I apologize to anyone who checked yesterday for updates to find nothing. Here’s DD #3&4. I’ll see about getting #5 out earlier tomorrow. Again, I hope this is a blessing to all, and with that, let’s dive in!
The first thing that jumps out at me is actually in the footnotes of the Geneva Scholars (G.S.) in regards to verse 1, “1Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field, which the Lord God had made: and he said to the woman, Yea, hath God indeed said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” “As Satan can change himself into an Angel of Light, so did he abuse the wisdom of the serpent to deceive man.”
The part that got my attention was the word abuse. I’ve noticed over the years, that a fair amount of Christian’s often think about the serpent as a symbol of evil, or wickedness. But a few places in the Bible actually display snakes in a positive light. e.g. Matt. 10:16, “16Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of the wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and innocent as doves.”
Granted, the Bible has more examples in the negative, though in most of the passages I can find, they were referring to snakes in regards to Satan.
Also, historically, the snake has been used as a sign of poison and medicine. You probably have seen the medical symbol of the snake encircling a rod at hospitals, on medical personnel uniforms and vehicles.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that we should see snakes as good creatures, but at the same time, they don’t have to only be symbols of evil to Christians either. They have their good and bad aspects, as do many creatures. All were created by God for a purpose, and all bring glory to Him in the end.
The next thing that jumps out at is in v. 2-5, “2And the woman said unto the serpent, We eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. 3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4Then the serpent said to the woman, Ye shall not die at all, 5But God doth know that when ye shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Okay, this one has bothered me for many years. I’ve heard quite a few Christian’s jump on Eve’s twisting of what God said, “pointing” fingers so to speak. The reason this bothers me, is that often these people will either say that she sinned, or they’ll say that she messed up, without coming out and saying she sinned.
With the second one, people just need to firmly define what they mean, and decide whether or not she sinned. With the first it’s more complex.
For one, I think that is given far too much attention. The focus of this passage should be Satan’s deception, and the tricking of Eve.
Two, while not irelevent, the verse is vague, and has not a single piece anywhere in scripture to back up the amount of importance people put on it. Don’t believe me? I’ve examined seven different versions (ASV, NASV, ESV, KJV, NKJV, NIV, GNV) for mentions of Eve, Adam, the part about touching the fruit, as well as the term, “the woman” where it’s used in direct reference to Eve. Out of the four items, all but the part about touching the fruit turned up any results. Here’s a list of the Passages: Gen. 3:20, Gen. 4:1, 2 Cor. 11:3, and 2 Tim. 2:13-14.
Not one directly refers to or focuses on Eve adding the part about touching the fruit. It’s a standalone part of the verse, which is never clarified, explained, or mentioned again. EVER!
So I think we should take it at face value. God never addresses it as a sin, or never points to it in any other part of Scripture, and we know that God take’s lying very seriously (Acts 5). Therefore, since we don’t know… we shouldn’t add, subtract, expound on, or dwell on what it could possibly mean. And please understand, as a Reformed Presbyterian, I believe that Scripture explains Scripture. But that being said, there are some things that God didn’t expound on because in His sovereign will, He didn’t see fit for us to understand them. We’re not sinning if we don’t understand that part of the verse; we’re not failing in our role as a Christian; we’re not at a disadvantage spiritually just because we don’t understand some small part of Scripture that God didn’t see fit to fully explain. And that’s alright.
Okay… moving on! And I know that last one was long, but you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to flesh that out. I’d love to hear feedback on what you think.
This next one isn’t big, at least, not as much as it used to be (does anyone remember when this was a hot topic?), and honestly, I almost didn’t mention it, but I’d like to point out, like many before me, that it’s never explained, what kind of fruit was on the tree of g&e. For all we know it was some exotic fruit that was unique to The Garden, and didn’t exist outside of it. We don’t know, and quite frankly, I don’t think we need to spend any time worrying about this one.
The next one is something which I gleaned after reading the G.S. note on v. 7, “7Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig tree leaves together, and made themselves breeches.” “They began to feel their misery, but they sought not to God for remedy.”
I find this interesting, because we do the same thing today. I don’t know about you, but when I’m entrusted with instructions, responsibilities, or rules, and I fail at them, the first reaction, the sinful reaction, is to hide what you’ve done, how’ve you’ve failed, or try to hide yourself so you can’t be blamed. Anyone have some childhood memories like that? And this was hardly the last time we see this in Scripture. David and Bathsheba, Jonah, Christ even gave a parable which highlights this (Matt. 25:14-30).
The truly ironic thing about this is that we do this in spite of our knowledge that we have a loving, forgiving, Heavenly Father who will deal more than fairly with us. How many of us when we correctly, honestly went to our parents right away, and explained what happened found that it wasn’t nearly as bad of a reaction as when we hide it? This isn’t to say parents are perfect and always react this way, which can make children much more reluctant to explain their misdeeds. I think we all can pull up a couple of those memories too. But when parents are in a fairly good mood, I’ve observed (and experienced) that it always goes better for the child when they bring their sin before their parents right away. And we see examples of this in Scripture. Just consider the amount of times Israel turned back to God when they realized their sin? And don’t forget the parable of the Prodigal Son. So something to think on the next time you screw up. Because we all run into situations where we have the option to take this road.
As a note, v. 8 continues this theme, and the G.S. do mention it. For those of you who haven’t realized this yet, Biblegateway has the majority of the G.S. footnotes, so if you’re following along at the link from above, you should see it there.
I’m not going to cover the dialogue with God, as there’s just way too much to get into there, and as I know it’ll come up with various topics down the road, I’ll pass over it for now, though I’ll I’ll leave you with one comment. This is a great passage to go to when looking for examples of the complications of blame shifting. It never ends well, and we’d all be better off with telling the truth and admitting our own guilt, instead of trying to pass it off to someone else. Wouldn’t you agree?
v. 15 certainly deserves a mention, what with it being the first Prophecy in the Bible, and given by God no less. Don’t hear enough sermons preached on Gen. 3:15. If you know of any, please drop a comment for everyone else.
The back end of v. 16 is… interesting to say the least, and will most definitely being coming up in later discussions. This is I think quite probably one of the most controversial verses in the Bible, when looking at it within the context of our modern society. And for now I’ll just leave it at that.
Another one that I thought I give a quick mention, instead of passing over, is that while many speculate that it was a lamb that God killed to make Adam and Eve clothing, we don’t actually know. The Bible never clarifies, and I’d again point out that for all we know it was a beast that no longer exists on the earth today. We simply do not know, and unfortunately, speculating on it won’t bring the knowledge of it any closer to us. Plus there’s so much that we have been given to understand, which we still don’t fully understand. So why not spend our time unraveling those passages?
Also, I’d point out, that, at least in the GNV version, the Bible doesn’t explicitly say that God killed an animal. As the G.S. so aptly point out, it could have just been the knowledge of how to make the skins, and they killed an animal. Or God just created skins for them without killing an animal. We should be careful with what actions we ascribe to God. Especially if we’re making assumptions based off of context, not actual facts.
In the last verses here, two last things stand out.
First, we see God denying man access to the fruit of the tree of life, which I think when most of us look at, we understand, or rather, we claim to understand, “Actions have consequences.” we argue, “So if makes sense that God would deny them the fruit of the tree of life.”
I think there’s another way for us to look at it, and mind you, this is pure speculation, as the Bible (at least not that I know of) doesn’t tell us what the fruit of the tree of life would do to the one[s] who at it. And as such, I’m not saying I believe this, because as I already stated the Bible doesn’t seem to give us understanding in this area.
I think the other way to look at it is that God was not further punishing Adam and Eve, and mankind as a whole, but sparing them (and possible us) the pain of living abnormally long lives, or having a twisted, corrupted version of eternal life on this earth while still living in sin. Can you imagine what a horrible existence that would be? Not being able to die, but not truly being able to live? Anyways, thats just me speculating, and I can’t say with any authority that that’s what we’re supposed to get out of this passage.
Secondly, and this is more of a translation difference which then snowballed into a full thought. The GNV version doesn’t say anything about a flaming sword, but instead it says that it was “—the blade of a sword shaken—”, which then led me to this thought, “What if they say flaming sword in other versions to simplify it?”
Let me explain. In sci-fi fandoms, more specifically, Star Wars, there are swords called “vibro blades”. Their blades vibrate extremely fast, to fast for the eye to see, and it generates heat, causing the blades to turn red from the heat, which allows them to not only cauterize anything they cut through, but it would be able to cause a fire given the right circumstances.
So if it was a shaken blade, perhaps that’s how they described it vibrating so fast that it cause heat, or created flames. Very nerdy, completely unverifiable, and the you who know enough science to understand whether this would actually work or not are probably rolling your eyes or have a better explanation that would really do it justice.
And that’s it for DD #3, for yesterday, the 3rd of Nov.
Okay, so diving into Gen. 4.
The first thing that caught my eye was v. 5 with the accompanying G.S. notes, “But unto Cain and to his offering he had no regard: wherefore Cain was exceedingly wroth and his countenance fell down. “Because he was an hypocrite, and offered only for an outward show without sincerity of heart.”
Why’d this catch my eye? Because I realized something. Unless it’s clarified otherwhere in the Scriptures, Cain’s mistake wasn’t necessarily what kind of offering he brought (after all there are the grain sacrifices that God laid down for Israel), but it had to do directly with his heart when bringing the sacrifice before The Lord. I can’t remember how many times I heard from various Christians in my younger years where they focused on the type of offering. And I realize now that that is extremely superficial. Because seeking forgiveness, true repentance, begins in the heart; in the O.T. the sacrifices were both an outward sign of that, as well as pointing to Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the Cross.
Praying a flippant quick prayer for forgiveness when we sin again, and again, and again; using it as a get out of gail free card, a good luck charm, does not grant us forgiveness. We need to be truly repentant. We need to be mourning our sin. We need to be at the foot of the Cross, taking everything about our sin. Our mind, our emotions, our body to the Cross for forgiveness.I recently heard a sermon where the pastor spoke out against that very deceptive belief that because all our sins are forgiven as Christians, we can sin all we want, because we can just ask God for forgiveness and then move on like everything is alright. He went on to talk about the very real truth, that if we are truly saved, then we’ll want to be like Christ, we’ll be constantly trying to walk in His footsteps. And we can’t ever do it perfectly. Ever. And it won’t help us to get to heaven. Not a wit. But our faith is displayed by the way that we live. And that’s where Cain failed. He wasn’t truly coming to God with a heart of servitude.
And we all do this. Ever had those Sundays where because of whatever happen on the weekend, or during the week that you haven’t dealt with properly, you might be singing, and you appear to be listening, but the whole service, from the time you sit down, or even before, when you first walk in, your thoughts couldn’t be more away from God? Or more sadly, you see with some families whose children or child’s heart is not turned toward God will just sit there ignoring the sermon, because they don’t care. Complete apathy.
And while we don’t know what exact state Cain’s heart was in, we know that he wasn’t properly committing his heart to The Lord at that time. And seeing where his sin lead him when God rightly did not reward him, we should be all the more mindful of our hearts when coming before God in private or public worship.
Now while I’d love to talk about v. 14-18, I can’t say I have much knowledge in regards to this aspect of theology. But I do know that it’s been the cause for two of the longest standing questions, “Where did Cain get his wife.” and “Were there other men Cain was talking about?”.However, I personally agree with and would suggest that you check out what Answers in Genesis have to say about it. I’ll include a link at the bottom of the page.
The next thing is interesting, because I don’t know about you, but what the G.S. have to say about v. 19 isn’t exactly what first comes to mind. At least, not in the depth in which they go into it. But I’ll let it speak for itself. “19And Lamech took to him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.” “The lawful institution of marriage, which is, that two should be one flesh, was first corrupted in the house of Cain by Lamech.”
I mean on the surface I know that I’ve acknowledged that practice is outside of the lawful institute of marriage as laid down for us in Gen. 2:24, but it never really occured to me the significance of the fact that it was Cain’s line that began that practice.
And in regards to polygamy, again, my Scriptural understanding is rather limited. However, again, I would highly recommend that you check out what Answers in Genesis have to say on the topic; great stuff, and I don’t find fault with their explanation. I’ll also leave a link for that at the end of the devotional as well.
The next thing I found interesting was more in the context of debating the evolutionary standpoint. Once again, as displayed in v. 20-22, we can explain why it seemed that “early man” was so much more advanced than evolutionist’s can account for. No once have we had to change our “story” as they call it; yet they have had to continually change theirs as they gain more and more new information. And yet they just haven’t given up. And they say Christian’s have insane faith. I don’t know. That’s pretty incredible in and of itself. I know if there was that much historical proof that didn’t fit with my understanding of the Bible, and that continued to show that it wasn’t accurate, I’d have to have even more faith that I have right now. Thanks be to God that we live in world that constantly speaks to the fact that we have a creator. One who’s created a world so complex that we will likely never fully understand it.
The second to last thing we see here is Lamech boasting that he was greater than any man, and his mocking of God’s protection of Cain. Part of me wishes that God had revealed what happened to Lamech after that, but alas, we don’t know what befell him. From everything that I see here, Lamech was an extremely arrogant man. He had power, two wives, and boasted that even in weakness he was greater than other men. Greater than Cain in health, inspite of Cain’s protection by God from being killed by another man. And that’s dangerous. While the Bible doesn’t reveal what happened to him after his boast, we do know that God doesn’t suffer those who mock Him. Prime example being Egypt, with Pharaoh not believing in the power of God.
And the very last thing we see here is God giving Adam and Eve another son, Seth; he was the direct ancestor of Noah, who of course as we know is the direct ancestor of Christ through his son Shem. Now, while I’m not sure of my, or any other reformed denomination’s position on this, God’s giving Seth to Adam and Eve, could be taken as His renewing His covenant with them in light of Abel’s death and Cain being their only son at that time. Again, I not stating this to be an absolute, and I’d certainly like to come back to it while discussing various theological matters at a later date.
And with that, we’re done! It’s been a long haul with this one, and if you lasted this long in one sitting, then you have my utmost respect. If… you actually are still actually comprehending anything at this point. For the rest of you who went through this a tad more slowly, I almost envy you. Because while I would most certainly have liked to take this slower, this was a lot of fun, and very refreshing spiritually, if not mentally.
Again, I give my most sincere apologies for giving y’all #3 on the 4th, and for the lateness of the posting of #4. I hope to have tomorrow’s out earlier, God-will-it.
Hope this has been a blessing!
Cheers, and I’ll see you on the other side.
Cody, logging off.
P.s. The links as I promised.
On Cain’s Wife: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/who-was-cains-wife