When the authors of Genesis 1 sat down to write a new creation story they were living as captives in Babylon. The Babylonians had their own creation narrative, which the Jewish people would have become quite familiar with, that said that the earth was created out of an act of violence and humanity was created to serve as slaves.
Scholars have noted for a long time some of the parallels to the Babylonian and Hebrew Bible stories of creation. But, there are two major acts of departure. In Genesis 1 the earth is not created out of an act of violence and divine domination, but out of the creative permission of God who “let” light be. And, rather than being created to be slaves, the opening chapter of Genesis says that we were created to carry the Divine Image.
The Israelite authors could have chosen to be narrow and bitter in their story, and claim that only their people were the bearers of God’s Image, and thereby shafting their Babylonian captors, but that is not what they chose to do.
All humanity is made in God’s Image.
Every. Last. One. Of. Us.
To deny this foundational belief, and to claim that one race, one people, one nation is superior to any others is to blaspheme against the Image of God that is bore by them.
From the opening page of The Bible, any movement which claims “white supremacy,” “white nationalism,” or “anti-semitism” as its purpose is rendered in direct opposition to the vocation which these and all people are given to reflect God’s Image. In fact the very people who espouse these views are, in their espousal, blaspheming their own call to bear God’s Image into the world.
But, you don’t need to be a person of faith to believe that neo-nazies or white supremacists are purveyors of hate and reprehensible ideals. You just need to be human. You just need to be a decent person.
I am enraged that The President of the United States equivocated on his condemnation of these groups, and seemed to relish in doing so. I am enraged that elected members of Congress are withholding full-throated denunciation of The President’s lack of moral compass.
I am absolutely apoplectic of the silence of “Christian” leaders who got in bed with Trump so fully that they can’t bring themselves to distance themselves now. I’m speaking of Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, and Jerry Falwell Jr. These charlatans, these false apostles, these heretics who have sold out the Gospel of Jesus for a few scraps of political power, are founding members of the evil which is infecting our nation, our world, and the church.
This has gone so far beyond partisan politics. There are Republicans and Democrats who are people of honor, and are men and women of God. The Presidency of Donald Trump has been troubling to me on so many levels already, but, the current influx of racism, bigotry, and hate is a national crisis. A crisis of faith.
And a crisis which endangers the core tenets of The Bible as millennia of religious tradition has received them.
People whose pigmentation, nation of origin, education, social stature, faith, and economics has automatically bestowed unearned favor and privilege (like me) must not be silent. We must resist this President, this assault on our common humanity, and this denial of the responsibility we have been given to show the world what God looks like.
The Book of Revelation tells of the great multitude who will one day gather in God’s Kingdom for a great celebration: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Rev 7:9, ESV)
Those who outright deny the humanity (and divinity) of these other nations, races, and people; and those who choose silence in the face of hatred might want to plan ahead for an alternate party.
I’m pretty sure there aren’t Tiki Torches where they are going.