So, my son has a Toddler Bible that amazingly summarizes Bible stories in extremely short paragraphs within only a couple short pages per story. My wife and I see much benefit in reading him these stories. He calms down from the day to read a book (of course Dr. Seuss gets his time), he becomes familiarized with the background narratives that form Scripture, he learns repetition from reading the same few stories over again, and he also learns relational titles such as “Daddy” or “Grandpa”. Since Adam is seen as a younger adult, along with the notion that he is God’s first actual human (the topic of humanoids [e.g. homo-erectus] is a separate study altogether), Adam gets the tag “Daddy” when we read to him about God’s creation of humanity. Well, since characters such as Noah and Abraham are illustrated as older (i.e. white hair and staffs) they are deemed “Grandpa”.
But, in reading to him I am again reminded of the Genesis narratives. I know it’s been popular with many Young-Earth creationists to analyze and presume human age-lengths when reading the Old Testament genealogies for the purpose of dating Earth to an approximate date of 6,000 to 10,000 years ago; however, that unnecessary presumption always leads away from the more important questions. On a side note, I’m not so certain the genealogies are precise to the generations we assume them to be. Perhaps it’s more probable that the specific people mentioned (e.g. this person begat that person) only conveys the persons of primary importance to Hebrew history. And also, in no way do I subscribe to the Young-Earth Creation model. With that being said, it’s very interesting how Genesis depicts the narrative of God’s first family, then gives a long genealogy, then leads into Noah’s relevant participation in the story.
After Genesis 5 ends with Noah’s niche on the first time-line, Genesis 6 begins by saying,
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them. – Genesis 6:5-7
Wait a minute, what happened to God’s great pride in the creation He made? Was He so grieved at the turnout of humanity? Didn’t He anticipate this when the whole “created in God’s image” thing demanded the necessity for free-will? Or, perhaps, God anticipated a better, more hopeful society. Thus, indicating that God was watching His people live, and was only active in the lives of those who intentionally sought Him. Perhaps the model much of Christianity has for holding its view on God’s sovereignty requires a little tweaking.
Now, I’m not going to get into whether or not this was a “global” or “local” flood with a well-researched argument right now. Though, you might note that the entire earth being flooded was not necessary for God’s plan of “blotting out man” to take place. I know those who do hold the “global” view, of course are always Young-Earth creationists by necessity, explain the planet’s apparent evidence of being billions of years old is due to idea that a global flood would have drastically altered the earth’s atmosphere. Sorry, I just don’t buy it.
The greater question in this jump between Adam and Noah is this, what happened to the people of the earth? Were they cannibalistic cavemen that were, as we Westerns would see as, uncivilized? Well, that can’t be the case, since even the Evolutionary model depicts homosapiens being the final race after the humanoid species become extinct. Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe has a interesting speculation of these species in relationship to the human “soul-like” race in his More Than a Theory. He basically attributes God’s creation of them as anticipatory to the way the planet’s current inhabitants would have to respond to the way humanity’s sinful nature would later affect them. Humanoids contributed to the life-cycle with their constant hunting, for instance.
But, humans, the very beings that possessed the image of their Creator, were worse–much worse. Perhaps they became the complete antithesis of what God created His people to be–they forgot their Creator with absolute certainty. They had created images of birds and beasts, perhaps even imagined beings that possessed qualities of both, and deified them. In his letter to the Roman church, the Apostle Paul alludes back to this specific pre-flood community of people.
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator… – Romans 1:18-25
The people of that society were secularized in every possible way. God was absent in their lives because they were absent to Him. But, if God is so loving, then wouldn’t He just leave them alone? Why did God have to be so offended? Paul talks of God’s “wrath”–forget the reasons, God is wrathful? That just sounds like every other man-made deity whose wrath must be appeased somehow, usually out of blood-lust. Unfortunately, the plenary atonement theory also holds that God is, essentially, a blood-thirsty God who requires death for sin. However, when I read Genesis then Romans, in that order, I see God as being the One who is hurt and disappointed–not necessarily offended. The very people He created despised Him and have rejected Him in every possible way. Every aspect of the human experience God had so lovingly given them was twisted and corrupted to satiate the evil desires of their minds.
Perhaps God’s “wrath” should not be understood they way we express it, out of violent anger, but rather out of sheer sadness. If God’s nature is divine love, then His wrathful response could be understood as a holy jealousy. We often think of the term “jealous” as vindictive spite with the attitude “If I can’t have him/her, then no one can”, and we have often explained God in the same way. Perhaps, though, God’s jealousy is so loving that we simply do not understand to what profundity we are truly made for God–to be His children, to be His bride. Sadly, as I write this it becomes that much more evident how our own American society, the ironically facetious “Christian” nation, further reaches out to those golden hills with greener pastures of a society without God.