Lilliputian Bak Kut Teh and Genesis 4 – 11
Over somewhat decent bak kut teh for Lilliputians at Pao Xian Bak Kut Teh (NEX mall), we had a quick look at Genesis 4 – 11. Such a rush through these chapters seems as much a travesty as speeding through an enlighteningly-curated museum gallery of the world’s finest art, but i guess we’ll have the rest of our lives to mull over the treasures within.
At the beginning of Genesis 4, Adam and Eve, as the first man and woman were called, find themselves out of the Garden of Eden. Their distrust of God and therefore their failure to heed his warning had corrupted the once perfect relationship between God and man, man and woman, and man and the rest of creation. Frustration, toil, pain, and death had entered the world. But there was a hint that there might a solution – the promised offspring of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent even as the serpent struck his heel (Genesis 3:15).
So Eve is slightly thrilled when Cain is born, then Abel. But Cain, also distrusting God and so giving in to sin, kills Abel. God doesn’t take his life in turn but mercifully sends him away from his presence and even puts a mark on him so others won’t kill him. His descendants act even more violently than he. (Genesis 4)
Adam and Eve, bereft of their only two sons, are given another, Seth. It is from Seth’s line that Noah comes. (Genesis 5) Noah, of course, is famous for being the builder of the ark that saved he and his family and several animal representatives from The Flood. The Flood came about because, time went on after the birth of Seth, man became so dismissive of God that every inclination of his heart was evil all the time. So God did what he should and judged the world by un-creating it (sorta). He didn’t spare Noah because Noah was perfectly good but because Noah was righteous – that is, he believed God and obeyed him by building an ark when no flood was in sight, and God graciously credited that faith to Noah as righteousness (Genesis 6 – Genesis 7, Hebrews 11).
Immediately after the earth had a new start however, we find Ham (and possibly Noah) sinning. And the whole crowd degenerates until the Tower of Babel incident (Genesis 11). Looks like there’s no hope for mankind (though God had promised not to destroy the earth again via flood and had created the rainbow as a sign of his covenant (Genesis 8)).
Then, unexpectedly, the downward spiral of sin and corruption, of hurting and being hurt, is halted in the narrative by the call of Abram. To be continued…
But what we can see so far is this: that God demands faith. This faith isn’t a waffly concept akin to blind belief; it is (1) faith in a person (that is, to consider a person trustworthy); and to therefore (2) to believe what he says and so abide by (or obey) his words. The natural consequence of failing to heed his warnings is that whatever he said would befall the disobedient, would…because he spoke (and speaks) the truth.
Very rough notes:
Q: What problem does man face at the start of Genesis 4?
Q: What hint were we given about the solution to this problem in Genesis 3?
Q: What thankfulness is there in Genesis 4:1? Why?
Q: Genesis 4:2-8. But very quickly, this optimism is lost. How?
Q: Here, we already have some idea of what is important to God. What is Cain’s problem?
“Cain demonstrated an evil heart by his evil deeds, while Abel demonstrated a pious heart by his righteous deeds (1 John 3:12); and that Abel offered his sacrifice by faith and was commended as righteous for that reason (Heb. 11:4).” (ESV Study Bible)
Q: Genesis 4:6-7. How can Cain overcome this problem?
Q: What does Cain do instead?
Q: Genesis 4:10-16. How does God’s judgement on Cain relate to God’s judgement on Adam and Eve?
Q: How does Cain’s line fare?
Q: Genesis 4:25-26. Why is the birth of Seth another cause for thankfulness?
Q: Genesis 5. On whose line does the genealogy focus our attention?
Q: But what hint is there that this hope might be misplaced?
Q: What was man doing that was according to God’s purpose?
Q: What was man doing against God’s purpose?
Q: How does God judge man? How does this relate to his creation of the world?
Genesis 6:9 – 8:19
Q: How does Noah’s behaviour demonstrate he was a righteous man? How was this different from the rest of humanity?
Q: How was Noah’s behaviour rewarded? (Reward or natural consequence of obedience!)
Genesis 8:20 – 9:27
Q: How does this narrative parallel the creation account? What differences are there?
Q: After the creation account, we have seen that humanity just got worse and worse and were ultimately destroyed. What hint is there that the new humanity would be no different?
Q: But how does God show his grace and mercy?
Q: What does the genealogy of Noah’s descendants tell us?
Q: What is the problem with what the man is doing?
“The tower is a symbol of human autonomy, and the city builders see themselves as determining and establishing their own destiny without any reference to the Lord.The Babel enterprise is all about human independence and self-sufficiency apart from God. The builders believe that they have no need of God. Their technology and social unity give them confidence in their own ability, and they have high aspirations, constructing a tower with its top in the heavens (11:4). Contrary to God’s plan that people should fill the earth (e.g., 1:22, 28; 9:1, 7), the city-building project is designed to prevent the population from being dispersed over the face of the whole earth (11:4). By showing God’s continued interest in his creatures, this episode provides the setting for the call of Abram out of this very region, to be the vehicle of blessing to the whole world.”
Q: Why is a genealogy of Shem’s descendants important?