Thursday, June 4, 2009

Genesis Story

Wisdom of the Ages: Part 1

Discarding our past makes our future uncertain.

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

I recently watched a video on the life of Abraham. First shown on one of Ted Turner’s cable networks, it was surprisingly faithful to the Bible’s account of Abraham’s life.

Richard Harris portrayed Abraham as a man of great sensitivity, with a yearning to know God. Eventually he did, for the Bible describes him as God’s friend. It does not tell us why Abraham sought God, or how he even knew there was a God. The people of Abraham’s time and place were not followers of this God. Who told Abraham about Him?

Creation Chronology

Genesis chapter 5 consists of a chronology of the heads of the first 10 generations of man. It is given without explanation or embellishment and covers the period from Adam to Noah and his 3 sons. Since the chronology is specific, calculating the life span of each is simple, as is the total time from Adam’s creation to Noah’s death - 2006 years. Chapters 6 - 9 then shift gears to describe the Great Flood, which occurred 1656 years after the creation of Adam. Chapter 10 is about the Tower of Babel.

Then in Genesis 11 vs. 9 the chronology abruptly begins again with Noah’s son Shem and continues to Abraham (then called Abram). Just as before, you can calculate both the life spans of each of 10 heads of family and the total time elapsed. By putting the two lists together you come to the amazing discovery that Noah was still alive when Abram was born and died when Abram was 58.

You further discover that if Adam recounted the story of his origin to his son Seth and his grandson son Enosh, (seems likely, as Adam’s origin was pretty unique) then Enosh could have told Noah. It seems 8 out of the first 10 family heads were still alive and well during Noah’s life. Only Adam and Seth had died. Since they all lived in the same general vicinity, Mesopotamia, any one of them could have passed on Adam’s story.

Hello Noah? This is Abraham

Only Noah and his three sons survived the flood, but any of them could have talked with Abram. In fact Noah’s son Shem, still around when Abram’s son Isaac was born, actually out lived Abram.

The notion that the Creation story came from fables told by illiterate primitives around campfires at night just isn’t so. There is even emerging evidence that Adam could not only read and write (he was created in God’s image after all) but wrote books that were used by Moses in compiling the Creation Story.

The chain of information from Creation to Abraham needed only 3 links; Adam, Enosh (Adam’s grandson, remember?), and Noah. It is no stretch of the imagination to surmise that Abram had heard about the Creator of the Universe through this chain and then sought Him out. You see, in those days there was great interest in the lessons of the past; the wisdom of the ages.

What’s the point?

Today in almost every field, great emphasis is placed on new thought. Nothing wrong with that per se, but in our quest for the “latest thing” are we losing our grounding in the wisdom of the ages? In our effort to find the newest trend in business management, for example, are we forgetting those basic principles that have always worked?

Every society has relied on the wisdom of its elders to instruct the young, guaranteeing that its heritage would remain intact; that simple truths would not be lost. Because we no longer venerate our elders and their wisdom, we live in a revisionist world, where even the past is becoming uncertain. (Was the Holocaust real … was Columbus a good guy or a bad guy?)

Keep it simple

Many of life’s simple truths are not only no longer taught, but often aren’t even factored into the success equation. Yet they have always been effective in building a successful life. There’s but a handful of them; just ask the great leaders of the past. They were first written down for us in the Bible, later confirmed in the biographies of successful lives.

Because Abraham sought the wisdom of his elders the Source of all Truth was rediscovered. Maybe the next “latest thing” of our time will be a rediscovery of the wisdom of our elders; essential business truths that have always worked. If so we’ll find them right there in the Bible, alongside the greatest truth of all. More on this next time.


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