Yesterday my devotional time was spent in Genesis chapters 1-7. Everything was going smoothly until I approached chapter 6. In chapter 6 of Genesis, specifically verses 5-8, the Word says this: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”
… Wait. What?
I immediately stopped. Just as when I read fiction, I analyze… and analyze… and then analyze just a little more. I paused there and reflected, read it again, read my footnotes, then opened Google. I came to an article on this chapter that attempted to satisfy my curiosities but didn’t quite cut it. So I emailed my pastor and Dustin to get their thoughts.
My questions were: 1)Was God taken aback by how destructive man had become? and 2) Did God alter His plan (sending a flood to destroy mankind) based on the free will choices man had made?
Now I know, because I’ve grown up hearing it since I can remember, that God’s word does not contradict itself. I know that God doesn’t make mistakes, and that His plan is perfectly planned from the beginning. He is the alpha and the omega. My head knows. But my worldly interpretation of the language I was reading was peaking my curiosities to say the least. My pastor recommended a book titled God’s Lesser Glory, which I promptly ordered. He even gave it a term, Open Theism. How could I have never heard of this before?
So now I have yet another book on my to read list. This one is at the top.
I wrestled with yesterday’s devotion much of the day. Internal turmoil brewing. Today, God brought me peace with the next chapters. I continued reading in Genesis. Beginning with chapter 8, I was still less than hopeful that I would find what I was looking for today. The light began to seep in as I read this in Chapter 8: “Then the Lord said in His heart, I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.”
I paused again. I initially read this and thought, Okay, here we go again, God is regretful that He sent the flood. I don’t mean to question the authoritative, Living Word of my God. But I think that the only real revelations and true knowledge come from curiosity, investigation, and discovery. So, I question.. I investigate… I discover. Today I discovered good news!
I read on. In Chapter 9, God reveals that He is good ALL the time. Chapter 9, verses 11, 12, & 13 say this: “Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations. I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”
God knew that man’s heart had not changed. God knew mankind would continue to do evil things. Yet, He gave a promise that we would not be destroyed. Free will and God’s sovereign and omniscient power don’t contradict one another, simply because God is not human. My pastor gave me some words to ponder that makes this easier to grasp. He said (I’m paraphrasing) that the Bible is written in man’s language, not God’s. So when I read the words of man (Inspired by God) somethings are just going to simply get lost in translation. That’s probably why there are so many debates among so many people about this infallible Word.
I will continue in my pursuits to understand, knowing that I will not fully understand because that is not God’s intent. God’s intent is that I believe, that my blind faith is strengthened each time I open His Word to scrutinize and analyze. I was equipped with the gift of analyzing literature. I’m curious as to why it has taken me so long to realize that I can extend this gift to the Bible.
Thank you Father, today, for the gift of investigation and self discovery. Thank you for blind faith and belief. Thank you for being so hard to understand, that your Word causes me to pause and reflect and question and discover You more fully.