The kingdom of God has been re-established in Noah. In fact, the sovereign has given more power to Noah that he did to Adam. In the beginning, Adam and Eve ruled only the animals on God’s behalf. Now God has authorized human government, so Noah is the first person with divinely appointed power over the lives of others. In the framework of the ancient near east, that gives Noah great honour. How does he use the power entrusted to him?
Continue reading “Why slavery? (Genesis 9:18-29)”
After the flood, God gave humans power over the lives of other humans. Because they had not respected his governance, he authorized human government. Does that mean he’s abdicating? Continue reading “God’s commitment to reign (Genesis 9:7-17)”
Genesis 9:6 (NIV)
Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.
In re-establishing his kingdom after the flood, the divine sovereign made some concessions designed to head off the anarchic violence that wrecked the previous world: Continue reading “Capital punishment? (Genesis 9:6)”
Genesis 9 is as least as important as Genesis 1-3 for our understanding of life on earth now. Continue reading “Earthly government (Genesis 9:1-6)”
God warned that he would bring a flood (6:17) and send down rain (7:4). But when the flood actually comes, it is not attributed to God. The language is entirely impersonal: rain fell (7:12); the flood came (7:6, 10), the waters prevailed (7:18, 19, 20, 24). This change is obvious in English, but it is decidedly odd in the Hebrew worldview where everything that happens is attributed to God. The narrator has changed perspective: the flood is not seen as an act of God but as an attack on God’s kingdom. It is as if evil is attempting to overturn everything God established, to return his creation to the shapeless abyss it was before he spoke order into his realm (1:2). Continue reading “The kingdom is a partnership (Genesis 7–8)”
“Hey Allen, we’re doing the story of Noah in Kids’ Church. We’ve been reading the story. It’s terrible! All those people drowning, and animals too! We can’t tell that to the children! What are we missing?”
Continue reading “Is there any justice? (Genesis 6:5-22)”
Genesis 6:2 (NIV)
The sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.
Who were the sons of God? Who were the daughters of humankind? Why did their intermarriage corrupt the world?
Continue reading “Who corrupted God’s world? (Genesis 6:1-6)”
We felt the despair of Cain’s version of humanity—away from YHWH’s presence, run by human power, offering greater violence as the answer to violence. We felt the contrast when Seth’s renewed humanity began calling on YHWH’s authority as their hope of survival. The narrator now leads us into this godly community. Continue reading “Who will represent the sovereign? (Genesis 5)”
For too long we have read Genesis 3 as a story about individuals, and Genesis 4 as a story about some other individuals. Genesis 3–4 is a communal story. It describes how human society sinks to something that is less than human when it resists God’s authority. Adam and Eve grasped power that belonged to God. Their son grasped power over his brother. The society Cain founds is a long way from God’s intentions for humanity. Continue reading “How far does the kingdom of God extend? (Genesis 4:16-26)”
It’s a shame we have chapter divisions. Genesis 4 belongs with Genesis 3. We saw how the wise sovereign spelled out the conflict his subjects would experience as a result of grasping his power. That’s exactly what happens. In conflict of the worst kind, Cain grasps power over his brother’s life.
If you read Genesis 3 as a story about our personal sin (our need for personal salvation), you missed the bigger picture. Continue reading “What kind of world is God running? (Genesis 4:1-15)”
When humans attempted to oust God and decide good and evil for themselves, they could not have imagined the chain of conflict their rebellion would unleash. Genesis 3:9-19 is the transcript of the investigation of their crime. The sovereign’s words are presented in poetic form: it slows down the narration so we hear him.
By any measure, their sovereign is absurdly lenient with these rebels. His judgement is not so much a punishment as it is an explanation of the trouble (curse) they have brought on themselves. In each case, he explains what conflict/struggle they will face as a result of introducing rebellion into his realm: Continue reading “What changed with the rebellion? (Genesis 3:15-24)”
Genesis 3 is strange to our ears. Why is there a talking snake? Why is the creature called crafty? Why is the snake craftier than the other animals? Ultimately the story is all about who rules, but we need to deal with some of these issues so we can get to the main point.
A common response is to say, Continue reading “Who’s in charge now? (Genesis 3:1-14)”
Genesis 2 introduces such an intimate picture of the one who structured heaven and earth according to his command. We receive our identity from him. He sculpts the human from clay, and breathes his own life into him (2:7). In the grounds of his palace he cultivates a garden. From his own person flows the abundance that sustains life—the tree, and the river, and the riches (2:9-14).
The sovereign calls the human to participate in his reign. His task is to work and guard the palace grounds (2:15). The kingdom of God is a partnership: Continue reading “What does it mean to be human? (Genesis 2:15-25)”
Genesis 1 revealed who God is and who we are. Genesis 2 reveals how we were intended to live in his presence.
There was a place known as Eden. From the perspective of the people telling the story (Israel), it was to the east. The sovereign planted a garden there, “in Eden” (Gen 2:8). Does that suggest that Eden was something more than the garden?
Continue reading “Was Eden God’s palace? (Genesis 2:1-14)”
We saw that Genesis 1 reveals our sovereign establishing two realms: heaven and earth. The first half of this narrative (Days 1-3) culminated with the sovereign placing lights in the sky as signs that earth is under heaven’s rule. The second half (Days 4-6) also culminates with the sovereign installing images of his reign.
Continue reading “Who are we? (Genesis 1:20-31)”
The Bible is, first and foremost, the revelation of God. With this post, we’re starting at the beginning to hear its message about the kingdom of God. It begins with the God of the kingdom.
God is ruler of two realms that derive their existence from him: the heavens (his world) and the earth (our world). Our world lacked shape and significance until
Continue reading “Who is God? (Genesis 1:1-19)”