Reviewing all these seminal stories from Genesis, I started wondering if Genesis wasn't really just a description of the stages of human development. Creation - from formless cells into a human being. Finding companionship. The development of language. Basic needs and obedience. The development of morality (a knowledge of good and evil). Sibling rivalry. Standing up to authority and declaring your independence. Leaving home and starting your own tribe. There is at least one section of the Bible that speaks to every one of these stages of human existence.
It gets me wondering. What are the Biblical stories that speak to the journey of middle age, old age, and facing death? I imagine we first have to understand the developmental tasks of middle age and old age. To me, the task of middle age is one of letting go of the past, making peace with my choices and accepting the role I have to play in the great world, a role that includes settling down and providing guidance and support to others.
In some ways, middle age seems to correspond most to the New Testament. God taking on human limitations. Jesus accepting the role that has been given to him, in spite of the sacrifices. Mankind recognizing its failures and limitations, and God recognizing that as well, recognizing that we can never be perfect. Then the church comes into its own and begins to act in a wider way in the world, faced with the cold realities of sacrifice, opposition and inner conflict, all for the sake of a greater long term vision. In middle age, we have to have that view, that awareness of a greater vision, and the need to make sacrifices for it becomes paramount.
It ends with this wild, fantastical, allegorical, slightly incomprehensible, other-wordly vision of Revelations. Maybe that's how life ends, too. With revelations.