Imagine that slavery is all that you, your parents, and your grandparents remember.

Living in the New Kingdom of Egypt, you learned that the sun god Re spoke the god Ptah, his Word, into being as the firstborn of all creation. Then Ptah created the rest of the gods and the entire universe out of nothing.[1]

You have heard the Babylonians tell another part of the story. They say that a problem arose: the gods got tired of having to work to provide food for themselves. At that time, the god Kingu chose to align himself with Tiamat, the cosmic sea monster.

The hero Marduk split her in two, separating the vapors in the sky from the waters of the seas. Then he executed Kingu and mixed his blood with dirt to create the first people to do the gods’ work.[2]

Since the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II is also worshiped as a god,[3] you have known all your life that your sole reason for existence is to labor as his slave.

About a year ago, a man named Moses emerged from the desert to confront the pharaoh. He claimed that the God of your ancestors had sent him to deliver you from the horrors of Egyptian servitude (Exod 3:7–9, 4:29–31).

You watched in awe as the one who called himself “I AM” (Exod 3:14) used Moses to bring judgment upon the gods and goddesses of Egypt, such as those of the Nile (Exod 7:20–21), the sky (Exod 10:21–23), agriculture (Exod 9:22–26, 31–32), and cattle (Exod 9:1–7).

I AM did not spare even the future god of Egypt, the son of Ramesses the Great (Exod 12:21–30). Amazingly, the region where your people lived remained untouched by most of these plagues.

After Ramesses freed you from slavery, he changed his mind, sending chariots to prevent your escape. I AM split the Sea of Reeds so that you could walk through and then destroyed Pharaoh’s army as it followed you (Exod 14).

Soon after that, when I AM made a covenant with your nation on Mount Sinai (Exod 24:3–8), Moses called everyone together to learn the history of God’s dealings with your ancestors.

While much of what you heard sounded similar to what you had been taught in Egypt, there were shocking differences.

Most importantly, you discovered that you were not made from the blood of a rebellious god.[4]

Instead, you were created in the image of the one who spoke the entire universe—his temple—into being (Gen 1:26–27).

An image in a temple does the work of a god and has his authority.[5] Therefore, God’s intention for you, as his image-bearer, is to serve as his representative.[6]

You can fulfill his purposes through your faithful stewardship in tending, guarding, and governing the earth while displaying the Lord’s glory to other people and extending his kingdom among them (Gen 1:28).[7]

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

Go to God Completes the Heavens and the Earth

 

[Related posts include In the Beginning of God’s Creating (Gen 1:1–2); Let There Be Light (Gen 1:3–5); God Separates the Waters (Gen 1:6–8); Made in the Image of God (Gen 1:26 cont.); Stewards of the Earth (Gen 1:26 cont.); Male and Female He Created Them (Gen 1:27); The Blessing of Fruitfulness (Gen 1:28); The Lord Provides Food (Gen 1:29–30); and God Evaluates His Creation (Gen 1:31)]

 

[Click here to go to Chapter 4: The Sabbath Rest of God (Genesis 2:1–3)]

 

[1] “Theology of Memphis,” in ANET, lines 53–4, 4–6, https://archive.org/stream/Pritchard1950ANET_20160815/Pritchard_1950_ANET#page/n29/mode/2up.

[2]“Enuma Elish (The Creation Epic),” in ANET, 4.135–40, 67, https://archive.org/stream/Pritchard1950ANET_20160815/Pritchard_1950_ANET#page/n93/mode/2up.

[3]W. F. Albright and George E. Mendenhall, trans., “The Amarna Letters, RA XIX,” in ANET, lines 1–10, 485, https://archive.org/stream/Pritchard1950ANET_20160815/Pritchard_1950_ANET#page/n509/mode/2up.

[4] “The Creation Epic” (Enuma Elish), ANET, lines 6.1–36, 68, https://archive.org/stream/Pritchard1950ANET_20160815/Pritchard_1950_ANET#page/n93/mode/2up.

[5]Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 129.

[6]Hart, “Genesis 1:1–2:3 as a Prologue to the Book of Genesis,” 315–36, 317–19, http://tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/library/TynBull_1995_46_2_06_Hart_Gen1Prologue.pdf.

[7] Walton, Genesis, 130.