Stretching back beyond the mists of earliest human memory, the period of the Early World tells of “first beginnings,” of humanity’s infancy. It is a drama that unfolds in four distinct yet interwoven scenes, each of which builds upon the others, weaving an intricate narrative.
The opening act of creation sets the stage for the drama that follows, introducing the story’s central characters: God, man, and woman. Everything is good—indeed, very good—but not for long, as the second act introduces the dramatic conflict that lies at the heart of the story of Scripture. At the heart of every story, whether it is tragedy, comedy, or romance, is a plot, and the key ingredient to any good plot is conflict, a great struggle that must be resolved. Into the midst of the beautiful garden, with all its grace and goodness, enters the Serpent, intent on evil. It is not necessary to read beyond the first pages of the Bible to discover the conflict that generates all others, around which the rest of the story—in fact, the rest of history itself—will revolve.
In the third act, man’s wickedness plunges humanity into a cataclysmic flood. Yet, in the midst of the flood, God’s mercy saves a remnant through which a new beginning is granted to humanity.
In the fourth and final act of the Early World period, rebellion and sin return at the Tower of Babel. The pattern of sin repeats itself, but now on a larger scale. As this period closes, the question resounds, “Can the pattern of sin be broken?”
The four acts of the Early World set the stage for the story of Israel, of all nations and peoples, indeed the larger story of Scripture. Unless we understand the foundational narrative of the Early World, we will struggle to grasp the meaning of Israel’s story and the meaning of the story of our own lives.
Let Us Pray
Dear heavenly Father,
In the Early World, you created the heavens and earth and tested Adam and Eve in the garden. Help me today to choose the life you offer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For Further Reading
The narrative for The Early World time period is Genesis 1-11.
The Bible in a Week will continue tomorrow with the second period in the Bible, Patriarchs.
This post was taken from Walking with God: A Journey through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins.
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