Lesson 4: Sin in Genesis 2-11

The Bible could succinctly be summed up with: Humans find themselves suffering because of sin; God offers them salvation from this.

Genesis 1-11 sets this up by picturing God creating everything good and then four pictures of sin with the suffering it brings. If this is the situation, the good being corrupted, then it is correctable. In Genesis 12 God comes to Abraham in order to begin that correction, that salvation. Most other pictures of creation claim we are evil, because we are made of evil material. Therefore, we are stuck; there is no hope.

Example number one is Eden, which pictures sin at its simplest level. God gives a fairly easy commandment. You have perfect harmony, all you need. There is just one rule. And the creatures decide one rule is one too many. Notice that the serpent is not Satan, just another one of God’s creatures. In this first example the creatures refuse to observe their dependence on God. Sin is revolting against God. They want to make the rules for God’s creation. The conversation which begins at creation and continues in the Garden is broken. Humans no longer are friends with the other creatures. None of them have face-to-face conversation with God any more.

Genesis goes on to offer three other examples. It explains that even though farmers and shepherds are brothers, they refused to accept God’s arrangement. They kill one another, raising their hands in Cain’s pathetic rationalization. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” By Genesis 4: 24, they have so corrupted God’s harmony that they are bragging they kill a person for simply wounding them or even a youngster for simply striking them on the cheek.

The evil described as violence is so great that God decides to start over again. The flood is obviously a new creation as God’s wind goes over the waters in an attempt to restore order. And of course, it fails. Noah, the new Adam, gets drunk and lies naked before his sons. Here we go again. God says he can not do this again. It was too hard on him. He hangs up his weapon, his bow, in the sky as a reminder that he will never do this again. There has to be a better way.

The final example, Babel, is the biblical Jack and the Beanstalk. Humans are intent on getting into heaven and taking over God’s role completely. And so they suffer the ultimate. Previously they lost the ability to converse with God; now they can not even converse with each other. Considering the importance of words in God’s creation, we are at an impasse.

It is time for God to try another way to reestablish conversation. He will do it one person at a time. In Genesis 12 He blesses Abraham whose family is eventually to bless every last person in the creation.

You can try to read these primitive stories by deciphering ancient tales. But don’t get so diverted so that you miss the underlying meaning which leads to your salvation.

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