Genesis, and Freedom (part 4)

Embodiment: Being Formed

In the beginning, God spoke with commanding intent. As he did so, all-that-is came into being. Through the repeating refrain, “God said… and it was,” the creative, rhythmic, breath of God is made the center and focus of this creation account.

We tend to think that we just need to know stuff to live right. But that’s not true. Knowledge doesn’t affect living until it becomes internalised into the daily habits and routines that shape us. Effective freedom needs to be more than proclaimed; it needs to be lived out. And it needs to be lived out rhythmically.

Genesis 1 helps us to live out our freedom. It is a masterpiece. The author seems intrinsically to understand that the true nature of transformation is so much more than knowledge.

Emmanual le Roy Ladurie describes his own journey of coming to understand this:

Mine was the classic misadventure: I had wanted to master a source in order to confirm my youthful convictions; but it was finally the source that mastered me by imposing its own rhythms, its own chronology, and its own particular truth.

Genesis 1 is a text that wants to master us. And we should let it. Because it is a text about our true identity, and a text about the freedom we are created for.

It is an extremely rhythmic passage, one that can help us to embody its message. How does it do it? Because it is like a song. Through the poetic quality of the text we can see it has a certain singability.

And God saw that it was good…

…it was good…

…it was good…


Let there be… and it was. 

Let there be… and it was.

Let there be… and it was.


…and there was evening, and there was morning…

…and there was evening, and there was morning…

…and there was evening, and there was morning…

This is a poem! And we can sing it. We can breathe it. Its rhythms, if we let them, can get inside us. The rhythms of this freedom text are calling out to us. Inviting us to embody the message within: that we are free.

And singing is best when done together. Music isn’t a solo pursuit. Researchers from Gothenburg University have found that when people intentionally sing together, their breathing starts to sync up (BBC). Talk about a vision of unity – this is how hearts start beating together.

So Genesis 1 is about rhythm and habit, and about practicing freedom together. It shows that if we sing it, we might start to live it. And we’re meant to live it together. Freedom is a communal task.

This is counter-cultural, because in embracing this Scripture we are required to take God seriously. And to take each other seriously. We can do that by:

  1. Choosing to let the narrative shape our imagination deeply, and in doing so embrace what it is saying about God and who God is
  2. Choosing to step out of our comfort zone to be together. To gather, to share, to sing. We are called to be a people journeying together.

So here ends this playful exploration of Genesis 1 through the lens of freedom. Identity, ethic and embodiment are the key themes addressed.

We were made for this.


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© Tom Mepham 2023