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Noah and the Vineyard
Video 4 of 21
If you look over here what generations are there? In other words, in both cases, in both Genesis 2 and Genesis Chapter 9, when we talk about generations, we're talking about generations, but they are different kinds of generations aren't they? Over here; Eileh toldos ha'shamayim veha'aretz behibaram - these are the generations of heaven and earth. As I mentioned to you a little bit before, even the notion of associating generations with heavens and earth is strange. Normally you would think of generations as something which is organic, something which comes biologically when I give birth to you or when animals would give birth, you have generations coming from one person. These are the generations of heaven and earth as they were created, you normally don't think of heavens and earth as the kinds of thing that would have generations. It does kind of suggest this idea that everything that was created somehow came from heaven and earth, which, from a cosmological standpoint I suppose is true. But it still seems almost like a borrowed phrase, it's almost a little bit strange.
But however we understand that there's no getting around it, we are talking about generations of heaven and earth over here, and that's very different from the right side of your screen Genesis Chapter 9, when throughout all of these four little generations sections which we've been talking about, the two right before and after the vineyard story, and the two right before and after the tower story. If you look at any of them they aren't about generations of the heaven and earth, they're about what? The generations of people, the generations of the sons of Noah for example. Where was it? Right over here. Vayiheyu benei Noach hayotzim min hateivah Shem, V'Cham, V'Yafet. V'Cham hu avi Canaan. Right over here in verse 18; These are the children that came out of the ark, the three sons of Noah. Shelosha eileh benei Noach, um'eileh naftzah kol ha'aretz - these are the three sons of Noah and from there spread out the whole earth. Then whenever we have generations over here we are talking about the generations of the three sons of Noah. Whichever little section of text we're talking about, either before the vineyard, after the vineyard, before the tower, after the tower. So there's this sort of sharp contrast, which is on the left hand side of your screen we're talking about generations of heavens and earth in Genesis Chapter 2, and in the re-creation story, you're sort of talking about generations of mankind.
Why would that be? Why would there be this [different/difference 2:49] in generations? So I just want to suggest a little bit of a theory to you, going back to an idea which we discussed earlier. If you remember before we talked about how the worlds of creation and re-creation were different. We asked that question, is the world of creation the same world as the world of re-creation? Is this G-d re-creating the same world? Or is it possible that since there's a new creation there's different ground rules? We showed how there are different ground rules. By way of explanation we suggested perhaps that sort of the first world is like G-d's world, it's as if man and animals are both tenants in G-d's world, remember that? Man and animals sort of had a certain kind of equality back in the world of creation, which they don't have in the world of re-creation. In Noah's world mankind can eat animals, it's a whole different food chain, much different than in the world of creation. So instead of being sort of co-tenants in G-d's world as man and animals are in creation, it's as if mankind sort of becomes the landlord in re-creation, and everything else is tenants. There is a certain kind of power that mankind has in the second world.
We suggested the possibility that it's sort of perhaps a diminished world, it's man's world. We also suggested the possibility that maybe that's why G-d commits Himself never to destroy the world. It's like, you know, this was My world and now this is your world, and if it's your world, if you want to ruin it, so you can go ruin it.
This idea that in short in creation we may be talking about G-d's world and in re-creation we're talking about Noah's world or mankind's world, I think finds some support in the different kinds of generations. Well what kind of generations would there be in G-d's world? Well if G-d was so to speak the father, what's the first thing He creates? He creates heavens and earth, and that's exactly what it is that you see over here in verse 4; Eileh toldos ha'shamayim veha'aretz - these are the first things that He creates. Father is G-d, G-d creates Shamayim Va'aretz, they're the first of His children. These children so to speak, these inanimate objects heavens and earth, have everything else. Well look at the analog over here in Noah's world. Who is the father? Noach. Who are his main children? Shem, Cham and Yefet. These are the children - Shelosha eileh benei Noach, um'eileh naftzah kol ha'aretz - and from there all the world divided.
In other words, what corresponds to heavens and earth in world number 1, the children of the father, is the three children of Noah in world number 2. Noah is father so to speak, he's where all mankind is coming from. His main children, like the heavens and earth in story number 1, is Shem, Cham and Yefet, and from there everything else develops. It's very fascinating. It really sort of supports that idea of G-d's world on the one hand and mankind's world on the other hand.
There's one last little piece that really supports that idea in a fascinating way too, that I just want to show you. Okay so here's something that I found fascinating. Let's go to the left hand side of your screen over here, this is the world of creation; These are the generations of the heavens and earth. Let's look at this text very carefully. We have these three verses which we've been looking at, which describe the generations of the heavens and earth, which provide a setting for the story that follows. What story follows? The creation of man and then ultimately the story of the tree of knowledge. Okay so what comes next?
So over here you've got the creation of mankind; Vayitzhar Hashem Elokim et ha'adam aphar min ha'adamah - over here in verse 7, G-d creates mankind from dust of the ground. Then G-d starts planting trees and creates the Garden of Eden and G-d puts mankind there. Okay, all very fine, this is the beginning of the story over here of the creation of mankind and the story of the tree of knowledge. But then we take a break and we go back to setting. Remember, with this over here we said was the setting for the story that comes next, there's a little break and we get a little bit more of setting and the interruption of the story of the tree of knowledge, or the development of Eden, or the development of man, takes place right over here, where we get this very strange geography lesson.
Let's take a look at it a little bit more carefully. Verse 10, I'm just going to scroll up so you can see it a little bit more clearly. And a river went out of Eden - V'nahar yotzeh m'Eden - a river goes out of Eden; Lehashkos et hagan - to water the garden. U'misham yipareid vehaya l'arba'ah rashim - and from there it diverged and became four headwaters. Now we get the name of the headwaters. Shem ha'echad Pishon - one of them was called Pishon. That one went all around the Eretz Hachavila, where there was lots of gold, and the gold over there was really good. The second one was called Gichon and the third river was called Chidekel and the fourth river was called Prat - the Euphrates. Then, as if nothing happened, after this long kind of diversion and geography lesson about the rivers of Eden, we get back to our story of the tree of knowledge. And then G-d put mankind in the garden and said don't eat from the tree. Then the rest is history, as it speaks.
But what's this doing over here? There's this other strange settings little piece, that's to do with the rivers, as if I care about rivers? Like, why do I need this geography lesson about the rivers that go out of Eden? Did you ever wonder that when you were reading this text? Like why am I hearing about these rivers, this one river that diverges into four?
Well I'm not sure I have a complete explanation for it, but let's think about it in the context of what it is that we're saying now. If we look at the left side of the screen, at the world of creation, we've been talking about what is this world, this is the world, this is sort of G-d's world. What is primary in that world? What's primary in that world is sort of G-d's creation, the generations of the heavens and the earth. What's primary actually is the environment, the environment is primary. You even see it, by the way, in terms of mankind's purpose in the world. You know, we're very anthropocentric, we see mankind's purpose in the world basically being man, but that's actually not the way it's described here. Look at mankind's purpose, immediately after this, verse 15; And the L-rd G-d took man to do what? Vayanicheyhu b'Gan Eden le'ovdah ule'shomrah - the whole purpose of mankind is to watch over and to serve G-d's garden.
Very fascinating. If you actually think about that, mankind is actually secondary to the environment. The only reason why he's there is to take care of G-d's world, the most special piece of G-d's world is G-d's garden, and that's what mankind is doing, he's taking care of G-d's garden. So it's fascinating, in G-d's world mankind is almost secondary, mankind is there to take care of this pristine, amazing, fragile world, this world that where spirituality is all around, G-d's world. That's what he's there for.
Now if you think about in that kind of world, yeah maybe the rivers are important, geography is important, geography is central, it's all about that. Now if we switch over to the right side of our screen. If you switch over to the world of re-creation, to man's world, over there we also get generations, but again what kind of generations? Shelosha eileh benei Noach, um'eileh naftzah kol ha'aretz - so Vayiheyu benei Noach hayotzim min hateivah - these are the children of Noah that went out of the ark. Shem, Cham and Yefet. V'Cham hu avi Canaan - and Cham was the father of Canaan. Okay, so Shelosha eileh benei Noach, um'eileh naftzah kol ha'aretz - and then from these three children of Noah, from there diverged the whole world. Does that remind you of anything? It actually sort of reminds you of the rivers, doesn't it? Let's go back to the rivers on the right side of the screen. If you go back to the rivers; V'nahar yotzeh m'Eden - there was a river coming out of Eden; Lehashkos et hagan - to water the garden; U'misham yipareid - and from there it diverged; Vehaya l'arba'ah rashim - and from there it diverged and it went out into four headwaters. So you have diverging generations; in story number 1 this is a sort of river, one river that becomes four, then you've got one man that becomes three over here in the right side of the screen, like these diverging generations.
Except the only thing is it's three. But one second, look carefully at verse 18 again. Vayiheyu benei Noach hayotzim min hateivah Shem, V'Cham, V'Yafet. How many children are there? Three. Shem - there's one, Shem. Cham, there's two. Yefet, and there's three. But look at the rest of the verse. V'Cham hu avi Canaan - strange, kind of ambiguous, right? There's another child thrown in there. Cham was the father of Canaan, four children. So are there three or are there four? Well there's three first-generation, there's one second-generation, how did Canaan get in there? Strange. Then verse 19 as if sensing that's something wrong; Shelosha eileh benei Noach - these three were the sons of Noah. But do you hear? It's almost playing off of these four rivers. As if to say, the three children were somehow four children. Are there three children or are there four children? But in either case, from there diverged the whole world.
By the way it gets even a little bit more explicit later. If we leave Chapter 9 and we go to verse 10 and we look at our next generations' section, listen to it over here. These are the generations of the children of Noah. Skip to verse 5; M'eileh nifredu iiyai hagoyim b'artzotzam ish lilshono l'mishpechotom begoyeihem - from there diverged the islands of nations. Even in English over here; The isles of nations. Strange, that's what Iiyai are, they're islands. What a strange way of characterizing nations. From these children diverged islands of nations, what do you mean islands of nations? There's nations, why are you calling them islands? Where do you have islands? You have islands in bodies of water. What metaphor is this bringing up for you? What does it sound like these generations are? It's like they're rivers, there's flowing waters, and there's islands of nations that come inside the rivers. It's borrowing from this language back in creation; V'nahar yotzeh m'Eden - the river in the generations of heavens and earth that are coming from Eden and diverging, the analog, the analogy to those rivers in the next story, seems to be these generations, people, that end up creating these islands of nations in history, kind of. In sort of the flow of history.
It's really wild, it's just borrowing from that river imagery. As if to say, yes, with a wink and a nod, we are talking about the rivers of Eden. But if you want to know what the rivers of Eden look like in the next world, they don't look like rivers anymore, they look like people, they look like nations. Well, what would rivers and nations have to do with each other? Well I'm glad you asked. Let's talk about rivers and nations. What could rivers and nations possibly have to do with each other? Think about that, let's come back to that next video.
1. The Generations of Heaven and Earth
2. Before the Rain and After the Flood
3. Splitting the Garden
4. Generations of What?
5. Of Rivers and Nations
6. The Vineyard, Introduced
7. God Begins; Noah Begins
8. The Vineyard and the Garden
9. Conflict of Interest
10. Two Hands at the Piano
11. What Cham Did
12. Why Cham Did It
13. The Vineyard's Center
14. What You Know Might Hurt You
15. Why the Drunk Walks the Line
16. The Big Picture
17. Chiasm in the Garden?
18. Chiasm in the Garden II
19. The Center of the Garden
20. The Mysteries of Imperfect Chiasms
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