Thursday, February 3, 2022

Humanity’s Downward Spiral

  If we are in fact created in the image and likeness of God, if this is our vocation, as the Bible seems to clearly teach-that is, if we are here to contain or bear God’s image within and allow the resulting transformation to work its way out in our observable behavior, we now have a solid foundation-a true moral compass-from which to evaluate what comes next. More than that, we now have an explanation for what comes next. 

“Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth.” (Genesis 6:11-12; NRSV)

After the garden episode, Cain murdered Able, Lamech 

“[kills] a man for wounding me,

a young man for striking me.” (Genesis 5:23b; NRSV)

“When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.” Genesis 6:1-2; NRSV)

Murder and violence have become the norm. (“Took as wives any they chose” may indicate the wives taken had no say in the matter). These things are the direct result of “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”(Genesis 3:5; NRSV). 

The problem here is Cain’s good was not Able’s good; Lamech’s good was not the young man’s good’. Whenever “…all the people [do] what [is] right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25; NRSV)  anarchy and violence result. Is there any difference in today’s’I have the right to…’ attitude? 

These things do not demonstrate God’s likeness, nor do they please God. At least, I don’t think they please God, who responds by limiting the length of humankind’s days to 120 years. When that doesn’t slow down the ‘wickedness of man’ God determines to blot out the human beings He created, which is exactly what God does. Eventually God changed His mind about us and promises never to flood us out again. Good thing for us “…Noah found favor in the sight of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:8; NRSV).

The entire story can be found in Genesis 6-9. My intention here is to make a direct connection between today’s individualism and yesterday’s; to show this is not what we were created for and did not then and does not now please God. But there is another component to the story-God’s ḥeseḏ; God’s steadfast love. Love that reveals itself in God’s restorative plan; love that fully reveals itself in Christ Jesus on the cross. But we’re not quite there. Not yet. 

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