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January 6, 2014 – Genesis 6

Click here to read Genesis 6 on BibleGateway.com

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Have you ever read a book on optical illusions? If so, why? You know the pictures are lying to you. Dirty little weasels. And yet you just keep turning page after page, knowing that you hold in your hand nothing but a bound pack of lying Lyersons.  Do we enjoy being fooled? Do we get some thrill from feeling like a moron? Or is there just an inborn distrust in us that doubts our own perceptions.

Uncertainty is part and parcel to the human condition. We know that what we “know” is real, yet we can’t always bring ourselves to believe it. Sometimes what we know is easy to say, yet hard to believe. For instance, do we really believe God is loving? If that’s the case, then every single one of his actions must be informed by His love. We know God is Love (it says so in the Bible somewhere), yet we really suspect is a vindictive jerk.  Can our perception be changed? In other words, as we read through the Bible, is it possible to consider every act of God a loving act? You wish for an example? Very good.

LESS IS MORE

In Genesis 6, we read how God looked around and saw the growing wickedness of people after the Fall. God says “My Spirit will not strive with man forever. Their days will be 120 years.” There are lots of interpretations for this verse, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume the traditional interpretation: the lifespan of men will be cut to 120 years at maximum. Prior to this point, men (and women we assume) lived for hundreds of years. Usually people see this as a punishment, like a spanking with the mortality spatula. We used to live for hundreds of years, and now we only get roughly a hundred years, if we’re lucky.

So, let’s consider this passage in light of God’s love. Is it possible to see this as an example of God’s goodness instead of a punishment?

To start, we need to establish the reason we were created. In light of other passages, it seems clear that we were created for fellowship with God. Before the Fall, God used to walk with Adam every day, just hanging out, drinking some Dew and chewing a banana or two. But then the fall came. We were no longer able to see God face to face. The punishment for sin was death; not immediate physical death, but spiritual death culminating in eventual physical death.

THE TRUTHS WE CLING TO

If that’s the case, man was condemned to live out his life without God’s fellowship. We could not fulfill the purpose we were created for. The result of sin is death; hence, the only way we can be back into that relationship with God is to pass through death. Therefore, the longer we were alive, the longer we are out of that relationship. Instead of enjoying God’s full presence, we were condemned to a life of weeds, toil and suffering.

In his mercy, God shortened that time that we would have to be without Him. By shortening our lives to 120 years, God brought us back into His presence, into full joy, into the complete fulfillment of our creation, hundreds of years sooner.

That sounds just like a loving God to me.

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