Sat, 12 April 2008
The first masterful 11 Chapters of Genesis set the stage for a drama between God and man peerless among all other written literature. One must not overlook the importance of God's covenant in Genesis. A covenant has two parts: it establishes a deeply personal relationship and defines the specific points on which that relationship depends. The personal name of God, Yahweh, appears throughout Torah whenever it is in reference to a divine covenant.
Through God's great mercy, the initial fault of Adam brings the great promises of the proto-evangelium: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head while you strike at His heel" (cf. Gen 3:15).
These early narratives of Genesis are often foolishly dismissed as mere children's stories, but they contain deep eternal truths. The narrative of Cain and Abel shows the depth of sin's destruction and a foreshadowing of Christ: the sacrificer who himself is sacrificed (cf. Gen 4). God's abhorrence of sin, righteousness and redemption through water come to the forefront in the story of Noah (cf. Gen 6-7). The Tower of Babel shows men's aspirations to the heights of life on their own terms; God confuses their purpose to bring about His purpose (cf. Gen 11).
Genesis 10:18-28 reveals an often overlooked and historically misinterpreted passage that is developed throughout the rest of the book of Genesis. It contains the prophesy of how Canaan is to willfully sin as did his father Ham and how these sins will bind Canaan's posterity, the Amorites, in slavery. Noah juxtaposes his cursing of Canaan with his promise to Shem when he says "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem!" (Gen 10:25). The descendants of Shem will become the Semitic peoples, the forerunners of monotheistic religion. Noah also prophesies that the Japhethites (Europeans and Asians) will one day come to dwell in the tents of the Semites and learn their religion.
Starting in Genesis 12 we see that God, the divine father of every human family, chooses a particular family to be the origin of His chosen people. Despite the fact that his earthly father was an idolater, his Heavenly Father calls Abram into covenant and to be the father of our faith. Paul expounds the fatherhood of our faith when he writes, "Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him for righteousness" (Rom 4:3). His constant belief in God opens him up to receive God's gift, His transformation into a creature of righteousness, inasmuch as he places complete trust in God.
Music: “Airs des Silvains? from the album “Rameau and Leclair? by Philharmonia Baroque. www.magnatune.com