beginning—a something that is not a something—a background against which a one might be compared to a one not at one. It could be the constancy of a background radiation before which forms move and whose shadows are distinguishable. Without a sense of  depth, we turn to surfaces and the more immediate tool of “light” as in understanding—not packets and waves from a not-yet sun. This “light” is an apprehension of the falseness of empty nothing and a method or process of weighing differences to reveal themselves. Such a “light” anticipates a fecund space between calling forth and naming after. Being placed here is a vibratory experience that begins with immobile blocks and later recognizes that which breezes by.

And the gift of differentiation was set aside from an ungrounded, generalized nothing without form and void, lacking space and time. In being set aside it became the central tenet of creativity—this is different than what has gone before. Differences are “good”.

The tautology of “let there be” and “there was/is” opens a way forward, if not up or down or sideways.

Whether called “light” or realized eschatology, a beginning goes past what is deep waste and hoving darkness to discerning revelation—choosing increasing vibrancy.

Genesis 1:2

Status Report: Stuff is empty and smoky, vanity on steroids: non-stuff flutters and hovers. Between lies a moment, a circus tent, where wonderment begins to see itself through a fogged glass, clearing as it goes.

Above a desert soars a buzzard dreaming life into sustenance.

The waste of wilderness is fertile. Nurture inseparable from nature looks to its own. g()d and G*D are drawn closer, breath by breath, yearning to know and be known. In such a moment there is first future—any past historically moot and only later glimpsed through any of a multitude of lenses, each striving for its own successive weight to carry all subsequent days—carrying its loss within its glory.

This, then, is the when of every story seeking to peel back a wonder of wonder—a something where every nothing has precedence and continuing authority to ban all but itself from ever breathing. With no good reason to begin learning, turning and turning toward others as fully authorized from an uncertain tomorrow with no purposed direction, the bands and bounds of resistance relax just enough to acknowledge that not even a Nothing can remain implacably aloof. It turns out there is no thing that is nothing alone. Improbability engines and unimagined fiddly-bits spark one mundane moment after another even until after time, beyond space, and a cessation of vibratory echoes.

A Beginning that Ends with a Mummy

Alter’s introduction to Genesis has this summary: “Genesis begins with the making of heaven and earth and all life, and ends with the image of a mummy—Joseph’s—in a coffin.”

Alter sees “irrepressible procreation” as implicitly projected beyond this story-line and continuing through every subsequent oppression. As a story continued on to a time of exodus, this carries literary weight. As the experience of many a people whose artifacts have lasted beyond their own very repressible procreation, many questions need raising.

Life of the imagination grows and adapts to its current circumstance. After realizing Life has its seasons of mummification, story can find its way past apparent death—Genesis, Invictus!

Life within political, economic, and religious dicta often finds itself cut off with no advance notice. Such a Kafkaesque reality goes, none-the-less, into Dylan’s “good night” with no Eliotian “whimper” or notice—Genesis, Obliterus!

The Hebrew Bible – Alter

Robert Alter’s new three-volume work, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary is going to be a key source for my comments about Genesis. Alter begins with an extended look at the seeming reality that “translation is betrayal” or, within a religious tradition, “heresy.”

A part of the tension scripture reveals is a distinction between written and oral traditions. There is a temptation to smash these two together in an unhelpful or unholy amalgam that can no longer distinguish past articulations and present need—which delays the arrival of a future with a larger present than our current one.

This confusion is found in an appeal to sola scriptura as interpreted by some “holy” spirit. Not allowing scripture to be a record of previous revelations keeps it from playing its part in present questions, even those simply rephrased from the past. Every generation needs to add to a scriptural base and be exempted from it.

Giving scripture its due, but not more, opens us to clarify the questions and revelations of today while also leaving room for glimmers of tomorrow to be planted in today. When these three beginning states (past, present, future) can be engaged on both personal and social life-layers we find a different order of energy not only welling up but overflowing beyond an explanation of a particular translation or interpretation of either an etiology or teleology. Alphas and Omegas become mere metonymies of a fullness of life where we go beyond signing-in to signing-up to choose life in its interface with death.