7/5 Reading (Genesis 7-9; Luke 3)

Genesis 7: Chapter is about the Great Flood. I’m still stuck on a thought from yesterday. HOW did everyone get to be so evil except for Noah and his family? Also, first God tells Noah “Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth” (7.2-3). Later in the chapter I read this: “they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind—every bird, every winged creature” (7.14). I may be reading this wrong or being too critical, but from what I remember, Noah took two of every kind of species. That seems to align with what is said in verse 14, but not what is said in verses 2-3. From the notes this was done because of the later sacrifices. I was happy to see this statement in the notes section: “Though many world traditions speak of floods, there is no geological evidence of a global flood of the sort described here” (p. 20-21).

Genesis 8: Chapter is about end of the flood and the sacrifices. No major thoughts here. I noticed this though: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease’” (8.22). I can see how this verse could be used by religious people who argue against anthropogenic climate change.

Genesis 9: End of Noah. I thought it was interesting that God told Noah here that “never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (9.11). This was already addressed in chapter 8. From reading the notes I learned that there are the Priestly writings and the non-Priestly writings. I can see from the first few verses in this chapter how people think that everything is here for humanity. God tells Noah that all creatures belong to humans, saying “into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything” (9.2-3). Finally, I was pretty confused by the end of this chapter with the talk of Noah’s nakedness. The text just jumped to that. I didn’t quite understand this part until I saw in the notes that in the ancient Near East sons were expected to take care of their fathers and Noah’s son, Ham, didn’t do that. I was definitely confused as to why Ham’s son, Canaan, was punished. My thought is that doing this is punishment for Ham.

Luke 3: here we get to the story of John the Baptist. I had to reread part of this chapter multiple times, especially 3.7-9. It wasn’t until verses 10-14 that this started to make sense. “¹⁰And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” ¹¹ In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” ¹² Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” ¹³ He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” ¹⁴ Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” These commands really resonated with me, especially with our current political climate and all of the conversations about the people on Medicaid. It really does bother me when I hear pundits and public officials talk about those individuals who are less fortunate in such a disparagingly way. Especially when this is followed up with proclamations of their Christianity. John the Baptist here tells us to help those less fortunate than us. How then is it possible for anyone to turn those people away? Just makes no sense and I’m sure I will come back to this topic throughout this experience.

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