Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Blogging the Bible: The Fall and The Downhill slide

Here are some thoughts on Genesis 3-5 for you to mull as you read.

Chapter 3
This passage is packed with material, and whole books have been written on it. But notice a few things. First, notice the nature of the serpent (who, as scripture makes clear in other places, is Satan). He’s crafty. He’s cunning, and smart. Also notice how he attacks. First, He attacks what God says. He attacks its validity. Did God really say? That’s not true… you won’t die. But second, notice how he crafts stage two of the attack. He appeals to her pride. “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." From there, it’s game over. Eve takes a bite. She gives into temptation, the fruit looks delightful.

Notice two things here. First, notice how temptation works. It beacons. It says, take God off the throne, and put me on the throne. Martin Luther observed that all sin requires breaking the first commandment. All sin involves taking God off the throne of your life, and putting something else on the throne of your life. Here, Eve see’s the fruit, it looks delightful, its promise that tickled her pride beckons, she wants to be wise, she wants to be like God, and so she eats. But notice the second thing. Adam eats too. She’s not alone. But notice something. He’s been silent through this scene. Now, he eats, not because he’s deceived (as eve was), but because she gave it to him. He’s not deceived, he knowingly chose rebellion (1 Timothy 2:14).  Scripture later makes clear that Adam is the one that is held responsible. “Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Rom 5:12). As in Adam, all die (1Corinthians 15:21).

Notice what happens next. Immediately, they feel the effects of their rebellion. They feel the effects of sin. The freedom that they expected is gone. Instead, they are enslaved. The knowledge they longed for, tells them not that they are in trouble. They are naked. They see, but they see they have brought problems on themselves. They are naked. So they attempt to cover themselves. But it won’t work. They have caused a nightmare to begin. Now, they are no longer free to commune with God. Now, they hear God coming, and are terrified, and hid themselves. God calls to Adam and Adam is forced to reveal himself. Then, notice how the effects of sin are felt. Separation from God, and separation from each other. Adam is called to the carpet. He’s offered a chance to confess, instead he blames his wife. Except he doesn’t even call her his wife.  Instead of my wife, it’s that woman. The relationship between God and man is damaged, and between man and woman, between person and person. Eve moves on to blaming as well. No one takes responsibility. It’s someone elses fault.

Notice the effects. Human and animal are separated. There is now enmity. Second, there is hardship in labor. Childbearing will be hard. This falls on women. Third, there will be tension in marriage. The perfect gift of marriage is marred by sin. They will fight for power (If you are fighting for power in your relationship, remember, this is an effect of sin. Pray for God’s help, and remember the gospel). Fourth, notice that nature is marred. Romans later says, all creation groans, and longs for its day of restoration (Romans 8:19-22). Fifth, notice what happens to Adam, and work. Work, which Adam and humanity were made for becomes hard.
But in this, notice the hope. Look at the promise in 3:15. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” In the Hebrew something amazing happens here. The words “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” move from plural to singular. This is one seed, who will bruise the serpent. Theologians call this the proto-evangelion. The first mention of the gospel. God says, one will come, who will crush you. You will hurt him, he will destroy you.

Adam and eve brought sin, and destruction. A savior is coming. The rest of the story is about that savior.

Notice what happens from here on out. Adam and Eve have their relationship restored. He names her. God covers them, hinting at the ultimate covering and clothing that comes much later, in Christ, the one who was stripped to cloth us. Then, Adam was sent out of the Garden, so that he didn’t trap himself in eternal death.

Chapter 4
From here, Adam and eve begin to have children. Three sons are mentioned, but 5:4 tells us that “The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters”. The story of Cain and Abel, and the line of Cain dominates chapter 4. What you see here is that Sin causes rivalry and envy, anger, and more rebellion. God accepts Abel’s offering, and doesn’t accept Cain’s. Rather than asking why, Cain instead gets mad, ignores God’s warning, and kills his brother, and acts like God won’t know. The result is that he is cursed. What is that curse, no one knows. People make up stupid conjecture, but no one knows. What we do know is that he is destined to be a wanderer, and that his work will not bring him gain.

What happens next? After he heads out, his family line is given, and we see creativity, as music and ironwork develops, and we can picture culture being created. From this man, we see good things come. But we also so more brokenness. We see that this is not a people who love God, we see the second murder, and the rise of polygamy (which the bible never promotes, it always shows the brokenness of polygamy), and it is clear that these are not people who serve their Creator. But, at the end of the chapter, we see hope. Seth is born, and God raises up a line of people who will follow God, and worship him even as sin grows darker.

Genesis 5
What to do with Genesis 5? It’s names; and incredible long lives.

First, take them in and accept them. Yes, in some ways, they seem insanely long. But how insane is it to think that a people that were perfectly designed and allot closer to the prototype might live longer than we do, as removed as we are from the original model? Sins effects have marred allot more generations. Also, remember that the flood, whatever shape it took, seems to have a radical effect on the length of lives. After the flood, the length of lives starts getting shorter fast.

Second, understand that this is your family history, you are part of the line that begins with Seth, and ends with Jesus, and you are adopted into this family.

Third, understand that God is sovereign. While it seems insane to us, if he can do all things, why does long life seem so hard to imagine?

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