Along the Journey – In the Beginning

Someone has said that within every person is a book yearning to be set free. Have you written your book yet? I have written two and have been working on a third for twenty years. The first book was a compilation of Bible studies I wrote and taught in the mid-90’s in Jacksonville, Florida. Pastors do that a lot – they turn a series of sermons or set of studies into a book. Some of the big names, the really good ones, publish their books, make a great deal of money, become famous, are granted saint status, and are fitted for halos. Okay, the last part is a stretch …

Most of us never get past writing the book. If we’re bold enough to seek a publisher, we get used to the word ‘rejected.’ We use our work as source material for another series or study.

In 1993, I began a series on Genesis entitled, “The Book of the Beginning.” I have always been fascinated and troubled by the first book in the Bible. The great questions raised by the text are not easily answered. Many people dismiss the book as hopelessly irrelevant, obviously mythical, sadly obsolete, and pathetically provincial. Scientists and scholars from many disciplines scoff at the simplistic explanations of complex processes. From our vast human intellect, many have stated their opinions and conclusions based on superior knowledge and surpassing understanding of the way the universe is constructed. We are an arrogant race.

During the month of August, we are going to explore four great themes in the book of the beginning:

  1. Creation  (8/4) – How did God worked to create the universe?  What was His purpose in creating life? What can we learn from the Genesis accounts?
  2. Covenant (8:11) – How did God reveal Himself to those with whom He desired a continuing relationship? How were these people identified and how did they respond?
  3. Community (8/18) – How was a community formed based on a covenant relationship? How was that community to function in changing times?
  4. Connection (8/25) – How was the partnership between community and God supposed to operate in the greater world? How could the chosen ones communicate the reality and purpose of God?

How are we supposed to treat Genesis? Here are a couple of observations:

  • Any science that excludes the Creator in attempting to explain the origin of the universe, the advent of humanity, the universal laws, or morality is simply bad science.
  • There does not have to be such a marked divergence between science and faith. With a little more humility, we could admit that, with all we claim to know, there is so much more we don’t.
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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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