Saturday, October 16, 2010

Genesis Chapter Eleven

We come at last to the final chapter of our study on Genesis. As per usual, before we commence grooming the word of God I would like to begin with a few words in defense of His inerrant word. There are many Christians today that regard the opening chapters of Genesis as allegorical or (worse, if possible) mythological.

There are many who espouse the Gap Theory, Day-Age Theory, or Theistic Evolution; many dismiss the opening chapters of Genesis out of hand as being a shared collection of stories bearing marked similarities with so many other surrounding cultures of the era. This is both unconscionable and dishonoring to our Lord. Whether Moses collected older writings to form Genesis or received said knowledge by direct revelation, the book we know as Genesis was written by this godly man. Christ spoke of Moses’ writings this way: “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:46-47.

Jesus our Lord took the opening chapters of Genesis to be literal; as did every other New Testament author who wrote under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The only New Testament books that do not directly or indirectly make mention of the first 11 chapters of Genesis are: Galatians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, 2nd Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and 2nd and 3rd John. Out of 27 books (the canon of the New Testament), 9 fail to mention these first 11 chapters. Every chapter, with the sole exception of chapter 8 of Genesis, is directly referred to somewhere in the New Testament.

There are, according to Henry M. Morris and Walt Brown, no less than 68 references throughout the New Testament to the first 11 chapters of Genesis. This alone should validate the historicity of the Old Testament account regarding creation, the beginning of the human race, our fall into sin, and the global deluge for any Christian. Otherwise the aforementioned theologies (Gap Theory, etc) destroy the biblical account of creation and make it nonsense. Compromising with the invalid theory of Evolution compromises the genuine account of how mankind came to be and invalidates our parents’ real temptation in the garden and their fall into sin. Invalidate this, and there was no need for Christ to come as Savior of mankind, because the entrance of sin into our world (of which Christ came to save us from) never truly happened.

If Evolution was correct, then death existed in this world long before mankind arrived, and therefore death did not come by sin as the Bible informs us. In fact there is no sin; death is only the natural consequence of biological life and has no moral quality whatever. Mankind was not made in the image of God either, as the Bible tells us; men have descended from apes, which descended from more primitive animals, and more primitive, ad infinitum. God’s message to man is rendered pointless, and any reason for existence is equally rendered pointless. Genesis is the foundation of the Bible. You cannot break out the undergirding and expect that the rest will maintain its integrity.

Yet if we believe the words of Christ our Lord, He testifies some 13 times in the gospels about the first 11 chapters of Genesis, referring to them literally, as being historical, accurate accounts of the events they describe. Take Jesus’ reference to Noah, for example. He likened Noah’s days to the end days, and warned that the sudden destruction which overtook the ancient world would do likewise in a future time of peace and plenty. His words would ring hollow if the Flood (and Noah) was a myth created to entertain or explain truth via parables or allegories. Then we may (wrongly) deduce that the Day of the Lord, the coming Tribulation, is merely an allegorical concept as well. There is no end to poorly dividing the word of God once we begin down this path of apostasy.

Peter likewise draws comparisons between water baptism and the Flood of Noah’s day, 1st Peter 3:20-21. Peter says that there is an antitype (symbol) comparable to the Flood which saves believers: baptism. But like the Flood waters themselves did not save Noah, but rather the ark God built, water baptism does not save of itself; it is symbolic of the salvation received through faith alone. Both waters (the Flood and immersion) could be construed as types of judgment. The Flood destroyed the world of the ungodly, and being immersed in water represents being buried, that is, dead to sin. Yet the ark lifted Noah out of the waters of judgment, and faith in Christ raises a believer to newness of life. None of this would hold meaning if the Flood never occurred and Peter was mistaken in drawing parallels from mythology.

As we approach this final controversial chapter of Genesis I pray that anyone reading will be moved to consider how they view the word of God. Do you believe the Genesis account? Or have you compromised your faith to the supposed “higher learning?” Do you take the opinions of men over the immutable word of God? Whose word will stand? God spoke in the days of Jeremiah to the remnant that rebelled against Him, who sought their own way because they believed it was best. He warned such people: “[they] shall know whose words will stand, Mine or theirs,” Jeremiah 44:28.

11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
There are two remarkable things noted in this verse. The first is that all the earth was of one language. The words “language” and “speech” are not redundant thoughts in the mind of the author. In Hebrew “language” is “sapa,” which means, “of the mouth; language or speech.” This denotes the fact that the post-Flood world all spoke the same language; possibly the Hebrew dialect. The second thing to observe is the word “speech.” In the Hebrew it is “dabar,” and means “what is said, word (of the whole of communication); matter (any event).” In sequence the Holy Spirit tells us that the populated world spoke one language and had one intent or resolve. They were of one mind or accord; in modern speech they spoke one another’s lingo. Paraphrased, this verse might read, “The whole earth had only one language, and everyone was like-minded.”

11:2 they found a plain in the land of Shinar
Shinar is recognized as Mesopotamia, where the great kingdom of Babylon would arise in later times; this was the foundation of Babel, and sowed the seeds for all manner of future wickedness.

11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower
The people united in one language and one intent found an optimal place to build their metropolis. So many are swept up in the tower of Babel that we easily forget that the tower was compassed apparently by a city. There was civil government (the city) and ecclesiastical worship (the tower). Who was the founder and ruler of this city/state? “And the beginning of [Nimrod’s] kingdom was Babel,” Genesis 10:10. He built Babel, Erech, Accad and Calneh in Shinar; one would assume these four were all cities governed by this mighty hunter.
To be Continued.

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