Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year: Gen 8-10 for Jan 3

Sooner or later, whether looking at the real world, or reading the Word, we come across something and have to say "I sure don't get that!"

Part of not getting something, is not knowing whether what we're missing is unimportant, or whether it's very important, or something in between. At the end of chapter 7 is the dismal picture that "He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the land." In a way, we understand the universal judgment, by making it similar to throwing everything out of, say, a garage, saving nothing, because nothing is worth saving. 6:7 prepared us to see this happen, and it did.

Having come to grips with that, and the obvious supernatural assumptions behind the story, knowing, as readers did then, that eight people, four men and four women, cannot take care of so much for 150 days (7:24), I "sure don't get" that God "smelled the soothing aroma" in 8:21! I'm happier (as a Trinitarian) even, that the Lord said things to Himself (8:21) than trying to figure out what that smelling signifies, and whether it is extremely important, or not. Am I missing the foundations of substitutionary atonement, or am I worried about a metaphor?

Meanwhile, other important things are being introduced. Covenant. A unilateral one, at that. With some subtlety being expressed: 1) Previously, God had told Noah that "I will establish My covenant with you" (6:18). That sounds like something a teacher would say "remember this; it will be on the test." 2) Now, in 9:11, He says "I establish My covenant with you." The event itself. 3) In the future, God describes what happens in this "everlasting covenant" (9:16) -- and it doesn't depend on us seeing a rainbow, but on Him seeing it! This is extremely important. If we weren't convinced that there are such things as unilateral covenants before this, Genesis 9:16 should convince us that this one is. Only God has seen all the rainbows.

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