In the beginning (Genesis/Job) - by James Archer
(NB There is another drama in the Christmas section called In the beginning based on Genesis 1 and John 1)
This is a medley of readings, slightly adapted, and mainly from Genesis 1-2 and Job 38-39. There are two types of speaker, Reader (R), who reads the descriptions from Genesis, and the Questioner (Q), who issues the challenges that God issues. All parts of the Reader should probably be read by the same person, but the parts of the Questioner could come from a series of people, except that the very first and last parts should be from the same person.
R In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was empty and shapeless, a vast expanse of water in pitch darkness. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the water.
Q1 You who argue with God, can you tell him what is right? If you think you know better than the Almighty, answer his questions.
Q2 Where were you when he laid the earth’s foundations? Say, if you understand – who marked out its measurements? Surely you know!
R And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness – creating the first day.
Q3 Where does the light come from? And how about darkness? Can you make your way to their origins? Surely you can, for you are so clever!
R On the second day, God created the sky, and separated the water into clouds and oceans.
Q4 Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Have you entered the storehouses of the snow and the hail? Are you a father to the dew and the frost?
R On the third day, God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered into one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. And God created vegetation – plants and trees, and seed and fruit. And God saw that it was good.
Q5 Who shut up the sea within its shores, and said to it, “So far you may come, and no further”? Can you satisfy a barren desert, and make it sprout with grass? Have you weighed the mountains in your scales, or carried the earth in a bucket?
R On the fourth day, God made two great lights, the sun to govern the day and the moon to rule by night, and he also made the stars. And God saw that it was good.
Q6 Can you hold the Pleiades together, or loosen Orion’s belt? Can you shift the Great Bear, or change the laws of the universe? Do you understand how vast it all is? Explain it, if you know so much!
R On the fifth day, God filled the seas and the sky with living creatures, every kind of fish and bird, large and small. And God saw that it was good. And he made animals for the land – livestock, wild beasts and creepy-crawlies.
Q7 Did you teach the hawk how to fly, or give the horse his strength? Did you hold back wisdom from the ostrich, which ignores its young? Can you hunt food for the lion, or make a wild ox friendly? Can you take a blue whale for a walk?
R Then God said, “Let us make man in our own image.” And he formed man from the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.
Q8 Can you breathe life into dry bones? Prophesy, son of man, prophesy to the bones, and say to them: “I will attach tendons to you, and cover you with flesh and skin; I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” This is how you will know who is the Sovereign Lord.
R And so the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. At the end of the sixth day, God looked at all that he had made, and it was very good. So on the seventh day, God rested from all his work.
Q9 Who has understood the Spirit of the Lord, or instructed him as his counsellor? Whom did the Lord consult for understanding, and who taught him the right way?
Q1 Do you dispute God’s justice, or condemn his wisdom? Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? If so, cover yourself with glory and splendour, let loose your fury, and destroy everything that is wrong! Then God himself will agree that you are able to help yourselves.
R “To whom will you compare me?” says the Holy One. “Or who is my equal?” Lift your eyes and look to the heavens – who created all these? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.
All Hallelujah! Amen.
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