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Beginnings in Genesis – Blessing then Violence

April 2, 2008

he named him Noah and he said ‘he will comfort us in the labour and painful toil of our hands’
Gen 5:29

Gen 4 describes the growing power of sin from Adam, via Cain, culminating in the viciousness of Lamek. It also traced the early developments in culture and technology, but suggests that all were tainted by the effects of human sin.

Chap 5 on the other hand records God’s blessing of humankind; human beings multiply, ‘fathering sons and daughters’ and the divine image is transmitted from generation to generation. The statement in 4:26 about calling on the name of the lord gives a hint that the Sethite line would be blessed. The same hope is expressed in 5:29 when Lamek speaks of Noah. But that hope is expressed in the context of the real presence of the curse on the ground. This is where hope is to be found, and where it is needed.

Of course the optimism of chp 5 is dashed by chp 6. The abuse of sexuality leads to the flood. Lamek’s hopes are not fulfilled as he expected, instead of mankind being comforted by Noah, Noah is the only survivor of a cataclysm. The genealogy of chp 5 thus links the first founder of humanity with the re-founder. The long period of peace and apparent prosperity of this chapter makes chp 6 so shocking, just as the events of chp 3 were so startling after chps 1,2.

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From → Genesis

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