One of my three best friends is now the only person who knows the extent of this project. I probably should not have told anyone. I feel as though my drive to complete it has lessened.
Perhaps this is my challenge, and this is my way of overcoming that lazy aspect of my psychology. This is the day when I can tell people of my plans and see them through nonetheless.
I can complete this project. I will complete this project. I must complete this project.
For when I have shown myself that I have the dedication to read the Bible and write every single day for the next three years and then some… I will know that I can do anything.
I am tired today, and from the past week and from yesterday I am fairly overwhelmed. This overwhelmèd-ness probably doesn’t help my mood and my desire to write, but I must press on. I am not a failure and I am not a coward and I will do this; I will complete this project by the grace of God because I must.
So, yay, day 9 (of 1189). Only 1180 more days to go!
I better just shut up and get on with it.
Here we have the end of the flood story. The flood ends, God is satisfied at the offering from Noah, and God gives unto Noah a promise or a covenant. God tells Noah that never again will he destroy the Earth via flood.
A lot of people, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, I believe, use this story and any related later verses as proof of the fact that God will never destroy the Earth. Not now, nor 10 billion years from now. Although explicitly that goes back to yesterday, Genesis 8:21, where the Lord says “nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.”
But I suppose destroying the Earth would not necessarily entail destroying all living things. We have space travel now, and we’re getting better at it. We’ve identified several “earth-like” planets, and it’s likely that one or more of them would be habitable. My JW friend once said, describing the Lord not destroying the world, “You don’t build a house for your children just to destroy it.”
His logic is admirable. I told him I disagreed, seeing as the Earth is a tiny fraction of all the matter in the universe, and probably an even tinier fraction of the near-infinite volume of the universe. The number of planets that are like earth in our own galaxy, let alone neighboring galaxies…. Yes, granted, any neighboring galaxy is insanely far away my the standards of modern space travel, but in the future, who knows? I retorted to my friend that “One does not build a cradle for His children and expect them to live in it forever!”
It seemed in the olden days that the garden of Eden, the Fertile Crescent was the cradle of civilization. But our view of the universe has expanded considerably. We are no longer the center of everything. There is a vast emptiness beyond the sky of our tiny planet, and speaking practically, it gives absolutely zero f***s about humanity.
That tiny pixel circled above is the Earth suspended in a sunbeam as viewed from Voyager 1. Carl Sagan’s writings regarding this image are awesome, and you should read them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_blue_dot#Reflections_by_Sagan
But I digress. So God tells Noah some stuff, like “Don’t eat the flesh while it still has blood,” Genesis 9:4, and “I swear you guys, I won’t do it again.”
The blood thing confused me and especially the continued writings about things like “From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of a man” (Genesis 9:5). I turn of course to Matthew Henry. Henry, take it away.
“The main reason of forbidding the eating of blood, doubtless was because the shedding of blood in sacrifices was to keep the worshippers (sic?) in mind of the great atonement; yet it seems intended also to check cruelty, lest men, being used to shed and feed upon the blood of animals, should grow unfeeling to them, and be less shocked at the idea of shedding human blood. Man must not take away his own life. Our lives are God’s, and we must only give them up when he pleases. If we in any way hasten our own death, we are accountable to God for it.” ²
Seems fair? So we have blood sacrifices to keep in mind the necessity of atonement. This is like what my partner told me that I related to all of you a few days ago: before Christ, there was a need to give early man a way to redeem themselves of their sins. So, animal sacrifices and other ways to show humility and faith were necessary. For a time.
So anyway, let’s wrap this up. I have to leave for work in short order.
Noah gets plastered (Genesis 9:21). He seriously cannot handle his alcohol. I get it, Noah, he’s a holy man, God’s chosen to save the world, etc., but really. Even I know my limits. The good Mr. Henry says that we need to be careful not to use God’s gifts to excess. Seems fair. Especially the “green herbs,” if you know what I mean (Genesis 9:3). It’s probably for the best that there’s no record of Noah getting really high.
So, the jerk son of Noah, Ham, goes and gossips about his father. Nope. The other two brothers, Shem and Japheth, don’t look at their naked father but instead cover him with a garment. When Noah woke up, he was expecting to be naked apparently, because after seeing the clothes, he realized that someone had gone gossiping about his nakedness. So he curses Canaan, son of Ham.
Matthew Henry points out that Shem is the father of the Jews, Japheth the father of the gentiles, and Canaan, well, the father of the Canaanites, coincidentally enough. Matthew Henry condemns it, but he points out that this chapter was used for a long time to justify black slavery the world over, since Noah curses Canaan to be a “servant of servants,” pretty much the lowest of the low (Genesis 9:25).
Anyway, Matthew Henry points out that when Noah prays for God to allow Japheth to “dwell in the tents of Shem,” he is expressing his desire that these families, these groups will someday be united. Mr. Henry asserts that this foretelling will come true through the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
…Who we won’t even see or hear about for another 505 pages of this Bible. Oy.
Have a blessèd day, everybody. Thanks for reading, and peace be upon you.
² Henry, Matthew. http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=1&c=9