Good morning! Moving forward, we go past the Flood. The world as we know it was formed partly through this cataclysm. One of the side effects of the Flood is the elimination of the physical location of the Garden of Eden and any other locations (like Nod) from the first chapters of Genesis. So, no, that social media post that claims someone found the Garden of Eden is most likely not right—the destruction of a year under water most likely eliminated any measurable trace.
What do we have in Genesis 9?
First, we have the establishment of God’s covenant with humanity not to destroy it all by a Flood again. It seems that people have misunderstood this covenant to say that there would never be any judgment, but God is not going to simply ignore sin. He is a righteous God and must deal with sin.
That His judgment could come some other way seems to slip our grasp. It might be worth reading 2 Peter 3:1-7
Another intriguing point of these chapters is that they raise the first prohibition on murder on a wide-scale. It’s couple with declaring animals allowable for food—but certainly this is not just about avoiding cannibalism. I w0uld suggest that God is restricting the punishment mankind should mete out on others for their sin—even today, we often decide to be like God in judgment rather than like God in knowledge. Which makes our judgment somewhat suspect, true?
The other story in Genesis 9 needs a brief mention and a clear statement. Noah plants a vineyard, then becomes intoxicated from drinking the wine that results. There’s not much to discuss here—some arguments are made that he meant to make wine, others that he didn’t, usually in the name of trying to keep him righteous—it’s clear that drunkenness is a problem. You should not get drunk.
The two issues that we need to learn from that section are these:
1. What is our reaction to those whose sin has overtaken them? Do we point and laugh? Or do we help cover their shame (not ‘cover-up’ their sin, Noah’s drunkenness was obviously not kept secret) and work for redemption later?
2. The other idea that has arisen from this passage is one of the worst theological ideas to be put forth. Unlike some ideas, like anti-supernaturalism, that claim the Word of God is inaccurate, this one comes from misunderstanding and thereby misapplying what the Word of God says. There was a time when the curse pronounced over Ham and Canaan was interpreted as resulting in their descendants deserving slavery, and then taking Genesis 10 into account, connecting that with the practice of slavery based on racial heritage.
That’s wrong. It’s wrong on many levels (I’d suggest any person thinking they can “own” another person is wrong), but let’s keep this one focused. First, there is a misapplication of generational responsibility for sin. Second, there’s a mistaken assumption that anyone in the recent world has a pure enough heritage to be only from one of the three sons of Noah instead of intermingled. Finally, such a view directly conflicts with Galatians 3:28-29.
In short, it was bad theology generated to justify wicked behavior. Unfortunately, the echoes of the idea linger to this day. Mankind is all descended from those first two made in the image of God. Hold on to that the next time someone posits the superiority of one skin color over another.
Then we hit Genesis 10—it’s frequently called the Table of Nations and describes the spread of humanity after the Flood. It’s likely a summary that precedes the driving events of Genesis 11, but it’s also possible that the Babel story focuses on one group and the effects are wide ranging.