All entries for Sunday 02 September 2007

September 02, 2007

The Bible In A Year: Day 2 (January 2nd)

Follow-up to The Bible In A Year: Day 1 (January 1st) from The Utovsky Bolshevik Show

The reading for January 2nd is Genesis 4-6 and Romans 2. The comments on these passages aren’t as coherent as they were on yesterdays. I read these passages sitting in the car by the beach, with just a notepad and pen, so I was just jotting thoughts down.

Genesis

Chapter 4

1 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.”

Eve acknowledges that God is the source of life.

3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Cain just brings some stuff from his fields. Abel brings the best portions of the best animals from his flock. God prefers Abel’s sacrifice. On the surface it appears that God just prefers the better sacrifice. However, the rest of the Bible (for example, the widow in Luke 21) makes it clear that God prefers Abel’s sacrifice because of the intentions behind it rather than the contents of it.

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

The first death recorded in the Bible is also the first murder.

10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.

Despite the fact that Cain has committed the first murder in the history of the world, God does not want him to die.

15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.

I wonder who this is protection against as there can only be Cain, Adam and Eve left in the world. More evidence to suggest it shouldn’t be taken literally?

19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah.

The first polygamy in the Bible.

23 Lamech said to his wives,
“Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
wives of Lamech, hear my words.
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for injuring me.
24 If Cain is avenged seven times,
then Lamech seventy-seven times.”

In saying this, Lamech is declaring himself to be above God.

26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.
At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.

This shows the contrast between Seth and Cain.

Chapter 5

This chapter begins again with an account of creation.

2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.”

This verse again treats male and female equally. Interestingly, both are referred to as ‘man’.

5 Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.

In this verse and verses 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 27 and 31 incredible ages are listed. Are they intended as literal?

24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Enoch didn’t die, an event paralleled only with Elijah in the Old Testament.

Chapter 6

2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

Are the ‘sons of God’ angels? Devout humans?

3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

Does this mean that people can no longer live for longer than 120 years?

5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.

How much has this changed?

13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

God apparently speaks directly to Noah. Was it as direct as it seems, or was God as oblique as he sometimes seems to us today?

Romans

Chapter 2

1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

We all sin. Does this suggest that all sins are equal?

6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

These verses seem to suggest that we are saved through works, rather than grace alone. Is Paul in fact talking about the good works which are the natural outworkings of faith and salvation through grace?

9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.

Jews and Gentiles are both alike in this respect.

24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Although this refers to Jews, it also reflects the fact that the actions of Christians are often the cause of unbelief in non-Christians. As Brennan Manning says (a reference I found through a DC Talk song):

The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

Outward appearance (i.e. circumcision) is no longer a sign that you are of God. It is inward qualities that are important.


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