Hello Dr. Luginbill,
I often wondered why God had to destroy the animals, including birds, in the flood. I've read that the humans were tainted by fallen angels because they were trying to taint the bloodline in an attempt to put a stop to the coming Messiah which would crush Satan, and this is why humans had to be destroyed (those who had physical blemishes). But why did God destroy the animals and flying creatures along with humans?
Always good to hear from you.
Here is what I find in Genesis 6:
God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth."
Genesis 6:12-13 NIV
Mankind is clearly the problem here, not animal kind, and it was in large part for the sake of destroying corrupt humanity (i.e., the polluted offspring of the Nephilim) that all human life was eradicated in this dramatic way, one that would leave absolutely no doubt about God's attitude of inimical opposition to their behavior in mixing human seed with that of demons or about the fact that they had all been destroyed stock and stem (the worldwide flood makes the fact of their complete annihilation quite clear). Genesis 6:17 does include the animals, all of whom have spirits too, but in light of Genesis 6:12-13, to the extent that this verse includes animals along with (corrupted) human beings, this seems to me to be a necessary consequence of eradication corrupt humanity rather than the main divine purpose. That is to say, had mankind not corrupted its ways by mixing its seed with Satan's minions, there would have been no flood and no destruction of the animals. Because mankind needed to be destroyed, the animals were cursed by their association with us rather than for any offense on their part (see the links: "cursing by association" and "blessing by association"). And just as God preserved a remnant of the human race, so He also preserved the animal kingdom as well. There is no question but that Noah had to labor on the ark many more years and in fact most of the years he spent constructing it precisely for the preservation of the animal kingdom (for otherwise I imagine that a vessel a small fraction of the size would have sufficed). Finally, lest we think God at all unfair about this, it is good to remember that He is the Creator of all spirits, animal as well as human. Every animal is known to Him (He marks the fall of every sparrow: Matt.10:29-31; Lk.12.6-7), and belongs to Him (even the cattle on a thousand hills: Ps.50:10-11; cf. Job 12:10). Animals do not have the image of God and so are not required to make the great choice in this life as to whether or not they wish to spend eternity with Him – whereas human beings all have to decide whether or not they are willing to bend their will to His WILL in accepting His Son's work on the cross in order to do so. So animals are not judged by the same standards, clearly.
Nothing is impossible for God. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:21, "Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?" We do know from the Bible (albeit not from the unbelieving human viewpoint Solomon uses here and in most of Ecclesiastes to express the materialist viewpoint from which everything really is "vanity") that the human spirit does rise up to God (now). Since animals are not morally responsible, I would be very surprised to learn if all animals with spirits are not also going to be part of the New Heavens and New Earth. Scripture does not say so explicitly, so I cannot be dogmatic about it, but all spirits of angels and of all mankind are indestructible from the moment of their creation by the Lord, and the same Greek and Hebrew words are used for animal spirits. I certainly find no biblical basis for arguing that these animal spirits "dissolve" or disappear after they leave the animal body. If they did, it would be in direct contrast to what we know happens to the spirits of human beings which, as I say, are etymologically the same and work with our bodies in precisely the same physiological way (i.e., life begins at the entrance of the spirit and ceased on its departure; see the link: "Aspects of the Genesis Curse on Animals").
Especially if such is the case, we need not grieve for those creatures destroyed in the flood (who would have perished thousands of years ago even without it). How much better to be an animal with an eternal future than a stiff-necked unbeliever who chooses to spend eternity in hell! But how much better than anything to be a human being willing to make use of the great blessing of the image of God we have been given to choose for Jesus Christ and an eternity with Him as part of His Bride!
In Jesus for whom we patiently wait.
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
I have always been fascinated with your writings at ichthys.com and continue to read through the articles.
I'm not sure if you've specifically written about Noah's ark, but it has always been a fascinating subject for me. But almost any secular writing, broadcast, etc., I ever see on the subject, dismisses the story very quickly as a myth. And there are many arguments against it such as there is no evidence of the great flood, that Noah could not have built such a great ship, etc, etc. I was wondering if you could refer me to a good resource on the subject.
Thanks very much,
Good to make your acquaintance. As a frequent visitor, you no doubt are aware that I have written quite a lot about the situation preceding the flood (i.e., the devil's attack upon the human line via the Nephilim; see the links "Fallen Angels, Demons, Nephilim, and the Devil's Methodology" and "Giants and Nephilim, Sumerian Myths, and Sea Monsters" for background and links to other pages). You are correct that I have not produced a comprehensive study on the ark and the flood proper, though I do have some things at the site which apply to this question (see the links below), and have made a number of passing comments apropos of your question. I suppose the reason why I have never wandered deeply into this issue before is that for me the biblical narrative of the event itself is very straightforward. From my point of view, either a person is going to believe what the Bible has to say about the matter or not, with unbelievers considering it to be mythology. It is true that even some believers have trouble with this section of Genesis. It seems to be one of those areas that tests a person's faith in God's ability to work in the world in a supernatural way – and everything about Noah's story is imbued with divine intervention:
1) The building of the ark would not have been possible without divine help and particularly without divine protection. After all, Noah and his extended family were the last remnants of true humanity left on earth, and it was certainly in Satan's interest to see them destroyed and frustrate if he could whatever plan God had to deliver them.
2) Not only was the idea and command to build the ark given supernaturally to Noah from the Lord, but the plan for the ark itself was entirely supplied to Noah by God (Gen.6:14-16).
3) The gathering of the animals was entirely supernatural. Genesis 7:7-9 and 7:15 tell us that the requisite animals came to Noah of their own accord. He may have kept pairs of domestic "clean animals" to use as food, but he did not, apparently, have to scour the earth in search of every species of animal kind: they all "came to him".
4) When the rain did begin, it was God who "sealed" Noah and his family into the ark.
5) Needless to say, the problems with a handful of people and a tremendous number of wild animals sealed into a massive wooden structure without any sort of modern conveniences or ventilation boggle the mind – but God prevented any of the "potential problems" from happening, and kept the ark and its passengers safe through all that followed.
6) Without question, covering the surface of the earth with water to a depth that left its highest mountains twenty or so feet under water (Gen.7:20) required supernatural intervention beyond anything else that has or will ever happen worthy of the name "flood".
7) Finally, the provision for Noah and his family after the flood and the re-population of the world's fauna from, in most instances, a single pair, certainly required divine superintendence.
For all the reasons above, it is clear to me that what is necessary for believers in regard to the biblical information about Noah, the ark and the flood is to believe it. I do appreciate that many biblical exegetes have attempted to "explain" some of the details in these chapters, and as long as the explanations are biblical and throw light on the issues, I am all for that. Very often, however, such "explanations" are really attempts to make the "story" seem "more reasonable". But to me, that sort of thing is completely wrong-headed. Claiming, for example, that the water only covered the area of ancient Mesopotamia (aka the "local flood theory") may not be as horrendous as saying that the boy Elijah brought back to life had only actually been in a coma, but it has the same effect of denying that anything so overwhelmingly miraculous is possible. But we who believe know that for God all things are possible. When the Bible says something so clearly and goes to such great lengths with the details, trying to change them to appease modern rationalistic sensibilities is not the stuff of orthodox Bible teaching. Some individuals who do a fairly good job in exegeting the passage (though I do not vouch for everything they have to say) are:
Leupold, H.C. Exposition of Genesis
Pink, A.W., Gleanings in Genesis (Google Books has it)
Unger, M.F. A Commentary on the Old Testament
Building a massive structure like the ark was, for a gifted person like Noah given centuries to complete the task, possible, but not without an incredible amount of persistence, a near-complete fear of God, and a great deal of grace. What I find particularly interested about Noah's experience is the fact that instead of leaving it completely to human or materialistic means on the one hand, or taking the task completely on Himself on the other, the Lord used a special combination of both: God accomplished many supernatural acts in rescuing Noah and his family, but Noah was required to do much himself in faith response to the Lord – and will be rewarded bountifully for all eternity as a result. And just that is the usual Christian experience as well: we work in faith the works God has prepared ahead of time for us to do (Eph.2:10), and God empowers our work and then rewards our faith. Nothing we do for Him is anything He could not do for Himself, and nothing we do for Him is even possible without His grace – but He still calls upon us to grow, to progress, and to do the works of ministry to which we have been severally called (and our willingness to do so will be the basis for our eternal rewards). Noah, therefore, is for me one of the greatest examples of faith and "persistence in good works" in all of scripture (Rom.2:7):
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Hebrews 11:7 NIV
(5) [God] did not spare the antediluvian world, but kept safe Noah, as a proclaimer or righteousness, and the seven with him when He brought the flood upon the ungodly inhabitants of the world . . . (9) For the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.
2nd Peter 2:5 and 2:9
As to evidence, we can surmise from Genesis 8:22 that the seasons originated with the flood, and from Genesis 9:21ff. that fermentation now happened for the first time. These and other major changes in the eco-sphere resulted from the clearing of the mist which had covered the earth previously, and from the apparent shifting of the earth's axis (which produced the seasons; see the link: "The Origin of the Four Seasons"). And, after all, how do those who say there is no evidence for the great flood explain the rapid and dramatic diminution of life-spans from around 1000 years before it to around 70 years following it? Well of course they doubt the evidence of the Bible that there ever were 1000-year life-spans in the first place! Q.E.D., if we believe the Bible, there is no problem accepting in faith that God is capable of doing anything and that He would not have told us it happened the way it did if it didn't; but if we doubt God and doubt the Bible, then no amount of rationalizing exegesis will ever satisfy us.
Here are those other links I mentioned earlier:
Dinosaurs, the Nephilim, Noah, et al.
Mythology and the Bible
Why was Canaan cursed?
The Origin and Fate of the Giants of Genesis Chapter Six
Thanks much for your email. I hope this response was helpful. Please feel free to write me back about any of this.
In Jesus our Lord, for whom nothing is impossible,
I realized that I should have mentioned that I am a believer and do believe the story of Noah's ark. Frankly, I get tired of the secular world so quickly dismissing the Noah's Ark story and yet when I sit back and try to be objective, there are, of course, a lot of questions I have to answer. Things like why is there no evidence of a universal flood? How could Noah have collected 3,000 species of snakes and 400,000 species of beetles? How could Noah and his family care for such a large number of animals? Where would all the water come from to cover the tops of the mountains? Where did all the water go after the flood? And so on.
I am a student of the Bible but I am certainly no geologist nor a trained scientist, so there is a lot for me to cover.
I think probably the most profound notion I get from your response is God's supernatural involvement in helping Noah and his family get ready for the flood. I guess I've never thought of it that way. I've always thought of it more of Noah doing the work. I realize God was responsible for the flood part but I've always thought of Noah being responsible for the ark part of it, if you will. But you have helped me think of it differently.
I would like to ask you a question which I think would help a lot. Could you expand on point #1? You suggest that the building of the ark would not have been possible without divine help. That is the part I would like to hear you expand on. What do you have in mind there?
You are very welcome.
Yes, I would choose to emphasize the divine part throughout these events. For example, we can understand rain and even excessive rain, but for there to be enough water released to cover the earth to such a depth required divine intervention (n.b.: scripture mentions the "fountains of the deep" as well as rain as the source of the water – a very important and often missed point). The secular mind says "that's impossible", but believers should know that the Lord could turn the entire universe into water in the blink of an eye should He choose to do so (just as He did inundate it in judgment after Satan's fall; see the link: "Waters Above, the Firmament, and the Genesis Gap."). Geologists and paleontologists have carefully surveyed far less than one tenth of one percent of the earth's surface, and even where they have given it special attention they have done so with flawed methods and prejudicial theories. The secular mind says "since science has not found what it would call evidence, it didn't happen", but believers should know that God was capable of deliberately minimizing all overt evidence of the event and restoring the earth to the same basic condition it was in before the flood. The secular mind says that "there is no way Noah could have collected up and cared for every species on the planet", but believers should know that God was perfectly capable of re-creating any and all animal or plant species after the flood if He had so desired. Just what combination of divine intervention accounts for the current status quo we can only speculate about from what the Bible says, but while the secular mind refuses to believe the "story", believers should know that what the Bible says about these events is absolutely true, even if it is not possible to reconcile the details with present "evidence" absent our understanding of divine intervention in numerous aspects of the flood and the building and outfitting of the ark. In fact, as I said before, the Lord could have just done all the work Himself. But it is very characteristic of the way in which He has organized and is administering the plan of God that He allows and requires faithful men and women to do their part – even though they can only do anything positive through the power of the Spirit.
When we are privileged to give the gospel and lead someone to Christ, do we really imagine that, but for our efforts, this person would have been lost? Shouldn't we understand that God is only using us a privilege and as a means of demonstrating that some people do act in faith and respond to the truth? Even when we give the gospel, shouldn't we understand that it is really the Spirit who is using the words of truth we are given to say and that He is the One doing the saving? And if this is true in the entry-phase of the plan of God, it is certainly true in all the other phases as well. The Lord could have caused an ark to appear out of nowhere, fully complemented and supplied, the morning before the flood, and then just told Noah and his family to enter. Wouldn't that have accomplished the same thing? It would have eliminated many of the questions you are dealing with (i.e., well, of course, God did it miraculously). Such a procedure would not, however, have provided the marvelous witness to the world of men and angels both, a witness that abides to this very day wherever the Word of God is read, to the power of faith and to the great reward that comes to men and women of faith. Noah is an example of the importance and the necessity of being consistent both in believing God's Word and in following up on it day by day. Noah worked hard at what the world said was idiocy, and did so consistently for many years on the basis of nothing his eyes could see: but he believed God. We likewise toil away at the difficult task of learning God's Word, believing it, living it, and benefitting our fellow believers through ministering it according to the gifts and ministries we have been given by our dear Lord Jesus. Like Noah, we do this consistently day by day (or should); we receive no particular earthly reward from so doing except for the satisfaction of a job being well-done and the inner joy and peace of drawing closer to Jesus Christ – and these are in truth the most wonderful benefits, benefits Noah too enjoyed even though the world pronounced him crazy. With the world against him – and with the world against us – there is no way he, not to mention we, could have continued with such faithfulness without trusting the Lord completely. The ark is, therefore, a memorial to Noah's faith – and God's faithfulness. This is the essence of the plan of God and what we are called to do in it. We have to believe that what we are doing is not in vain, and believe it so completely that we persevere even in the face of all the trials and tribulations of this life, even without receiving the goal of our faith, that salvation upon which we are counting, until the end (1Pet.1:3-9). When the rain begins to fall, we will be vindicated in our trusting of Jesus beyond all other considerations just as Noah was – and the world will learn a lesson, the lesson of lessons: God tells us the truth, and believing Him and trusting Him is worth the entire world (Heb.11:7).
That is the vein in which I would wish to answer your follow-up question. If a single human being, even in the days of 1000 year life-spans, got it into his head to build of his own accord an ark of such massive proportions, a project lasting some 120 years, he would have had to have been crazy. More than that, unless it really were a command from God, who could or would persevere in such a project without quitting or giving up? In the history of the world, no individual effort even comes close to what Noah did. And the fact that he did it, in spite of the ridicule and opposition of the entire world, proves that God was behind. For the ark is something no human being who was not divinely motivated would build if he could or could build even if he would. More than that, if this had been a mere human project, what are the odds that Noah could have found all the right building materials, tools and supplies, transport them to the building site and continually and consistently build away with such success? What are the odds that someone not empowered by God would not have gotten into a serious accident in the process of a hundred and twenty years of heavy construction? And what are the odds that this would have happened accidentally with Noah finishing on time with no snafus immediately before the flood began? Finally, if this had not been a divinely superintended and empowered project, what are the odds that a human being operating without divine help and support would not have made some mistake in the planning and execution? The technology of the era was not anything like we have today, and even today engineering teams with computer support and large staffs still manage to make big mistakes in design and construction. For Noah's ark, even a relatively small mistake would have meant disaster for the whole. This massive ark had to be water-tight, and its huge, ungainly frame had to be able to withstand gargantuan pressures of such a nature that even a perfect structure might not have survived – but it did.
Noah did His best. God took care of the rest. And isn't that what we all are counting on? In the course of this ministry I can honestly say that while I do "bang away" at it as consistently as I can, whatever good there is in it is entirely the work of the Spirit. I believe that to be true of all legitimate and godly Christian ministries. The Spirit gives us the gifts and empowers them, Jesus assigns us our mission field, and the Father generates the results (1Cor.12:4-6). All the genuine good that is done is done according the plan that God laid down before the universe was constructed, and it is done in His power according to His will – but He lets us have a hand in it, so that the angels may know, so that the world may know, that He honors the faith of those human beings willing to believe that His words are true, and follow His will in spite of everything their eyes see or the world says. Noah is immortalized for his faith throughout scripture and will no doubt be one of the most highly decorated believers when we all appear before Christ's judgment seat. The ark, however, is scarcely ever mentioned in the Bible outside of Genesis six and seven. In my view, that is because while the ministries we are doing here may or may not seem significant to us or to our fellow believers or to the world, to the Lord it is what is going on in our hearts as we believe His Word and respond thereto that is truly important. Our ministries, like Noah's ark, are the tangible proof of the far more important inner power of faith.
If you have not already done so, please have a look at the following link: Genesis 6:8-10: Noah
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior, the Author and Perfecter of our faith,
Hope you are managing to plough your way through your problems, along with the dear Lord Jesus...
I am starting to study some of the main characters of the Bible and have started with Adam..we were told that there were people living before Adam and Eve...could you put me on to the right site on your wonderful web page ...thanks so much
All love and prayers are with you
We had some encouraging news yesterday, but still no word of deliverance – of which I am yet confident. So thanks in advance for your continuing prayer support in this important matter!
As to your question, I assume that you are referring either to 1) the fossil record in which prehistoric bones are often mistakenly identified as those of human beings, or 2) the fact that some have found a multiplicity of people around directly after the expulsion from Eden (Cain's wife in Gen.4:17, for example), and have assumed – with no biblical justification – that God must have made "others" besides Adam and Eve. He did not. All humanity came from Adam and Eve. That is why Eve is called "the mother of all who have life" (Gen.3:20). Therefore in the early days of the human race there could be no prohibition against intermarriage in the immediate family. Adam and Eve had many children (the vast majority of whom are not recorded in scripture) and their progeny intermarried and likewise had a plethora of offspring. With the bountiful conditions of the pre-flood world (not as good as in Eden, but much better than today), life-spans were some ten times as long as today, and, from what we can judge, there was a higher degree of fertility. So it should not be surprising that there was a veritable population boom that took off exponentially immediately after the expulsion from Eden. By the time Cain "took a wife", there may have already been thousands of people on earth. By the time Enoch (the one who was Cain's son) was born, Cain was able to build a city (see the link: Pre-Flood Population after Adam and Eve).
As to the first point, that of the fossil record, the five part Satanic Rebellion series (see the link) explains that the present earth has only been restored for some six thousand or more years. The previous earth was judged as a result of Satan's revolt, and the fossils one finds, including anything that may look "human" to modern archeologists, date to the time before, during and after Satan's fall (but before the judgment upon him and the earth whose rule he had wrongly appropriated). There is no such thing as evolution because, following God's judgment that occurred between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, the earth was a cold, dark, hard, frozen rock, surrounded by the universal deep and kept that way by the Spirit, until God commanded, "let there be light!", and then step by step over the seven days brought life back to our dead planet. So there is no "link" whatsoever between the fossil record and what we see today (except to the extent that the Lord in re-creating life on earth made some creatures similar to what He had made before). For more on this topic in general, please see the following links:
The shape of the universe according to the Bible (Q #2)
Science and the Bible
The problem of science and the Bible
Charles Hodge and Charles Darwin
Is the earth ever described as round in the Bible?
The origin of the four seasons
More on science and the Bible
I do hope one of these responses gets to your question, but, as always, please feel free to write back about any of the above.
Grateful for your prayers!
Yours in Jesus,
I cannot tell you how relieved I am that I asked you and can begin to unravel all the lies of the serpent's teachings! I ask myself HOW could I be so lead astray for so long ??!! No wonder God had to bring me " Out of Africa "!! I am passing on some of the things I have asked you to my friends in south africa ...they are struggling with this congregation whose one and only leader is still searching for yet ANOTHER Hebrew name !! Also trying to take out all the pagan words, as I told you,like glory,holy etc... I can only say "Woe" !!! I am praying for you and all the people with you ...24/7 !! Thank you -oh thank you Bob...I am in for some hard wonderful searching of the Scriptures
You are most welcome!
We had some very encouraging news today, so thank you for your prayers! We are expecting a blessed result now, but of course the Israelites at Kadesh only kept winning as long as Moses kept his hands up – so please, "keep it up!"
May the Lord be gracious to all your good efforts for His Church.
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things which you have not know. Jer. 33:3
What it is to search and read and call … and still have questions. I have been soaking up The Satanic Rebellion like a person parched to the point of despair who suddenly comes upon an oasis and drinks and drinks and drinks. Thank you! At last the pieces of the puzzle are coming together, such as, How did Satan persuade a third of the angels to join him? Why the Nephilim? Why has God allowed Satan to continue to operate? etc. I’m still puzzled though as to how giants continued to exist after the flood.
I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go. I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Ps 32:8
How wonderful are the promises of our Father. I look forward to my continued learning curve.
Very good to make your acquaintance! Thanks so much for all of your kind and encouraging words about this site.
As to your question about "giants", the KJV – almost uniquely among the versions – uses this word, and it does so to translate two quite different Hebrew words (nephilim and repha'iym). The nephilim who are destroyed by the great flood are styled as "giants" by the KJV – not a terrible translation (since this is the Greek mythological equivalent), but potentially very confusing in and of itself in the absence of further explanation, and how much more so when the KJV goes on to use "giants" for a group (the repha'iym) who bears no relation whatsoever to the nephilim! Here is something I have written before (link: Giants and Nephilim) on giants/nephilim: which explains why the KJV used the term for the nephilim:
As to "giants", this term occurs in the KJV as the result of an unfortunate translation choice. The Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament (i.e., the Septuagint or LXX), in order to make the Hebrew term nephilim (lit., "fallen ones") understandable to an audience versed in classical culture, translated the word as gigantes (finding a rough parallel to the nephilim in the Greek myth of the giants). KJV picked that up, but now people are mislead by the translation since 1) what we think of as a "giant" today is quite different from the Greek idea and 2) people today tend to see the KJV as almost inspired, little realizing that the translators expected an educated audience to understand that this was just a translation (one which was accommodating a difficult Hebrew term to a more familiar mythological one). In short, "giants" in the KJV are actually nephilim – these creatures were not necessarily larger than other people nor different in appearance (whereas the Greek giants were monstrously large and grotesque, having a hundred hands each!). It was their origin that made the nephilim so different: as half-human half-angels, there were exceptionally powerful and gifted individuals (although hostile to God and horrific from the divine point of view), "mighty men which were of old, men of renown" (giboriym asher meol'am anshey hashem).
Outside of Genesis 6:4, there are twelve places in the KJV where the English word "giants" occurs. In only two of these, both occurring in Numbers 13:33, does the word translate the Hebrew nephilim. In many translations (e.g., NIV), it does seem at first glance that this verse establishes the presence of nephilim after the flood. However, this verse is a direct quotation of the report of the ten scouts who brought the bad report which demoralized the Israelites and led to their further 40 years of wandering in the desert. Here is how I would translate the verse:
"And there we saw the nephilim! Sons of Anak – from the nephilim! And [compared to them] we were like grasshoppers in our eyes! And that's just what we were in their eyes too!"
Whenever one reads historical passages in the Bible, one has to take into consideration the source of the comment or action. When Satan tells Eve, "You won't die!", everyone understands (or should) that even though this is in the Bible, the Bible is recording a deliberate lie in this case. It is the source of the comment or action which is often the key. Here is what I have written elsewhere (link: SR 5) about these words:
For properly understanding the mention of "Nephilim" in Numbers 13:33, the context is all important. The naming of the Amorites in Canaan "Nephilim" comes from the cowardly scouts sent to spy out the land. Their discouraging and faithless testimony caused the entire congregation to fall into sin and so to die in the desert instead of inheriting the land of promise. In their fear, these malingerers clearly fastened onto the most intimidating name they could imagine to dissuade their countrymen from attacking the land. The statement that the inhabitants they saw were Nephilim was a metaphorical exaggeration (analogous to when we call a tall person a "giant" today), just as when they proclaimed "we are grasshoppers in their eyes" (similar to Deut.2:10-11; cf. Deut.2:20-21). These Amorites may well have been men of stature (cf. Amos 2:9), but they were not true Nephilim.
The sons of Anak may have been extremely tall, but, like Goliath and his brothers, they were entirely human and not Nephilim. As to the other ten passages which KJV translates as "giants" (Deut.2:11; 2:20 [twice]; 3:11; 3:13; Josh.12:4; 13:12; 15:8; 17:15; 18:16), all of them are translating the Hebrew word repha'iym (רְפָאִים). Nor is KJV consistent in its translation of that word either. For example, they transliterate at Genesis 15:20 ("Rephaites"), but at Deuteronomy 2:20 the translate the very same word "giants". As to why KJV did this, it does seem that whenever these people are referred to as being "tall" that this has influenced the mistranslation (e.g., compare Deut.2:20 with the following verse, and cf. the description of Og at Deut.3:11).
In any case, there are no actual "giants" of any kind and no true nephilim in scripture outside of Genesis chapter six – with one prominent exception: antichrist (see the link). The beast is prophesied to be the devil's offspring (Gen.3:15), and in my view it is likely that the ten kings of Daniel and Revelation will also be sired by fallen angels (see the link: The Sariym and the Seven Kings). The reason that there has apparently been no such involvement of demons producing human offspring since the great flood until just before the end times is the terrible penalty that those who "kept not their first estate" had to pay for their horrific actions: confinement in the darkness of the Abyss – a fearful prospect for any of these quondam creatures of light. But we are on the cusp of the final seven years before our Lord's return, and in short order we can expect the evil one to be "pulling out all the stops", so to speak, because "he knows his time is short" (Rev.12:12).
Thanks again for your encouragement!
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.
Hello there Bob,
Greetings to you from sunny South Africa. Thank YOU for such a prompt and comprehensive answer, but be warned, it was in response to what was probably the first of many questions from me (if you don't mind instructing and teaching from the other end of the world, that it ...?). It was wonderfully opportune that I found your site when I did because this weekend five friends and I are off into the country for a time of retreat and in preparation for this time apart I felt driven to understand certain "mysteries". I tried to explain this need to my friends but they didn't get it, being happy to know what they know, whereas I was experiencing what can best be described as "inner tension". Anyway, this is probably far more than you need or want to know but I express it because your erudition has been a blessing to me as I'm sure it has been, and will continue to be, to many others.
You are most welcome – I'm glad you found this helpful. I wish more Christians were deeply desirous of digging into the truth of the Word of God. That makes all the difference in spiritual growth, progress in God's plan, and personal ministry – all of which are prerequisites for the crowns our Lord will hand out on that great day of days.
Do feel free to write me any time!
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
I thought about the hieroglyphics and their depictions of chimeras, sphinx, and other animals that seemed to be an amalgamation of other animals. Could this be why God brought the animals into the ark, because the fallen angels tampered and defiled the animals in this manner? Sort of like genetic manipulation? And do you think it is possible that the nephilim giants were the ones to carry the large stones to build the pyramids of Egypt?
There are many examples of this sort of thing in all ancient mythologies, but as far as I am aware no fossil evidence for anything of the kind. In Greek antiquity, dinosaur bones were known and they were generally thought to be those of mythical creatures. I have speculated in the past that the devil and his followers were indeed involved in genetic manipulation of the fauna of the original earth before God judged the universe by plunging it into darkness and filling it completely with water (see the link: "Dinosaurs, the Nephilim, Noah, et al."). In my view, it is likely that all fossils stem from that period (whether of altered stock or not). After the restoration of the world and the creation of Adam and Eve, it seems likely that Satan and company would have been restricted from renewing this activity (and there is no evidence they were not so restricted). The pattern seems to be that God will sometimes temporarily allow this sort of outrage on a large scale once but not again thereafter (i.e., to prove what is the hearts of those involved). That is certainly the case with the Nephilim (although here we do have the exception of antichrist and probably also of the ten kings of Revelation being half-angel; see the link). The flood was meant to destroy mankind; the loss of most animal life was collateral damage (or "cursing by association"; see the link). Finally, what I know of Egyptian civilization suggests that these massive monuments are definitely all post-flood, and the Bible certainly implies that the building of a similar structure at Babel after the flood was a unique enterprise and the first of its kind. All the following examples of this sort of thing in Babylonia, Egypt, Central America or wherever are only imitations of what Nimrod tried to accomplish at Satan's behest.
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
How are you? Will you please explain to me Gen.10:4-5?
1 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. 2 The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. 3 And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. 4 And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. Gen.10:4-5 KJV
Thank you sir for everything
How are you, my friend? I have been praying for you, for your health, for your wife, and for your protection and deliverance in all things.
I will attempt to give you an answer to this question (as far as I am able), but first I would like to ask for some help. I know that you are praying for me, and I appreciate it. However, I find myself at a crossroads at present, standing on the bank of the Red Sea, so to speak. I am in need of a deliverance – which I fully expect and to which I have been greatly encouraged. But it is good and proper that we pray for each other over such things, and to that end I eagerly solicit your prayers for timely help and deliverance in this very important matter: it is of the most intense concern to me and mine.
That said, Genesis chapter 10 (I would take the passage right down to the end, through verse 32) gives the "table of the nations", the essential genealogy of all of mankind as human beings multiplied, spread out, and, after the Lord "confused" mankind's common language after the tower of Babel incident (see the link), separated one from another.
There has never been, to my knowledge, a satisfactory investigation of this table, not one, at any rate, which effectively compares what we know from secular history and current linguistics with what the biblical record tells us here (and elsewhere). There are a number of reasons for this. First, those whose interest is scriptural are 1) unlikely to be equipped for such an investigation (e.g., although I do know Greek and Latin and Hebrew, and have some considerable German, some French and a smattering of other languages like Aramaic, I know very little about Sanskrit, let alone anything about Hindi-Urdu or Tocharian or Hittite, etc.); 2) even for those so gifted and so inclined, collating this table with present day languages and peoples and the archeological evidence would be a monumental task, possibly a life's work, and while that might have some value it is far from the most important thing in the Bible. Secondly, as life often has it those with the talent, the training, and the inclination to make such a collation are generally unbelievers (or marginal believers with insufficient respect for scripture) so that they would see Genesis 10 as a curiosity and not "the truth" (as it actually is).
I have dabbled with this table a little bit. I am tempted to see in it the key to explaining, for example, the transition from the Minoans to the early Greeks, and the particulars of the Dorian invasion. But I have never gotten very far with this. Suffice it to say that this chapter makes it very clear that all mankind comes from the same stock, and, after the flood, from one refined stock, Noah's family. Among the problems a person would have today in collating this table with the present day nations of the world are 1) correctly identifying the Hebrew names here with the paltry evidence we possess from other sources for the distribution of prehistoric and ancient nations; and 2) the means of present day identification. On the latter, language, race and culture are not stable over time. For example, conquerors and colonists sometimes give their language and culture to peoples they dominate, yet in terms of the actual stock, the people itself may be of another derivation entirely. There are many examples in history where we know that these three things have been confused. Tibetans listening to Michael Jackson (cultural transplant), Central and South Americans populations speaking Spanish (though most are of Native American blood), or Englishmen claiming a kinship with a Celtic (?) King Arthur who may actually have been a Roman, and who are in their DNA more Danish than anything else, even though they speak a language that is more French than anything else (because of the Norman Conquest). And of course in the USA, the majority of us are "mongrels" in all three categories (especially if our families have been here more than a couple of generations). So while I find these issues most interesting, I recognize that they do not represent very fruitful ground for study (not for me, at any rate). And, after all, Jesus died for every single human being who has ever lived or ever will, regardless of race, culture, language or any other factor whatsoever. The only really important division in the human race from God's point of view is the one occasioned by the response to the question: "What think ye of Christ?"
In Him who is our Lord and Savior and King forever, Jesus Christ the Word of God.
Please help me understand why your explanation of the origin of Cain, leaves out God's Word on this matter: Genesis4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife (Not Satan); and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said. I have gotten a man from the Lord (Not Satan). Your Ministry seems to evolve around this false teaching, please explain why, thanks.
I think you have gotten Ichthys confused with someone else' ministry. I only have one, single listing for Cain in the subject index of many hundreds of entries (see the link: "Was Cain Satan's Literal Seed?") and it is not one I often link to (to say the least). So to say that my ministry "revolves" around this is a real head-scratcher.
Also, your characterization of what I say there is 180 degrees from what I actually say. My purpose at the link is to refute the false claim in the question by quoting Genesis 4:1 and making the same argument you are making.
Please read the link above, and I would be happy to answer any questions. From the body of your text, it doesn't seem as if we have any disagreement in fact.
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
Adam and Eve were in perfect communion with God before the fall. I assume that Adam was immortal before the fall since death had not entered in the human race yet. Would Adam be able to procreate with Eve had sin not entered the human race resulting in death? If so, then I see some conflicts. People are born into this world as babies and need to grow in order to reach adulthood through aging. Had sin not entered the human race, how would Adam and Eve procreate? My apologies if this sounds like a silly question that shouldn't be waste time on.
Also, I heard a sermon by John Macarthur and he stated that he was told by someone who was once in the occult that said that he was given knowledge by demons. That person said that there is someone very high up in the U.N. that is demon possessed and the there are demons living on other planets. He also said that these demons plan on coming to earth one day disguising as aliens and or creators, and that when the rapture occurs, they will tell the unbelievers on earth that they had to remove the Christians from the earth because they were hindering the progression of mankind with their beliefs. I look forward to your answers with excitement as always.
Always good to hear from you.
Sin was not necessary for procreation. God gave Adam and Eve the mandate to "be fruitful and multiply" before the fall (Gen.1:28). Some see this as a "problem" as there could be an issue if there were offspring before the fall, since then we would later on have to have had some in Eden who had fallen and some not. Some have tried to solve this "problem" by suggesting that Adam and Eve fell almost immediately (i.e., within a few days or months before any conception could take place). However, my best estimate is that Adam and Eve had been in the garden some 47 years before the temptation and fall (see the link: The Seven Days of Human History). Here is a synopsis from the link:
9. to 4112 B.C. (Adam's creation): retrogressing 1056 years to the creation of Adam by adding the intervals between generations from Noah to Adam, based upon Genesis 5:3-29. Allowing exactly 2,000 years for Age of the Gentiles from 2065 to 4065 and subtracting the latter figure from 4112, we posit that Adam sinned and was expelled from the garden at the chronological age of 47 (i.e., he was already mature when created, then fell 47 years after his mature creation: 4112 - 4065 = 47).
In reality, there is no problem, not, at least, for those who appreciate the power and wisdom of God. God is certainly capable of granting fertility even to those who are beyond hope in worldly terms (the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah, the birth of Jacob and Esau to Rebeca, the birth of John to Zechariah and Elizabeth), and also, as these three cases show, God is certainly capable of delaying conception in grace until just the right and proper time.
Certainly, God could have dealt perfectly with an Eden that had some fallen and some not (eventually, everyone would have fallen, human beings being what they are), but He arranged things in the way He arranged them no doubt in part for simplicity's sake – for our benefit, that is, that these things might be much easier to understand and appreciate. There most definitely could have been a huge and perfect human population in the garden – that was exactly what Satan was fearing, reckoning that once the number of the fallen angels was reached by this new creation, mankind, he and his followers would find themselves entirely replaced (and I have posited elsewhere that this replacement was precisely what the devil had convinced his potential followers before the fact was an impossibility, thus giving a false credence to his claims that rebellion against God was actually "safe"; see the link: Satan's Rebellion and Fall).
On the issue of demons, even if I believed that a person had contact with a demon and got information from a demon, why in the world would I believe anything a demon had to say? Since this is second hand information (actually, fourth hand here at least), the chances of it being correct are abysmally small. That impression is reinforced by some of the statements this person apparently made. For one thing, there is no such thing as a pre-Tribulation rapture. The resurrection occurs at Christ's return and not before (see the links: "The Origin and the Danger of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture Theory." and "No Rapture"). Therefore the idea that demons will have to "spin" what happened to Christians in a rapture that will not actually take place is ludicrous.
My guess is that the person who is the origin of this story is making it all up. Some of the things are no-brainers that certainly don't require special communication (there are demon influenced/possessed people in the U.N.? No kidding!). What bothers me the most about this is that someone of the stature of John MacArthur would put any stock in something like this. Special revelation, that is, truth which is not already obvious to all human beings from their observation of the world God has made, is the unique province of the Holy Spirit – not demons – and is today available exclusively in the Bible (as illuminated by Him). There are presently no prophets or apostles to give us "new information" not presently found in the Bible, and those who claim to have such a special line of communication from God are lying – certainly, at any rate, if what they tell us does not agree with the Bible. But the idea that we should pay any heed whatsoever to something attributed to demons . . . . . !!!
Thanks as always for your encouraging comments and for your questions.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.
I read your answer to " is Cain Satan's offspring?" ..
Quick question: I read somewhere else that the "forbidden truth of the tree of knowledge" was a metaphor for sex. in other words, Satan came to earth as a figurative serpent and had sex with eve. it sounds a tad bit unrealistic because if Satan had his own cursed seed line that dominated the human race, that would indeed be unfair to the regular humans, as well as the descendents because they would be damned to hell because of that serpent gene. But regardless of how sill that may sound, no literal eating of any kind of fruit would cause a human to realize that they were naked and cover themselves, etc.
I'd just like to hear your opinion regarding that. the website where I got that information from was http://serpentseedline.com/
Good to make your acquaintance. Thanks for the email. I agree with your common sense analysis. I feel certain that if any such thing had happened, scripture would say so. Of course, there is no indication whatsoever in Genesis chapter three or elsewhere in scripture that anything of the kind took place. And as you rightly reason, if this had happened it would have had all sorts of consequences for the human race and human history which are not consistent with what the Bible actually teaches. Simply put, God forbade Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of the tree of knowing good and evil; He didn't say anything about sex (except that the first couple were told to "be fruitful and multiply"). The "mechanics" of the hypothetical are likewise ridiculous. And of course, the biblical record is very clear about what happened:
Genesis 3:1 "Did God really say, 'You must not eat ..."
Genesis 3:2 ""We may eat ..."
Genesis 3:3 "but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden ..."
Genesis 3:5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened ..."
Genesis 3:6 she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Genesis 3:11 "Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
Genesis 3:12 "she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
Genesis 3:13 ""The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Genesis 3:14 "You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life"
Genesis 3:17 "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life."
Genesis 3:18 "you will eat the plants of the field"
Genesis 3:19 "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground"
Genesis 3:22 "He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat"
There is an awful lot of ostensibly literal eating here for me to be convinced that the Bible is not speaking of literal eating (not to mention the fact that intercourse is never mentioned). Furthermore, when the Bible is engaging in metaphors, that is generally very obvious and also explained in the text (e.g., when the Lord tells Jeremiah that the figs in the basket represent the people of Israel: Jer.24:1-8). When there is no contextual sign of a metaphor, taking an extended passage to be metaphorically is almost certainly wrong. Even in cases where there are extended metaphors, these have to be shown to "work" with all the details in the passage in question – and as demonstrated merely by the list above that is clearly far from being the case here. But it has always been true in "biblical interpretation" that there have been people and groups who feel they can take great liberties with scripture to say whatever they wish to say and to prove whatever they wish to prove. Orthodox Bible teaching is always much more deductive than inductive. It takes what scripture actually says and allows scripture to do the guiding (rather than injecting some "neat idea" then playing fast and loose with what the text actually does say). Cults are built on this sort of thing. I notice on the link provided that aliens and "Bible code" are prominent features.
As to the mechanism of corruption, God was certainly free to provide for this in any way He saw fit. The advantage of the fruit was that it was visible and tangible, and that "eating" required more than just an accidental touching (despite Eve's confusion on that point); it was also a brilliant way to produce an immediate "awareness" of sinfulness even as it produced sinfulness through the act of disobedience, i.e., in an activated conscience – something that sinful people in a world of sin were going to need immediately were there to be any hope of navigating the harsh environment outside of Eden and come to repentance (when God graciously offered it).
I have much more about the fall and the transformation of the conscience at the following link: The Fall of Man (in BB 3A).
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,
My whole Problem with this q&a is this, that it was a serpent, but not a snake. If you read Genesis you will find that God punishes the serpent by cursing it to crawl on it's belly after he tricked Eve. To me the serpent was the first reptile.
Good to make your acquaintance. In biblical language, there is no difference between a serpent and a snake (actually in English also they are synonyms). The word in Genesis chapter three for this creature before its cursing (and after too) is nachash (נָחָש), and we see from how it is used later on in the Bible that either snake or serpent is an acceptable translation for this word (e.g., Num.21:6-9; Jer.8:17; Amos 5:19):
Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" "A staff," he replied. The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake (nachash, נָחָש), and he ran from it.
Exodus 4:2-3 NIV
Not only does English (along with the Greek and Hebrew usage) make it impossible to distinguish between serpents and snakes, but there is another factor which makes trying to draw the before-and-after distinction for those creatures using these two synonymous vocabulary items a bit problematic: the designation of Satan as a serpent:
The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Revelation 12:9 NIV
The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent.
Revelation 12:14-15 NIV
He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
Revelation 20:2 NIV
In all four of the instances above the word serpent is the Greek ophis (ὄφις), precisely the same word used in the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) to translate nachash in Genesis chapter three. The problem is that in Revelation 12:4, it says that the "dragon who is the ancient serpent" – "stood" in front of the woman in John's vision (see also Rev.13:1). Now to stand requires feet, and indeed the contemporary notion of dragons in John's day was that they had feet. So while all serpents/snakes crawl as a result of the Genesis curse, the dragon John saw must have had feet, and I would wish to avoid losing that point by attempting to make some non-biblical distinction between serpents and snakes which are the same according to the Bible, not to mention English – even if snake-serpents stood before the curse and crawled after, they are nevertheless the same creatures. If a dragon had a biological designation, it would no doubt also be "reptile", and in this the Bible is the same as modern scientific terminology, for, after all, there a good many reptiles which have feet (including, lizards, turtles, crocodiles, and historically, dinosaurs).
Finally, I think this is the reason why every major English version translates nachash as "serpent" and not "snake" in Genesis chapter three (yet using "snake" later; e.g., NIV's Ex.4:2-3 quoted above), namely, precisely to avoid calling this creature which originally stood on its feet a "snake". Of course in etymology, traditional English usage, and the actual vocabulary of the Bible, there is no basis to distinguish between the two, and it could be potentially confusing to try and do so – at least with these two words – because that could confound our understanding of the dragon in Revelation 12-13. So while I certainly agree with you that what Genesis 3 says is literally true, and that these creatures all stood up before the curse and all crawl after the curse, calling them snakes or serpents before or after is equally correct.
Hope you find this helpful,
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior who will soon crush Satan under our feet,
Thank you that is helpful, I was curious as to well. When you see an old picture of that Scripture. They show you a man and woman. And a slithering snake, but we know that over time things evolve. Heck I even think Adam and Eve looked like us a lot of things change. After millions of years Not just that but almost all reptiles crawl on there belly look at the alligator, the crock, and many. Many others. sorry for all these questions, I am a firm believer in God and Christ but most people stick to some traditional religion or other I just look for the truth. Such as Genesis chapter 6 I tell people it sounds too similar to Greek mythology. I feel that the 2 are connected but everyone I've talked to says that's can't be, it's blasphemy and everything else what's do you think.
This ministry is not associated with any particular tradition, being instead – like you – interested in following the truth wherever the Spirit leads (please see the link: About Ichthys).
As to the Nephilim in Genesis chapter six, this is a question I get quite a lot, and I have many links to it. The best place to start would be: "Nephilim Proof" (and this will take you to the other links as well).
Please feel free to write me back about any of this.
In Jesus Christ the God-Man, our dear Lord and Savior who died that might live eternally,
Thank you. You know I used to think I was the only one searching for answers. Not just in the Christian world and while my beliefs on certain ancient cultures are different it's good to know there are others out there who are searching for the truth however it seems like trying to solve a 200,000 year old jigsaw puzzle sometimes. Oh, I almost forgot how many books are in the Bible, not just the ones the church decided to keep. To me that's just wrong what gives people the right to hide God's message from the world.
The human "clock" has only been running a little over 6,000 years (see the link: Human History), though we don't know just how long the angels were around before Satan's revolt resulted in divine judgment on the universe then restoration in Genesis 1:2 on the other side of the Genesis gap (see the link).
As to the canon of scripture, as a fellow believer in the deity and work on the cross of Jesus Christ, I would caution you against paying any attention to non-biblical sources. The traditional church has its problem, but the canon was established immediately after the books of the Bible were written (notwithstanding Roman and secular propaganda on this subject). And not only is the canon the only inspired source of truth available to us (apart from the message of the goodness and wisdom and righteousness of God writ large on everything He has created) but these "other books" are all fakes and filled with all manner of false information. Here a couple of links that will give you an idea what I mean:
The Bible and the Canon: The Inspired Word of God.
The Gospel of Judas
The Gospel of Thomas
The Apocrypha, the Book of Enoch, and Divine Inspiration
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and only Savior,
What time does the show start? 6,000. Years that's what we say but I'm pretty sure no one knows for sure I. Mean unless we could talk to someone 6,000 years old. It's like a buddy of mine told me science is a guessing game
The thing I like about you guys is you don't settle for one religion or another, you put the pieces of the puzzle together and try to find the best possible answer. Oh and one more thing what's your thought on the war of 1812, I mean when the British burned down the Capitol it's amazing to think of what happened next. I watched a show about the war of 1812 a couple weeks ago on the history channel and they showed how the Brits invaded the U.S. and when they got to the Capitol no one was there so while it was still burning that very night a very strong storm came and one of the men said he had even seen a tornado form all the British troops who did survive fled the Capitol. As far as church I hardly go although I do take time everyday to talk to the lord I. Was curious as to what books are still out there I know there's the book of Enoch, and the dead sea scrolls.
The "clock" is a seven "day" clock: seven millennial days for mankind which match the seven days of reconstruction of the universe in Genesis 1:2 following (see the link: The Seven Millennial Days). So the "show" is getting very close to beginning (the link has specifics).
Let me assure that this ministry is 100% Bible-based and that I am an unequivocal follower of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who as God was "face to face" with the Father before creation and came into the world taking on human form in order to die for all of our sins.
As to other books (you have my links on Enoch), the Dead Sea scrolls are in my opinion very much over-valued in this sense: they add virtually nothing to our understanding of the Bible (in truth, that is). This collection of texts found in caves at Qumran contains a variety of materials, much of it extra-biblical. I find that part of the scrolls very uninteresting, personally. The wide divergence in scholarship on what these diverse writings "mean" is so extreme that no one can agree about what the Qumran "community" really was or what it really believed: even after all these finds, Josephus' (no doubt faulty) picture of the Essenes still remains our best view of that. What is exciting are the Old Testament scrolls found there. There is, for example, a large part of the book of Isaiah on two scrolls (now kept in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem). What these and other copies of biblical texts tell us by comparison in my view is that the text of the Hebrew Bible we have today (the Masoretic text) is highly accurate (see the link: "The Qumran Scrolls").
Finally, I do love CSPAN. This is the bicentennial of the War of 1812 which probably explains why they have had several authors on with books on the subject. USMC lore has it that at the battle of Bladensburg Capt. Miller and his vastly outnumbered Marines sent the redcoats packing several times before being overwhelmed ten to one – and relates that for this reason the British out of respect didn't burn the Marine Barracks which still stand today at 8th and I streets in D.C.
Yours in Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords,
I have been learning by transcription. I find that Bible Basics part 3A is entitled "The Purpose, Creation, and Fall of Man" and that the Satanic Rebellion part 3 is entitled "The Purpose, Creation, and Fall of Man". The texts do not appear to be identical [for the first few paragraphs]. Could you please get me on the right track?
I have transcribed the Satanic Rebellion as listed and Bible Basics through part 3B but I cannot find part 3A [according to the table of contents]. At your convenience, could you point me in the right direction?
Good to hear from you, and let me just say how much I admire your persistence!
As to your question, SR 3 and BB 3A contain much similar material. I wrote SR 3 first, then adapted it when I got to the "Anthropology" section of Basics. Because I did adapt it, and because in editing these files I go over them separately, there are a few places where the files are not identical. However, if you have done BB 3A, that really does suffice, especially since BB 3A has an additional appendage not common to SR 3: "Status Quo in the Devil's World" (see the link). These studies are available not only on the internet (HTML), but also for download in the following formats: Word, WordPerfect, and Adobe PDF – so I would hope that you might have some device such as tablet or reader which might obviate the necessity of this task altogether.
I hope this clears up the problem for you, but do feel free to write back in the event any confusion remains.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I have now restarted the study of your resources and, inevitably, new questions occurred to me. I would hate to be a nuisance, and to be honest, I feel I may well have already become one, constantly bothering you with a plethora of questions. Please, do feel free and encouraged to put my email at the bottom of the pile and answer it whenever you find convenient. Although your answers are enlightening, you must be a very busy person and I cannot help but think how many people must be sending you their questions, relying on your knowledge and understanding to clear their doubts and help them grow. And I just keep jumping into that queue.
You wrote: ' we understand that God was well aware of this when He gave these words to Moses to pen'.
I wasn't aware that it was Moses who wrote Genesis. Since there is probably still an ongoing debate with regard to the authorship of this book (and others too, I guess), could you please explain to me how do we know that is was Moses who wrote it?
It is always a blessing to hear from you, my friend. Apologies for the time-lag. I have been ill for some time now (not serious – a bad chest-cold that has slowed me down for the better part of a month), and I let it "cramp my style" more than I should.
As to your first question, this is the Jewish tradition, and, much more importantly, what the testimony of scripture strongly suggests, e.g.:
For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'
"Now about the dead rising--have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?"
"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'"
Luke 16:29 NIV
"But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'"
Luke 20:37 NIV
The book of Genesis, in particular, represents information that quite clearly could only be known by the direct inspiration of God Himself, and precedes directly the account of the Exodus which is itself followed by three books for which Moses would be the most likely author even from a secular perspective (except, of course, for the final verses of Deuteronomy 34).
The Polish translation of Genesis 10:8-9, is completely different to the one you propose:
'It was [this Nimrod] who became the first "mighty-one" (i.e., famous and prominent individual) on the earth [after the flood]. In particular, he was mighty at hunting [men] in opposition to the Lord. For this reason we have the proverb "[To be] like Nimrod, mighty at hunting [men] in opposition to the Lord".'
Specifically, it's not mentioned that he was hunting men and that he was hunting them against the Lord. In my translation it's simply written that he was the most famous hunter. Other English translations (I normally use biblegateway to browse through the passages when doing readings at Ichthys), are also different, stating 'before' the Lord', instead of 'in opposition to the Lord':
8 Cush was the father[c] of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, "Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD." (NIV)
Yes, this is another widely misunderstood passage. Hunting had unquestionably been around since Noah and his family were given the right to eat animals in Genesis 9:3: "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you" (NIV). So it is clearly wrong to take the "hunting" aspect of Nimrod's description as the point in Genesis 10:9 as if this were some novel activity or as if Nimrod was doing something unique in hunting animals. That interpretation is also inconsistent with verse 8 where he is described as "a mighty man" in general irrespective of any "hunting" and even more so with verses 10-11 where his activities are entirely political and have nothing to do with "hunting" as we think of it. In fact, the Hebrew root tshudh (along with its synonymous root tsadhah) means essentially "to lie in wait for" or "to ambush" and, only by metaphorical extension, "to furnish oneself with provisions by so doing". Hunting for animals is a common means by which the latter is accomplished in scripture, but that is always a matter of context in respect to the use of these roots. Here in Genesis 9:9 the idea is one of "stealthily opposing the Lord". The Hebrew preposition here, liphney, is also a strong clue that serious translators / interpreters should not have missed, because "before the Lord" would be absolutely meaningless in the context: the Lord was not there; how could Nimrod do anything "before the Lord". "Against the Lord", however, is not only a perfectly acceptable translation (meaning literally then "in the Lord's face"), but fits in the context when all the pieces are put together: Nimrod was stealthily opposing the Lord with his political activities – this works with verses eight and ten, with the context of the construction of the tower of Babel, and with Nimrod's name, which means in literal Hebrew, "Let us rebel". Please see the link: in SR 5: "Satan's postdiluvian attack on human freedom (the Tower of Babel)".
Just out of curiosity - what happened to the fish when the earth was flooded during Noah's time?
Well, fish have no problem with water so I see no indication that they would have suffered any serious problems. After all, the preservation of animal life through the ark was a means God used but certainly did not have to. While scripture is very clear about the fact that all human beings come from Adam and Eve (cf. Gen.3:20), the Bible does not say nor would God have been in any way constrained from re-creating any species not on the ark (or any maritime species that might have been extinguished as a result of the flood).
You wrote: ' All of the scriptures just considered refer to the idea we have discussed above, namely that the central point of the image of God in Man is the ability to exercise and respond to authority...)'.
Why is the latter - 'respond to authority' part of the image of God in Man, if there is no authority to which God has to respond?
The difference here is between "being God" – who is sovereign in His essence – and merely possessing "the image of God" – which allows us to use the measure of sovereignty given to us either to obey Him or to become our own sovereign. The image of God empowers and is synonymous with free will. God has SOVEREIGN WILL; we have free will or the choice to respond to Him or not. Sovereignty is a key characteristic of God's perfect essence (see the link). Our limited sovereignty extends only over our own free will and whatever legitimate area God chooses to subordinate to us (e.g., parents over children; king over subjects; human beings over animal life). We may possess such legitimate authority, but if so it is derivative from God who is THE authority.
I've given it some time, but still struggle to understand the following statement:
' the phrase in Genesis 5:1, "He made [mankind] in His likeness", can be explained as a deliberately conflation of dual phrase used in Genesis 1:26 "in our image, according to our likeness. This technique is no doubt used by Moses because more than the original man, Adam, are in view (so that the focus naturally shifts to the multiplicity of mankind, but with the "in" retained to recall the essential free will each individual possesses; note that in Gen.9:6 where the case is individual it is again in His image)'.
You explain that 'in' means a closer relationship than 'according to' and 'image' implies spiritual essence, as opposed to 'likeness', which equals distinct personalities. I still cannot understand why this conflation of dual phrase is used in Genesis 5:1.
It's admittedly not an easy point, and plenty of exegetes and theologians have used Genesis 5:1 to claim that there is "no difference" between image and likeness in Genesis chapter one. However, in all languages of which I am aware, "in accordance with" does express a comparison which is often not exact, and ought to express a relationship which is not as close as "in" (where "made in accordance with the likeness" and "made in the image" are concerned). Being completely convinced that there is a difference and that the explanation given here is the correct one (and I think you will see from the footnotes that there are other authorities cited as well), the task becomes the need to explain Genesis 5:1. Therefore proceeding on the assumption that this is the correct distinction to be drawn at Genesis 1:26, Genesis 5:1 must not contradict this essential meaning. For otherwise there are only two other possibilities: either Genesis 1:26 means something completely different (and one would have to figure out what that might be), or the Bible is not using these terms with any particular precision. While it is true that one often finds exegesis which lays too great a stress on particular phrases, it is equally possible to err in interpretation by not taking seriously enough what the Bible does say. Getting this balance correct is more of an art than a science. For me, the key distinction (though I will grant you that I could have phrased it more elegantly not to mention more clearly) is the subject matter. While Genesis 1:26 is referring to the initial creation of Man by God, Genesis 5:1 specifically states that it is "the book of the generations of mankind". This key word (toledoth in Hebrew) is also critical to understanding the Genesis gap (i.e., it is present at Genesis 2:4 but not at Genesis 1:1 - 1:2; see the link). This key word requires us to view the passage of time in the sequel to creation (just as at Genesis 2:4), so that the use of the word "day" (Hebrew yom) with the infinitive from "make" ('asah) means not "one day" but an era or period of time (often the case with "day" in the Old Testament; see the discussion in SR 5 under the link: "Evidence for the "Seven Days" Interpretation") over the course of which this further "making" occurred (as opposed to near instantaneous initial creation).
While many translations obscure the key vocabulary here, the fact that Genesis 5:1 is concerned with the biological expansion of the human race under divine auspices (rather than the direct creation of the first man and first woman) means that we have to do with an entirely different situation. In such a case, a distinction in the phraseology was not accidental but necessary to make it clear to the reader that the biological reproduction of fallen humanity (even though impossible without God's direct involvement in actually giving life by imparting the human spirit at birth; see the link) was significantly different from what had originally occurred on the sixth day. "This book" (i.e., Genesis chapter five) is concerned with "the generations of mankind, throughout the period when God created them (i.e., mankind meant by 'adham, not merely "Adam"). At this point, therefore, the essential nature of mankind at original creation has already been explained, and, on the other hand, this passage is discussing not original creation but the expansion of the human race outside of Eden. In this respect, mankind in its multiplicity most certainly was "made in the likeness of God", because, "like" God, there most definitely "were" multiple human beings. To be clear, "in the likeness" would not have been incorrect at Genesis 1:26, but by saying "according to" and contrasting it with "in" we are given to see that the "image" is a more exact parallel than the "likeness". That is to say, we are more "like God" in our free will paralleling His WILL than we are in our multiplicity of persons paralleling His threefold Godhead. Shifting to "in" here avoids (or should avoid) seeing Genesis 5:1 and 1:26 as referring to precisely the same thing.
Having spent some time on the initial part of your Biblical Anthropology study I'm beginning to understand the points you make, in particular regarding the 'image' and 'likeness'. Although, they are based on an assumption origins of which are not completely clear to me. You write:
'"Image" represents mankind's common spiritual essence, and is analogous to the divine essence common to all three members of the Trinity. "Likeness" represents the distinct personalities of individual human beings, and is analogous to the different persons of the three members of the Trinity'.
Why and how do we know that 'image represents spiritual essence' and 'likeness represents distinct personalities'? Do these conclusions stem from the meaning of the Hebrew words used or from something else?
On this question please see what I have written directly above. The Hebrew is pretty straightforward; what it means is a matter of interpretation. We are told in chapter two verse seven that "the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being". Therefore we know right from the following chapter that human beings are both material and spiritual beings, and that the spiritual part comes directly from God. We know from elsewhere in scripture what is assumed (and I would say obvious) from the first chapters of Genesis that God, on the other hand, is not material but entirely spiritual. Therefore whatever "image" and "likeness" may mean, they do not refer to physical image or material likeness: the comparison is spiritual alone. God is spirit; man has a spirit which when imparted into our material frame, as in the case of Adam at Genesis 2:7, produces life. God is three in Person; there are many human beings, but all possess individual self-determination, distinctiveness of personality, and the ability to choose. So God has SOVEREIGN WILL – and has given us free will; God exists in a perfect Godhead of three Persons – and has made many individual human persons who in our totality make up the perfect complement of the human race. The latter is a less precise in comparison also for the fact that while the Godhead is always unanimous in everything, most human beings refuse to acknowledge God (though, blessedly, some of us do).
Seeing free will as a counterpart of divine WILL as the image of God is, I would argue, a natural development stemming from a close consideration of these passages (and while most theologies miss some of the finer points I think you will find that this is not an entirely unique conclusion on my part); seeing multiplicity of persons as more roughly parallel to the perfect three-fold Godhead as the essential meaning of "according to our likeness" is somewhat unique to this ministry, at least in the precise way it is developed here (Thieme and Laidlaw are certainly close to and have influenced what I teach). Both principles, while they may not flow immediately and necessarily from Genesis 1:26 are not only consistent with it but, after much consideration, the answer to it (I believe, at least). As with many doctrines of scripture, one teaching, principle, truth, verse, phrase often illuminates others. Ideally, doctrine is built upon everything the Bible has to say about a subject. When all of the other information about the nature of mankind and the nature of God contained in scripture is carefully considered, I believe that this explanation satisfies all of these truths.
If you are asking how I got from "A" to "B", I would have to say that this is a process of study and consideration, sometimes taking very many years. It includes considering the teachings of others, reading the critical passages over and over again not only in English but also Hebrew and Greek as appropriate, development of theological hypotheses which are tested against pertinent scriptures and other associated doctrines both deliberately and also heuristically (as I go through day by day reading of scriptures and studying / researching the truth of the Word), and, finally, the painstaking work of putting these things together in an accessible study. As a teacher by profession, I often find that in order to teach difficult information to others, one has to come to understand it thoroughly oneself. When it comes to actually writing these things down for consumption, not only are previously unanticipated problems encountered, but also, blessedly, it is often the case for me, at any rate, that this is when the pieces of the puzzle often come together. I am certain that the ministry of the Spirit is the critical factor in all of this. I am also certain that the Spirit honors proper procedure and appropriate effort in all phases: tooling up, researching generally and in particular, thinking, considering, working the issue and writing it up. Naturally, that does not mean that the end product is going to be perfect because there is a human element involved which is far from that. But I do think that it is possible to look at the end product after the fact and see fairly clearly (and fairly quickly) where the Spirit of God has been involved and where He has not – and often to what degree as well.
Could you please clarify the following:
'He could have made angels incapable of falling and human beings incapable of sinning – but not and have them also possess the true divine spark, the true "image and likeness of God", for that image and likeness are inextricably wrapped up in the ability to choose for Him (or to refuse to do so).'
If I understand it correctly, you state that the true 'image and likeness of God' are linked to the ability to choose for Him. I cannot quite comprehend it - it would mean that the image of God is linked to the ability to choose for Him, as if He could choose himself. I would appreciate if you could clarify this statement.
See the answer to the question above. God decrees; we choose. The difference is one of both quality and quantity (to an infinite degree in both cases). It is nevertheless true that there is a deliberate relationship and therefore a legitimate (and biblical) comparison between what God does/decrees/WILLs and we do/choose/will. What we are and what we are here for is illuminated by correct contemplation of the divine as revealed in scripture, but only vice versa if we factor in His infinity and perfection.
Does God limit human's life span to 120 years in Genesis 6:3? If so, then why did some humans live longer, and if not, then what is the meaning of this passage?
Genesis 6:3: Here is what I say in SR 5 about this:
Verse three suggests a double judgment of the most extreme severity. In a mere 120 years (brief by the extended life spans of the time), God would all but bring the human race to an end. And for the progeny of those who would survive in the postdiluvian world to come, the longevity Man had previously experienced (nearly a millennium in some cases) would be reduced to a scant 120 years, and this would be a maximum norm scarcely ever approached, and only rarely exceeded.
The 120 years is both a) the limit for the current generation to repent, and b) the "maximum norm" anyone of any later generation could expect to achieve (although this was gradually phased in after the flood). Do some break the rule? Maybe. I have not hear of anyone living 130 years. If someone did, that would be so exceptional as to prove the rule in my view.
Why does Cain build a city (Genesis 4:17)? I take it the world population mush have been very small if it's only the second generation after Adam and Eve? Where did Cain's wife come from?
Under the exceptionally benign conditions which obtained before the great flood, with virtually no disease and with life-spans of nearly 1000 years, a population boom out of almost nothing is not so difficult to imagine. Keil and Deilitzsch's calculation for the pre-flood population of 10 million was, in my view, very conservative. Today, of course, there are certain biblical restrictions on marriage with practices such as sibling marriage being outlawed. In the beginning, however, this was clearly impossible if the human race were to survive past Adam and Eve's direct offspring. After all, since God created Adam from the ground and Eve from Adam but everyone else had to spring from these two, sibling marriage was the only way for any other people to arise who were not the direct descendants of our first parents. Adam and Eve apparently had very many children (with only the theologically significant ones rating mention in scripture), and each of their offspring likely experienced the very same. If a couple marries at twelve and lives nearly a thousand years having a child every year, well, as these in turn marry and intermarry it is easy to see how the early human population could have exploded geometrically, so that cities were certainly reasonable developments even early on. Scripture doesn't say, but Cain could have lived many hundreds of years as most of the rest of these early people did.
What is your view on the diversity of human races all over the world? There was a limited amount of time since the creation of Adam and Eve for humans to diversify. I know that there is nothing impossible for God and this also wouldn't be much of a problem, nevertheless the question occurred to me during the reading.
I am no expert on genetics but from the little bit I do know I think I am safe in saying that while the world is "culturally diverse", human beings are all incredibly close in terms of essential DNA. To look at it from the other point of view, namely, the physical distinctions which do exist between people, we see these encapsulated in the offspring of Noah and obvious even from that "rebirth" of human population (i.e., in the catalog of the nations in Genesis chapter 10).
Could you explain the beginning of Genesis 3: 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.
Serpent is described as a wild animal created by the Lord, how does it relate to him being Satan? Did Satan choose serpent's body once it has been created?
Here is what I have written about the word "crafty" and Satan's choice of the serpent in this context (in BB 3A):
And the two of them, the man and his wife, were nude, but they felt no shame. And the serpent, more than any other wild creature which the Lord God had made, was shrewd.
The Hebrew word 'arum (ערום), rendered as "shrewd" above, is very difficult to translate into English. It refers to a complexity of character which may either be laudatory ("prudent, careful, circumspect") or derogatory ("wily, crafty, cunning"). Thus the King James translation is, in one sense, quite good, for "subtle" is one of only a handful of English adjectives that can bear the meaning of "deep and complicated" in reference to personality without choosing between positive and negative attribution. Now this is a very important issue in the interpretation of Genesis 3:1. The serpent, along with all other living things on the earth, was one of the Lord God's own creations (Gen.1:24-25). We cannot be sure of its appearance before it was cursed to crawl on its belly, but one thing of which we can be certain is that such a creature would never have been capable of (or interested in) tempting his human sovereigns to sin (cf. Gen.1:26 & 28). "Subtle" and "shrewd" bespeak a quality of animal personality without at the same time attributing to the serpent an innate malevolence – what it did, it did under the control and guidance of the devil (as we shall shortly see).
But within these famous verses of scripture is an important point often overlooked in exegesis: the final verse of chapter two is intimately connected with the opening verse of chapter three, and the paronomasia between "nude" and "shrewd" (i.e., between 'arom and 'arum: almost identical in the Hebrew) serves as a very deliberate connection and contrast. Adam and Eve are naked, and so unsophisticated in the ways of the world are they that they do not even perceive the necessity for what is perhaps the most basic of all human conventions, the wearing of clothing. One should expect nothing less from our first parents before partaking of the fruit of the forbidden tree: they had no cognizance or understanding of the difference between good and evil since everything they saw, or touched, or experienced in any way was good. Certainly they felt no shame at being naked – they hadn't even a clue what shame was.
In the animal kingdom, the wild creature who contrasted most sharply to our first parents was the serpent. His careful, circumspect, shy behavior was very different from the innocently open and straight-forward conduct of Adam and Eve. This was animal behavior, of course, behavior in quite a different category from our own, but inevitably viewed by us (and our first parents) in anthropomorphic terms (in the same way that we observe distinct "personalities" in our pet cats and dogs). Adam and Eve would certainly have even more reason to think in these terms if, indeed, some of what these pre-fall creatures uttered was perceptible to them (a distinct possibility since Eve, after all, does not seem at all shocked when the serpent addresses her). By calling the serpent "subtle" or "shrewd", scripture directs our attention to his worldliness in contrast to Adam and Eve's "nude" innocence, without, at the same time, making the serpent seem intrinsically bad (he certainly did not seem so to Adam and Eve before the fall). Thus the serpent was the perfect choice for Satan's attack, and apparently a creature very familiar to our first parents because of his uniqueness. Because his "personality" bespoke a careful "wisdom" of sorts, he was just the mouthpiece the devil was looking for to spread his lies.
You wrote: 'Now Adam and Eve did not have a Bible, but instead they had personal instruction from the Lord God Himself (an epiphany, or pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ)'.
Does that mean that it's Jesus who Adam and Eve see in Gen.3:8? Does it also imply that all of Jesus was the form of all of God's manifestations here on earth starting with Genesis up until the times of Apostles?
Yes and (with some exceptions such as Daniel chapter 7) yes. For example, we find out at Isaiah chapter six was actually speaking of Jesus, not the Father:
Isaiah said this ([i.e., chapter six]) because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.
John 12:41 NIV
I have this detailed in BB 1 under "Theophany and Christophany".
As I'm going through the part of BB 3A Anthropology which describes the way the devil tempted Eve and drew her into the dialogue, I would like to ask you to explain devil's question:
"Did God really tell you not to eat from any tree in the garden?"
This sentence can be rendered in numerous ways into Polish, and the word 'any' can be translated into both 'all' and 'none', depending on the context (and in English it's also translated into 'any' or 'every', depending on the translation). Also, a question whereby 'not to' appears can also be understood in many ways in Polish. Since the correct understanding of this question is key in understanding the mechanism of the temptation, could you please paraphrase the question and explain it?
Did the devil say: 'Did God really tell you to eat from all trees in the garden?' (rendering without the 'not' might make it easier to understand, if that's possible), or 'Did God really forbid you to eat from any trees in the garden?' (Meaning - God didn't allow Adam and Eve to eat from any trees, so they couldn't eat any fruit of any tree at all, which obviously wasn't the case).
Hopefully I expressed my question clearly enough. I don't think my Polish translation renders the question exactly as it is in English, which then made it difficult for me to understand the part of your exegesis that follows.
Also, can you explain what you mean by 'rider' ('As the serpent's teacher, Eve was not particularly well prepared. First, she had added to the Lord's injunction (Adam's "rider" about not even touching the tree))'.
Translation, of course, is an art. Your problem is also compounded by the fact that you are attempting to render a translation of a translation. The points at which my particular version may depart from the Polish version here are likely to be (although I cannot be sure) merely a matter of the emphasis. I know of no version which gets the gist of the verse wrong. What I have tried to do with this particular rendering is emphasize the wiliness of the evil one in his efforts to undermine Eve's confidence about what she "really knew". If you left well enough alone here, that would certainly be fine.
You wrote: 'The possibility of disobedience with impunity, "eat and not die", quickly transforms Eve from an advocate for God to a curious listener. Her zeal for God ebbs away rapidly and she becomes more than willing to give the devil his say (Rom.10:2).'
Did you put Romans 10:2 here in order to liken Eve to Israelites, who don't 'base their zeal on knowledge' and try to 'establish their own righteousness'?
Yes. Misplaced zeal and the problems it causes (in both instances) is the point of comparison.
Why does God curse the serpent? It is the devil who decided to possess this animal for reasons you explained. I agree with what you wrote about the serpent depicting Satan's methods of attack well, but then can the serpent be blamed for being a vehicle to Satan assault being an animal? Did the serpent possess free will, like Adam and Eve, or anything that could have defended him against Satan's possession? It looks almost as if Satan chose the serpent for his 'worldly' way of being and then God punished him for something that I'm not at this moment sure he could have prevented. I obviously know that if God decided to punish the serpent, that is for a good reason, whether I understand it or not, I would just like to understand it.
Animals do not have free will, so, clearly, the punishment of the serpent is not really "personal". That is to say, while I cannot say definitively from scripture it seems to me that the "spirits of animals" are no more going to be lost or destroyed in the world to come than the spirits of angels and human beings. But while we moral creatures have a choice about that eternal future, animals do not – so all the more reason for assuming that they will be present in eternity. It would be a blessed irony if Satan were to be shut out of eternity by his own choice while the serpent is not, even though it was taken over by the devil and cursed in this life. Better a thousand cursed lives than missing out on eternity.
You wrote: 'The Lord God's further promise of future hostility between the woman's Seed (Jesus Christ: cf. Gen.22:17 with Gal.3:16)'.
I think, again I may be wrong, but you may have meant Genesis 12:7 instead of or in addition to Genesis 22:17.
Genesis 12:7 would be a good passage to include. The point of reference from Genesis is the seed of Abraham (and it would have been better perhaps if I had taken the citation through verse 18).
You wrote: 'By virtue of his original position as God's representative on earth, on the basis of his priority of creation, and because of the fact that he had not been deceived, Adam would be heir to the authority position in marriage as would his male descendants – provided there would be any marriages'
Although I understand your first two arguments for Adam's authority, but I would like you to clarify the third - 'because of the fact that he had not been deceived'. That is true, but then Adam committed his sin in cognizance, which can be considered even worse - why do you consider that an argument for his authority?
First, let me point out that this is precisely what Paul says about that issue:
I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
1st Timothy 2:12-15 NIV
So even if my explanation here is not convincing, this is still what scripture suggests. I would say that for a person in authority it is better to be a sinner who is not easily deceived than a sinner who is easily deceived. For all are sinners, so being "not deceived" is better than being "deceived". That is to say, the issue rides not upon respective culpability. Were there any difference in the justice of God between Adam's sin and Eve's sin then of course we would assume that Eve was not as bad as Adam and for that reason should be in authority (or whatever). But in God's justice "eating was eating". Both were equally guilty. In the authority question, therefore, it is not an issue of relative sinfulness but of who would be better at exercising authority in a sinful world. Clearly, since we cannot pick between a sinless and a sinful gender but only between two equally sinful genders, it is better to have in charge someone who is not going be deceived in the decisions that need to be made. For while it is certainly true that men make many bad decisions, often motivated by sin, from the biblical point of view in terms of family structure in particular for the woman to be in charge would as a rule result not only in the sort of bad decisions motivated by sin to which all are prone but also bad decisions coming as a result of being more easily deceived than the other party. Satan picked on Eve for good reason.
Genesis 3:24 makes a question appear - where was (and is) the Garden of Eden? Adam is expelled, but the Garden isn't destroyed. And since these events were taking place on earth, what can be said about the location and current state of the Eden?
In my estimation, it was at the present place of Jerusalem. Please see the links:
The Seven Edens
The Seven Edens and the Eden of Adam and Eve
You wrote (about condemned human beings staying in paradise): 'Furthermore, without the sure and certain knowledge of an impending physical death, human beings would have little motivation to consider their sinful manner of life and their need for a Savior to deliver them from sin and death'.
Since Adam and Eve were already condemned to the threefold death, why do you say 'without the sure and certain knowledge of an impending physical death'? Is it the case of a still possible access to the tree of life?
Adam and Eve were not expelled from Eden until after the Genesis 3 judgment. God clothes them with the skins of animals in verse 21 (the protoevangelium; see the link), explains that Man must be expelled so that they will not keep eating of the tree of life, then expels them in verse 22.
You wrote: 'Adam and Eve would have been anything but comforted by the harsh realities of the new world east of Eden'.
How do we know they moved to the east?
By comparing the following (NIV) verses:
Gen 2:8: Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
Gen 3:24: After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Gen 4:16: So Cain went out from the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Since the people apparently originally stayed close to the entrance of Eden on the east side of the garden (kept from reentering by the Cherubim and the flashing sword), and since from this place Cain moved east, the direction of expulsion, original settlement, and eventually expansion all seem to be eastward. Incidentally, since the first human habitations of note after the flood are in the Tigris-Euphrates basin (cf. Gen.10:9-10), this would also be an indication of Jerusalem as, geographically, the original place of Eden (i.e., as west of the eventual heartland of human habitation).
I'm wondering about what attitude should Christians have towards nature. Your comparison of the world being a 'battlefield' which there is no point cleaning until the enemy is defeated I find very illustrious and accurate. What I still wonder about is the flora and fauna. Am I correct to assume that neither forms a part of the devil's world system (as animals and definitely plants don't have the free will to choose against God)? Even if the assumption is correct, this is by no means to suggest that we should all start investing all the resources in some ecological initiatives, as there are issues infinitely more important that should occupy our time, issues that, for example, regard salvation.
The reason I'm asking this question is that as Genesis 1:26 states, human being was made to 'rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground' and hence should be a good 'regent' on this earth. Very clearly, a lot human beings, driven by greed and other evil intentions are reckless towards animals and flora alike. Based on my limited knowledge I believe that as Christians we should focus on things that are important, and regarding other matters, such as this, display attitude worthy of a good 'regent', even if this world will come to an end. Please let me know your take on that and correct my views where needed.
As in all things, it is usually the path that avoids extremes which is sanctified. On the one hand, I think it is safe to say that behavior/policies which pollute and destroy the environment in a selfish and dangerous way are patently wrong. On the other, behavior/policies which prevent people from utilizing or enjoying what God has given us are equally wrong. Getting involved with either side (both of which may have some points in their propaganda with which we might agree) is not only a waste of time but risks being coopted by groups which, on both sides, are at the very least heavily influenced if not largely controlled by Satan. In the Boy Scouts, we had a saying, "Let no one ever say that all was beautiful here before you came". That is, we are right to make use of and enjoy this earth; we are not right to do so in a way which ruins it for others (hyper-exploitation) or prevents others from using it out of "good" motivations (hyper-environmentalism). The key to seeing the evil behind both extremes is the harm it does to individuals, destroying their health on the one hand or their livelihoods on the other. It's no good to have a nice livelihood if you die from it; it's no good to have all possible threats to your health removed if you starve to death in the dark as a result.
a) You wrote: 'While Genesis 1:26 is referring to the initial creation of Man by God, Genesis 5:1 specifically states that it is "the book of the generations of mankind". This key word (toledoth in Hebrew) is also critical to understanding the Genesis gap (i.e., it is present at Genesis 2:4 but not at Genesis 1:1 -1:2)'.
Could you please explain how this word helps us understand the Genesis gap?
Also, you wrote: ' In this respect, mankind in its multiplicity most certainly was "made in the likeness of God", because, "like" God, there most definitely "were" multiple human beings. To be clear, "in the likeness" would not have been incorrect at Genesis 1:26, but by saying "according to" and contrasting it with "in" we are given to see that the "image" is a more exact parallel than the "likeness". That is to say, we are more "like God" in our free will paralleling His WILL than we are in our multiplicity of persons paralleling His threefold Godhead. Shifting to "in" here avoids (or should avoid) seeing Genesis 5:1 and 1:26 as referring to precisely the same thing'.
Your answer certainly helped me progress my understanding, but there are still two issues I would like you to clarify, as at the moment all the pieces still don't fit together in my head.
b) Firstly, regarding all these passages my understanding was that both 'in' and 'according to' are free themselves from any association with either 'image' or 'likeness' and only refer to the closeness of relationship.
Although, when commenting on Genesis 5:1 you say that: 'the "in" retained to recall the essential free will each individual possesses'. I cannot quite comprehend. If 'in' was to signify closer relationship, this verse would mean that if it's 'generations' that is the subject - they are, so to say, close to God in their multiplicity - which makes perfect sense. But then since 'in' adds the element of free will, I'm somewhat confused, as this means there is a '2 in 1' situation here - 'generations' are close to God in their multiplicity (which I can understand), but the 'in' carries with it the association with God's image (which I don't know why it happens, as I thought 'in' itself is free from association and only becomes saturated with meaning depending on what follows). Hopefully I made my doubt clear in here.
c) And secondly, with relation to both Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 5:1 'likeness' refers to multiplicity. And 'generations (Gen. 5:1) ' are more 'in' that likeness (through the multiplicity of mankind) than 'one man' or the 'any single representative of this species'. This makes sense, but then 'any single representative' still has some 'likeness' to God (even if it's described with 'according to' rather than 'in') - and he can only have that 'likeness' if a multiplicity is considered - as one single man cannot possess that 'likeness' which expresses itself through multiplicity by it's nature. Consequently, in light of this reasoning, the need to make a distinction between 'generations' from Genesis 5:1 and 'a representative' from Genesis 1:26 disappears, unless it's only a case of placing emphasis. Please clarify and correct my reasoning.
On toledoth and the Genesis gap, this is explained in detail at the link: The Genesis 2:4 Summary. In a nutshell, by using toledoth, "generations", a word which entails the passage of time and temporal developments, we can be sure that Genesis 2:4 is a summary of all that has gone before and a preview of what follows, and is not a restatement of Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 – which two verses describe very different states of affairs, i.e., original creation and the ruin of it on the far side of the gap respectively.
b and c) On be and ce, yes, it is the combination which counts (these are very common basic prepositions). Once again we have toledoth here, and the chapter, Genesis 5, deals not with the original creation of Adam but with the expansion of Mankind. So that "Adam" is not a good translation here but rather "Man" in a generic sense. Man as an individual is created "in the image of God", a more direct comparison, since our will mirrors His WILL, than "according to His likeness", since our multiplicity is a less exact comparison when set beside the Trinity who are "one" in a way we are not. By reversing the preposition in Genesis 5:1 we do not have a proof that there is no difference between be and ce but rather an affirmation that the difference is important. For here we are talking about the actual offspring of our first parents "in their generations". The original phrases could have been used – but that would muddy the waters since Adam was one and God is One and the image is one. Here we have multiple people who each have the one image. Moses is given to conflate "in the image according to the likeness" into "in the likeness" to show that while those following Adam are the same in their basic constitution, they are a group and not the one, first man. Indeed, one could not say of this group that God made them "in the image according to the likeness" because that would be either untrue of the group if true of the individuals or untrue of the individuals if true of the group. The dual phrase, meaning what it actually means as explained before, can only be applied to the first man (and to other individuals taken individually). Since this verse introduces a multiplicity, Moses does the next best thing by conflating the phrases into one so that be recalls the individual image of God which would apply to each of the following qua individual, while "likeness" refers to the group as a whole though not to each separate person apart. This verse, carefully compared with Genesis 1:26-27, thus helps to explain the use of the two phrases (rather than reduce them to meaninglessness as some commentators would have it).
I apologize for coming back to this matter again - although I am getting closer, I'm not quite there yet regarding 'in the image' and 'according to likeness'. I believe that clarifying one statement in your answer can really help me finally grasp these concepts and Genesis 5:1. You wrote:
'Indeed, one could not say of this group that God made them "in the image according to the likeness" because that would be either untrue of the group if true of the individuals or untrue of the individuals if true of the group.'
Could you explain why this statement would be either untrue of the group if true of the individuals or untrue of the individuals if true of the group? This explanation can finally help me distinguish between the two concepts. I appreciate your patience on that matter.
As I said Professor, please take your time. On one hand I'm hungry for knowledge and understanding, on the other hand I don't want to be a nuisance, and it seems the two are mutually exclusive.
With constant prayer for You and your ministry and in Our Lord Jesus,
Just to avoid confusion, the comment quoted is talking about Genesis 5:1 (not Gen.5:3, which has different issues). The "group" is mankind as a whole as opposed to the creation of Adam alone. What I mean by this comparison is that "image" is singular in focus, but "likeness" is plural in focus. So Adam is "in the image" as one person, but only "according to the likeness" as only one person, because he has the image of God discretely and individually, but he is only like the Trinity when considered as a human being in company with other human beings. We have will; God has WILL; we are plural; God is three-in-one. On the other hand, for considering mankind as a group, we are collectively "in the likeness" of the Trinity because we are plural (again, the comparison is not as exact a comparison as with "image", but the word "likeness" is more remote than "image"). Were Moses at Genesis 5:1 to have said anything about "image" too, my guess is that he would have had to say "according to the image" because, as a collective, we do not really have a joint will, so using the preposition ce would make the comparison appropriately more remote. He doesn't actually say this, no doubt because it would confuse the issue. This is not an easy point. I hope this solves it. But do feel free to write back about it.
Thanks as always for your prayers! Tomorrow is a particularly "important" day. I would appreciate a prayer of deliverance for me and mine.
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,