Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Devastation and Salvation (Genesis 8:1-19)

(Thomas Cole: The Subsiding Waters of the Deluge 1829) 

“And God remembered Noah…”

When we last left off, the world was as it was in Genesis 1:2. You can see in the destruction of the flood, where people got the idea for the “gap” theory. (The Gap theory proposes that in between Genesis 1:1—where God created everything—and Genesis 1:2—where only water covered the earth—something may have happened to render creation to be flooded and in chaos.) That theory, though, doesn’t really float. For one thing, the way Genesis 1 is written doesn’t indicate a gap. You have to read such a theory into the text.

Another problem is that Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 8 are very different. In Genesis 1, God created and ordered everything from scratch. Here in Genesis 8, we will see him restore a purged creation from living beings He preserved through the flood. The waters recede and the rescued humanity and beasts emerge from the arc into a world that has recovered. God is not starting over, He has reset.

However, even though we don’t here see grounds for the Gap theory in Genesis 1, the scene here is clearly harkening back to the way things were in Genesis 1:2. The reset is real. Things had gotten so out of hand with humanity’s sin that creation had to be purged. In Genesis 3 we saw humanity rebel against God and sent out to multiply in that sin and rebellion. Everyone was born of a couple who had actively rebelled against God. They are born into and participate in that rebellion.

Here in Genesis 8, we see a subtle difference. Humanity’s sin problem has not been solved. People will still be born in sin and rebellion. However, we are starting out with a family that is seeking God. They believe in God. They offer sacrifices. They want a restored relationship. The problem is that humanity can’t fix things.

God can, however. It is He who is orchestrating everything according to His redemptive plan. He chose Noah. HE gave Noah the ability to believe. Back in Genesis 6:9 we saw that Noah was a righteous man. In Hebrews 11we see what that means. It wasn’t that Noah alone in all of humanity was good, blameless, or worthy. He had faith. God spoke to Noah and Noah believed God.

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