Monday, January 16, 2012

The Flood

Concerning Genesis Chapter 5

This chapter shows the genealogy from Adam to Noah. It begins with a statement that relates to the beginning and the creation of man. How man was created to live in God’s glory, but due to his choices he now lives in a fallen state. This chapter only lists the descendants of Adam and not Cain or any other collateral branches in the line of Seth. Wesley writes that “it is a list or catalogue of the posterity of Adam, not of all, but only of the holy seed, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came; the names, ages, and deaths of those that were the successors of the first Adam in the custody of the promise, and the ancestors of the second Adam.” (Christ)

Wesley goes on to observe that God created man, and man should not attempt to be his own master. 2. That God made man in his own likeness, righteous and holy. 3. That God created them male and femaile. And 4. That God blessed them with children and posterity.

Chapters Six to Eight discuss the other lines of descendants and many teach that the “sons of God” are the “immediate children of Cain and Seth. They were cursed with a fallen nature to produce degenerate sons of a degenerate father, governed by the desire of the flesh.” (Clarke’s Commentary). Kell and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament goes further saying the “Sons of Man” were either the sons of princes, angels, or godly men. The “daughters of men” were the daughters of people of the lower orders, mankind, or of the Cainites. Some others interpret this to be about angels or demons who came to earth and slept with humans.

The depravity of mankind leads to the great deluge of destruction. Man’s sin is God’s sorrow. God decides that mankind is too degenerate to save, except for Noah and his family. We are all generally familiar with the story of Noah, his ark, the gathering of animals, the great flood, and the waters rising and then receding so the ark comes to rest on mount Ararat. This story is one of faith in God. Noah showed faith and his family was saved.

I’ve always wondered about the flood story. Many ancient civilizations write of a great flood, but geological evidence for a world-wide flood doesn’t exist. I have always leaned towards the “regional” flood that destroyed part of ancient Sumer. The NIV study Bible says:

“Others argue that the deluge was worldwide, partly because of the apparently universal terms of the text- both here and elsewhere. Others argue that nothing in the narrative of chs. 6-9 prevents the flood from being understood as regional-destroying everything in its wake, but of relatively limited scope and universal only from the standpoint of Moses’ geographic knowledge….Since the purpose of the floodwaters was to destroy sinful mankind and since the writer possibly had in mind only the inhabitants of the ancient Near East, the is flood may not have had to be worldwide to destroy them.”

The covenant agreements made between God and Noah set the stage for everything to come. In Chapter 6 verse 18 we see that the “story of Noah’s salvation from the flood illustrates God’s redemption of his children and typified baptism…. God extends his loving concern oto the whole family of righteous Noah- a underscoring the moral and responsible relationship of parents to their children.”

In Chapter 9 verse 5 we see God demanding an accounting for every animal. “God himself is the great defender of human life, which is precious to him because man was created in his image and because man is the earthly representative and focal point of God’s kingdom.”
This also reinforces man’s place in the universe, that we were created to be the caretakers of the earth, the animals, and each other.

The flood story ends with a new covenant promise from God to not destroy the earth again until “his purposes for his creation are fully realized.”

So what have I learned from the flood story.
1. Man’s sin leads to violence and depravity. It is our choice to live separate from God (which is the very definition of sin).
2. That for the personal relationship with God to be meaningful, we must have freewill to choose to follow him or to live in sin.
3. Our duty to be caretakers of the earth. We are definitely not doing a great job at this.
4. The story of the Flood reinforces the fact that God is faithful and that if we choose to follow him, he will see us through the darkest days in our lives to a time of renewal and hope.

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