Old Testament Survey - Lesson 4

Human Response to Divine Creation

In this lesson, explore Genesis 1-3's depiction of human responses to divine creation, emphasizing the transformation of humans into living souls through God's breath, the moral significance of work, and human dignity. It highlights the consequences of free will and addresses the catastrophic effects of sin, disrupting divine harmony and introducing inherent human depravity. Despite these challenges, it underscores divine grace, linking biblical genealogies from Adam to Noah and beyond, illustrating God's redemption and the ultimate salvific hope found in Jesus.

Daniel Block
Old Testament Survey
Lesson 4
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Human Response to Divine Creation

I. Overview of Genesis 1-2

A. The Creation Narrative

1. Cosmic foundations laid in Genesis 1:1-2:4a

B. Human Response to Creation

1. Initial human response in Genesis 2:4b-426

2. Adam's response and its consequences detailed through Genesis 3

II. Detailed Analysis of Genesis 2-4

A. Sections of the Material

1. Adam's immediate response and duties (Genesis 2:4b-426)

2. Context of Adam's demise (Genesis 2-3)

3. The crime and destiny of Cain, and emergence of Seth (Genesis 4)

B. Implications for Christian Anthropology

1. Discussion of Ha-Adam (The Adam) and human nature

2. Inherent dignity and responsibilities from being made in God's image

3. Analysis of sin and its effects on human condition

III. Theological Insights and Applications

A. Lessons on Human Dignity and Labor

1. The role of work in expressing human dignity

2. Description of the ideal living conditions in Eden

B. The Role and Status of Women

1. The creation of the female as a counterpart to the male

2. Equality and roles of male and female

IV. Sin, Grace, and Redemption in Genesis 2-4

A. The Entry of Sin and its Effects

1. The choice and consequences of the tree of knowledge

2. Breakdown of relationships post-sin

B. Evidence of Divine Grace amidst Judgment

1. The continuity of life and human culture under divine grace

2. The prophetic role of Seth and the genealogical significance leading to Noah

V. Genealogical and Prophetic Themes in Genesis 5-6

A. The Significance of Genealogy from Adam to Noah

1. Highlights of key figures and divine interventions

B. The Widespread Corruption and the Divine Response

1. Analysis of human depravity and God’s judgment (Genesis 6:1-8)

2. Noah’s righteousness and the concept of grace in divine judgment

  • Learning about the First Testament's language, geographical, and cultural contexts, and how these factors contribute to its frequent misinterpretation and underappreciation in modern times.
  • Gain insights into the literary and cosmic foundations of grace and glory in the Torah, understanding its role as more than law.
  • Learn that to be made in God's image entails embodying divine qualities and functioning as His representative on Earth, which extends a universal dignity upon all humans and shapes a theological ethic that influences how you treat others.
  • Genesis 1-3 frames human response to divine creation, emphasizing human dignity, work's moral role, free will's consequences, and the persistent grace amid sin.
  • This lesson reviews the Israelite covenant, understanding its stages, implications, and its role in God's redemptive plan.
  • Gain insights into Abraham's covenant with God, exploring his faith and God's promises.
  • Learn how the Exodus from Egypt marked Israel's transformation from a family to a nation under Yahweh.
  • Understand how the covenant at Sinai transforms Israel from slaves into a treasured nation destined for a divine mission, fulfilling God's ancient promises.
  • This lesson covers the covenantal expectations at Sinai. The covenantal agreement provided a constitutional and ethical framework for societal living, focusing on community rights and responsibilities.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into how the tabernacle was both a physical manifestation of God's presence and a profound symbol of His grace, emphasizing the holiness and detailed guidance He provided to the Israelites for worship and daily life.
  • Gain insights into Deuteronomy, recognizing its focus on teaching rather than legislation, and understanding Moses' role as an instructor of Yahweh's will.
  • In this lesson, you explore how to interpret the First Testament's historiographic writings, emphasizing the divine inspiration and literary artistry that guide the selective storytelling and theological themes.
  • Learn how the books of Joshua and Judges illustrate the fulfillment and failure of Israel's covenant with Yahweh, highlighting divine promise, cultural assimilation, and the cyclical nature of faith and apostasy.
  • The Book of Ruth, highlights divine providence, social justice, and personal righteousness while exploring the role of Boaz as a pivotal figure in maintaining the lineage of King David.
  • Samuel had a significant yet complex role in Israel's history; judge, priest, prophet, and crucial figure in establishing monarchy.
  • Learn of David's central role in the Bible, understanding his unique portrayal and the extensive attention he receives compared to other figures.
  • Learn about the Davidic covenant's role in shaping biblical history and theology, emphasizing its eternal impact on Israel and beyond.
  • The books of Kings and Chronicles use historical events to underline theological themes, highlighting the role of scribes in documenting Israel’s history.
  • In this lesson on 1 and 2 Kings, review the downfall of Israel through kings' forgetfulness of God's covenants.
  • Learn about Solomon's temple's historical and theological significance, its divine design and purpose, and its role in Israelite worship and communal life.
  • Gain insights into the transformation and resilience of the Judean people during their exile in Babylon from 586-539 BC, exploring their struggles and adaptations in a new socio-political and religious context.
  • Learn about Daniel's exemplary life in Babylon, his integrity, and his prophetic visions, which highlight divine sovereignty and the vindication of the faithful amidst calamities.
  • Review the Persian period's impact on the Jewish diaspora, analyze the Book of Esther's literary and theological significance, and reflect on divine providence and cultural identity.
  • Explore the crucial roles of Ezra and Nehemiah in reconstructing the Jewish community and faith post-exile, understanding their historical significance, source materials, and theological insights.
  • Gain insight into the roles and significance of prophets in ancient Israel, learning about their historical context, and their critical function in guiding and correcting the nation through direct communication from Yahweh.
  • Learn about the lives and ministries of prophets Amos and Hosea, their calls for justice and return to divine covenant amidst Israel's political and spiritual turmoil, through prophetic books that blend personal biography with national prophecy.
  • This lesson reviews Jonah's struggle with divine grace and Micah's advocacy for justice and the messianic hope.
  • In this lesson, you learn how Isaiah's vision portrays the Messiah as king, servant, and conqueror, emphasizing his divine roles and global mission.
  • Learn of the political and social contexts of Jeremiah and Ezekiel's exile, including Babylon's rise, Jerusalem's fall, and the crisis of faith portrayed in Lamentations, emphasizing hope amid despair through God's faithfulness.
  • Learn about Jeremiah's life and prophetic ministry, navigating challenges with kings, themes in the Book of Jeremiah, and profound passages on true religion and a future covenant, offering lessons on prophetic burdens, God's faithfulness, and spiritual transformation.
  • Explore Ezekiel's life as a priest in exile, his bizarre actions, and profound messages revealing Yahweh's passion and eternal promises of judgment and restoration.
  • Learn about Nahum and Joel's prophecies on judgment, hope, and Yahweh's character. Explore the day of the Lord and the expansion of the covenant community.
  • Explore Obadiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah's prophecies. Discover themes of judgment, faith, and restoration in God's plan.
  • Gain insight into Haggai's role in motivating temple rebuilding during the Persian rule. His brief yet impactful ministry fosters hope and action amid community disillusionment, recoginizing God's presence and reign.
  • Gain deep insight into Hebrew poetry: its forms, parallelism, acrostics, and emotional depth. Explore its celebration and lamentation of Yahweh's glory.
  • Gain insight into Psalms which reflect diverse emotions and experiences. Structured into five divisions, attributed to various authors, their interpretation involves understanding Torah context, literary devices, and applying timeless principles to life.
  • Explore biblical wisdom's depth: from practical skill to moral insight, rooted in the fear of Yahweh. It contrasts with secular knowledge, emphasizing God's order and universal application.
  • Engage with Proverbs to unravel its diverse wisdom, from aphorisms to discourses. Understand its practical guidance for righteous living and leadership.
  • Discover the Song of Songs, a rich exploration of love's nature. From its allegorical interpretations to its celebration of covenantal love, it examines human relationships with wisdom and depth.
  • The book of Job offers insights into faith and suffering, exploring theological themes and character dynamics. It emphasizes trust in God amid life's most difficult trials.
  • Uncover Ecclesiastes' profound journey from despair to hope. Koheleth's existential ponderings contrast with the narrator's faith, urging a shift from worldly pursuits to finding fulfillment in God's sovereignty.

This Old Testament Survey course offers a deep exploration of the Old Testament's literary structure, divine covenants, and historical context. Lessons cover the Pentateuch, emphasizing its narrative over legalistic interpretations, and extend through key biblical figures like Abraham and Moses. Topics such as the covenant at Sinai, the concept of imago Dei, and the tabernacle rituals highlight the continuity of God's grace and the ethical implications of divine laws. The course critically addresses common misconceptions, the role of the Torah as instruction, and the portrayal of God’s plan, underscoring the relevance and complexity of these ancient texts.

Dr. Daniel Block 
Old Testament Survey
Human Response to Divine Creation
Lesson Transcript


In Genesis 1, 1 to 2, 4a, we saw the divine creation of the universe laying the cosmic foundations for the message of grace and glory. Now we need to continue the discussion of this first section of Genesis by talking about the human response to those foundations that the Lord had laid as described in Genesis 1, 1 to 2, 4a. In chapter 2 verses 4b to 1126, this whole section represents the human response, highlights the human response to the foundations that God had laid.

We can look at this material in sections. The first section is 2, 4b to 426. This is Adam's immediate response to the blessings and the responsibilities that attend image status.

The structure of this account is easy to identify. Literally, we have three parts, 2, 4b to the end of chapter 2. This is the context of Adam's demise that is the result of his response. In 3, 1 to 7, you have the nature of Adam's demise, how it happened, and then in 3, 8 to 426, you have the tragedy of Adam's demise and fall.

First of all, on Adam and Eve verses 8 to 24, and then on their descendants chapter 4 verses 1 to 26. That's based on the text itself. Now, based on the content, we can also divide the passage into its constituent parts based on the characters and the scenes.

So, it begins with the garden of Eden, 2, 4b to the end of chapter 3, that is verse 24. Then you have the crime of Cain, 4, 1 to 16, the destiny of Cain, 4, 17 to 24, and then the emergence of Seth at the end. I want to simply summarize the implications of Genesis 2 to 3 for a Christian anthropology.

We don't have time to work our way through all this in exegetical detail, but here are some principal lessons. We talked about the anthropology arising out of chapter 1. Now, let's look at the lessons on anthropology arising out of chapter 2 and 3. First, in Genesis 2 to 3, Ha-Adam, the Adam, functions as the title for the male, the man in chapters 2 to 3, as opposed to the female who will surface, emerge at the end of chapter 2, the female, the woman. Second, fundamentally, according to the Hebrew perspective, a human being doesn't have a soul.

He or she is one and becomes soul by the infusion of divine breath into matter. You know the story. God takes a piece of dirt, of soil, and he forms it into a particular form, and then he breathes into it his breath, and it becomes a living being, living soul.

It's the same expression that is used of animals, all the living creatures in chapter 1, nefesh chaya, a living being. Third, human dignity is innate, the consequence of the divine authorization and gifting to function as the image of God. In chapter 2, at the end of chapter 1, he says to the man, be fruitful and multiply, subdue and govern the earth.

In chapter 2, it is God put the man in the garden and told him to serve and guard the garden. He is there by divine commission and authorization. Four, human dignity is expressed in work.

Ha'adam, the man, was put there to tend the world for God as he would were he personally present and to bring it under human government. Not to work is dehumanizing. To be human is to work on God's behalf.

Five, originally, Ha'adam, the man, was placed in an idyllic context in which all human needs were met, physical, aesthetic, social, personal, spiritual, all symbolized by the tree of life. This is God's dream for the world and humanity. Six, from the beginning, Ha'adam was faced with a choice, the freedom to accept or reject divine image status as symbolized by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

God put one tree in the garden, and he said, of that tree you shall not eat. Those were limits. He was not God.

He was the image of God. Seven, the female was created to be the helper and complement and counterpart for Ha'adam. That must have been a frustrating day for Adam, depending on how you interpret this text, but God presents all of the animals before Adam and asks him to identify which one of these creatures could serve as a counterpart, because he had said, it is not good for the man to be alone.

So, that's the problem we're dealing with, and so all the creatures walk by, and Adam has to cross every one of them out that there is none that is his counterpart, and that leads then to the creation of the woman who is the perfect counterpart and complement for him, because together they will function as the image of God, filling the world and governing the world for him. Eight, if Ha'adam, who is called Ish-man, is commissioned by God to be the king of the garden, then as his ontological equal, Ish-sha, woman, was queen, not doormat, not slave, not servant, but they are equal in status before God and in their dignity and royalty of their commission, equal. Nine, sin by definition is a repudiation of one's status as image of God and usurping divine prerogatives for oneself.

God had said, there's one tree in this garden you are not to eat. The man said, I would like to eat of it, and he decides to do it, which means he has put himself above God and usurped divine prerogatives on himself. He's to be a servant, an agent of God, not in place of God, and that's what's tipped over upside down here.

Ten, with the entrance of sin, the harmony, super goodness, tovmold 130, inherent in the universe was ruined. All relationships were destroyed. The relationship between God and Adam, he was hiding.

Adam, where are you? I was hiding because I was afraid. B, between the man and the woman, what happened, Adam? And he said, the woman you gave me, and of course, the tension begins. And between Adam and the universe, because of this, I mean, the serpent, for one thing, was out of line here, and Adam didn't assert himself the way he should have, apparently.

But after this, the whole universe is off kilter because the world, the universe will no longer spontaneously render food for its inhabitants. Now Adam has to work for it. So between Adam and the universe, and finally between God and the universe, this sets the stage then for the great flood that we will hear about in chapters 6 to 9. With the entrance of sin, everything is tipped over.

It's all off track. Eleven, the dysfunction created by sin of our first parents resulted in the fundamental depravity of all humankind. We are all sons and daughters of Adam, and we have inherited the genes of that dysfunction and that sin.

But as we look at this section, that is chapter 2, 4b to 426, even as we witness the punishment that we got for our sin, by being expelled from the garden, we need to see the grace of God at work. And this is worth celebrating. First, by the grace of God in a world governed by the rule of sin and death, life goes on.

The man was able to wrest the livelihood from a hostile environment. The woman renamed Eve, Chava, living, retains the privilege and power of childbearing. That's grace too.

By the of God, the answer to the sin introduced by our first parents will be found in the descendants of the woman. By her seed, the head of the serpent will be crushed. Three, by the grace of God, though the sin of our first parents was intensified in succeeding generations, human culture advances.

In chapter 4, we read of them domesticating animals and learning to make bricks and metallurgy, developing the skills in creating iron and other metals and instruments of joy and blessing in music. This is all evidence of God's grace. Four, by the grace of God, human beings may still call upon the name of Yahweh and find acceptance with him.

The last verses of this chapter. Seth, Adam and Eve's third son. Seth, in his day, people began to call upon the name of Yahweh.

Obviously, God has revealed himself in some way, and he is accepting the praise and the pleas of his people. So, these are all evidences of grace. There are others we should also have mentioned.

By the grace of God, Cain and Abel know to bring offerings, and if you do it right, God accepts the offering. That is grace. Apparently, as God was expelling Adam and Eve from the garden, he informed them.

He must have informed them. I'm not through with you yet. I want to continue to relate to you.

So, here's a way that'll work. And so, without explanation, in chapter four, we discover that Cain and Abel are bringing their offerings to God. How in the world did they figure that one out? The only answer I can have is that God told them graciously as they were leaving, hey, we're not done.

I'm not done with you, and I don't want you to be done with me. So, those are evidences of grace in these chapters. When we come to chapter five, we come to the genealogy of Adam.

These are the generations of the sons of Adam and his sons. This is actually an exciting text, if genealogies can be exciting. But this is a linear genealogy tracing descent from Adam to Noah.

It starts with Adam at the end, and it ends with Noah, and we have 10 generations, Genesis 11, 10 to 26, 10 generations, which interestingly is also true of the genealogy we have at the end of the book of Ruth, from Perez to David, 10 generations. But something happens in both these genealogies in the seventh generation. In the seventh generation from Adam, you get Enoch.

Enoch walked with God. He was a righteous man, and God took him home, and God told Enoch, you belong with me, not with them, and he rescued him. There is a glimmer, and the course of human history takes a different change after Enoch.

It's interesting that in the genealogy of Perez that leads to David and Ruth 4, 18 to 22, we discover that Boaz is number seven. He is to this line what Enoch was to the other line. Of course, the whole story of the book of Ruth takes place in the dark days of the judges when everything is spiritually upside down.

The canonization of Israel, it is parallel to what you have in Adam's generation in Genesis 5, but Boaz is a bright light. Only in that case, instead of taking Boaz home, the Lord says to Boaz, in effect, I'm going to make you the key to the solution to the problem that all of this sin represents, and three generations later, you get David, the great king of Israel, and of course, you read the beginning of Matthew, and you discover it's not only David, but there's a greater David who is to come, and that is Jesus the Messiah. Boaz is a turning point in God's program of redemption.

When we look at this boring text of Genesis 5, we need to reflect on its significance. What does it teach us? It teaches us that by the grace of God, people are being fruitful and multiplying. I thought that in Genesis 2, the Lord had said, in the day you eat of that tree, you die.

Yes, death sets in for human beings because of their sin, but God overcomes that trajectory, shedding his grace upon the people, and they can in fact have children. They're multiplying. Two, by the grace of God in each generation, there are both daughters and sons guaranteeing that life may go on in spite of the curse.

If Adam and Eve had had only sons, or if in any period in this history, a generation had had only daughters or only sons, the human race would have died out. The survival of the species depends upon both, and God in his mercy gives both daughters and sons as gifts, images of himself to secure the future of the race. Three, a faithful remnant is still present, though evidently Enoch was more at home in the presence of God than among his fellow beings, so the Lord took him.

We come then to the perversion of the Adamic commission and blessing in chapter 6, 1 to 8. Chapter 5, through that genealogy, we notice that people are living a long time, and the effects of sin are really piling up, but when we come to chapter 6, verses 1 to 8, we see the total perversion of the Adamic commission, and the blessing, and the perversion of the world. Chapter 6, verses 1 to 8. This is an interesting text. Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them.

The sons of God saw the beautiful women, and took any they wanted as their wives. Then the Lord said, My spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh in the future. Their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.

It used to be 969. That's Methuselah. By the way, in those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.

The Lord, Yahweh, observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry that he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart, and the Lord said, I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth, yes, and I will destroy every living thing, all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky.

I am sorry I ever made them. But Noah found favor with the Lord. Traditionally translated, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

This is Genesis 6, 1 to 8. Well, this is an interesting text for many reasons. You have the contrasting dimensions here of a world that's completely off course, and Noah finding grace. Let's ask the question, what is the anthropological significance of 6, 1 to 8? What does this text tell us about the state of humanity and the world in which human beings are living and that they are to govern? First, corruption has become universal and intolerable to God.

He says, I'm done. I'm not putting up with this. Two, but by the grace of God, one member of the fallen race, like Enoch earlier, experienced God's favor.

Now, we have to read these verses in order. This is chapter 6, verse 8, and it's at the end of a section, a document, a sefer. These are the generations of.

The next time you hear that is in verse 9 of chapter 6. These are the generations of, oh, Noah was a righteous man. Noah walked with God, but that's in the next chapter. It has, at the moment, nothing to do with chapter 6, verse 8. This is the end of that chapter.

The end of the Adamic chapter is, but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. It's not merited favor. It is not merited goodwill on God's part.

Grace by definition means we don't deserve it, and Noah, for some reason, found it. By the grace of God, one member of the fallen race experienced God's favor. But the question for us is, who are the sons of God? This is hotly debated, and there are three or four possibilities.

Every one of them has problems, so whenever we land in one place or another, we have to admit it's in soft lead pencil. I can change my mind on it because every one has problems. The first view is traditional in a lot of circles that the sons of God represent the godly line of Seth who are marrying the ungodly line of Canaan.

That's one interpretation. The second, they are nobility. Sons of God in Canaanite texts, you have the expression sons of God using of rulers.

Well, here it could be nobility who are in contrast to who are marrying female commoners. But you have to ask yourself, what's so upsetting about that one? Third, these are supernatural beings in contrast to human earthlings. In the book of Job, sons of God, that expression is used of the angelic attendants to the Lord's court who appear before the Lord, sons of God, and so some people interpret these as supernatural beings, and I did until a short while ago, and I discovered there is an alternative interpretation, and that is that these are actually a non-human race of super hominids.

I learned this from Jonathan of this possibility. I can't say I learned it. I'm not fixed on any one of these.

It's all in pencil, but at the moment, Jonathan Grossman, an Orthodox Jewish scholar at Bar-Ilan University has written about this. It's a non-human race of super hominids. As I understand it, hominids are creatures that walk on two feet and use their other two limbs to manipulate the environment.

Their hands, they have opposable thumbs, and they can do stuff with their hands that other creatures can't do. Among the classes of hominids in our day, by my understanding, my definitions here, we have apes and chimpanzees and other sorts of creatures like that. These may have been human-like creatures, but they're not humans.

They are, in terms of species, they are distinct, but in this upside-down world, they are copulating and producing a race of gigantic offspring. Now, of course, this is a position that is in soft-lead pencil. I said at the beginning of this short conversation, any view on the explanation of the sons of God marrying daughters of men has problems, and it looks like, though, this one deserves more study and consideration as we move forward.

Well, there are three or four arguments in favor of this view. One, verse four is a circumstantial clause explaining what the B'nai Elohim are. I read this earlier, and it was translated simply as, by the way, in those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.

Who are the sons of God, and what are these Nephilites doing here? It looks like this is an explanation of what the author meant by sons of God. These are extraordinary people who are equated with the Nephilites. This is a possibility here, and so that's one argument.

This is a circumstantial clause. Nephilim clarifies B'nai Elohim, the sons of God. Second, they have extraordinary offspring.

Third, humans were complicit. Verse five, the daughters of Adam, men, they are humans. And fourth, it looks like this was a symptom of cosmic corruption.

Animal species are being implicated in the corruption. The boundaries are being blurred here. So, these may well be gigantic hominids of some sort, but not humans.

Humans were specially created, but in this upside-down world, you begin to have the blurring of the distinctions among the species. I don't know. It's a possibility.

So, we got four possible theories. When we were reading the scripture, remember our opening lecture, I said we need to let the text say whatever it wants to say and never make it say more than it wants to say. So, any answer we give to this question will have its problems, and we'll need to deal with that.

Genesis 6, 1 to 8, describes the depravity of the world God had created. Everything is upside down except Noah, who finds grace in the eyes of the Lord. In 6, 9 to 9, 29, we have the divine response of judgment to a world that has gone completely off course.

This text divides into several parts. First, it begins with Noah's response to the blessings and responsibilities that attend image status. We already read Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, but what kind of man is this man? Well, it opens up with an account of the great flood, the destruction of the old world, and the emergence of a second Adam in 6, 9 to 8, 19.

This great flood divides into several parts. The background to the flood, verses 9 to 12, chapter 6. The preparation for the flood and the promise of a covenant, 6, 13 to 7, 5. That's the first occurrence of the word covenant in the Bible. So, you have the preparation for flood and promise of covenant, then the description of the flood, 7, 6 to 24, and then the rescue of Noah and his family from the flood, 8, 1 to 19.

I'm very impressed with chapter 8, verse 1, because in that one, we read, the narrator says, then God remembered Noah and all the creatures on the ark. That's the turning point in the story, and it reminds us that the word remember doesn't mean the opposite of forget. It means God took into account his people and his creatures on the ark, and he turned off the taps, and the floods stopped.

Well, what happens then after the flood is you have God's blessing and covenant for Noah and the cosmos, chapter 8, verse 20 to 9, 19. Again, 20 to 22, the background to the blessing of Adam, the Adamic covenant, 2, the nature of the Adamic covenant, 9, 1 to 7, 3, the nature of the cosmic covenant, 9, 18 to 17, and then finally, the evidence of blessing, and this whole passage concludes with the response of Noah and his family to the blessing with the vineyard and the rest of that. But we need to go back to the covenant that God makes with Noah and with the cosmos at this point.

Here is Genesis 9, 1 to 7, Then God blessed Noah and his sons, and he said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear and terror of you will be on every land creature and every bird of the sky, with every creature that moves on the ground, and with all the fish of the sea into your hand they are given. Every moving creature that is alive may be food for you, like green plants I have given them to you.

Surely the flesh with its life, its blood you may not eat, and surely your life for your blood I will require. From every animal I will require, and from humans, from every man's brother I will require the life of the man. Whoever sheds human's blood, by a human shall his blood be shed, because as the image of God he made him.

But you, be fruitful and multiply, swarm over the earth, and multiply on it. Of course we've heard some of this before. This echoes Genesis 1, 29 to 30.

God blessed them and said, Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue, and have dominion over the birds, the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing. And God said, Look, I've given you every plant-yielding seed that's on the face of the earth, and you, every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens, you have dominion over it, and plants are given to it all. You hear the echoes, but you also hear some new things.

What's old in the new word to Noah? The Adamic covenant. Both accounts begin with one original family living in harmony with God and the animals. Noah is in the ark with the animals taking care of them.

Adam was in the garden. The blessing of Noah deliberately echoes the Adamic blessing, and this is why I call it the Adamic covenant. I don't think there's a covenant in Genesis 1 or 2. There's no reference to it.

Remember our definition. A covenant is a formal means of creating a relationship that is not natural or fixing a relationship that is disintegrated. That's a covenant.

You don't need a covenant in Genesis 1 because everything is working as it's supposed to in Genesis 1 and chapter 2. It's all operating. Everybody's behaving as they should, but you need a covenant to fix it, and this one, the blessing to Noah deliberately echoes the Adamic blessing. Both trace the progress of humankind by means of a genealogy.

Then chapter 5 compares then with Genesis chapter 10 where you've got a genealogy. There are other echoes of the Adamic blessing. It's called the same word.

The word blessing is in both. The charge to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth is the same. Humankind's status as the deputy and representative of God is affirmed.

The sanctity of life is affirmed. In fact, it is strengthened, and the human disposition remains the same. You don't actually solve the problem, and so God says, but I'm never going to destroy the world again like this as I did this time.

What's new? Fear. The fear of you shall be in all the creatures. Now what does that mean? You will be afraid of them, or they will be afraid of you.

I think actually it's both. God puts into us an essential fear of certain creatures, but at the same time, creatures fear us in their interest. Animal life is sanctioned as food.

This is new. Ah, but they were eating animal life before. Remember? Cain and Abel brought their offerings, and normally in the ancient world, offerings were eaten in the presence of God.

Most offerings were. Sin offering wasn't, and whole burnt offerings weren't, but most offerings are fellowship. Also remember with respect to the animals brought into the ark, God said to Noah, two of every kind are going to come into the ark, but then also take seven of every clean animal, and Noah says, clean? What do you mean by that? What is clean? Well, clean by definition in biblical terms is that which God accepts as offerings to him, and which humans are authorized to eat.

Clean. The text takes for granted Noah knew the categories, so I think they've actually been, but now for the first time, it is sanctioned officially. Third, humankind is mandated to defend the sanctity of life.

Whoever kills, sheds human blood by a human, his blood shall be shed, so God authorizes that. The permanence of the new order is guaranteed by a divine covenant and a visible sign of the covenant. God puts a rainbow in the cloud and says, I'm putting that rainbow up there so that when I see it, I will remember my covenant.

I'll never do this again. We need to be aware that that rainbow is not put there primarily for us. It is God's reminding himself not to go back on his word.

This is an immutable, irrevocable covenant, and so the universe still stands. Five, while life will go on, the decreasing longevity of the members of the species is reflected in a genealogy in chapter 11, but there it indicates that something fundamental has happened. People are not living 800, 900 years anymore.

Their lives have been shortened, and this is a new feature of this world. I think it's an act of grace, actually, because if people would continue to live 800, 900 years, the intensity of evil would just build up more and more and become intolerable. The fulfillment of the blessing and the covenant is described for us then in the table of nations, Genesis chapter 10.

Although some form of the table probably existed prior to this incorporation into the narratives of Genesis, in this context, this table is very important. It reminds us of the human perversion of covenant and the blessing, it's followed immediately by the building of the Tower of Babel, and that is perversion, even after their blessing. But if you want a schematic of the genealogies of Noah's son, it's a very interesting, I put a chart up here which reflects the descendants of Noah via his three sons, and you can see immediately that this is a very selective genealogy.

It's not linear. The point is not the tracing Noah to Abraham or Adam to Noah. The point is the spreading of the branches, but there are two things to notice here.

First, in that Shem branch, you've got a long branch extended for four or five, six generations, but in the rest, they're done after two or three, so that's a difference. But the other thing is when the author has put down 70 names, he stops as if that's the quota. All we need is 70 names, and that represents the whole population of the world.

This is the result of God's, shall we say, blessing and promise. They are scattering, they're moving all over the world, and they are occupying it. If only they would occupy it well.

It doesn't happen, sadly. Let's stand back and look at the table of nations and ask ourselves the question, what are the themes that are being represented by this interesting text? There's nothing like it in the ancient world. What lessons do we learn? One, the providential fulfillment of the Noachian blessing and the population of the earth after the flood proceeded in the main along ordered lines.

You can trace the genealogies. God is at work, and something about the blessing is happening in the process. Second, the world is one united family, all of whose members trace their origin back to a common ancestor, Noah, who in turn owed his existence to the saving act of God.

That document is revolutionary in the ancient world and in the modern, and in our world of racial divisions and whatever else. We need to keep coming back to this, because it reminds us that we are all, all human beings are cousins of all other human beings. We are all members of one race with a common ancestor, theologically so significant.

Third, the segmentation of Noah's family is reflected in the historical existence of separate nationality groups recognizable by distinctive locations, ethnic self-consciousness, languages, and political structures. Three times in this text, chapter 10, you have, and these are their names according to their lands, their genealogies, their languages, and their political structures. They are called goyim, which is by definition a certain kind of political structure.

Four, the call of Abraham and Israelite history in general take place within the context of universal history. Thus, the effects of the patriarchal revelation are felt throughout the earth, and I think this is why in that Noah line, the diagram we had, that Shem branch goes way longer than the others, because this is the branch out of which Abraham comes, and he doesn't come just for Shem. He comes as a representative, Abraham, as a representative for all humanity.

As a literary and historiographic document, the table of nations, I've said before, is without parallel in the ancient world. What makes it even more remarkable is its contrast to the parochialism that tended to plague the Israelites throughout their history. In one quick stroke before the author gets to the story of Abraham, he puts that nation's history into its proper perspective.

This is missional. Although the Hebrews were specially chosen agents of divine revelation, Deuteronomy 7, 6 to 8, they were but one member of the universal family of nations, all of whom have a common origin. So, when you talk about the four stages of the Israelite covenant, stage three is the renewal in Deuteronomy, and then stage four is the distant future described in Jeremiah and other places.

Would you say the first coming of Christ fits in there by initiating the fourth stage, the distant future? I would say it signifies far more than that. The coming of Christ, we will talk about this when we get to Jeremiah, the coming of Christ represents the basis on which God will respond graciously to anybody in any time, so that if God accepts Abel's offering, it's based on the work of Christ. Every movement of grace is rooted in Christ.

Now, the author of Hebrews has the longest quotation of any Old Testament text, First Testament text in the New Testament, and he quotes that Jeremiah text, and in that he is highlighting the place of Jesus in this grand plan. It is through the work of Christ that people know God, through the work of Christ that our sins are forgiven, through the work of Christ we are called to covenant community, and there is a fourth. The Torah is written on our hearts.

Yeah, all of that is made possible through the work of Christ, and that's why the New Testament is full of Jesus, because in Him it all happens.