Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1996
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 2: Buried Truths of Origins
Chapter 6: The Covenant: The Buried Truth of the New World
Lesson 24 – Implications of the Covenant for Man:
The Re-Installed First and Second Divine Institutions
11 Apr 1996
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
After we finish the series as far as taking the series events, I will spend four weeks going through each of four appendices. One will deal with the structure of the interpretation of Genesis 1-10, what all the big issues are in interpreting that, not all the fine points but just the interpretative problems. The second one will deal with the biological issues; third, physics, astrophysics and chronometry issues, and the fourth one with geological issues, obviously we’re not going to deal with all the specifics. My intent is to go through the basic overall case for the Scripture, the logic of the argument. That’s why tonight I want to start with the third question on page 90. We started at creation and worked our way up to Noah, the flood and the covenant, and what we’ve tried to do is not give a classical Bible study approach, but rather to give the major events of the Scripture, and show how these are in total collision with the culture of our time. And that the world is dark, the Bible says, and that’s one of the things I want to explore because we can’t be naïve as Christians. We live in hostile territory, and we want to understand what the conflicts are. There are a tremendous number of Christians that really don’t understand that we’re in a war, they’re like soldiers on the front lines and they’re standing up and wondering why the bullets are flying around. This is a war that we’re in, and frankly we’re silly not to recognize that’s what happening.
The third question: “This series of studies has the objective of furthering ‘worship and obedience in an age of global deception.’ What have you learned about the deception of the pagan mind? What specific examples from modern thought can you now give to Paul’s words in Romans 1:21-23?” Paul said in Romans 1 that it’s not true; we said this a lot in the beginning, we haven’t reiterated this recently, but Paul’s point in Romans 1 is that men are not ignorant of God. What Paul’s point is… and it’s very offensive, this is offensive even to Christians, let alone non-Christians. What Paul is saying is if we, if any person out there, any non-Christian, anyone, says that it’s not clear to them that God exists, what the Bible’s answer to that problem is, is not to try to prove that God exists, to that kind of a person, any more than if you were blind and I told you the lights are on and you didn’t believe me, I have a problem, trying to communicate to you what I mean when I say the lights are on and you’re blind.
The Bible insists that when people say they’re not sure whether God exists, the problem is that they suppress knowledge that they once had, and that’s true individually, it’s also true culturally. That’s why the classic proofs for the existence of God are often times not too helpful, for the reason that what happens is we come together and say the non-Christian and Christian mentality is the same, that logic is the same for both the Christian and the non-Christian, that the vocabulary is always the same for the Christian and the non-Christian, and because we have this common ground we’ll sit there and reason from a common base. There is a common base but it’s not the base that the non-Christian would agree is common. The common base is that we are all made in God’s image, we’ve all been created by Him, we all have a conscience and we all know very well that He is there and there are absolutes. What happens is that we define this abstract thing called logic, or this abstract thing called facts, and we say that those things are common to everyone, and we will, not those basis prove the gospel. But the Bible turns us around and says that the very concept of proof itself is biblically derived. In other words, if God is there, then that controls my view of logic, it controls my view of what facts are and what facts are not, it controls everything. It controls the very standard of proof. So the problem is that you can’t get back far enough, and that’s often what the problem is with common ground.
What we want to say here in the third question is take a few minutes and review how deception exists in the modern world. At what point is modern man terribly deceived. I don’t think it requires tremendous intelligence, or spiritual perception for that matter, just to realize that if the Bible is seriously to be taken, if you look at this document in front of us and say that this is truth, you can’t read too far without coming into collision with the whole culture, everything we’ve learned, the whole educational system, everything, everywhere you go you’re into collision. So one of two things must be wrong, either the world is right and the Bible is terribly wrong, or the Bible is right and the world is wrong, but you can’t get these two things together.
As we have gone on we have looked at these events of the Bible, and we’ve tried to say look, there are many implications to all these things. We spent 2-3 lessons just on creation, we spent time in the fall, we spent time with the flood, to show that these events and the truths of the narrative of Genesis 1-9 undercut biology, physics, geology, anthropology, psychology, literature, the theory of language, every single area is in conflict here, not one. The Bible doesn’t leave us one thing, and this is why I believe this message doesn’t get communicated too well by Christian academics, because it puts them in a position where they have to fight everybody. Obviously none of us are competent to handle the battle on every front, and our job is not to try to start an unwinnable war on every front, but it’s simply to point out that as Christians we can’t be embarrassed and passive about what the Bible teaches. The pagan mind is deceived; it is deceived at the most basic point.
When we dealt with creation we said something about man, about man’s design, and we said that man is theomorphic, it’s not that God is anthropomorphic, it’s rather that He made us in His image so we’re theomorphic, and as theomorphic beings we are made in His image, just another way of saying we are made in God’s image, we have certain features that are in direct analogy with Him. And we outlined some of those, we said we have this thing called choice and responsibility, and it somehow is a finite version of what He has that we call sovereignty. We said that we have conscience, the sense of moral responsibility that transcends society, that transcends my peer pressure group, and that answers to His holiness. We said we have an attribute of love and that love can’t really start functioning unless it functions in a secure environment because the opposite in the Bible to love is not hate, it’s insecurity and fear. It’s interesting, our language has antonyms to it, but we have to watch it because everywhere the Bible contrasts love it’s usually contrasted not against hatred, there’s hatred there, obviously, but behind that hatred is a fear, “perfect love casts out fear,” etc. So we have all these qualities in our spirits that mirror His qualities.
The pagan mind is tremendously deceived at who He is, that He’s not made in God’s image, that God, if He’s there, and they may use the word “God,” He is just one of other entities in this vast and mysterious universe. So while they talk about God, the content of G-o-d, that word, the content, is not the same as the content of Scripture. To get your head straight and to keep from getting screwed up you have to keep going though … it’s like you have to keep bathing your own mind, creation, fall, flood, covenant, and thinking through now wait a minute, is the God I’m thinking of the Creator, the God who said in the beginning I’ve created all things, heaven and earth. The pagan is deceived as to the nature of God; he’s deceived as to the nature of man. Therefore he’s deceived on the nature of what knowledge is, he’s deceived about the nature of logic, he’s deceived about the nature of language.
Having been deceived in all these areas, is it any wonder that the pagan mind comes up with theories antithetical to Scripture and why we have a problem with aspects of evolution, we have problems with how we measure time, we have problems in the area of anthropology, etc. It’s no wonder. Man is a genius, we have been invested as creatures with intelligence, and we’re going to have dominion. The question is whether it’s going to be an evil dominion based on deception, or whether it’s going to be a godly dominion based on truth. But dominion we will have because we can no more stop doing things as people than we can stop breathing. Man is elegant, he is an elegant sinner, an ingenious sinner, or he’s an ingenious saint, but he’s not a nothing, and that’s what’s terrifying about ourselves as preachers. So the pagan mind has been deceived from one end to the other.
What we’re trying to do now is we have looked at the Noahic Covenant in particular, and we said that the Noahic Covenant represents an important contract that is made between God and man, that there are parties to this contract, that the terms to the contract are verifiable, and the Bible bears testimony by empirical reports of history that that contract remains, the terms of the contract are open to verification, just as any contract we would make is open to legal checking. That’s why people make contracts. So when we see the word “contract” start to appear in the text with Noah’s time, we now have a very unique thing in Scripture, and we’ve emphasized that this idea of the God of the universe making a contract with people is not found outside the pages of the Bible.
This is one absolutely unique thing about Biblical faith, that we have a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. We said that that in turn has certain implications about nature, and one of the things we stressed was that what we call natural law really isn’t natural law, it’s actually the Word of God, so the Word of God controls nature, and the covenant is a revelation of some of the background powers to be that are now controlling the geophysical universe around us. The geophysical universe is like it’s in a boundary condition, bounded by these things in the Noahic Covenant.
We have the privilege of being able to open the Bible and turn to a passage in our language that tells us from the God of the universe, what is the structure behind the geophysical realities that we observed and measure. He says I have an agenda, and no matter what you measure, no matter in what century you measure it, whenever you take your observation I tell you in advance it will satisfy My Word, and My Word is (and it’s the covenant) that this is a planet that will never experience a global flood. It is a planet on which the human race will survive forever and ever, “I make an everlasting covenant,” the human race is not going to go away, it almost went away with the flood. So we have all this implication as far as nature goes.
We want to move one more step and look at man. We’ve looked at nature, now we want to look at man in this new world of Noah. Let’s review something else. After the flood you have almost a recreated universe, if we’re to believe Peter’s interpretation in 2 Peter 3 of Genesis 6-8. And when you see this recreated universe it’s an analogy, or a foretaste, of the ultimate new heavens and the ultimate new earth. In other words, the past evil world has been absolutely catastrophically destroyed and transformed, there are saved people, the eight people come through the cataclysm, from the old world to the new world, and they are the only people that survive. So going into the new heavens and the new universe we have it populated, at the very beginning, by believers.
What we want to look at is what happens in that new universe. Turn to page 91 in the notes. We have said before that man had social structures, we call it divine institutions, and we said the first social structure has been variously defined as responsibility; I call it dominion responsibility, that’s given in Genesis 1. Divine institution number two is marriage; the third divine institution is family. By divine institutions keep in mind, these are valid for all human beings, they are not just for believers, it’s for believers and nonbelievers. This is a structure built into the human race and we also pointed out that when you see these things, they are not social conventions. What happens is that the pagan mind, in our time particularly but not uniquely, it’s gone on for centuries, the pagan mind takes each of these things as either a byproduct of genes, or a mere convention.
What do I mean by a mere convention? I mean an arbitrary thing, it just happens, we just happen to think that way as a society and that’s the structures that we just have to think about, that’s all, that’s all it is, nothing else, it’s not rooted to the very structure of the universe. That’s what we mean by conventions. The Bible insists they are not conventions. This is the pagan view, always has been. The Bible says it’s the dominion responsibility, marriage, these are built-in structures ordained by God. Each has been corrupted by the fall, so we have dominion responsibility deeply twisted, we have marriage deeply threatened and competitive, the gender war, we have the family hurt in the flood, not that these go away, but that each of them has been terribly injured by the fall, so that the family, instead of being a place where culture is passed on from father to son, mother to daughter, what it becomes is sort of a quasi-battle ground for authority, humility and all the rest of the fights that go on. There has not been a non-dysfunctional family since Adam and Eve. So don’t get guilt complexes, every family is dysfunctional, you may have your area and I may have mine, but we’re all dysfunctional. We have been dysfunctional since Eden. This is the way we are after the fall.
What we want to do is say wait a minute, God re-instituted these things after the flood; what did He do about the structure of man, and here we pick up some interesting things that happened after the flood. A lot of people read the Bible and they just pass over this, zip right through it, and never give it a moment’s thought. On page 91 I preface all this issue of the divine institutions by a note about how to interpret Noah, and to get at what I’m trying to say I’m going to put up a little graph, the graph of what happened to man’s longevity after the flood. I want you to think about the implications of this graph in another way. Previously when I showed that graph I was interested in showing just the bare fact that you go from a high longevity, averaging about 930 years to this tremendous drop in man’s longevity. We said if you curve fit this you come out with an exponential decay curve, which is interesting, a testimony to the feature, it’s a real feature, it’s not just arbitrary numbers. That’s all we wanted to say before because we were using this diagram before to simply show that the flood had enormous implications, it wasn’t just somebody’s bathtub that overflowed in the Mesopotamian River valley. This was an enormously significant event.
We want to look at this graph again, and ask ourselves if we were Noah at this point in time, and we were Noah’s children at this point in time, what unique characteristic happened in human history between this period, and this period. Let’s take three or four generations from Noah to his sons, to his grandsons, etc. In this period of history, just this period of history, we’re not going to worry about this history, we’re not going to worry about the history that was before the flood, because before the flood we have a flat curve, and this curve eventually becomes flat. What hasn’t been thought about is what the implication is for these four generations, from Noah to the first groups out on earth after the flood. What would have happened to those four generations that never happened before and never would happen again? It was an entirely unique period of human history, because during that period of human history grandparents outlived their grandchildren. That has never happened before that, never will happen again. Right here if, this is all predicated, if we take the Bible seriously, if we believe it’s really truthful, if we believe that that is historical truth, if we believe that, then we have to have the courage to start creatively drawing some conclusions about what was going on here, and that’s what these two pages in the notes are all about. How do we interpret the Noahic era? Follow in the notes, I want to take you through a little bit of history to start your mental juices going when you read Genesis.
I mention a name of a man by the name of Dr. John Pilkey, I went to school with him, he’s probably studied Genesis 9-11 more than any person I’ve ever met or even read about. This guy has devoted probably thirty years of research to those chapters of the Bible, it’s just been his hobby, and I think he’s come up with some interesting things, I don’t agree with everything he says, but I’m not competent to pass judgment on some of the stuff that he’s found. Notice the paragraph that says: “Pilkey has gone back to a Bible based historical school of scholarship known as the ‘euhemerist movement’ that flourished in Europe in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. Euhemerist scholars sought to interpret ancient history through the eyes of Genesis 9-11. They believed that stories of pagan gods were actually garbled tales of the civilization founding activities of Noah and his sons.” This is a group of scholars that’s dropped out, the only scholar that you probably will ever hear about of the euhemerist school, and that only if you like old Christian books, you might have heard of a book called The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop. Alexander Hislop is the only one that modern evangelicals even read of these men, but Hislop was late in the group, there were other men before him.
All these men were Bible-believing Christians; they lived in the era when ancient documents were coming to light. What they decided they had to do was explain this, and they were passionately interested in the classics and the Greek gods and goddesses, etc., they wanted to put this together, and they believed, there were Christians in the 17th, 18th, and 19th century who had all this little data about mythology, and they, as Christians, wanted to fight against that mythology. Their method of fighting it was to dissolve the power of the gods and goddesses by saying they weren’t really gods and goddesses, what they were, were the sons and daughters of Noah, and they would go into elaborate details, tracing features. These guys had it down to who was who, who did what, who Nimrod was in Genesis 10 actually shows up under three or four different names, he appears in Egyptian history under a certain name, he appears in Syrian history, and they went into extreme details. If you ever see the book The Two Babylons you’ll see what Hislop does, he goes into all kinds of details, fine print footnotes, all kinds of stuff.
These men died out, and their views just slid off the table and nobody bothered to pick them up and thought that’s all obsolete history because after all, we know now that man lived ten thousand or a hundred thousand, or a million years before, so obviously such a mythological thing could never have happened in history. Pilkey went back and said wait a minute, these euhemerists were godly Christian scholars who were on to something, and nobody’s ever followed up on their work, so what would happen if you did that. That’s Pilkey’s whole point.
On page 91, here’s where it ties in to this graph I’m showing you. Remember the graph of the longevity decline of man after the flood, there’s a striking anomaly in it. During the decline in longevity between Noah and Abraham, grandfathers outlived their grandsons, a never to be repeated experience in human history. This strange era, the euhemerists believed, was the key to understanding how ancient civilization exploded into view. It also furnishes the clue to deciphering the tribal myths found around the world, that in fact what happened was that what we call civilization suddenly erupts in glory and grandeur. Suddenly you have Egyptians with their mighty architecture. Suddenly you have these high, very literate elaborate pictographs, you have all this mathematics being done to compute volumes, etc. Where did this suddenly spring up? If you think about how you learned history, did you ever get a good explanation for that? On one page of the history book they show one guy that looks like he forgot his banana; and on the next page we have the Pharaoh’s building a pyramid, with all kinds of tremendous solid geometry relationship going on. Wait a minute, how do you go from bananas to pyramids? What’s the transition here? And that’s what the euhemerists were arguing about, the only explanation you’ve got is that something like this happened, and this is very important to understand Noah because the Bible doesn’t explain this, for a reason we’ll get into.
The Bible gives us the Noahic story and the spiritual side, but the Bible passes over and doesn’t mention much about what other things these guys did. Well, the “other things” that Noah and his sons did were basically the start of what we call civilization. It was his grandchildren that started the pyramids, perhaps his sons. They probably got the idea for the pyramid probably from Mt. Ararat. We don’t know that because they didn’t leave a document to prove it, but why was there this passion in the Egyptian delta, which by the way was being flooded, mind you, because the first Pharaoh, Menes, got his power because he was able to stop the flooding in the Nile delta.
Where do they get all this? We can’t prove this, but this, but the very form of the pyramid is a form of stability, it will not go away, it is not going to be knocked over, it’s not going to change it’s there today, tomorrow, and forever, it’s a symbol of power and authority. Why did they build pyramids? Was it a memory of a fact, in an apostate way, that I will never be disturbed again, as for example Nimrod did with his tower to heaven, or what? We don’t know, but we surely know that it was very early on, if we’re to take the Bible chronology. We don’t have thousands of years here to get started. You only have one or two generations to get this stuff going. So how does it explode into view? It explodes into view because of the fabulous genius and the longevity of these people, the first few people that populated this world. They passed this tradition on in tremendous rapidity, with great creative force.
On p. 91, “If there were only a few centuries between Noah and Abraham, then ancient civilization in Egypt and elsewhere must have been established rapidly. Such rapid development of society could only have occurred if there were brilliant leadership—architects, engineers, farmers, political leaders—who spread out quickly into the earth to subdue it. Pilkey notes that such a brilliant core family behind the rapid origin of our civilization is inconceivable to modern man. We cannot accept the total ‘god-like’ authority that would have been required for such a project because of democratic ideas.”
I want you to read with me through this quote, it’s got a lot of good stuff in here: “Noah’s family has not been clearly conceptualized because there is something truly frightening about such a family to scholars of the modern democratic era …. The fear of falling victim to merciless despotism is a democratic soul of evolutionary thought, which refers the origin and maintenance,” watch this sentence, “which refers the origin and maintenance of civilization to gradual or powerless processes rather than to charismatic power.”
You see, what he’s arguing here is that the explanation for the explosive development of these high cultures is that you had geniuses that controlled it. Noah and his sons set out to really, literally design the world we live in, they were the people that created society. And they did it with god-like power. Their power was so awesome, living this long compared to the people who came after them, that they began to be worshiped as absolute gods and goddesses and despots. They had an awesome degree of power, and the Pharaohnic dynasties of Egypt perpetuated that power. Whatever Pharaoh said, Pharaoh got. So the radiating power from Noah and his family was enormous, probably due to this little feature of history that occurred in that era.
As Pilkey goes on to say: “A fourth millennium Pharaoh Menes is a harmless cipher; a third millennium Pharaoh Menes” meaning you don’t have that much time to get it started, “is part of a sublime and terrifying spectacle. The later chronology implies that Noah’s family was empowered to build world civilization overnight. As democrats, we reserve the right to paint emperors in our own image. We do this at the risk of fulfilling the prophecy of Jude who warned that some of us would deny the ‘mones despotes,’ Jesus Christ,” the only Lord, the only dictator, Jesus Christ. Notice the word “despot,” Jesus is called a despot in the good sense. Jesus, when He comes back, is not going to run an election platform, He is going to rule as a dictator. “… through a popular distaste for despotism in general. Prior to the democratic revolutions of the later eighteenth advantage in positive evidence ….”
Then if you look at the next quote, “By viewing Noah as a mere survivor of the flood, rather than as a builder of nations, we have not only neglected his 350-year postdiluvian lifetime, but we have ignored those spiritual ideas which made the Gentile world just that, a designed cosmos…. In estimating the spiritual worth of Noah’s cosmos we are faced with the striking fact that its Gentile populous, if not the cosmos itself, will survive all subsequent judgment into the millennium and eternal state …. On the other hand, the prophecy of Daniel 2:44 reveals that this cosmos, as the seat of political authority, must be destroyed. Gentile political power must yield to the Messiah of Israel and in so doing will extinguish a peculiar regime dating back to Noah’s postdiluvian lifetime.”
What he’s saying is we’ve got to get a vision for what went on, the Bible doesn’t fill us in with all the details, but secular history provides us with the facts. So turn to page 93 and look at the two texts, we are looking at the re-institution of these divine institutions, because whatever God did He reenergized these divine institutions, in spite of the fact they’re now fallen, they were the building blocks of many high, brilliant, well-educated high cultures. In Genesis 1:28 vs. Genesis 9, I put them side by side so you can watch the difference. On the left side is the original institution; on the right side is the reinstitution after the flood. I’m drawing attention to the last part of that quote on the left, Genesis 1:29, “Then God said, Behold, I have given every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you.” But on the other side, Genesis 9:3, it says “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you as I gave the green plant.  Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” What strange thing has God done here? All of a sudden, when He reconstitutes the first divine institution in language very much reminiscent of Genesis 1, He begins to give an instruction about diet that now makes us carnivorous.
|Genesis 1:28-30||Genesis 9:1-4|
|“Be fruitful and multiply
fill the earth, and subdue it;
and rule over the fish of the
sea and over the birds of the
sky and over every living thing
that moves on the earth.”
|“Be fruitful and multiply
and fill the earth.
And the fear of you shall be
on every beast of the earth
and on every bird of the sky;
with everything that creeps on
the ground, and all the fish
Of the sea, into your hand
they are given.
|“Then God said, ‘Behold, I have
given every plant yielding seed
that is on the surface of all the
earth, and every tree which has
fruit yielding seed: it shall be
food for you.’ ”
|Every moving thing that is
alive shall be food for you:
I give all to you as I have
the green plant.
Only you shall not eat the
flesh with its life, that is its blood.”
Why is this sudden transformation? Now we’re meat eating. That was not mentioned in Genesis 1, a very significant point. Do you know why I know it’s significant? Because what happens under the Mosaic Law to the dietary controls? Very elaborate. Who were the original readers of Genesis? The Israelites, who were living under a kosher diet regime. The origin of the clean and unclean meat was [not sure of word, sound like passionate], it might not be to us but it was to them, and they were the first readers of this text.
Therefore when we read this little thing about diet and we just pass over, we’re Gentiles, we don’t pay any attention to that stuff, we just eat. They didn’t. This was an important point to them. So now we have to reflect on why meat eating starts in at this point. This is why on page 93 I mention, “God wants us to respect the life that is given up, and acknowledge that it is His, not ours. Genesis 9:4 limits our claims on animals when we kill them for food. The only exception given” in Scripture “by Jesus thousands of years later when He said not only to eat His flesh but also to drink His blood (John 6:53-56).” In John 6 He says go ahead and drink My blood. What’s stunning about that announcement in John 6 is it flies in the face of the Noahic Covenant. A Jew would have been stunned by what Jesus said there. Never ever before has anyone ever authorized the eating of meat with blood, and Jesus, as though He deliberately wanted to make a point, a point that would stun His Jewish hearers, he says go ahead, eat My flesh and drink My blood, in total collision with this regime that had been set in motion.
So this is not just peripheral detail in the text, there’s something going on here in the text. Turn to Genesis 9; we want to look at some context. [blank spot, longer than usual] Ask yourself, what is the objective, in other words in verse 4, what is the concern God seems to have in verse 4, 5 and 6. Look at those passages. Verse 4, “Only you shall not eat the flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” In other words, isn’t there a reticence to say you can eat meat, BUT, the life that has been given up to provide you with food is precious, and I’m putting little boundaries around it just so you are reminded of what is going on here. There’s something abnormal, there’s something wrong, we’re living in a fallen environment now, the Noahic world, unlike Adam’s world, Adam began not knowing the difference between good and evil, Noah’s world starts out with the knowledge of both good and evil, and involved in this is death, and all the evil processes and decay and fallenness.
Now we have that man must literally… what’s the act of eating? Think about it. What more primitive basic thing do we do every single day? We eat, and what are we doing when we eat? Ask yourself, what happens if you don’t eat? Eating is just basic sustenance. What has happened here is God has said that for us to be sustained in our lives we tread on the lives of somebody else. To keep us alive someone else has to die. That’s the life in the new world. It is a life of existence based on sacrificial death. In other words, eating is actually an adumbration or a fore view of the saving work of Jesus Christ. Going into our carnivorous regime when it’s authorized by God, with these little provisos that I don’t want you to eat the blood, you’ve killed an animal, I recognize you have to eat and you have to do that, but having done that, there are certain cautions, the animal absolutely is not yours, it’s Mine, and you have taken from Mine to sustain yourself, and I’ve let you do this, but there’s a caution here.
Notice how this reads very nicely in verse 5-6, “And surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.  Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed. For in the image of God He made man.” We’ll get into capital punishment later, but what’s the goal of verse 6? What’s on God’s heart? Is He authorizing this horrible thing called capital punishment just because He thrills at it, or does He have something on His mind? It looks like what you see on His mind is in verse 6b, the last part of verse 6, “For,” explanation of why I am doing this, here’s My explanation, “in the image of God I have made man.” Something very valuable and precious is here that’s been destroyed. So what you get out of verses 4-6 is the sanctity of life, and that life, whether it’s in the life of the animal or whether it’s in the life of man, is something to be cherished, to be honored, and to be respected. Even though now man eats meat and he destroys animals in order that he may survive, the act of doing it itself becomes something of honor, it is to be done in an honorable way.
What you can’t help but conclude in all this is that when God reconstituted this first domain, this first dominion responsibility, this first divine institution, He forced us to have to acknowledge that our dependency is not now, just as a creature eating grapes, eating herbs, eating plants that don’t die because they don’t have nephesh. The word “life” in Hebrew is “nephesh.” Plants, you can say gee, there was death, plants die when they were eaten. Plants are never said to have nephesh, never. Only animals and apparently only certain animals have nephesh. Animals that have nephesh are animals in whom there is the breath of lives. Someone breathes, that’s called life. Now a Christian biologist can think, what’s the difference here between a plant cell and an animal cell and botanist vs. zoological complications, but be aware that the Scripture does make that distinction. So when Adam and Eve ate grapes, apples, whatever else they ate, vegetables, whatever they ate they were not killing life. Then comes along Noah and Noah starts to destroy life to eat. There’s a tremendous difference here, and it’s fundamental because eating is the one basic thing we all have to do to sustain our lives.
So the very way we sustain lives in the new world is by substitutionary death. What is this talking about? You see, our civilization has been very cleverly designed. We don’t think of this, we think animals are carnivorous, man is carnivorous, he just evolved from the apes, no problem. But that’s an utterly different than this, here we have a discontinuity in history, man changes the way he eats in such a way that he now has to be sustained by sacrificial death in a physical way. And what’s interesting is that this is occurring to a divine institution for both believer and unbeliever, which means that every member of the human race is sustained by sacrificial death. That’s an interesting point. It’s a setup, because later, when Jesus, in John 6 begins to try to explain what He has done on the cross, He uses eating and in particular meat eating as the illustration of salvation. Who set that all up? For centuries man was eating meat to ingrain within us that we are dependent upon death, we are dependent upon death, we are dependent upon death, in order that we live somebody else may die, in order that I live somebody else dies, etc. Then along comes Jesus and says the same thing.
The pattern and structure of the universe is in league and coherence and a logical connection with the cross. So as we work our way forward in history, it’s pointing to God’s solution. So here’s one of the major things we want to see, and to see that this is a serious point. The New Testament makes a little commentary about this business of food. It’s always been an agenda of paganism to try to erase guilt of sin, some way, shape or form. Therefore, whenever the creation seems to be too clear in its message about God’s Creator-hood and our creature-hood, we got to drown it out and bury it. That’s why I have every title in this series of notes, the buried truth of something, the buried truth of this, the buried truth of that. What am I getting at? Because sin buries the truth, that’s what we’re getting at. Not only is the truth literally buried in the ground underneath our feet when we walk on sedimentary rock and we dig down and find animal death in the rock, we’re walking on judgment. When we drive our cars and use a gasoline product that comes from an oil field, it comes from animals that have died; we can’t even drive our cars without killing something. The very engines we use depend for their existence on input from the death of life, animals.
So you would say paganism has to do something with this, and indeed it does. The pagan mind has always played and toyed with getting back to nature. It has always tried to undo, for example, government, it has always tried to undo marriage and go to a commune, it has always tried to undo the city and go to the country, it has always tried to undo the eating of meat. Interesting. Pagan religions are almost inevitably vegetarians in the Far East. In 1 Timothy 4:3 notice the characteristic. “Men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” Obviously in the context it’s talking about men, verse 2, “hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,” and in verse 1, talking about these are basically “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” The energizing forces behind the pagan mentality manifest themselves historically and socially in this position.
Why is there meat? Is there some physical reason for it? I cite in the notes one Christian doctor who thinks there may be a physical reason why, when we transitioned from this old regime to the new, obviously something radical is happening physiologically and anatomically to our bodies, obviously! Apparently meat provides something that is necessary for our bodies under this regime. Maybe someday we’ll learn what. All we learn today is all the dangers about cholesterol and red meat and all the rest of it. But that’s not the final word: that’s NOT the final word! Someday somebody is going to figure out why eating of meat is essential on this planet for us in our time, and we don’t know why. The Christian doctor I quote thinks it may have something to do with the concentration of protein with spiritual conflict, that’s just her speculation, but I throw it in just to stimulate some thinking about what possibilities do you think caused this.
So we’ve looked at the reconstitution of the first divine institution. Let’s look at the second one, marriage. We’ll turn to Genesis 2 and note something we skipped because we ran out of time. One night we started with a little imaginative geography lesson. You say what’s that got to do with marriage. We’ll get to that. We said that if you look at the text you have a river flowing out of Eden, out of Eden, as though Eden is some area out of which a river flows, and east part of Eden there was a garden. The garden wasn’t all Eden, the garden was a garden in Eden. And the river flowed out of that, and then did a funny thing that rivers don’t do, and that is it went in four directions. So this four-river scheme seemed to have something to do with the structure of this antediluvian world, strange world it was.
Modern scholars look upon this as all mythical, this is a land of myth, and the reason they say that is because you look at the names in Genesis 2:11–14, you can say what you want to, two of those four rivers are known, the other one flows around the whole land of Cush, and the only way that could be, in the present earth, Cush was Ethiopia, the geography just doesn’t fit. So an obvious answer to this is that it doesn’t fit because the world was different then. These four rivers were remembered in history and the two rivers that came out of Ararat, the Tigris and Euphrates, the first rivers probably that postdiluvian man saw, he named them and he named them for the rivers he was familiar with, Noah’s family knew these four rivers. They obviously started naming things from the pre-flood world, just like York, Pennsylvania named for York, England. So there’s this renaming that goes on.
The human race grew and grew, by the time of Noah’s day, so you have many families, you start out with Adam, Eve is derivative of Adam genetically, an important point, God did not make a pair, He made Adam and then He made Eve out of her, so genetically she’s derivative of him. Then from this you have the gene pool. The mystery happens here is that what led to this gene pool, where did it all go? We know that eight people were saved in Noah’s day, so we have Noah, Noah’s wife, Ham, his wife, Japheth, his wife, and Shem and his wife. So here is where the gene pool was saved. The interesting thing is, if this is Noah, this is Ham, Japheth and Shem, Ham, Shem and Japheth obviously are heavily influenced because they’re the physical sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, so they are heavy with their genes. The only other source of diverse genes are the three women who married those three guys; there is where another source of genetic material came from.
So marriage, through these three women could well have supplied, because “be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth,” those three women are the only other source for the genetic material for everybody that exists today. Whether what we call racial distinctives occur because of some physical transform after the flood, or whether in fact they were always there from the start, whether basically what we call racial differences among men just simply are genetic out workings of what was originally in Adam, if we believe that though then these women become very critical.
What Dr. Pilkey’s research shows is that the pagans universally remember that there were four matriarchs that originated the human race. And interestingly their names translate to the red matriarch, the yellow matriarch, the white matriarch and the black matriarch. Isn’t that interesting that those also just happened to be the four racial colors. So the question then becomes whether here, through Noah and these marriages that not only did God do an amazing thing, not only did God save only people in one family, but that one family just happened to carry key genetic stock for the entire diversity of the human race that we see. I won’t go into details but in Genesis 10, 11, and 12 we deal with how civilizations started and we find that these racial traits show up in history again and again and again, each with its strengths, each with its weaknesses. And it’s really a sound view of race. It’s amazing to me in a day when we’re talking about racial structures and harmony, nobody ever noticed that the Bible has a very, very interesting concept of race, how every race needs the other one, and whenever you have, even to the point where Jesus was carrying the cross, there were various races that were involved in the act of carrying the cross. So whatever God has done, He has always utilized all of the races together.
Marriage, as it was constituted after the flood, seemed to include the diversity that had started since Adam and Eve, and out of this we obtain the racial distinctives.
What we’re going to do next time is go into what happened with the family, because what happens here, when we come to the third divine institution, this is where a major change occurs. God reconstitutes the family, but now the family becomes the source of the nations. We have a new thing here, and then God begins to add something else, that He never added before, a new responsibility that is tied in with nations, that is the origin of civil authority, the sword.
Just to prepare for that I want to conclude by turning to Genesis 3:24. Notice that the last verse of Scripture that describes what happens at the fall says that right there at the gate of Eden, and this is the first time in the Bible the word “sword” has occurred. “So He drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.” The sword is to kill, always in Scripture the sword is to kill; it’s a tool of killing.
I work at Aberdeen Proving Ground, we make swords, our job is to make the best weapons to kill the most number of people in the most efficient way we can. I work with men who have put 20 to 30 years of their life in a weapons system that is designed to kill people, and they get all excited when one of them works. It’s a strange world, you sit down to lunch with one of these guys and he’s all excited because his gun worked. There was a man there that was telling me about a story that occurred during the Viet Nam war, our guys would be at these fire bases, artillery support bases of the troops out in the field, and the troops were out here and the Viet Cong would end run the troops and come in and take out these guys at the fire bases. The guys at the artillery post had big guns but not very many little guns, so what they would do, and they were getting overrun by hundreds of these Viet Cong’s, they’d lower the gun down to zero elevation and fire into them. Well, you can fire a tank round into 200 people but the problem it does a great job vaporizing 4 people but there’s 80 more coming at you, it’s not an efficient tool. So this guy devised a round that would fit in the cannon that would throw out about 10,000 spinning red hot razor blades, and it would shred human flesh, and so he gave 3 of these rounds, one to one fire base, one to the next one, one to the third one, and they were just waiting for one of these VC attacks where they would try to mass attack one of our artillery bases and one day it happened, and the guys lowered the thing down to zero degrees, fired it and there was no big explosion, just kind of like a puff of smoke, and the GIs said well that didn’t work, so they go back to reload the gun with the other ammunition, and they say wait a minute, where did they all go? And they were smeared all over the trees, stuck with jagged pieces of metal and steel, they came back to this guy, and it was hey, worked good, great, it worked. So these are the guys that build swords. That’s their life profession, to build swords and kill efficiently. That’s the kind of people I work with, nice people.
But the point is, that “sword” in Scripture always means killing, so in Genesis 3:24 when you have the flaming sword, that is a killing tool, and it is the first use of execution. Anybody who tried to get into Eden was summarily executed if they tried it. And who was doing the executing? Man? No, angels, apparently. Angels appeared to have the power of the sword at this point in history. Now what you read in Genesis 9 with the Noahic Covenant is the power of the sword moves from the angelic sphere to man. This is a momentous thing that happens in history. And all I say is what I started with is that this is a mysterious time of history, a very mysterious thing, great changes occurred with Noah and his family, and we do well to pay attention because it explains things that bother us today, things that we don’t understand about history. It gives us an outline, it gives us a basis of working, and it’s all found because the author of history wrote this text for us. Next time we’ll discuss this issue of killing, the issue of the nations and the languages and the races.