Thursday, March 12, 2009

QQC—Cain, Methuselah, the Flood and the Ground

Quirks, Queries and Commentary—Genesis 4 to 8

Cain is notorious for being the world’s first murderer, having killed his brother because God accepted Abel’s offering but not Cain’s. God cursed him, drove him from the ground and made him “a restless wanderer on the earth.” We think of Cain as a reprobate but notice his response, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence....” Cain still loved God and wanted to be in God’s presence! (Genesis 4:8-16 NIV)

Methuselah lived longer than any other man recorded in the Bible—969 years. Can you imagine being alive for nearly a thousand years? Interestingly, when we do the math, we discover that Methuselah died the same year as Noah’s flood:

Methuselah was 187 years old when his son Lamech was born.
Lamech was 182 years old when Noah was born.
Noah was 600 years old when the flood came.
187 + 182 + 600 = 969. (Genesis 5:25-28; 6:6)

Noah’s dad, Lamech, died five years before the flood (he lived 595 years after Noah was born and Noah was 600 when the flood came).

After the flood, God “smelled the pleasing aroma” of Noah’s burnt offerings and said, “Never again will I curse the ground because of man...” (Genesis 8:21 NIV) Does that mean that the curse of Genesis 3:17-19 (“Cursed is the ground because of will produce thorns and thistles....”) ended at the flood? If so, why does the ground seem to be cursed still?


Thursday's Child said...

I think when God swore to not curse the ground because of man again it was in reference to the destruction of the flood. Think of all the damage done to the earth as well as the tremendous loss of life.

Debbie Haughland Chan said...

Yes, that is the common understanding of the statement and is quite possibly what God meant but he doesn't specifically say that. My questions are meant to get my readers to think outside the box and examine if there might be more to the passage than we usually consider.

Looking at Genesis 8:21 again, as I respond to you, I notice that God's promise to himself that he would never again curse the ground because of man is based on the observation that the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth." Isn't that backward? Wouldn't the fact that the intent of man's heart is evil be the reason to curse the ground instead of deciding to refrain from doing so?

Is it possible that the curse of the ground at Eden was more than we have traditionally understood? We think of the weeds and other issues we have now as the curse God put on the land back then but was it? (And I'm not saying it wasn't--just wondering aloud.)