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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Starting Over

Gen 8:20-9:17

20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.

22 As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night,
shall not cease."

1 God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.

6 Whoever sheds the blood of a human,
by a human shall that person's blood be shed;
for in his own image
God made humankind.

7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, abound on the earth and multiply in it."

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 "As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." 12 God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." 17 God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth."
NRSV

So here we are. Back where we started in verse 1, “Be fruitful multiply and fill the earth.” Then repeated again in v. 7 “…be fruitful and multiply, abound on the earth and multiply in it.” God renews his original call for humanity to fill the earth. God states his provision for humanity again, although this time he includes the consumption of meat. The animals will fear humanity and humans will rule over them.

The prohibition against eating blood symbolizes the divine mystery of life. Eating blood would show disrespect for life. Furthermore, God makes clear that there is to be a reckoning for any one who takes another's life. It will be a life for a life. This has the double impact of emphasizing God’s value of life but it also stands against the destructive sevenfold vengeance. (i.e., Life for life versus seven lives for life.)

God also makes a covenant with Noah that he will never again destroy humanity, “as long as the earth endures.” God intends to abide with humanity. The rainbow was not created at the time of the flood, but God declares it to be a symbol of his abiding faithfulness and love. Stars in the shape of a bow in the sky were a sign of war and of the god’s hostility in antiquity. But a bow facing away from the earth would have been considered a sign of reconciliation. God wants to disillusion humanity from the delusion that he is against them.

Recapping, God eliminated the evil folks from the earth, destroying their cities and cultures of defiance along with them. God promised to destroy humnanity again. He reinstituted his plan for filling the earth with people he could lavish his love upon. He sent humanity out to fulfill this mission. He shortened the human life span to reduce the time in which evil people would have to perfect evil. He educated Noah and humanity about the value he places on human life and effectively placed limits on killing.

Sounds good! What could go wrong!

3 Comments:

At June 22, 2005 6:52 AM, Anonymous will spotts said...

Nice setup for Nimrod.

I hadn't thought of it in that way, but God does seem to have been serious about that command to fill the earth as opposed to settling in one city. (We still have a bias that way -- even when we use the word civilization which we always interpret as good.)

 
At June 22, 2005 4:18 PM, Blogger Michael W. Kruse said...

I think you may forsee where I am going with all this. The Bible's take on cities takes an interesting twist once we get to the end. I am building to that in a few more posts.

 
At June 23, 2005 12:35 AM, Anonymous will spotts said...

I think I do know where you're headed with this. It will be interesting to see.

 

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