Thursday, August 26, 2010

From Babel to Radical

In studying Genesis again for my Wednesday evening Bible Class, I found myself thinking more about God than any other time I've studied it in the past. I think we fall into the trap of seeing Genesis as a series of great stories and forget that it was written to tell us about God. Sure it gives some insights into history and some earth changing events (not to mention earth beginning events), but it's purpose it to help us see and understand God better. Now that I read it looking for things about God and how much he wants to have a relationship with man, everything is new and exciting.
I am especially intrigued by the lack of description of how God communicated with people at different times. He'd clearly had a very personal relationship with Adam and Eve that included some walks in the garden and some intimate discussions. He must have spoken to Cain and Abel because it's assumed they knew what he expected as far as sacrifices go. And how did God speak to Noah? Was it just a voice from the sky or visions in his sleep? I don't think so. And then you get to the Tower of Babel event in chapter eleven when it says, "But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building." How did he "come down"? Isn't he always there? Was he in the form of a person, animal, or thing? He does all three, in some form later. And then he reports - to whom - the Son and the Spirit obviously - and tells of his concern about the tower. Then he says, "Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." How did they do that? Did they stay invisible or did they, again, take on some form, and if they did, whey didn't anyone see or recognize them?
I know there are a lot of possibilities, but in the next chapter the Bible says, "The Lord appeared to Abram and said..." (vs.7) So not only did God speak to him but he appeared to him. How? What did he look like? It wasn't a burning bush or a talking donkey. I wonder if we've allowed our theology of the incarnation of Jesus to limit our thinking of God. Yes, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" but maybe the uniqueness of that is the "dwelt among us" part - the living with and experiencing every part of humanity. If we can entertain angels without knowing it, is it that far fetched that we might encounter God and not know it? I'm not talking about new revelations or still voices in the night. I'm talking about a Father who says he will draw close to us if we draw close to him, and who can do that anyway he wants. Besides, if we're going to be consistent with our doctrine of the Trinity, if the Holy Spirit can provide help, isn't that the same as God providing help?
I think we will be surprised to find out how much God has been involved in trying to keep and maintain his relationship with us.

1 comment:

Glenave Curtis said...

Oh Mike, your thoughts bring tears. This blog is your best; I can relate especially to the first paragraph, but I love all the concepts. Love you, dear one.