Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thoughts on the ancient patriarchs

Why is it necessary in the novel to bring in the nearly thousand-year age spans - a controversial and possible stumbling point for some readers? Or to mention that Adam was alive at the same time as Noah’s father, Lameck? It is a challenge to my natural way of thinking to even write about their ages, yet I must be honest in holding to the Biblical record. I simply cannot alter the truth of God’s Word to fit our times. Compromise is deadly poison to anyone seeking to walk with God, then or now. The strange fact is that Adam was alive along with nine later generations – What a family reunion they must have had.

How does this help with my goals in writing? For the drama, the presence and wisdom of his first father must have given Lameck a handle on truth like few others would be able to claim. We all know how much power a father can have in shaping our lives. How significant is it when we receive the attention of our grandfather? What about a great-grandfather? Is the significance intensifying or lessening? I think the further back we may connect, the more treasured the moment, realizing that any day it may be lost to our experience. What if we could meet Adam and speak with him tomorrow…Of course, he has multitudes of family - more than just us to consider - and a finite mind…but, wow…just think, here is the first ever man, out of whose loins I came. What was it like in the garden …walking and conversing with God, the Creator and Supreme Lover of his soul…or waking up to Eve, his created helpmeet and mother of the human race? Was God number one in his life or did Adam allow his own spiritual life to decline? What a testimony Adam would speak to later generations.

Longer life-spans were certainly no guarantee of godliness. It probably even contributed to the evil influence of the antediluvians. As years pass, there is a human tendency to think in a uniformitarian mindset, that things have always been the same and will probably stay the same. If God doesn’t intervene during our lifetimes, we have trouble believing that He ever will…and so with past civilizations.

But without faith it is impossible to please God. Abraham had faith and lived before Christ. Why is an abstract thing like faith important in the story? Because it’s important to life and has always been an essential ingredient for the one who walks with God. Did Adam have faith or ever need it? He was able to see God, in a way unlike everyone after him. But after the fall, Adam had to have faith in the faithfulness of God to be both just and merciful to his family…and to fulfill the promise God had made in the garden regarding the “seed” of the woman and the “serpent”.

Sacrifices were also offered to God in those days and people were able to call upon the Lord. Why would sacrifices have been necessary? The ageless law was decreed by the Creator – “Without the shedding of blood (innocent), there is no remission of sins”. The sacrifices helped to maintain that faith connection and also pre-figure Jesus Christ as the “Lamb of God” and coming “Seed”.

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