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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Genesis 4-6: What we DO know

There's a lot we don't know about what Genesis says. Apparently God didn't think we need to know some things. After we discussed it, my wife wanted me to post about something that we do know from this passage.

Here's a link to Genesis 4 through 6 in the English Standard Version (ESV).

Where did Cain and Seth get their wives? The Bible doesn't say. Probably from their sisters, but who knows for sure? Genesis 4:17 says that Cain founded a city, named after his son, Enoch. What sort of city? How large? Was this in a cave, in homes made from brick or mud huts, or wood, or tents? We don't know. Genesis 4:20 says that Jabal, apparently Cain's great-grandson was the "father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock." Does that mean that no one else had used tents before him? It doesn't seem possible that it means that no one had livestock before Jabal, because Abel brought a sacrifice from his flocks. (4:4 says "firstborn of his flock.") Abel was apparently killed many years before Jabal came along. What does this mean? How to explain this apparent inconsistency? I don't know.

Many more questions could be raised. But one thing stands out. Genesis 6 says that Noah stood out. In 6:8, the Bible says that he "found favor in the eyes of the Lord." In 6:9, he is described as "a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God." The same chapter makes clear that the rest of mankind around Noah was quite different -- evil, godless, sinful. So, one thing that Genesis 4-6 does say is that it is possible to live for God, even though surrounded by evil people. I'm not in such circumstances, but I hope I live for God. I hope you do, too.

Thanks for reading. Happy birthday to my wife.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder if it is good for my faith to ask such questions. If Cain married his sister, then why did God prohibit that in the laws of Deuteronomy? Here is one that I always wondered. Elsewhere there is discussion on how Satan fell from Heaven. Along with Satan were other fallen angels. Some non-biblical accounts would say it was because the angels were taking earthy wives. Well, anyways, how did the history of Satan, however that was, all occur before Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden, so Satan could be there to tempt Eve.

Noah, the most righteous man, got off the Ark, got drunk and fell down naked. You would think that would be worthy of biblical comment.

Martin LaBar said...

If Cain married his sister, then presumably their genes were less corrupted than later (you'd expect mutations to build up with time, until equilibrium with those lost was reached) but we just don't know.

There was a comment on that, sort of. Ham was condemned for looking at his father.

As I say, there seems to be one thing for sure about Noah. Thanks for reading.