If God is able to use our actions to produce a desired outcome, do we really have free will? If mankind is unable to resist sin, do we have free will? Does the existence of an all-knowing God imply that we have no free will? This group of questions came to me after finishing the story of Joseph at the end of the book of Genesis and I think they are an appropriate set of questions given Joseph's statement to his brothers at the end of the story.
The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau. Was Isaac truly fooled by Jacob on his deathbed, or does this narrative from Genesis 27 convey a deeper meaning regarding the nature of the world? There are many lessons to be learned from the story of the rival sons of Isaac, but I wanted to focus in on this particular scene, where Isaac seemingly blesses Jacob by mistake, to investigate the possibility of a deeper meaning in the text. Of course, in order to get to the end, we must start at the beginning.
As we reach the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, we will most likely find ourselves questioning the morality of God. We have already had a flood, and now we have two cities that will be destroyed by sulfur raining from the sky. So let’s take a moment to highlight some important elements of the Sodom and Gomorrah story.
Any Christian that chooses to adopt the idea of an earth which is older than the direct numbers presented in the Bible, roughly six thousand years, will need to account for several things, one of which is the fact that it would be difficult to accept a claim which agrees with the estimated age of raw materials, rocks, water, etc, but does not agree with the estimated age of human remains. This is, of course, resolved if one accepts the idea of divinely controlled evolution, but that too comes with its own set of challenges. Those challenges are what I would like to focus on right now. Can evolution and Adam be reconciled?
This is an important question to address as we examine the possibility of a local flood. Why save Noah if others could survive? Why not have Noah leave the area? Why build a boat? Why save the animals? Noah could have just left the region with his family, cattle, and belongings. Doesn't this prove that the flood must have been global?
The term Nephilim is a greatly debated title used in Genesis, and other books of the Bible. Not only is the origin of the Nephilim debated, but also their physical attributes and nature. In Genesis, the Nephilim are contemporary to the author, and so it appears that there is an assumption that the reader will understand who, or what, the phrase is referring to. Given this, let’s examine some of the possible origins, and thus nature of, the Nephilim.
When reading Genesis 5, we are presented with the genealogical record of patriarchs leading from Adam to Noah. Most of the names have very little information regarding them, but one thing that does stand out is the substantial ages that are associated with each person. Methuselah is especially noticeable, as he lived for 969 years before his death. This chapter of Genesis has spawned quite a few questions, and many of them still remain unanswered today. Perhaps, if we break down the way that we approach this chapter, we might be able to glean some additional information.
The Garden of Eden is such an unique story in Genesis as it portrays the fall of mankind into sin or rebellion against God. What I find most fascinating is the common interpretation of the story, that Adam an Eve were first ignorant of good and evil. It is assumed that they lacked the ability to distinguish between bad and good. However, this distinction requires reason and intelligence in order to be performed. Understanding the story in this way presumes God created Adam in an animalistic state and his sin was actually rewarded by elevating him to a full human state. This actually goes against the idea that all of mankind started with Adam, who was created directly by, and in the image of God. When we throw in the commonly portrayed talking snake there is quite a bit to unpack in this story.
Yom is the Hebrew word for day, and is used as such throughout the Bible. In most cases, there is no question of the meaning of the word due to the surrounding context. However, when it comes to the creation of the universe, or anything really, we don't have any context at all unless we know two things; the thing that is being created, and the process that is being used to create it. These are two things that we really do not have an understanding of when we look at the book of Genesis. We do not know what the universe is, and we most definitely do not know, with complete certainty, the process by which it was created.
When reading Genesis 11, the most unquestionable takeaway is that God miraculously changed the languages of the people so that they could no longer communicate and that prior to this there was only a single language used. In almost every interpretation of this story, at least the ones which I have read, this is the case. Personally, I would like to question this for a moment.