This summary verse introduces us to a marker that will raise a remembrance of creation in each subsequent portion of a larger story. This verse begins, literally, these are the “begettings” of the heavens and earth. In like manner, a named series of people and events are held in later recordings—the begettings of generations. This means the begats to come are not present as details such as years lived and so cannot be plugged into any arithmetic process and toted up to figure out the year, day, and hour of any of the Six Days in any calendaring system.
This verse is a marker completing a unit of story. A helpful response to a mention of begats is a pause to imagine all we don’t know from what we are told. Even though our imagination is too small to scratch the surface of what we don’t know, that which is given is fertile ground to hold seeds of connection between then and now as well as give anchoring points for lines of intersection between various aspects of now.
The story told is of a piece. Many have written of how this telling is drawn over against other recordings of a beginning space and time. There is uniqueness here, but not an inherent superiority over other accounts. As a part of a living tradition within this storyline, we are able to find an abundance of responses to this telling. We are missing this lived function in other traditions gone by and even those of other current traditions we are not a part of.
As our “once upon a time …” we are able to bring it to a joyous, “… and they all lived happily ever after.”
A special case has been protected from most of the onslaught of roiling waters darkening our apprehension of position and pattern. We are no longer completely adrift even though the story has come to an abrupt end—a cessation of Days. We are always in danger, now, of trying to go back to a great day again and failing to take our place in moving the story on.
While we have a tale of abundance and connectedness, we also have a story broken off, ceased. Now to see where what has been begotten will next fruit.