Dr. Ted Hildebrandt, OT History, Lit. and Theology, Lecture 7
© 2012, Dr. Ted Hildebrandt
This is Dr. Ted Hildebrand in Old Testament History, Literature and Theology on Genesis 3, the Fall and Genesis chapter 4 on Cain and Abel narrative.
A. Review and Preview [0:00-1:46]
For next week you guys are looking at the book of Leviticus which will be some work for you. There are two articles now. All this material is on the web as usual, just go to the web and the two articles are there. There is some reading in Dr. Wilson’s book Our Father Abraham with the two articles and then select chapters in Leviticus. I selected out ones that I think will be the most meaningful for you from the book of Leviticus. Next week we’ll be finishing up memorizing Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd.” So that’s coming.
We want to jump back in, and I want to get out of the Garden of Eden. A guest comes here and I thought it would have been so nice if we could have been with Abraham walking in the land of Palestine. He asks where are you in the course, and you say, “Well were still in the Garden of Eden,” and so we’ll try to work at that. Last time we talked about the serpent and the serpent speaking the truth to the woman but yet lying at the same time. Also, we talked about the deceptiveness and subtleness of the serpent. We noted basically that the serpent said that they would become more like God. God himself in chapter 3:22 says that, “Now the man [humans], have become like us knowing good and evil.” So apparently Satan was correct in that analysis.
of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: God, us and evil [1:47-5:25]
What I want to do today is to ask: How did Adam and Eve become more like God by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? I want to work first of all with this: do you know the difference between objective knowledge and subjective knowledge? Objective knowledge is knowledge of good outside of you. Subjective knowledge is knowledge of good inside yourself (subjective meaning inside yourself). There’s objective – outside, and subjective – inside. Did God have knowledge of good outside of himself? He looked at all of creation and he proclaimed it was good (tov) and after its completion tov me’od, very good. So there was good, outside of himself. I want to acknowledge that God has knowledge of good outside of himself. Does God have subjective knowledge inside himself? Yes. Does God know evil? If God doesn’t know any evil, then he is naïve. God is not naïve. God knows evil, but is it inside God or outside of himself? Now, does he experience evil inside of himself? No, we say God is perfect, good, righteous, and holy--so, no. So that’s the knowledge structure I wanted to look at with God.
Now let’s look at Adam and Eve before they’re tempted. Did Adam and Eve have knowledge of good outside of themselves before the fall? Adam and Eve had objective knowledge of good outside of themselves. Did Adam and Eve know goodness inside of themselves prior to the fall? Yes, they knew God had made them good, and so they had subjective knowledge of good. Before the temptation, did they know evil in any way? No. So are they like God or unlike God at this point? They are unlike God because they have no external objective experience of evil.
At the point of temptation, this is before they actually participated, at the point that Satan says “Hey, eat the fruit.” They gain objective knowledge of evil outside of themselves. They experience it in the serpent. At this point, did they become more like God? Here is the lie, because not only did they gain this objective knowledge, but also when they ate of the fruit, what did they gain? Subjective knowledge of evil. Is this the lie? Yes. The serpent/Satan gets them to participate in the evil. So, in one sense, did they go beyond where God was in terms of their participation and evil? Yes. They do become more like God knowing good and evil at this point, but the problem is they go beyond God and participate in the evil. So, that is one way to look at this.
C. Process of Temptation [5:26-8:19]
I want to walk through the process of the temptation and do this rather quickly. In Genesis 3:6 it says this, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of any fruit of the tree in the garden, but God did say that we must not eat from the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden.’” Going down to verse 5 the Serpent says, “But God knows that when you eat of it, that your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good from evil.” This is the temptation process. Let’s break it down. “When the woman saw the fruit of the tree was good for food.” I want to call that was “the lust of the flesh.” What I want to do is compare these two verses. 1 John 2:16, “All that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” lists those three things. It lists three things and the same three things that are in 1 John 2:16 exactly fits here in Genesis 3. First, there is the lust of the flesh: it's good for food. The “lust of the eyes” the Bible says “it was pleasing to the eye.” The fruit looked really good. Then the pride of life comes in and, check this out, it is used “for gaining wisdom.” It was fruit for gaining wisdom. How many of you would pay for that? You eat the fruit and you get wise. It would save you from going to college. You could go to the dining hall and eat the fruit and you would become wise. There’s a connection of wisdom with this fruit. There are a lot of wisdom motifs in Genesis 3. So the same pattern then is found in the 1 John 2 process of temptation: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life as in the temptation with the serpent in Gen 3.
Now what happens? Man’s dilemma, is it different than the woman’s? Satan speaks directly to her; she dialogues with the serpent. Adam’s dilemma, I want to suggest, is different. What is the only thing that Adam has ever experienced that he knows is not good? Adam has experienced “not good.” “It’s not good for man to be alone.” Did he know that? Yes. He had that experience and that was why Eve was made. Now what’s he facing? Adam’s temptation is different because Adam is now facing the fact that Eve has eaten the fruit. If Adam says, “No, I don’t want the fruit,” what is he again? He is now by himself again, alone. She had eaten the fruit and has participated in evil, so Adam’s temptation is different. However, she gives him the fruit and Adam eats. So now they’re the same, but they’re still tempted differently.
D. Results of the Fall [8:20-18:10]
Now here are the results of the fall. Are there consequences to human actions and choices? What makes a difference between a sixteen-year-old kid and a twenty-two year old? Let me use my son. What’s the difference between my son when he was sixteen year old and at age twenty-two? As a 16 year old did he think that he could do things in life and that there would be no consequences? A young person does things and thinks, “I can do it and can get away with it” or “there will be no consequences” or “I can overcome the consequences.” So, at sixteen, he thought there were no consequences. In his case, he joined the Marines, much to his mother’s chagrin and mine, and went off to Afghanistan and he’s been to Iraq. One of his friends was shot dead; another was shot through the neck. They were good friends. His friend is on YouTube actually. He survived the shot through the neck and he’s got a patch and we saw him running to the Medivac helicopter. He survived a shot through the neck. It missed the artery by about a millimeter. My son when he was sixteen was immortal, he could do anything without consequences. At twenty-two, does he now know what mortality is and that he could die? Yes, he does. Does that change the way that he looks at life? Yes, because now he understands this: act and consequence. Are actions connected to consequences? Is that the difference between someone who’s sixteen and now, in his case, twenty-two? Although when I talk to him it feels like I’m talking to an old man at twenty-two, it’s pretty pathetic, because he has seen so much of life, too much.
So what I’m
suggesting here is that this connection between act and consequence is really big
in Scripture. By the way, we won’t be doing much with the book of Proverbs but
if I were to summarize the whole book of Proverbs, Proverbs is largely telling
the young person that actions and character are connected with consequences. Actions
and character lead to consequences. So we see this concept now. There are consequences.
Adam and Eve sin, they are adults, and there are consequences. What happens here is that there are consequences between God and man. Man goes into hiding. Where does he hide? He hides in the bushes. So God comes walking, and asks, “Where are you?” They answered, “I heard you walking in the garden and I was afraid.” Notice man’s response to God now is one of fear. But remember the fear of God is what? Now you say, “But fear does not really mean fear.” Oh, really? Is that true? So we have to have a big discussion about what it means to fear God. That’s coming. But here man is hiding in fear and shame. So what happens is he says, “I hid because I was naked.”
God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man courageously says, “I did it. It was I. Don’t blame her. It was wrong. I deserve to die, don’t blame her.” No, okay, this is the first man, he goes, check this out it is pretty pathetic, the man said to God – “the woman that you put here with me she gave the fruit to me and I ate of the tree.” So what does God do? “The Lord says to the woman ‘What is this you have done?’” And the woman says, “Not me, not me, it was the serpent!” So then God goes, “Serpent, let’s start with you.” So God moves from the man to the woman and finally to the serpent. The serpent then gets the first curse.
Let me go back to finish this out now. What you have now is the separation between God and his people. God with his people is this concept here. Do you know what this word means? “Immanuel.” You see the word “El” on the end, it means “God” in Hebrew. Immanuel means “God with us.” What happens is God is with them in the garden walking with them and talking with them. God is with his people, but now that they have sinned there is a separation with human beings go into hiding. So what happens? What you’re going to find in Scripture is, God now goes to absconditus. In other words, there is the hidden God now rather than the God that is with you in the garden. Now, God is hidden. Man hid from him. Does anybody remember, when you guys read Exodus, do the people see God on the mountain and the mountain is shaking at Mount Sinai, the people are what? Do they say, “God show yourself,” or do they say, “That’s enough, back off.” So God basically has gone into this absconditus or hidden state around humankind. By the way, what does the rest of Scripture do? Does the rest of the Bible from Genesis 1-3 tell us how God comes back to be with his people? Jesus then, “He shall be called Jesus because he shall save his people form his sins.” And he is called what? “Immanuel” – God with us. Then Jesus goes back, now the Spirit dwells in us. Ultimately, Christ comes back and gathers us to be with him: “and so we shall be with the Lord forever.”
ultimately all of Scripture, all of it is pointing forward to the time when
human beings will come back to be with God. God is redemptively working out
the details of what happened in Genesis 3. What happened in Genesis 3? The
rest of the Bible is this great redemptive work of God by which God redeems his
people. He comes in the Tabernacle. Where does he dwell? You say,
“Hildebrandt, you skipped those tabernacle chapters so we didn’t read it.” In
the tabernacle God is dwelling in the midst of his people. When Solomon
builds the temple, what happens? The shekinah glory, the “glory cloud,” comes
down and God dwells with his people. With Jesus we now have God in flesh with
his people. So the rest of Scripture is going to be this God absconditus, the
hidden, becoming Immanuel--God with his people again. This draws us ultimately
to be with God forever and ever. Does the Garden of Eden begin the Bible, but
does the garden of Eden also end the Bible where we are back again in God’s
presence in the end? Is that the great hope? Are Christians hopeful people? “Oh,
everything is going wrong in the world and this place is going to blow up.”
Question: are Christian people hopeful? Yes, because we look forward to a day
when we will live with God forever and the Garden of Eden is revisited.
What else happens here? Are human beings affected by the sin? We know that human beings die. What does the Bible say: “the wages of sin is death.” So coming out of the sins of the garden humankind dies. Is it only human kind that has been affected by the fall into sin? The Bible says, “No, all of nature, all of creation,” Romans 8:22, says “all of creation groans waiting for the coming day of redemption.” The creation itself groans waiting for this great redemptive act of God to happen. How does creation groan? You’ve got famines, tsunamis, earthquakes, plagues, disease, cancer and all these bad things happening. Nature itself is waiting for the coming day when things will be made right. Have some of you realized how messed up things are in the world and have you realized a longing for things to be made right? Someday this thing is going to be made right and it will make sense. All the things that are wrong are going to be made right and we long for that and we, along with creation, groan for that. That is what this verse is talking about in Romans “all of creation groans waiting for that coming day of redemption.”
happens to people as far as our bodies? They go from dust and then return to
death. “From dust you are to dust you shall return.” There is a toll paid in
the body. By the way, when Jesus rises from the dead, does only his spirit raise
from the dead? Or, does he rise body and all? He rises in the body as
evidenced by “put your finger in my side” and so on and so forth. Does our
body get raised? Yes. We are raised from the dead, including our body, all of
Man and woman have conflict and blame. Man starts blaming woman, woman blames man, but in this context the man blames the woman. Is Adam a stand up guy? No, the guy blames his wife. That’s a good move I’ve done it many times. I don’t fault the guy. So the movement is one of conflict and blaming. I want to develop this theme by coming in the back door.
E. Curses of Genesis 3: the curse of the Serpent [18:11-23:30]
So let’s go
through the curses. We’ll start with the serpent and work down from there to
the woman. What does God do? Adam blames the woman and the woman blames the
serpent. God starts with the serpent and then moves back to the woman and ultimately
moves back to the man.
The serpent comes and God says to him in chapter 3:14, “So God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you above you above all livestock and all the wild animals; you will crawl on your belly and eat dust.’” By the way, is there a play on this word “dust”? What’s Adam’s name? He’s called Adam because he’s taken from the adamah [dust]. So his name is “Dusty.” What does the serpent eat? Dust. Is there a play on this dust? Is Adam/Dusty going to go back to the dust? That’s his death. So there’s a cycle going on.
To be honest with you was Adam’s name really “Adam?” You realize Adam’s name was not Adam as sure as I’m standing here. Eve’s name was not Eve. The Hebrew language was not in existence before 2000 B.C. So Adam’s name would have been in some other language. But would his name still mean “Dusty.” The meaning of the name was probably still the same, but the Hebrew language did not exist back before 2000 B.C. So you have to be careful. Is the guy’s name really Peter or is it something else when you go between languages.
How was Jesus’s name pronounced? Jesus’s name is pronounced Yehsus in Greek. Now Jesus’ name in Hebrew would be, see if you recognize this name: “Joshua.” His name was Jehoshua, can you hear Joshua. It means “Jehovah saves.” He is named “Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” It takes the meaning of his name, even though it’s Joshua, and comes over in the Greek as “Yehsus.” So there are name changes between languages.
Let’s get back to the serpent. The serpent eats dust. Genesis 3:15 is one of the really significant verses in the Bible. This is a really important verse. Some of the controversy on the date and age of the earth, as you realize, these questions are not that important because the Bible does not really say. But Genesis 3:15 does say some very interesting things. God says, to the serpent “Ok, serpent you’re going to move on your belly and eat dust. It also says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers. He [who is this “he”?] will crush your head.” Who will crush the head of the serpent? Don’t go to Jesus quite yet. Who in the context here is this “he,” in this context? It’s the offspring of the woman. “I will put enmity between you and the woman between your offspring,” the sons of Satan, and the offspring of the woman. The offspring of the woman will crush your head, and the serpent will strike his heel. So, what you have in this passage in this “proto-evangelium.” Proto means “first.” So proto-evangelium means “the first gospel.” So what God says in this first curse on Satan and the serpent, he says it’s going to be through the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent that there will be enmity, there is going to be conflict there. The seed of the woman, one of the woman’s descendants will crush the head of the serpent. Who is the one who is coming to crush the serpent’s head. It will be Jesus who does this. Some people take this, as I do, as the first message of the gospel to say that through this woman, the hope is that the serpent will be defeated, that the descendants of Satan will be defeated. It would be through the woman’s seed that this is going to happen. This means then there is hope. Right from the first curse, there’s hope that Satan is not going to triumph, that death and the dust will not triumph, but that the woman’s seed will crush his head. So there is hope right here in this curse on the serpent and Satan.
F. Curse on the Woman [23:31-45:56]
to the woman. “He said to the woman, I will greatly increase your pains in
childbearing and with pain you will give birth to children.” I do not know
this by personal experience, but I have witnessed it. It was one of the most
neat things in my life. I have four children and a grandson and I’ve witnessed
the birth of all four of my children. Is there pain in childbearing? Yes.
On the last child, the one I’ve told you about, Elliott, who went in the Marines. When Elliott was born he didn’t come really on time. So we’re in there. I’m up at the head of my wife and you do this breathing. This is really old stuff now. So I start the breathing routine. The nurse is down there. I’m thinking, where is the doctor? The doctor is not here. The nurse looks at me and says “hey, you’re a doctor aren’t you? I need help down here.” I said “Lady, I’m a doctor but not that type of doctor. I do the breathing. I can do this really well.” I start making all these excuses, I’m really getting nervous. If she asks me to go down there I’m going to faint. I do this end here I don’t do that end there. She says, “get down here right now. The baby’s coming I need help right now.” There’s no doctor. Holy cow, I didn’t pass out. I helped deliver Elliott and maybe that’s what’s wrong with him. This is on tape too. Sorry Elliott. But actually I helped deliver Elliott our fourth child. He was fine. A half hour later the doctor comes strutting in there and it’s like, “where were you?” Do you know what was worse? The dude charged me 1200-1500 bucks and I’m saying wait a minute I delivered the baby I’m going to send you a bill buddy. Actually he is a personal friend and a good doctor but he showed up half-an-hour late was a problem. Where are you going with this? So my wife is there I’m a Christian and the Bible says “She shall have pain in childbearing.” So here’s my point. If I say, “my wife has to suffer pain in childbearing because she’s a Christian and the Bible says she shall have pain in childbearing,” is that okay? That’s ridiculous. Do we fight against the curse? Yes. We give her anesthesia to fight against the curse. Guys, we go to death, what do we say? “God cursed us to die, so we should just give up.” No, we fight against the curse. So, we fight against the curse. Woman shall have pain in childbearing, do you give her anesthesia, do you fight against the curse? Yes, you do. You fight against the curse. You fight against the curse that’s why God loves the Red Sox. Guys, if you get married make sure you’re at the birth of your children because it will be the most wonderful thing in your life. It’s really important to your wife too.
her pain and something else happens here and this is really tricky. We fight
against the curse, and listen to this. What does Genesis 3:16 mean? It says
this: “your desire will be for your husband, [this is part of the woman’s
curse] and he will rule over you.” This is part of the woman’s curse. What is
the “woman’s desire”? “The woman will desire her husband, but he will rule
over her.” So the big question in this very tricky verse, is what is the “woman’s
desire”? What does Genesis 3:16 mean?
Now first of all, she will desire her husband sexually and he will say “back, back” and put the brakes on. I just want to say that’s not realistic. That’s not what usually happens in marriage and I’ve got 36 years in marriage. Does it mean she will desire her husband sexually? This is not usually what happens in marriage, at least from my experience.
Other people suggest that her desire will be for her husband, that is, she will desire to be subservient to her husband and that he will rule over her. I’m married to one of the nicest women in the world. She’s wonderfully kind, caring and gentle person; is her desire to be subservient to her husband. Yeah, right. So I question the reality of that. In order to graduate from Gordon College you’ve got to see Fiddler on the Roof. If you don’t Dr. Wilson pops you with that air-gun on the way out. You’ve got to see Fiddler on the Roof. This is just a Hildebrandt thing and I don’t count for much here. There is movie that I think is really significant. I teach Greek on the side too. It is called “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” It is legitimate. I’ve got a friend who is totally Greek and he said that movie describes it to a “T.” The husband comes in, “The Husband is the head of the family.” And two women are over on the side. Unfortunately my wife and I were watching it together. The Husband comes in, “The husband is the head of the home.” The wife turns over and she’s got a younger woman that she is trying to mentor. And she says “Yes, dear, the husband is the head of the home.” Then she turns aside to the girl and says, “Yes, the husband is the head of the home but the wife is the neck and turns the head wherever she wants.” I look at my wife and it’s over what can I say. There’s truth to that. So this idea that it would be a curse that the woman would desire to be subservient doesn’t fit well either. So, this second option for the meaning of the woman desiring her husband also is probably not that likely.
There was a woman from Westminster Seminary who wrote an article concerning the meaning of the “desire of the woman,” and she brilliantly noticed that the exact same literary phrase was used in Genesis 4:7. Now what I want to do is comment on: how to interpret passages that are difficult? What is the woman’s desire? This is a difficult passage. Hermeneutics is how you interpret Scripture. If you have one passage that you know what it means, you should work from the known to the unknown. If you don’t know what something is, you should look at other places where it may be more clear, and you bring the clear to bear on the less clear. This is a methodology. So she looked over in chapter 4:7, that’s the Cain and Able story. It’s the same exact structure. God comes to Cain and says this, “and if you do what is right Cain, will you not be accepted? But, if you do not do what is right, [now this is it] sin is crouching at the door; it [sin] desires to have you [Cain], but you must rule over it.” Is that pretty clear? Sin is crouching at the door like a lion ready to devour Cain, but he must hold it in place? Does sin master Cain? Yes, he killed his brother.
What is this saying about the relationship between men and women? “Her desire will be for her husband,” as sin desires to overpower Cain, so the woman will desire to overpower her husband. The husband then must rule over her. So what you’ve got is there’s a power struggle and conflict in marriage and this is part of the curse. Do you fight against the curse or do you give in to it? Do you simply accept this or do you fight against the curse. I want to discuss how we fight against this.
Is there going to be a power struggle in marriage? I’ve been around for a while, and I’ve seen many other marriages. My daughter just got married Labor Day weekend I zipped over to Ohio and then drove back on Monday which is why I was so tired in class. My daughter married a guy who is a lawyer, a University of Chicago lawyer. Does he argue in his marriage with my daughter? Does he use logical arguments just like he would argue a case in front of a court? The problem is my daughter is very bright, brighter than her father. Does she argue back to him? They get in this escalating argument. He jacks it up because he doesn’t want to lose the case. If you’re a lawyer you’ve got to know when to chill out. So he applies these arguments. But what is the problem my daughter never loses. So she jacks up the argument. He jacks up the argument. Pretty soon I’m praying they won’t kill each other. She doesn’t know when to back off. So they would really go at it. It was murder. It wasn’t really murder. That’s what I was worried about. Honestly, I’ve preached many sermons and at my own daughter’s weddings. One of the most important things: you say “I just love him, I just adore him.” After about one week of marriage that is all gone. Is learning how to fight in a marriage one of the most important things you can do? There are certain things that are ugly and dirty that you shouldn’t do. So you need to learn how resolve conflict. You need to know when to back off and you need to know when to charge forward. In other words, there is this dance you do and you need to learn how to dance. A lot of that is dealing with conflict. You say, “No, no, we won’t have conflict I love him so.” I’ll tell you right now. Actually this is terrible, but I told my kids. Have a fight with him. Find out how he fights. You say that is really terrible it is probably bad advice but… So what I’m saying is there will be conflict in marriage.
at male and female relationships in the Bible. This is not the big discussion,
we’ll wait until Judges to do the big discussion but I just want to introduce
it here. Some people say that the woman was to be the “helper” of man. Therefore
she was viewed as subservient or lower than the man, much like the electrician
and the electrician’s helper. The electrician is the main deal. The help is
the go-fer that runs to get the screwdriver or whatever. Therefore, Eve was
considered the helper and she was secondary to the man because of this word “helper.”
In Hebrew, it is etzer. You know this word but you don’t know that you
know it. Guess who is called the etzer, besides Eve? Think of the old hymn,
“God our help in ages past, our hope for the years to come.” Nobody knows
these songs anymore. It is God who is called “the helper.” The word comes
from Ebenezer. Eben means “stone”; ezer means “help.” It means “stone
of help.” God himself calls himself the etzer, but you wouldn’t say
that he was a helper like the way in which Eve was a helper. He is a helper in
the sense of a deliverer or the one who saves us. Therefore, you cannot use
the fact that Eve is down here because then God would also have to be
subservient, which we know he was not. So that argument doesn’t work.
Here’s another argument. Adam named Eve and Adam named the animals, and so that shows that he is the “King.” The naming shows his dominion over the animals, and so he then has dominion over her because he names her. But in chapters one and two, Eve’s name is not mentioned. It only says God made them male and female. His name is given as Adam but her name is not mentioned. Her name first pops up when Adam is told “Dusty, dust you are and to dust you shall return.” Right after he is told that he will die, he turns to his wife at that point and names her. “You death woman, you curse woman.” Oh, excuse me. Is that what Adam does? The timing here is very significant, he names her right after he receives the curse. In chapter 3:20, “Adam named his wife Havah.” You guys all know Havah we did this before lehayim, to life. He names her “the living one,” the mother of all living. He doesn’t see her as a curse, but rather that through her, she is the mother of all living. It is through this woman that the offspring who will crush the serpent’s head will be born. He looks at his wife and sees the mother of all living. Is he showing his dominance in naming her or is he rather recognizing her character and destiny? He is recognizing her character and I like better than character here, her destiny. That is, through her the seed will come that will bruise the serpent’s head. That is beautiful because he is honoring her through this, especially since he was just told “Adam, you’re dead, you’re going to return to dust.” In Eve, the hope is expressed that someday this is going to turn around and he sees that in his wife. It is a beautiful passage there.
So what about
some other places in the Bible? In the New Testament, let’s just do two verses
in the New Testament then we’ll go back to the Old Testament. In Galatians “so
the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ.” Then in Galatians 3:28, in
the church of Christ, “there is neither Jew nor Greek (it was better to be a
Jew in the Old Testament because they had the promises of God, Gentiles were
outsiders), neither slave nor free (in Christ we are brothers and sisters in
Christ, whether rich or poor), male nor female… you are all one in Christ
Jesus.” There is no hint of this power structure stuff.
In Ephesians 5:22 is a verse I grew up with. My father fit the Greek model there. It often was preached at the church I grew up in, “Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” I was taught that all my life. “Wives submit to your husband.” I’m the husband now. It didn’t go over too well. No, the truth is it went real well, my wife was a very submissive person. She taught me many things. I’m trying to teach you what she taught me. That’s another discussion. There are some other stories on that. She didn’t cause conflict. She was the neck that turned the head. The head thought he was the head but then the neck turned the head. But what is interesting to me is that, as I tried to teach you in this class, when you interpret the Bible how do you interpret the meaning of words? Context. Context determines meaning. When you’re in Ephesians 5:22, would you suggest that 5:21 is fairly close to the context? Absolutely. How come when I was younger I rarely heard a sermon on Ephesians 5:21. It’s the preceding verse. It says, “Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ.” Should the wife submit to the husband? Yes. It says here that they should submit to one another. Should the husband submit to his wife? Yes. So the question is does my wife serve me? Do you see how egotistical and narcissistic that is? The question is rather how do I serve my wife? Her question is how do I serve my husband?
The question should be how should I serve my spouse? What happens to the power struggle then in light of this? You fight against the curse by giving up power not by grabbing for power. Who is my model? Is anyone in here Grace Brethren? Jesus comes down, “I am the king of the universe bow down and worship me. I am the King of the Universe. The father and I are one. You guys are servants, I am the king of the Universe.” No. Jesus pulls up on the disciples and they are going to eat dinner and he says, “take off your shoes.” If you are Grace Brethren they still do this to this day. Then what does Jesus do? He washes their feet. Is the power struggle over? Here is the king of the universe getting down and washing his disciples feet. Power struggle? No, he gives up his power, and really becomes the king when he washes the disciples feet. Is that leadership? It was because of acts like this that the disciples were willing to go out and die for Christ. What I’m saying is be careful about this verse here. Beware of power grabbing in marriage conflict. When I was first married, I was a very insecure person who initially grabbed for power, but what I’m suggesting is to be like Christ and learn how to give it up. Therefore the power does not result from conflict, what happens is: how can I serve her? Is that how you fight against the curse? The curse is that there will be this power struggle there will be this conflict in marriage. The solution is to fight against it not by grabbing power but by serving the other.
G. The curse on the man [45:57-52:59]
look at man’s curse. Man has to face his own curse. Is work a curse? Back in
Genesis chapter 3, “To Adam he said, because you listened to your wife and ate
from the tree that I commanded you to not eat of, cursed is the ground because
of you. Through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It
will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the
field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the
ground.” Is work a curse? You say, “yes, work is a curse.” No, go back
before the fall, when Adam and Eve were in the garden before there was any
temptation, was Adam given a task to do? Was Adam to take care of the garden
and work the garden? Were Adam and Eve to work the garden before the fall?
Yes. Work is not the curse. The curse is the futility of work. Have you ever
worked for something, and then watched it all fall apart? There’s a wonderful
country song that says, “Do it anyway.” She says, “I’ll go out and sing a song
that no one will remember the next day, but I “do it anyway.” I think there’s
a lot of life like that where you have to do it anyway. You can work really
hard for something and then watch it fall apart. The futility of work; have
some of you known that futility? It’s devastating when it happens, when you
put your heart and soul into something and you then have to watch it fall
apart. It’s the futility of work that is the problem.
Some of you folks are asking, “What am I going to do with my life?” What I want to suggest is that you find some type of employment – have you seen people that work from 9 to 5 every day and they hate their work? They can’t wait to get out of work at 5 o’clock. It is freedom to them. On the weekends, I don’t have to work anymore I just hate that job. They party because they know on Monday they’ll have to go back to work. Do some people live that existence? My brother is a vice president at Buffalo of a big subway system, and we had a big discussion as we are both old men now. We looked back on life. Now I love what I do here at Gordon College. It’s the best thing I can do in my life and God has called me to do this. I get up every day at 5:00 or 5:30, to work on stuff, and then after this class I’ll be working on editing this video until about mid-night so it can be up tomorrow morning for you. I love what I do. My brother says, “I hate what I do. I can’t wait to retire.” What I’m saying is: is it possible for you guys to find something that you love to do? Yes, there is a convergence of your vocation and your passion when this happens there is synergy. So, I recommend finding the convergence of your passion and your vocation and go for that.
So, futile work is the problem and that haunts all of us. Man struggles with the dust. Basically, we’re all going to dust--to die. Some of you know what death is like because some of you have had fathers and mothers go. It’s hard to watch. A few years ago my father died from cancer, and I had to help him with that whole process. It was horrendous. Others of you have had friends who have been killed in car accidents…fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers and friends who have passed away. Is death a problem? Death is a big problem. I hate death. I hate what cancer did to my father. I hate it. But what I want to say is that when Jesus comes down, what does he do? It’s like Jesus comes to earth and says, “You guys, what’s your worst problem?” What’s the big problem? It’s not futility in work, but death. Jesus said, “Bring on your biggest problem on, and watch this? I’ll conquer death by doing what? I’m going to conquer death by dying. I’m going to die and then I’m going to rise from the dead.” Do we as Christians have hope beyond the grave? Is death the final answer? Death is not the end of this thing. So we as Christians look to Jesus. Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus says that when he comes back when we see him and we shall be like him for we will see him as he is. Someday even my dad is going to rise up. I always wonder what he thinks about when I’m teaching this class. He is probably up there chuckling. Someday my Dad will rise again and we’re going to be with the Lord forever. What concept is that? This is the Immanuel concept where we are back in the garden with God forever and ever. So the Scripture starts that way and the Scripture ends that way with us coming back to God in our bodies, alive from the dead like Jesus to live with him for ever and ever. That’s a beautiful story. That’s the best. Death is not the victor, Jesus blew that away. This is the good news. Yes, man’s going to struggle, we’re all going to die. I’ve got less time than most of you guys but it’s okay.
We’re going to move a little more quickly now. Genesis 1-3 sets up the whole rest of the Bible. That’s why I have taken so much time on it. The creation accounts and the garden set up the rest of the Bible which is God’s work of redemption in bringing us back to himself. You have seen this in the book of Exodus. Did you see redemption there? Israel was enslaved in Egypt and what did God do? He came down and freed his slaves, took them and gave them his law. He set them free on his land. So God is redeeming his people out of Egypt, and he is going to free his people out of the bondage in Babylon and bring them back. In Jesus, he is going to bring us back to himself. Ultimately, someday it is going to be a face to face forever. So this is where the whole thing is moving. So Genesis 1-3 sets it up and after that you have the redemptive movement of God redeeming his people over and over. Do his people always say, “Oh, now God is redeeming us and we will serve you forever now?” What do his people do? He gives them manna, what do they do? It’s like Lane food, “I’m sick of this. The same food all the time.” Most of us who don’t live on campus say that would be really nice because tonight I have to go home and cook chicken and broccoli. It gets long after a while when you have to cook and you can’t cook.
H. Cain and Abel [53:00-61:29]
move on to the Cain and Able story. This is the first account of murder in the
Bible. Cain is going to kill Abel. Who offers the meat offering, Abel or
Cain? Abel does the meat offering. Is the meat offering going to be with the
shedding of blood? Meat offering is with the shedding of blood. When I say
cereal offering, what is the problem with cereal offerings? I’m not talking
about Cheerios. When you talk about cereal in the ancient Near East, it is
basically wheat and barley. By the way, does Cain offer up the crops of the
ground, the wheat and barley? Yes. Which one was acceptable to God? Abel’s
offering was acceptable. When I grew up, people said the reason Abel’s was
acceptable was because it was a blood sacrifice. “Without the shedding of
blood there is no remission for sin.” Abel’s offering was accepted because it
was the shedding of blood and therefore it was an acceptable offering. Whereas
Cain’s was not a blood shed offering so his was not acceptable. Cain’s did not
shed blood but was grains and cereals. But Cain’s was not rejected because it
was not a blood offering. Is that the real reason why God accepted Able’s
offering and rejected Cain’s offering? The answer is: “No.” Did God command
Israel to offer cereal offerings? Yes, he did in Leviticus chapter 2. When
you go to Leviticus chapter 2, God commands Israel to offer up their grains,
the first fruits of their harvest. Grains were legitimate sacrifices to God.
Cain’s problem was not in the material that he offered. Did Cain have a bad
heart and hatred toward to his brother? The issue was his heart, not the stuff
that he offered. So don’t get misguided because God had told them to offer up
She says that Abel offered up the choicest. I want to object to that because it moves the crime to the offering when it was not in the offering itself, but it was the heart of the one who brings the offering. Throughout Scripture that’s more of the point than the particulars of the offering. So, I think that we are misguided when we try to get it down to the type of offering. I think that misses the point. God says in a lot of places, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” So the problem is sometimes we focus on the sacrifice and don’t realize what he is really asking for is mercy, justice and righteousness--that’s what he focused on.
So God comes to Cain and says “Cain, if you do this you’re in bad shape.” Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out into the field.” While they were in the field Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. The Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he said. Then he makes this classic line. This is a classic line you should all know: “am I my brother’s keeper?” This is a classic line in Scripture. Cain said to God, “am I my brother’s keeper?” What was the answer he was suggesting to God? Cain thought the answer was: No, I’m not my brother’s keeper. That is what Cain was insinuating in this rhetorical question. Cain thought the answer to this question was that he was not his brother’s keeper.
However, are we our brother’s keeper in actuality? Yes. So Cain kills his brother. This brings up a lot of things in terms of the construction of Genesis. Have you ever seen the good brother/bad brother situation in a family? Do you get other things like this going on from the competitive nature of siblings? Do you ever have competition between brothers and sisters in the family? I was in a family with five kids and I was the oldest. My last sister was born five or six years after the rest of us. So my father when I grew up, I don’t even know how to say this in your culture. My father was a strict person. I would call him a man of the belt. Now as soon as I say that you guys and cry, “Abuse, abuse. He actually hit you with a belt.” We called that discipline in those days, not abuse. Did my father love me? The answer is “yes,” and that is why he did that. He was strict with us. He was very strict with my brother and I, but by the time my sister who was five years in the gap there, my sister, my brother, and I stood back and wondered how she got away with everything. She had my father wrapped around her little finger. Did we get jealous? We could see the difference. What happened here? What happened here is that my father loosened up as he got older. So the competitive nature that you see here is also seen in Genesis.
Tell me about sibling rivalry in Genesis. Give me an example of sibling rivalry in Genesis. Leah and Rachel had a big time sibling rivalry. You said, Jacob and Esau. Has anybody got another one. Joseph and his brothers are a good example. The theme of sibling rivalry is a big recurring theme in Genesis. When I was a kid, my brother and I used to fight all the time. One time he got really angry at me, picked up a butter knife and threw it at me as hard as he could. “Holy cow, what are you doing with a knife?” So I threw my arms up in protection and the knife landed in my arm and stuck in my arm hanging there. I’ll never forget the feeling of having this knife hanging out of my arm. My brother is the greatest guy in the world. He’s crazy, but he’s great. So after that we both immediately thought, “When dad comes home. This is bad. He’s going to kill us when he gets home.” So, he tries pulling on it and we can’t get it out. So, we went to my mother. Why did we bring our mother into it? We have to face our father and that is absolute terror. So we went to my mother to try to get her on side. She can’t pull it out either. So, then what happens? I had to pull it out myself. So then what happens? My dad comes home, we hear the car and we run for the hills, hiding under the bunk beds. We’re ready. Dad gets home, and my mother goes out to smooth this out the best she can. All of a sudden, we here my dad started to yell. He starts yelling and we hear it down in the basement. “Cain! Cain! He tried to kill his brother!” Now my brother and I are both old men now. So you have these two old men just sitting around laughing because we remember this thing with my dad. This has always been a very special passage for me. I should say that my brother is my best friend in my life. But I don’t recommend throwing butter-knives.
I. Curse on Cain [61:18-64:41]
discuss Cain’s curse. Cain gets cursed, and what happens with the curse of
Cain? The curse of Cain is that he is to wander. He is condemned to be a
wanderer, going from place to place as part of his curse. Cain is going to be that
for the rest of his life--a wanderer, which means he is going to be alone
pretty much for the rest of his life. So we are back to this aloneness thing.
Is aloneness one of the worst things in the world? I say this because a lot of
my life has been spent alone and it is one of the worst feelings, feeling like
you are alone in the entire universe. It is one of the most depressing things
I have ever experienced in my life. Do people have problems in our culture
when they are wanderers? Do people move a lot in our culture? When you are
young, you are pretty settled, but when you get older you start to move a lot.
My wife and I moved eight times in the first eight years of our marriage. One
of the moves was to Israel, and the other one was back to Bristol, Tennessee.
Anyway, what I am saying is we moved eight times and after a while, we moved
and moved and moved. It’s great to travel, but have you ever traveled so much
that you become tired of always traveling and you just want to go home? What
is home? My wife and I have struggled with understanding where home is for us
now. It’s almost like our roots have been cut off. Where’s home? It’s kind of
like where you are is home. It’s like that because we have no roots. I just
want you to think about that. I don’t know what to do about this myself. You have
a sense of home, the feeling of place and belonging and you put your own roots down
there. I know our culture is all about wandering, but what I’m saying is to be
careful about wandering because you can end up wandering all your life. Cain
was cursed with this wandering. Wandering is fine when it comes to exploring,
but you must be careful not to lose that sense of home, rootedness and feeling of
belonging or a sense of place.
So Cain becomes the wanderer. In chapter 4 it says, “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.” So what you get is Cain moving to what? Is he moving toward or away from God? He is moving away from God and hiding from God. So, that’s Cain’s problem there.
So the story of Cain is rather tragic as the first murder in the Bible. By the way, did Cain say, “Wait a minute, I murdered my brother, but you did not give the Ten Commandments yet. They don’t come along till Exodus 20. I did not do anything wrong. You did not tell me not to kill him. I did not know what that meant and that it was wrong.” Did Cain know the Law of God written on his heart? Do human beings have consciences? Yes, the Law of God is written on their heart (Rom. 2). He knew it was wrong. You have to work with that in terms of the revelation of God in history.
J. Flood: Sons of God and Daughters of Men [64:42-68:25]
another one: the Flood. I want to introduce this. You have the flood, where
the sons of God married the daughters of men in Genesis 6. Who were the sons
of God? It says, “Now when men began to increase in number on the earth,
daughters were born to them. The sons of God saw the daughters of men were
beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. And God said, ‘My spirit
will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal. His days will be 120
years.’” So he’s limiting it down. Later it says God was grieved over the
sons of God marrying the daughters of men. Who are these sons of God and these
daughters of men? I want to suggest three solutions to this. I want to tell
you that I’ve taught and believed each one of these at various points in my
life. So, I’m not sure what the answer is one hundred percent guaranteed. I’m
saying these “answers” are possible solutions.
Why did God get so angry at these sons of God marrying these daughters of men? Why did they have kids that were Giants or Nephilim? Why were their children so special? By the way, most people always skipped this. Nobody can figure who these people were for sure. But everybody skips this, “The earth was filled with violence because of them.” God says, “I will surely destroy the earth.” He destroys the earth not only because of the Sons of God, but also because the earth was filled with violence. What is the Hebrew word for violence? Now when you say Hamas, it is a hard “h.” Nate says he loves humus. You love humus, but it is terrible in America. But in Israel, you eat the real stuff. It’s amazing. It’s like eating a Philadelphia cheesesteak outside of Philadelphia. It’s just not the same. There’s a certain place in Israel that has the best humus in the world. The other thing you have to eat it Baklava some time. Anyway, Hamas, let’s get off the food stuff. Why do you guys know what that Hebrew word means? It is because you have heard of the group Hamas. The group in Israel today is called Hamas. What does that word mean in Arabic and Hebrew? It means “violence.” Do you get a clue what is going on with them? Violence is their thing because it is embedded in their name. We have the Sons of God and the daughters of men, and this is going to take longer than I want. So I don’t want to break off the discussion. What I do want you to do is to do the whole book of Genesis in sixty seconds. We’ll do Bible-robics in sixty seconds and then we’re done.
by Dave Clemmer and Ted Hildebrandt
Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt-2