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.