It is the fall semester and our Bible Study Group—a cabal of 15 or so mostly old and retired men—have begun to study Genesis. It is led by our pastor, Eric, who is not old and comes with no notes, only his Bible. That is all he needs, for within his cerebral cortex are four roundish and flattish kinds of something, each with specific functions: Old Testament and Hebrew exegesis, New Testament and Greek exegesis, church history and the church fathers (and mothers), and a region consisting of what most people call the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes. Well, probably not most people, but those like Dave who have a medical background.
We are meeting at Ken’s house, a 352 year old structure that he and his son have reconstituted from rotten beams, sunken holes, scraps of corrugated iron and other pieces. It is a wonderful restoration and we are privileged to meet there.
We gather around an immense granite covered island in the kitchen, rather like Texas ranchers standing at the bar of a saloon, but we are after coffee, not whiskey or beer. Don and Ken have a 5 gallon pot of brew prepared for the indigent and the rest of us sip water.
Preliminaries are soon over—Baylor and Cowboy scores, quotes from Trump with expletives deleted, misquotes from Pelosi (because we never know what she has said) and a few observations about the hot weather and lack of rain, and we “retire” to the dining room.
Ken has prepared two tables and 15 chairs for us. I try to sit near the pastor because I am hard of hearing and I want to know how to pronounce the Hebrew words he will henceforth utter.
Eric asks how everyone is doing and of course we are all fine, although a few admit that they have doctor’s appointments a little later. We specifically mention our brother Kurt who has been in the hospital and is now in rehab. We used to meet at his place and we all miss him.
After a brief prayer—old men are known to nod off during long prayers—Eric asks Don who should read. Some of the men have been known to shake when Don looks at them, but Genesis is much easier reading than some of the chapters we did in Acts. It is usually a newcomer’s turn to read, but we have all been coming regularly, so we know we could be up for the duty. Today it is John’s turn and, if possible, he will read right through the first chapter without comments from the peanut gallery.
It doesn’t work. Immediately there are questions, somewhat hesitant and guarded to protect one’s theology, about “seven” days. Are they literal 24-7 days, or are they figurative? Eric doesn’t care, although he personally believes the world was created 735 billion years ago—give or take a year or two. The important thing is that God liked what he did and he doesn’t tell us exactly how long it took. However, for those interested, Bishop James Ussher is quoted in the Schofield King James Bible, as saying creation took place on the nightfall of 22 October 4004 BC. However, he is frequently misquoted by reprobates who give the date as being 9 a.m., noon or 9 p.m. on October 23.
We try to do a chapter a week, so we can’t spend a lot of time on creation per se. We all believe that God created the world and that it did not evolve out of Cambell’s primordial soup. Evolutionists believe that when lightning struck the soup little microbes got so hot they crawled out and eventually became Texans.
Eric let us know that there were in fact two accounts in Genesis on how humans were created. At that point Jim decided that several of us needed more coffee and there was considerable shuffling of feet. We knew that Eric would prove his point but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Adam and Eve. At least they came alive twice and didn’t have to die twice like Lazarus.
We stayed in the Garden of Eden for almost an hour, discussing the way the streams ran to the east and how the guards must have resembled the bouncers in Star Wars. It didn’t bother us that the snake talked—so do parrots and drunk pink elephants.
This week we studied the “disobedience of man” and all of us could identify with the story. We know how persuasive our wives can be and we would have grabbed that apple (or fig) faster than Adam. We would have blamed her for giving it to us as well and obviously she is to blame for all the poor animals that have been skinned for their furs. No wonder God wanted them out of the garden—soon they would have been demanding venison for breakfast.
Next week we will find out about Cain and Abel—two brothers who couldn’t get along and didn’t need AK 47s (also known as the Kalashnikov) to settle their argument.
But for now we are done and need to get to our doctor’s appointments.
Initially, the problem had been finding the house: Google maps and Siri misled some of us and we were found wandering the nearby streets for hours—or, at least what seemed like hours. Now getting home was going to be no easier. I had ridden with Don, who admitted that he did not get down in that part of town much, so he followed my directions and went to the right when we should have gone to the left. Soon we were visiting parts of Waco that we had never seen before. It was highly educational and, after observing and arguing with his compass, we finally got back on track again.
Next week it might be better—we could wait for Eric’s car and follow him in.
Somewhere near 16th street