Something that fascinates me is how often a turn of phrase, concept, or even a direct biblical quote appears in movies that do not intend to promote a biblical worldview.
Movies frequently misquote or twist what originated from the Bible. But even with this tendency, we can learn something.
Case in point, the movie Dr. Strange is a sci-fi movie based on a Marvel comic book that portrays a man seeking his own healing through any means, including sorcery. Clearly, this is not a film intending to promote a Christian or even Jewish biblical worldview. However, it is a film promoting a general story of good over evil, which is found in a biblical worldview.
Consider with me a scene from Dr. Strange where we can learn something.
In one scene of Dr. Strange, a character challenges another who operates from a motivation of arrogance and fear that they have missed learning the simplest lesson in life.
When asked what this lesson is, they reply that the simplest lesson in life to learn is that our time here is not about us.
Is this really the simplest lesson in life and is it a biblical concept?
Afterward, his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. (Gen 25:26 ESV)
Are you scratching your head, wondering how we can use this verse to answer the questions above?
The first sentence of this verse is the wrap-up of the birth story of Jacob and Esau, twin brothers born to Isaac and Rebekah. (See Gen 25:24-26 for the entire birth scene.)
Why does the second sentence of the verse tell us Isaac’s age at the time of these twin brothers’ birth? Make a list of any reasons that come to your mind.
The ESV Study Bible published by Crossway has a footnote on page ninety-four that says: the twins are born fifteen years before the death of Abraham, which is recorded in vv. 7-8. Occasionally, in Genesis, for specific reasons, some events are narrated out of chronological order, as here.
According to this footnote, the reason we are told Isaac’s age in the second sentence of Gen 25:26 is to let us know Abraham was still alive when his grandsons were born.
Writings focused on chronology seek to put every event in a precise order of occurrence, while narratives are a way of presenting a situation or series of events that reflect and promote a particular point of view or set of values.
Now consider the following verses:
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created – when the LORD God made the earth and heavens. (Gen 2:4 NET)
Skim through Gen 2:4-4:26. Who or what is the primary focus of these verses? Use the editor’s subtitles to assist you.
Describe why the primary focus in these verses is “an account of the heavens and the earth.”
What point of view or set of values is being highlighted in the account of the heavens and the earth?
This is the record of the family line of Adam. When God created humankind, he made them in the likeness of God. (Gen 5:1 NET)
What do you learn about God in Gen 5:1-2?
What is unique about Enoch in Gen 5:21-24?
Describe the point of Gen 6:1-8.
What point of view or set of values is being highlighted in the family line of Adam?
This is the account of Noah. Noah was a godly man; he was blameless among his contemporaries. He walked with God. (Gen 6:9 NET)
How is Noah like Enoch in Gen 5:21-24?
What point of view or set of values is being highlighted in the account of Noah?
This is the account of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Sons were born to them after the flood. (Gen 10:1 NET)
List the three people groups that develop in Gen 10.
What is the birth order of Shem, Ham, and Japheth according to Gen 10:21?
Where did Shem and his descendants settle? (See Gen 10:30)
Review Gen 11:1-9. What mistake did the settlers on the plain of Shinar make?
Why and how did the Lord discipline the settlers of Shinar?
What point of view or set of values is being highlighted in the account of Noah’s sons?
This is the account of Shem. Shem was 100 old when he became the father of Arphaxad, two years after the flood. (Gen 11:10 NET)
Gen 11:10-26 lists the names of Shem’s descendants, along with their age at the time they became fathers and that they had other sons and daughters.
This is the account of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. (Gen 11:27 NET)
List what you learn about Terah in Gen 11:26-32.
Using the editor’s subtitles in Gen 12:1-25:11, who is the central figure who dominates the account of Terah?
This is the account of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s servant, bore to Abraham. (Gen 25:12 NET)
This is the account of Isaac, the son of Abraham. Abraham became the father of Isaac. (Gen 25:19 NET)
Whose names get repeated in Gen 25:19?
What do you learn about Isaac in Gen 25:20-21?
The narrative then focuses on the Lord’s response to Rebekah’s inquiry about her discomfort while pregnant. (See Gen 25:22-23).
What point of view or set of values is being highlighted in the account of Isaac at this point in the narrative?
Do the above narrative accounts have an overriding point of view or set of values? Explain.
Personal Reflection Questions
Based on the study above, is the simplest lesson in life to learn that our time on earth is not about us? Why or why not?
What is our time on earth about according to the narrative accounts in Genesis studied today?
So, when is your story not about you? Or how has God used your unique story to display His power, grace, mercy, etc. to the world?
Share in the comments below to encourage each other!