Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Last Generation Before the Great Flood

I was working on a project today that included a section from Genesis 6. I thought you might find it an interesting Bible study. In order to understand it in its context you must know the following definitions:

(1) TOV -- The Creator created TOV (good) by doing acts that were beautiful and pleasant to His eyes because they protected life, preserved life, made life more functional, and/or increased the quality of life.

(2) RA -- Man created RA (evil) by doing acts that were not beautiful and pleasant to the Creator’s eyes because they destroyed life, threatened life, made life less functional, and/or decreased the quality of life.

(3) SHALOMtotality, completeness, and wholeness.

Now let’s look at the text from Genesis 6:

Yahweh saw how great the RA (evil) of mankind had become on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of the heart of mankind was only RA (evil) all of the day. Yahweh regretted that he had made mankind on the earth. He was grieved and or outraged to His heart. Yahweh said, “I will wipe mankind whom I have created from the face of the earth — from man to beast , to creeping thing, and to the winged creatures of the skies — for I regret that I have made them.”[i]

As the descendants of Seth’s line intermarried with the other groups, his descendants became like them – except for Noah. Acts of RA (evil) increased until they reached the point that Yahweh regretted making mankind. Pay close attention to how the text describes Yahweh – He was grieved and outraged. The legends of Cain and Lamech led to an entire generation who valued doing evil, violence and death more than they valued doing TOV, SHALOM and life. Yahweh was ready to destroy them all until He saw one man -- Noah.

But Noah found favor in the eyes of Yahweh.[ii]

Look at the world in which Noah lived.

Now the earth was corrupt in the Creator’s sight and was full of HAMAS. The Creator saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. The Creator said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with HAMAS because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.[iii]

HAMAS is defined as violence, wrong, and being a false witness. It is used to describe “knocking off” part of a plant and “stripping its fruit.”[iv] This sounds a lot like the world we live in today, doesn’t it?

What is the solution to changing a world like that? It is found in the words Yahweh spoke to Cain before he killed his brother Abel:

(Yahweh said) “Surely, if you do TOV, you shall be upstanding, if you do not do TOV, sin will be a like a crouching animal at your door; its desire shall be for you, but you will be able to master it.”[v]

The story of Cain and Abel emphatically established a foundational moral principle:

Man is indeed his brother’s keeper and every homicide is at the same time fratricide –an act of killing one’s brother.

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[i] Genesis 6:5-7
[ii] Genesis 6:8
[iii] Genesis 6:11-13
[iv] A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament by William L. Holladay; p. 109a.
[v] Genesis 4:6-7

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