After the flood, God gave humans power over the lives of other humans. Because they had not respected his governance, he authorized human government. Does that mean he’s abdicating? Continue reading “God’s commitment to reign (Genesis 9:7-17)”
Genesis 9:6 (NIV)
Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.
In re-establishing his kingdom after the flood, the divine sovereign made some concessions designed to head off the anarchic violence that wrecked the previous world: Continue reading “Capital punishment? (Genesis 9:6)”
Genesis 9 is as least as important as Genesis 1-3 for our understanding of life on earth now. Continue reading “Earthly government (Genesis 9:1-6)”
God warned that he would bring a flood (6:17) and send down rain (7:4). But when the flood actually comes, it is not attributed to God. The language is entirely impersonal: rain fell (7:12); the flood came (7:6, 10), the waters prevailed (7:18, 19, 20, 24). This change is obvious in English, but it is decidedly odd in the Hebrew worldview where everything that happens is attributed to God. The narrator has changed perspective: the flood is not seen as an act of God but as an attack on God’s kingdom. It is as if evil is attempting to overturn everything God established, to return his creation to the shapeless abyss it was before he spoke order into his realm (1:2). Continue reading “The kingdom is a partnership (Genesis 7–8)”
“Hey Allen, we’re doing the story of Noah in Kids’ Church. We’ve been reading the story. It’s terrible! All those people drowning, and animals too! We can’t tell that to the children! What are we missing?”
Continue reading “Is there any justice? (Genesis 6:5-22)”
Genesis 6:2 (NIV)
The sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.
Who were the sons of God? Who were the daughters of humankind? Why did their intermarriage corrupt the world?
Continue reading “Who corrupted God’s world? (Genesis 6:1-6)”
We felt the despair of Cain’s version of humanity—away from YHWH’s presence, run by human power, offering greater violence as the answer to violence. We felt the contrast when Seth’s renewed humanity began calling on YHWH’s authority as their hope of survival. The narrator now leads us into this godly community. Continue reading “Who will represent the sovereign? (Genesis 5)”
For too long we have read Genesis 3 as a story about individuals, and Genesis 4 as a story about some other individuals. Genesis 3–4 is a communal story. It describes how human society sinks to something that is less than human when it resists God’s authority. Adam and Eve grasped power that belonged to God. Their son grasped power over his brother. The society Cain founds is a long way from God’s intentions for humanity. Continue reading “How far does the kingdom of God extend? (Genesis 4:16-26)”
It’s a shame we have chapter divisions. Genesis 4 belongs with Genesis 3. We saw how the wise sovereign spelled out the conflict his subjects would experience as a result of grasping his power. That’s exactly what happens. In conflict of the worst kind, Cain grasps power over his brother’s life.
If you read Genesis 3 as a story about our personal sin (our need for personal salvation), you missed the bigger picture. Continue reading “What kind of world is God running? (Genesis 4:1-15)”
When humans attempted to oust God and decide good and evil for themselves, they could not have imagined the chain of conflict their rebellion would unleash. Genesis 3:9-19 is the transcript of the investigation of their crime. The sovereign’s words are presented in poetic form: it slows down the narration so we hear him.
By any measure, their sovereign is absurdly lenient with these rebels. His judgement is not so much a punishment as it is an explanation of the trouble (curse) they have brought on themselves. In each case, he explains what conflict/struggle they will face as a result of introducing rebellion into his realm: Continue reading “What changed with the rebellion? (Genesis 3:15-24)”