Thursday, February 17, 2011

Purpose In Noah and Abraham

From Adam to Abraham, God's governance of man and time appears somewhat chaotic. Violence filled the earth, to which God responded by violently overturning the earth. God commanded the survivors to disperse and repopulate the earth. They refused and instead began planting the seeds of idolatry, to which God responded by overturning their ability to communicate and enforcing dispersal and tribalism upon them.

God apparently adopted silence thereafter until confronting a single pagan. God called upon him to drop all his relational ties (one's safety and security in that day), and travel hundreds of miles across the desert to a destination unknown. Abram believed what God said and acted upon it (eventually) and the covenant of relationship was established. Later, in perhaps the most significant event in Abraham's life, God's love was graphically illustrated and the blessing that would come to all the world presaged in the actions of a father and son.

How does one make sense of this human wasteland of violence and sin or God's reaction to it? At least the prediluvian sinners lost in the flood saw the promise of redemption eventually; the postdiluvian sinners do not appear to have fared so well. Why did God do what he did they way he did? Covenant or Dispensation can, at best, describe the scenerio; neither reasonably explicates it. Unraveling the knot, I think, is what this reveals about God's purpose:
  • The saved found grace in the eyes of the Lord, not merit, as they have always;
  • The blessed had to respond to God's promise by the obedience of faith until the end;
  • In God's eyes, love is demonstrated in the sacrifice of an only son;
  • Though specific historical events appear exclusionary, the ultimate aim of God's actions in history are inclusionary.
Though God cannot uphold sin or sinfulness, there is a loving compassion in the heart of God for humanity. Because of his grace, an intimate relationship with him that will last for eternity can be established now which begins and ends with faith. What can a human do in light of the purpose of God? Trust him, believe what he says, and to follow him into life.

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