Attempting to interpret and isolated chapter from a book or an isolated scene from a movie is not a recipe for success. Events viewed out of context are events without meaning. We are forced to read purpose into them based upon our own presuppositions, our own context. This is part of the reason why moderns have such trouble with the Bible. We have been taught to read it by an army of Andy Warhols, men with no sense of narrative. Placing an image outside its usual context renders it an open invitation for the reader to fill the hole with whatever seems right in his own eyes.
Joe Rigney has a great piece on the Trinity House website. With apologies to Joe, I’ll give it to you in a nutshell, then make some brief observations. But make sure you read the entire article.
“He said to him, ‘Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’ And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.” (Genesis 15:9-11)
When Abram asked for a sign concerning the Lord’s promise concerning an heir, the Lord carried it out with animals slain and displayed upon the Land. In the Covenant-literary structure of Genesis 15, the animals were slain and laid out at “Pass-over,” and the Lord’s chariot (as a Head and Body) “passed-through” at Atonement, (matching Pass-over” chiastically) picturing Joshua and Israel entering Canaan. (See Pass-over and Pass-through, and compare the charts on pages 93 and 115 of Bible Matrix.)
What is also interesting is the “architecture” of the sacrifice. We do not know which animals were considered “clean” by the Lord in Noah’s time, but the number of sacrificial animals was now limited to five. They correspond to the architecture of the Tabernacle. If we include Abram in his deep sleep (as a “covering”) and the birds of prey representing the curse of the Law, in the following diagram we have the complete “footprint” of the humaniform house made entirely out of birds and beasts.
The first verses of 2 Thessalonians 2 have been an unnecessary battle ground. The Day of the Lord would not come until after the Man of Sin had been revealed. This reasoning seems obvious to Paul. It should be obvious to us if we know the early chapters of Genesis and their corporate expression in Israel’s festal calendar.
“And, most heartbreaking, most breathtaking of all, is His willingness to actually become the veil, the flesh that was torn away to reveal the “naked” mind of the Father, the unhidden face of His mission for a bride for His Son.”
“And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (Genesis 6:6)
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:36-37)
The relationship between the Father and the Son is an eternal to-and-fro. It is this primary “chiasm,” a “there-and-back-again,” a forming and a filling, which gave shape to the Creation Week and every facet of the Word of God and of human life.
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land…”
Many modern commentators hamstring various parts of the Bible so they don’t run against the grain of modern scientism and historical revisionism. They do this by “classifying” the bits of Scripture that offend modern theory into neat literary genres. “If Genesis is poetry, it can’t be historical,” and other stupidities. Nice try. Another one is “apocalyptic,” a genre which, to the eye of unbelief, might appear to actually exist.
The Nephilim (“great” or “amazing”) were the first “mighty men” of the Bible. They were the result of the intermarriage between the priestly sons of Seth and the rebellious Cainite kings. The text gives us a split genealogy after the murder of Abel, priests serving God outside the garden, and Cain’s false kingdom (Cain went and built a “fortress” to protect himself). So, humanity was divided into two camps: those who served God as their king and those who rebelled against Him.
“Getting Genesis 1 wrong, capitulating to the worldview and resulting pseudo-science and pseudo-history of darkened minds, will eventually lead you to get Genesis 2 wrong as well.”
[Addendum added below for those who are not familiar with my biblical-theological framework. This post is not really about the complementarian debate. It is about our modern ignorance of biblical structure and process.]
Sydney Anglicans used to have an online forum for discussion of theology. It was a great way to spend a few hours I didn’t have. From those times, two things stick in my mind: the creation/evolution thread that would not die, and one commenter who denied that compromising on a particular controversial issue would lead the compromisers down the proverbial “slippery slope.”
Since I called people names this week, very ungraciously, perhaps it might help if I explained myself a little. I see the interpretation of early Genesis as crucial for our interpretation of the rest of the Bible, but also for our understanding of the world we live in. If a Christian gives in to whatever the prevailing culture demands, there will be ramifications for the rest of his theology. This is because the Bible is fractal in its nature. It is a closely knit network, a carefully constructed grid, just like the created world. To cave on one issue will have outcomes in other areas of theology, and the example I have in mind right now is John Dickson, a brave, educated and wise Christian apologist.
An excerpt from Bible Matrix III:
Just as Esau was the line of Cain rolled into one, so Jacob was a true son of God. In fact, being blameless as Noah was, the Lord granted him a vision of the true Gate of God, a tower reaching to heaven.
In Bible Matrix, we mentioned the significance of Jacob’s “ziggurat” vision as it relates to the mountain of God.  Jacob was laid out on the ground like Adam. His slumber brings a “Bridal” vision.
“Jacob didn’t steal the future. He rescued it from a Man who put food first and whose eyes were not yet opened.”
James Jordan has done the Church a great service by rehabilitating the reputations of Noah the drunk, Abraham the liar, Jacob the swindler and Moses the murderer. He has shown us that the context of these so-called sins and crimes mean that they are nothing of the sort.  By this, I don’t mean “cultural context” but Covenant context. The reason these great men of God (and their wonderful women) get such a bad rap is because their stories are treated like a bunch of separate things that occurred, from which we must draw obvious and disconnected morals, rather than a single narrative begun in Genesis 1.