The Universe exists within a natural (& spiritual) order; it has a consciousness (aka “God”) immanent within (and transcending) each sentient being.
Although there is no external limit to the power of that Consciousness, it is self-limited by its own coherence and wisdom, as well as its love for itself and the myriad incarnations of itself throughout the universe.
By embedding itself within each human being, it consequently limited the power, understanding and wisdom that any person, as an isolated being, could manifest. Simultaneously it expressed its love and wisdom in the freedom and limitation of each person within its divine order.
Our alienation from the divine order (as it appears to be, from our limited perspectives) constitutes an unsatisfactory condition which God intends to rectify, and has been in the process of rectifying within the natural working-out and development of its own ‘Creation’ (aka “universe”).
[Anyone who has practiced any art form… has experienced the value of working within well-chosen arbitrary constraints and forms, in that the struggle between an intended form/concept and the resistance of the material provides an intrinsic interest to the process. It is not that the final result is necessarily unknown to the artist, or contrary to his intention, but that the effort of its production is what makes the practice meaningful…
It is not clear that the creation of an eternal Artist would necessarily be either a “final result” or an endless process; either possibility simply eludes my powers of imagination/comprehension, at this point!]
God’s communications with the human race have been necessarily metaphorical, and formed-by/limited-by the available forms of political interaction familiar to each person addressed, from family relations to tribal institutions to centralized monarchies and democracies.
Within the Bible, we find people conceiving of God differently depending on whatever sexual and/or governmental and/or economic and/or religious forms of authority they lived under. There were drastic, ongoing changes in all of these from the beginnings of the Biblical writings until their conclusion (and their later interpretation/development.)
God creates the world, and sees that it is good, humanity included.
Humanity, meanwhile, imagines itself caught-up in the struggle between Good and Evil; each person strives to control his/her life to its own (apparently isolated) advantage, and necessarily fails, finds whatever he/she accomplishes unsatisfactory.
So far as people fail to recognize our kinship with one another, there is no bar to envy,greed, domination, and violence.
And so, early in Genesis we have our first murder. The murderer flees the Wrath and retribution he expects, and bands together with like-minded people to build the first city.
As people become hopelessly lost in the chaotic state of violence that results, God wipes out the bulk of them and starts over– with people who’d at least been listening (enough so as to build a huge boat on dry land, when so instructed) but who otherwise weren’t much improvement. Soon their descendants have formed a huge tyranny, devoted to reaching Heaven by combining their collective (but isolated, finite, physical) wisdom and strength. And God saves them from this state by spreading confusion and misunderstanding between them.
And now, having gone beyond the most symbolic and legendary tales, we come to Abraham. He hears God calling, telling him to leave home for a new place, where God has plans for him…
We aren’t told, at least at first, why God would be doing this. But previous stories have shown us why God might want to make some changes in human life– and that’s the direction the story takes, beginning here.