Manna & Mercy Bible Study: Chapter 1 – Beginnings

If you’d like to know more about topics covered in a particular chapter of Manna & Mercy, here’s some links and ideas to get you started!

Chapter 1: Beginnings

Scripture: Genesis 1-9

Things to think about:
How do I believe the universe got here? Was it the Big Bang?
Is evolution real?
Why, if God made us good, can humans be so awful to each other, and why does God allow it?

Nadia Bolz-Weber, “In the Beginning: A Sermon on the Occasion of Paula’s Baptism

Two Feminists Annotate the Bible, Episode 1: Genesis 1-11.


What does Genesis 1 & 2 have to say about our bodies and our genders — especially when we take into account the existence of trans, nonbinary, genderqueer, and intersex people? Watch Austen Hartke’s videos on Genesis 1 and on Genesis 2.

Look at Psalm 137 to find the language context for the Genesis 1 creation story. That story tells those who have lost everything that God can create beauty out of nothing. “You are born in the image of that creative God” – a message needed for those in captivity in Babylon. Watch the Manna and Mercy video clip.

Some spiritual leaders of old would say, “I don’t know if it happened this way but I know it’s true.” Genesis 3, the Adam and Eve story is a parable: it’s true but I don’t know if it happened this way. Facts can’t hold the miracle of truth. You have to reach for story or metaphor. Facts can’t hold the depths of feeling and love. But if you take metaphor literally, you end up with an absurdity. We don’t ask factual questions about parables. Parable is metaphor that can hold truth that facts are unable to hold. Watch the Manna and Mercy clip.

If you remove freedom from a relationship, it can’t breathe. It becomes false and manipulative. What makes love special is when someone freely chooses us rather than having been programmed to be with us. You can’t love without risk – because when we love, we feel vulnerable. But even when we “fall”, God comes looking for us. Watch the Manna and Mercy video clip.

The Biblical creation story was written to counteract the Babylonian creation story which featured many gods fighting each other. Humans were slaves to the gods – very different than one God who creates out of love. Humans in the Babylonian story are born in violence, by violence, and for violence. But the Biblical story is creation is good; the deepest truth about our humanity is we are born in love, by love, and for love. Which creation story determines the way we live our lives? Watch the Manna and Mercy video clip.

Genesis 11 ends in barrenness. Genesis 12 is like a new start with Abraham and Sarah. God is looking for partnership with us – that is the way the world is healed. God not only wants to come to us but also through us. Watch the Manna & Mercy video clip.