Alice C. Linsley
Recently I was asked what motivates this research project of 25 years. I replied that what began as a teaching assignment became an obession. Later I pondered the question in the quiet of my cottage and realized that my casual reply represents but one facet of a more complex picture.
Initially I approached Genesis as a person of faith and prayer, confident that God would reveal to me the riches of His written word. I undertook the research as much a lover as a theorist and looking back I see that clues came at critical moments, often from unlikely sources. In other words, I believe that God honored my approach and rewarded my steadfast efforts to make sense of Genesis.
Out of curiosity I decided in the early eighties to apply what I had learned in kinship analysis to the begats of Genesis 4 and 5. This section of Genesis is rarely pondered as it lists people who lived long ago. It makes fairly boring reading so people tend to skip over it, yet I was intrigued by the possibility of discovering something new by applying the tools set forth in E.L. Schusky's Manual for Kinship Analysis. I've always loved the Bible, but by nature am a scientist, so the lover and the theorist in me had to work together if I was to accomplish anything.
In a sense, my method is what Thomas Aquinas proposed as the basis of a good education. Pursue the truth by your reason and when you hit a wall, go forward as an Anselm, by faith and love. The value of this method is that it shows that love of God and His written word do not repudiate logic or science.
As a lover I seek to know the singularity of the Genesis revelation. As a theorist I seek to know the universality of the Genesis revelation. As both lover and theorist I hope to discover what is evident from the text and demonstrate it to my readers without sterility.
Why am I motivated to continue this long research project? Because I am persuaded that Western modernity strips away all signs of the Creator and the Creator's love. Genesis is the foundation of the Bible, but it is also foundational to understanding what is ultimate and intimate. Many today echo Nietzsche's shout that God is dead, but the echo rings hollow from the shining mountains where God has self-revealed to our spiritual Fathers.
I fully agree with this statement: "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church can be understood in its christological sense, namely, Jesus Christ in the Life and Mission of the Church. This christological approach, linked by necessity to the pnuematological one, leads to the discovery of the Trinitarian dimension of revelation. Looking at the subject in this way ensures the unity of revelation. All the words and deeds, recorded in Sacred Scripture by the inspired authors and faithfully guarded in Tradition, come together in the Person of the Lord Jesus, the Word of God. This is seen in the New Testament, which narrates and proclaims the mystery of his death, resurrection and presence in the midst of the Church, the community of his disciples called to celebrate these sacred mysteries. Because of the grace which leads to the destruction of sin (cf. Rm 6:6), his followers seek to conform themselves to their Master so that each might live Christ (cf. Gal 2:20). Such is also the case in the Old Testament which, according to Jesus’ own words, refers to himself (cf. Jn 5:39; Lk 24:27).
Reading the Scriptures from a christological and pneumatological perspective leads from the letter to the spirit and from the words to the Word of God. Indeed, the words often conceal their true meaning, especially when considered from the literary and cultural point of view of the inspired authors and their way of understanding the world and its laws. Doing so leads to rediscovering the unity the Word of God in the many words of Scripture. After this necessary and ardent process, the Word of God shines with a surprising splendour, more than making up for the labour expended."
After years of studying the book of Genesis, I'm just beginning to see its splendour, and it is the splendour of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came into the world to save sinners, like me.
Related reading: How Genesis Has Strengthened My Faith; Received Tradition: Pushing Back the Veil of Time