Abraham’s Ages at Ten Major Events in Genesis 12-25

We’re introduced to Abraham at the end of Genesis 11, where we learn that his father is Terah, his brother is Nahor, and his wife is Sarah. Then from 11:27 to 25:11, we get episodes from his life. Not every episode can be connected to a specific year, but some can. Here are ten events where his age can be known explicitly or implicitly:

  1. At age 75, Abraham arrived in the land of Canaan (Gen. 12)
  2. At age 85, Abraham took Hagar as a wife (Gen. 16; 16:3)
  3. At age 86, Ishmael was born to him by Hagar (Gen. 16:16)
  4. At age 99, Abraham was circumcised (Gen. 17:24)
  5. At age 99, Abraham was visited by three travelers (18:1; 18:10)
  6. At age 100, Isaac was born to him by Sarah (Gen. 21)
  7. At age 103 (giving approximately three years for Isaac’s weaning), Abraham sent away Ishmael and Hagar (Gen. 21)
  8. At age 137, Abraham buried his wife who died at 127 (Gen. 23:1)
  9. At age 140, Abraham’s son Isaac and Rebekah were married (Gen. 24; 25:20)
  10. At age 175, Abraham died (Gen. 25:7)

From Genesis 12 through 25, the narratives span Abraham’s life from age 75 to 175. In other words, Genesis 12-25 covers one hundred years.

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Gender and the Resurrection of the Dead

The Christian worldview teaches that our future hope should affect our present lives. We shouldn’t lose heart because an eternal weight of glory awaits us (2 Cor. 4:16-18). We can endure mistreatment now because of a greater reward to come (Heb. 11:24-26). We can labor for Christ knowing that our work will not be in vain (1 Cor. 15:50-58).

The future is ever relevant for the present. Specific future hopes can even clarify commonplace confusion in the culture. Let’s take the doctrine of bodily resurrection and hold up to it the hot topic of gender. What might the future resurrection of the body teach us about gender?

First, the resurrection will be gender-specific. Jesus was born a male, died a male, and rose a male. Gender didn’t become inconsequential once his resurrection happened. His glorified body reflected gender. From the beginning God made us male and female, and he will raise us male and female too. Nothing we do to alter our physical body now will circumvent our resurrected state. People who are born men will not be raised as women, nor vice versa. Sex-reassignment surgery doesn’t change gender, and the resurrection of the dead will make this abundantly clear.

Second, the resurrection shows the eternality of gender. Since the resurrection of the dead will establish eternal physical states for believers and unbelievers, our gender is eternal. Not even marriage is eternal, because that temporal earthly covenant points to, and will be eclipsed by, the union of Christ and the Bride (Rev. 21:1-21), but gender will last forever. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we will be there as men and women glorifying the Lamb who was slain. And in hell, those enduring the just wrath of God will be male and female rebels.

Third, the resurrection demands present bodily stewardship. If God will one day raise what dies now, then bodily resurrection vindicates the importance of the physical in life. Matter matters. We must not be practical Gnostics. The body is meant for the Lord, who will raise it up (1 Cor. 6:13-14). The term “stewardship” is apt, then, because we are not our own (1 Cor. 6:19; Rom. 6:12-13). God is sovereign over us, and we must faithfully steward what he has given us, including our bodies. A female body should be cared for and maintained as such, and a male body cared for and maintained as such.

Gender is not malleable like clay. Gender exists by the design of God and for the glory of God.

7 Ways Genesis 1 Stands Out from Ancient Near Eastern Creation Accounts

It is no secret that there are connections in Genesis to ancient Near Eastern creation accounts. Debate exists as to how that relationship should be explained, though that’s not the purpose of this post. I want to highlight seven elements in Genesis 1 that, when compared with other creation accounts from the Near East, shine brightly like diamonds on black cloth.

(1) There is one God in Genesis 1. This truth flies in the face of the ancient Near Eastern creation accounts which consistently speak of multiple deities. One God made the world.

(2) The one true God has no past genealogy. This too is different from creation accounts which speak of gods who were born because other gods came together. There never was a time when God was not.

(3) God is omnipotent. This all-powerful Being is superior to all he’s made, with no equal rivals. His power differs from gods in the ancient Near East who were restricted, vulnerable, and could be defeated.

(4) Creation happened according to God’s command. “Let there be,” he said, and there was. Gods of the ancient Near East often had to contend with creation, to wrestle with material and divine forces.

(5) God did not use already-existing materials when he began to create. By his power, he made everything from nothing. The gods of the Near East, however, relied on coexistent material (and even other gods) to create.

(6) God is majestic and set apart. Ancient Near Eastern accounts tell of immoral deities who acted in surly, immature, temperamental, undignified ways. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

(7) God made creation “good,” even “very good.” No warfare, no skirmishes between gods, no tainted world. In Genesis 1, the Lord evaluated what he made and declared it good!

The creation account in Genesis 1 may stand out in other ways when you compare its language with other accounts from the ancient Near East, but the previous seven distinctions certainly are a start.

JETS Article: “The Genesis of Resurrection Hope”

I contributed an article to the latest edition of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, JETS 57.3 (2014): 467-480. The article is called “The Genesis of Resurrection Hope: Exploring its Early Presence and Deep Roots.” Originally it was a paper presentation at the November 2013 meeting of the Institute for Biblical Research (IBR), and I’m grateful JETS accepted a revised version for publication. Here’s the outline of the article:

I. Introduction

II. New Testament Validation of Resurrection Hope in the Torah
1. The Words of Paul in Acts 24
2. The Words of Jesus in Matthew 22

III. Seeds of Resurrection Hope in Genesis
1. The Life-Giving God who Makes the World (Gen 1:9-13; 2:7)
2. The Tree of Life and Immortal Physicality (Gen 2:9; 3:22)
3. The Defeat of the Serpent (Gen 3:15)
4. The Death of Abel and the Birth of Seth (Gen 4:1, 8, 25)
5. The Unusual Departure of Enoch (Gen 5:24)
6. Lamech’s Hope for His Son Noah (Gen 5:29)
7. The Death and Resurrection of the World (Gen 7-8)
8. Life Granted to a Dead Womb (Gen 21:1-2)
9. Abraham’s Trust in God to Preserve the Seed (Gen 22:5)
10. The Burial of Bones in Canaan (Gen 25:9)

From the second paragraph of the Introduction: “By looking at certain passages in Genesis, we will be putting our ear to the ground to hear the faint but discernible rumblings of what will arrive later and louder in the words of the prophets. Even though some scholars insist that ‘there can be no suggestion that belief in resurrection was implicit in the Old Testament before Daniel,’ I will contend otherwise. The roots of resurrection hope go deep, and the seeds were sown early.”

Article for JBMW: “God’s Judgment on His Blessing: How Genesis 1:28 Informs the Punishments on Adam and Eve”

In the latest installment (18.1) of the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (JBMW), I wrote an article on pp. 16-21 about how Genesis 1:28 serves as an important backdrop to the punishments on Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16-19.

The new installment of the journal is now live, and my article is called “God’s Judgment on His Blessing: How Genesis 1:28 Informs the Punishments on Adam and Eve.”

The outline of the article looks like this:
I. Introduction
II. The Creation Commission
III. The Context of the Judgments
IV. Echoes of Genesis 1:28 in 3:16
A. Pain in Childbearing
B. Domination in Marriage
Echoes of Genesis 1:28 in 3:17-19
A. Toilsome Work
B. Death in the Dust
V. Implications for Readers of Genesis
VI. Conclusion

 

The Glory of Genesis 1:1

In the beginning prepares us for an end not yet in view. History is heading somewhere.

God is the first name in the Bible, which is appropriate since this is His story on a global stage that showcases His glory. I am not the center, the substance, the chorus, or the climax.

Created is the uncompelled act that set things in motion, a sovereign display of unparalled power and majesty. God is God all by Himself.

The heavens and the earth covers the whole gamut, from everything above us to everything below us. We are derivative, not ultimate.

As Dan Phillips rightly observes, “The most offensive thing I believe is Genesis 1:1, and everything it implies.”

Enoch and the Shortest Long but Loyal Life in Genesis 5

Genesis 5 records ten generations of descendants through Adam’s son Seth, and seventh in the list is this guy named Enoch (Gen 5:21-24).  His story stands out for at least four reasons:

  • (1) The people listed before and after him all die, but he does not.  The narrator says “God took him,” and this was not a “taking” in physical death.  Hebrews 11:5 tells us Enoch never saw the earthly end of his mortality. 
  • (2) Those in Genesis 5 lived extraordinarily long lives, but among the whole lot Enoch’s life is the shortest. Granted, his 365 years (5:23) is still a long time, but not compared to his son Methuselah who lived 969 years (5:27)!
  • (3) We’re told Enoch “walked with God,” which doesn’t mean no one else in Genesis 5 did, only that Enoch’s devotion stood out.  The writer of Hebrews says, “Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God” (11:5b).
  • (4) Enoch, being seventh from Adam through Seth, contrasts with Lamech who is seventh from Adam through Cain (Gen 4:17-24). Lamech boasts in his wickedness, but Enoch is known as the man who walked with God.

Enoch’s story is remarkable not only for the quality of his devotion which the biblical text highlights and underlines, but also for its duration. The Lord took him at age 365 (Gen 5:23-24). Enoch didn’t walk with God for mere months, a few years, or several decades. He walked with God for hundreds of years.

Year in and year out, Enoch walked with God. Decades turned into centuries, and he walked with God with relentless devotion, commended for faith that pleased the Lord (Heb 11:5). What loyalty and love! A man after God’s own heart, Enoch followed his Maker until one day “he was not” (Gen 5:24). Suddenly at a precise latitude and longitude, God suspended the law of gravity, and just like that, Enoch was gone.