Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Nimrods discuss Genesis 10-12

Nimrod. I wonder when his name got associated with being a dimwit? As we discussed Genesis 10-12, it was hard to ignore a name like Nimrod, and to discover his name was full of honour in his day. A mighty hunter before the Lord. We pondered what that might mean together. Our best answer came with the idea of fully accepting and being the man God created him to be. He must have been given supernatural gifts in the area of hunting and he used them to their fullest. I imagine that brought glory to his Creator. I wonder if he was a righteous fellow...

We also discussed the geneologies and got a whole lot more out of them than one would expect. They helped explain a potential contradiction we thought we had found where some of Japheth's descendents seemed to have developed their own languages before God confused the common language at Babel. But upon reading the boring lists of names a little more deeply we found that Japheth's 3rd generation would have lived around the time of Babel. Hopefully this will encourage us to keep reading closely.

Finally we got to Abraham and discussed how he likely would have worshipped other gods before the one true God called him and told him to leave his homeland. There must have been something special that convinced him this voice was better than the voice of his idols (which I proposed were blue, with 3 eyes!). I imagine the voice of the Creator would have resonated more deeply in his bones and soul.

We were also inspired by Abram as he figured out how to have a relationship with God. It must have been pretty interesting starting from scratch without 4000 years of other people telling you how to do it! This was our conclusion as to why he was able to lie to Pharoah about his true relationship with Sarah - God hadn't told him he couldn't lie.

We also think Pharaoh probably did sleep with Sarah, which we were not told about in Sunday School. Things could have been so much more interesting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Genesis 7-9 and all the rabbit trails

I'm not sure what got us onto the discussion of whether a Christian should use force to protect him/herself and his/her family, but we went there. It was probably 9:6-7, the curse God brings against people who shed human blood... Regardless of the curse, our discussion lead us to thinking about whether a Christian should defend themselves from murderers. Some of us thought that to defend our family a Christian has the right to use any means necessary. Some of us thought we should defend our family, but not kill. I don't think we'll come to a definitive answer anytime soon. One thing we did agree on is that killing another human does something to your soul, and you are never the same again.
I found it interesting that God brings up murder after the flood. It's almost as if the whole flood thing was to wipe out the murdering line of Cain. I wonder if God felt like he didn't take a hard enough line with Cain, letting him produce murdering progeny...

We also pondered the idea that it hadn't rained prior to the flood, that somehow all the water of the world was contained in two domes, one in the sky and one under the ground. I imagine when water started falling from the sky, it must have seemed quite ominous to Noah's generation, similar to what the people of Chernobyl felt like when the sky dropped black rain on them.

We also puzzled over what Noah being the most righteous in his generation meant. Was he just a moral fellow? Why then did he get so hopelessly drunk? If Jesus was the most righteous man who ever lived, we get a very different idea of what Righteousness was: here is a guy who was known as a glutton and a drunkard, who constantly mocked authority, turned the most sacred building in the country upside down, and even told one of his disciples to get away from him because he reminded him of Satan... Righteousness is more than not doing bad things!

We're just unsure of what more it is.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Theological Discourse

Last night was another fine house meeting where we discussed house issues, resolved conflict, discussed decisions, and studied scripture. As a house we are currently reading through that first book in the bible known as Genesis. Genesis is an interesting book to study because so many crazy things come up in the early part of it and we had some thoughts about it.

We focused particularly on Genesis 4-6 last night which is the story of Cain and Abel, the Genealogy of Noah, and the early part of the story of Noah. In our time of study, we discussed the many references that Genesis seems to have to a physical manifestation of God (Genesis 3:8, 21;4:3, 31:24-28) and thought about how it might be possible that this was in fact an early manifestation of Jesus, who was with God from the beginning (John 1:1-2). This helped us to explain things like Adam thinking he could hide from God when God was walking in the Garden (Genesis 3:10) and Jacob's experience of wrestling with God.

Chelsea, in her response to the reading, mapped out the genealogy of Cain, and Seth, and pointed out that it's important to remember that Noah, who's line was the only one that survived the flood, was part of Seth's line and not Cain and Abel's. She also pointed out that 7(a recurrent number in the bible) generations after Cain's first murder, his line died off in the flood.

Someone else pointed out that it was not until after Cain was banished for his first murder and Seth was born that "men began to call on the name of the LORD" (Genesis 4:26) thus raising the question, what was God's relationship with man before that if they did not call on his name until after the birth of Seth? Was God physically present with man during the first few generations of mankind and then distanced himself once Adam and Eve had established a family and sons or did people just not realize that God was one to be called on until later on in their years?

This related a little bit to a point Ben brought up, that Eve gave birth with no forknowledge of how that process happened (imagine the shock when her water broke and when she began experiencing labour pains for the first time) and Adam had to invent agriculture from the ground up (no pun intended). If God existed in some form of physical manifestation early on in Humanity's history then these tasks would have been considerably easier for Adam and Eve who were probably already quite frightened after being sent out from the Garden of Eden.

And then we moved on in our meeting but with the lasting impact of the discussion we had just had on this passage holding a place in our minds. I think it is safe to say that one of the benefits of discussing scripture passages community is that you end up bringing out ideas that you would not have thought of individually and thus help each other in gaining a fuller understanding of scripture.