What was God’s original intention for human beings & how is the corruption of that intention seen in the stories of the flood & Babel?
- Human beings are the crown of God’s creation. Being made in the image of God means that human beings have a special nature & purpose. He created us to know Him & to reflect His creativity, goodness, & glory to each other & to the world as we harness the potential of this earth & cultivate it.
- After choosing their own path instead of God’s design, brokenness flows into Adam, Eve, their sons, & their descendants.
- The Flood was God’s response to the corruption of man. From the polygamous, murderous spirit of Lamech, to the strange incident regarding the “sons of God” (who were either angels or kings who claimed divinity), the sinfulness of man was spinning out of control. Man was not pursuing God’s glory, but their own. There was a way that seemed right to men, but its end was destruction.
- The sinfulness of man was still present after the flood. At that tower of Babel, in the city that would one day be called Babylon, the technology of the day was seen as a means to advance the glory of mankind instead of the glory of God. Therefore, God confused their languages & mankind spread throughout the earth.
Consider Genesis 3 and God’s response to our rebellion. What is the curse pronounced upon the serpent in verses 14-15 & what is strange about the promise made in verse 15?
- The curse God pronounced upon the serpent in Genesis 3:14-15 involves a continual cosmic conflict between mankind & the serpent. God declares that this conflict will culminate in a representative of humanity bruising or crushing the head of the serpent as the serpent strikes the heal of this man.
- This promise of a “wounded victor” is the first Gospel promise giving in Scripture & is fulfilled by Jesus as He died upon the Cross. Through the Cross, the Son of God was killed, but in His death inflicts a fatal wound upon Satan, ensuring his destruction.
Compare the mandates given to Adam (1:26-28; 2:15-17) & Noah (9:1-7). What is similar? What is different?
- Genesis 1:26-28 | Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
- Genesis 2:15-17 | The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
- Genesis 9:1-7 | And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. 7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”
- God’s blessing given to both Adam & Noah
- Create families >> Reproduce & populate the earth
- Mixed Positive/Negative commands
- Eat from any tree >> Eat any tree or animal
- Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil >> Eat meat but don’t eat blood (blood represents life & should be considered sacred).
- There will be a fear of mankind on the earth regarding animals.
- God reaffirms the dignity of human life & justification for capital punishment >> “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image”
What was God displeased with about the people of Babel (11:4)? But how does this relate to the promise God makes to Abraham in 12:2-3?
- Their desire was to “build…a city & a tower with its top in the heavens” so that they could:
- Create a great nation, &
- Make their name great
- To be concerned about their own glory was never the purpose of man. God created us in his image to flourish, to build, & to create, not just for our good but for the mutual benefit of mankind. The selfishness of Babel would have lead to the further destruction & victimization of humanity.
- But in the very next chapter, God calls Abram with promises that reflect back to the desires of Babel, with one difference. God promises that he would use Abram to:
- Create a great nation, &
- Make his name great
- The main difference is that the selfishness of Babel is replaced with the blessing of God. God would bless Abram so that he would be a blessing & that all the families of the earth would experience that same blessing.
What is your favorite story in Genesis? What place does that story have in the larger context of the book?
- My favorite story in the book is about Joseph. Before my study this week I never realized that Joseph’s epic statement of God’s purpose in Genesis 50:20 encapsulated the message of the entire book.
- The Bible’s description of God through explicit verses & themes conveys a sovereign God with a perfect plan that He invites us to be a part of. But when we fail or when evil people scheme & succeed in executing their plans, God is still on His throne, His promises are still sure, & He is not shaken in His faithfulness.