In the first story (Genesis 1:1-2:4a), God is “ruach elohim.” He empowered humans fulfill this vision. Humans will reveal His image on earth by doing things that measure up to His TOV Standard (things that protect lives, preserve lives, make lives more functional, and/or increase the quality of life).
In the second story (Genesis 2:4b-3:24), God is “yhvh elohim.” He gave humans a commandment to protect their lives by not eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of TOV and RAH. They disobeyed, were driven out of the Garden in Eden, lost access to the Tree of Life, and became mortal.
In the third story (Genesis 4:1-27), God is “yhvh.” Adam and Eve created the next two humans on earth -- Cain and Abel. Cain murdered Abel and Cain was driven from his homeland. The hero in Cain’s line of descendants was Lamech -- the first man to commit a “recreational murder.” Lamech wanted to exceed Cain’s legend as a murderer!
In the fourth story (Genesis 5:3-32) God is “elohim.” Adam and Eve have a third son, Seth. The hero in Seth’s line of descendants was Enoch – the man who walked with “elohim” for three hundred years. The story ends with Noah becoming the father of three sons.
In the fifth story (Genesis 6:1-7:24) God is “yhvh” and “elohim.” In this story we discover there is a limit on how far humans can stray from the path God intended for them to follow. Ten generations after Cain murdered Abel, Genesis 6:5 reveals what life on earth was like.
1. The evil of humans was great on the earth. Many people were doing things that destroyed lives, harmed lives, made lives less functional, and decreased other people’s quality of life.
2. The thoughts and imaginations of people’s hearts were all evil people were hearing stories about evil, singing about evil, and talking about evil. People were hearing stories about TOV, singing about TOV, talking about TOV, mentoring their children about TOV or teaching their children about TOV.
In Genesis 6:11-12 we learn that “the earth was filled with violence,” followed by three appearances of the Hebrew SHACHAT to describe the conditions on earth. SHACHAT also appears in Exodus 8:20 (24), in which it creates a powerful image:
Great clouds of flies came into the house of Pharaoh,
into his servants' houses,
and all the land of Egypt was spoiled because of the flies.
Humans in Genesis 6 are presented as “being like great clouds of flies swarming to do violent and evil things to each other.” The earth had become like a place filled with “spoiled meat.”
In Genesis 6:6-8 we learn that “God regretted making humans, He was grieved to the heart and He had made the decision to wipe humans, animals and birds from the face of the earth.” However, one man had found favor in His eyes and God would show Noah how to build an ark that could save remnant of all animals and birds, as well as Noah and his family.
What happened that changed an entire human population? Based on what we learned from the five stories, we can determine what happened.
● Parents did not mentor the lifestyle God intended for them to live or teach their children the story of the creation of the Heavens and Earth or the stories about Adam and Eve, and their descendants.
● People stopped hearing about the Creator’s blessing and that they are created in the image of the Creator. They were not told they are the Creator’s Co-Shepherds or taught how do it. They were not taught that the Shabbat was the designated time for community members to gather and retell their sacred narratives.
● Slowly new stories that glorified evil people and evil things replaced their sacred narratives. Their acts of violence, evil, and oppression finally crossed a line. God decided to step in cleanse the earth of all evil.
● But one man did not follow the crowd. Noah walked with God and God showed him what to do to save remnants of all earth creatures, including humans.
Discussions about the Jewish Jesus must include
the Jewish paradox about God and the story of the Noah.
May Your Shalom Increase,