Genesis 8

Of all the elements of the story that strain credibility, I would think the idea of being locked up for a whole YEAR in there with all those animals hardest to imagine. And it makes it sounds like there was no light. For real?

You worry about how much feed you would need. And the poo.

Certainly, the narrative is quite dramatic in how it draws out the excruciating wait for the waters to recede. Another week!

Then the glorious promise, the world will continue to support us till the end. Never again will god turn nature on us because of our sin. (Take note, gay aids bigots!)

God makes no bones about every inclination of our hearts continuing to be evil from birth. But even so, Noah’s faithfulness in his first instinct being to sacrifice one of the precious animals as a thanks to god, the trust it shows that it has all been about the lords provision, and the spirit of thankfulness, pleases God. Noah is still evil from birth. But he trusts God and is thankful.

Dear father, Noah could have felt traumatised by the ordeal. He could have felt to a degree like he had earned his salvation by doing it tough and the labour of his own hands. But he saw the spiritual meaning behind the concrete events, and his first instinct was to acknowledge you and give thanks. He is a great example.

Genesis 6

Oh dear, this is so hard.

The chapter starts with a passage that most lterally interpreted means angels started to intermarry with human women. Or it could mean people of mixed belief systems married.  Or high-borne and low borne.

Can’t say I’m getting tremendous spiritual benefit from this. Keep moving
Prayer: give me some sugar here father, I’m working on the principle that all scripture is beneficial for growing in you as promised.  In our family there is a lot of sickness, and I am stressed though blessed to be starting a new job in a week. Speak to me!

The salient point is that people, left to their own devices, have descended into such corruption and wickedness that the Lord regrets the whole project and wants to wipe them out.  This passage is problematic too: does God change his mind? Make mistakes? Though for me it helps to consider Christ. Christ had a clear mission and task, but was never too focussed on it not to risk it by having compassion in situations that arose from the need for wine at the canaan wedding to the death of a nobleman’s daughter.  I’m sure Noah was not sinless, but he was faithful, and God could not wipe him out.  The lord’s heart was deeply troubled.  Its hard to keep this perspective of God in mind.

Prayer: you know what?  I’m deeply troubed.  A mess of change, fear, sickness and excitement is swirling in my head, kept me up last night. The Lord understands. Its really hard speaking to him at the moment, I feel under attack almost. Stop thinking of him as above all that. 

So this is the account of Noah and his family; a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

So this familiar story. A child’s story, with animals. A very concrete working of God.

A massive “I told you so” story. Noah the mad eccentric, proved right when everyone else laughed.

But it’s also a mysterious tragedy. How did it get to this, a few chapters from the optimism of creation, to a world so corrupt that it is better off downed?

Today it just seems tragic.

Genesis 2

Who placed that chapter marker? Why move the seventh day of the seven day song into the start of chapter 2?

The day of rest is a profound and strange thing. Gods capacities are not limited. Presumably he doesn’t rest because he is tired. Rest is part of his nature. So rest is part of our nature as creatures in the image of God. We are not machines. Animals sleep, but rest is a uniquely human concept: of a cup of tea at the end of the day, sharing a quiet moment with someone, of celebration, of time to smell the roses.

Pray that I won’t feel guilty about relationship time. Be mindful, be humble.

I forget that there are two creation stories. I wonder what literalists make of that. I mean in the first one it starts with water, then god forms the land. In the second one it starts with land and the water bubbles up through it and forms rivers.  Man comes after plants but before animals, and woman is last. Different order.

There is no “aha” moment here. The assemblers of genesis surely were comfortable with the inconsistencies. The message is obviously that it is not to be taken too literally. Well to me, anyway.

In both of them, god is the creator and it is abundant and good.

The four rivers are an odd mix of literal and mythical. Two still exist. Tigris and Euphrates. Two no longer do, and there is a lot of intense speculation about where and what they are.  The names have suitably abundant meanings, and surely to the readers would have conjured up an iconic verdant and great place to live that they has heard of but never visited.

The story is all about relationship. In part it is sort of like an early version of cat Stevens “father and son”: advice to a young man about to launch out into the world. At the end of the chapter it answers a question you went aware had been asked… ” that is why a young man leaves home and finds a wife.”

The creation of plants and the garden is to support the man, the animals are a backdrop to the quest to find a companion. Lots of arguments have been made for the subservience of eve because she is created second and comes from Adams rib. And the story is clearly told through male eyes with female as the “other”.

But the force of it is about her suitability. She occupies the place which in the last creation story was the apex of gods work. The rib detail unites her and Adam uniquely, and is a symbol for sexual union. We’ve already been told they were both made in the image of God in the story where they were created at the same time.

The last story has the rhythm of days and god speaking. This has the theme of dust as the pre-creation state, with gods creativity coming up through the ground. Water, plants, dust forming man and animals. Everything is formed from dust except woman: they are formed of each other’s flesh.

Pray, may I value Kelly, and the family. My flesh and blood.

This chapter marker is perfectly placed. They are naked and not ashamed. Perfectly innocent (nice to think that marriage, couple-hood can return us to this Eden like state?). Nothing could go wrong, could it?