Thursday, March 09, 2006

What's the Point?

It's always funny to watch critics of Genesis 3 forget to pay any attention to the genealogies in Genesis. Take Genesis 5. Genesis 5 tells us that Adam had other children besides those listed. The line of Seth is simply the line through which Israel traced its lineage. The point lost on these folks is that the text is about God telling Israel they have a divine right to the land and answering an even wider question about who will inherit the earth.

It’s because the author of chapters 3-11 was stressing the sinfulness of human
beings....It has the feel of a story with a point, not a statement about marrying sisters.

This is an incomplete understanding of the text, the wider point is that the author is stressing the election of Israel as the covenant people. This question can be summarized as "Who will inherit the land?" Incidentally, this is why the details of Cain's life are largely ignored. The ungodly line (the sons and daughters of men, cf. Genesis 6) at that point had not become intertwined with that of the covenant people. There is simply no need to recapitulate many details of that line, because this line is not relevant to "who will inherit the land/the earth." They intermarry with the sons of God (the godly line). The result of intermarriage is the apostasy of the godly line, which God preserves through Noah. This factors into the Pentateuch's prohibitions on intermarrying with infidels and the reason that the sin of the people in their harlotry with the Moabite women is so heinous in Numbers 25. They were joined to other gods.

This also infers a wider question, "Who will inherit the earth?" This is lost on Arminians (and certain former Arminians) each and every time.

The people are poised to enter Canaan and displace its then current residents. God was going to both fulfill his covenant with the Patriarchs and judge the pagans in the process by giving the land over to Israel and "vomiting out" the current residents.

Genesis grounds the election of Israel. The nation has a right to the land. They are to inherit it. Why? On what basis? Is it theirs by some merit? No. It is theirs by virtue of the oath God made to Himself that was witnessed by Abraham and by God's promises to Abraham reaffirmed to the Patriarchs. It is this that moved God to deliver Israel.

Deut. 7:

6"For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God
has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who
are on the face of the earth.

7"The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples,

8but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

9"Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

10but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face.

11"Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them.

However, it doesn't stop there. Abraham is a direct descendent of Shem, Noah's son. Noah stands as the last of the godly line of Seth, Adam's son. Adam was the "son" of God. The point of Genesis 3 - 11 is to establish the divine right of the covenant people to the land and to show God's sovereign election of them into a spiritual covenant to which He is eternally and infallibly faithful, not simply discuss the sinfulness of men. The work of God, not the sinfulness of men, is what is in view here.

The moral and spiritual condition of the Antediluvian landscape prior to the Flood corresponds to the moral and spriitual condition of the land of Canaan prior to Joshua's entrance. Those listed in the genealogies correspond to many ANE place names. History is repeating itself in each generation of the genealogies. Israel is recapitulating the history of the godly line to Noah. They will take the land as God's hand of judgment, but they will be protected by their own ark of the covenant.

From this line the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would come; later on this would culminate in the line of David would come. From this, Christ would come. The Gentiles would then be grafted into the covenant with Jews through the New Covenant instantiated by Christ. The sinfulness of man and the sovereign election of God are both in view in this text. That, Mr. Loftus, is the point of the text.

So, who will inherit the earth? The godly line of Adam-Seth-Enoch-Noah-Shem-Abraham-the Patriarchs-Boaz-David-Christ. This answers the question. It is via adoption into this line going back to Adam that God's covenant children will inherit the earth.

You have no clue as to the nature of the many pre-historical stories about a first pair that were floating around the Mesopotamian areas, do you?

Yes we do, and that proves what? That there were a number of such stories floating around. If you think the stories are parallel, then by all means cite the parallels. Which are parallel? Why do parallel stories invalidate the veracity of this particular narrative? If you want to play comparative mythology, then by all means go for it and let us evaluate what you have to say.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Gene,

    Thank you for your thoughts. I look forward to following your interesting blog. I have been studying and writing about the Land of Canaan and the meaning of the flood with regard to the Christian future. Are you interested in topics about the apocalypse, end times, the end of the world, eschatology, last days, the horsemen of the apocalypse, the beast, prophesy, prophesies, revelation, 666, bible prophesy, prophets, Canaan, Canaan's land, Land of Canaan, or the Christian future? If so you may enjoy reading " Land of Canaan." This is a free online book. The Link is
    Let me know what you think.


    Paul M. Kingery, PhD, MPH