For the week of October 24, 2020 / 6 Heshvan 5781
Torah: Bereshit/Genesis 6:9-11:32
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1 – 55:5
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And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” (Bereshit/Genesis 9:1)
I am the main computer person at home. It helps that for years I worked in high-tech, including providing computer training and technical support. Most of the
I am the main computer person at home. It helps that for years I worked in high-tech, including providing computer training and technical support. Most of the time, my wife and kids have no issues with their various technical devices, but every now and then, they need my help: the screen is frozen, the mouse is stuck, the sound isn’t working, the web browser is too slow, a program won’t open, etc. These things don’t happen as often as they once did, but when the solution isn’t obvious, I often suggest restarting, or as it’s commonly called, rebooting. Rebooting clears out any data that may be lodged in memory and resets the computer, tablet, or phone. There are times when this is not the answer. Depending on the device, loose cables may need tightening, programs may need to be reinstalled, a virus might be present, and so on. The solutions to many of these problems are also pretty simple, except for viruses. Rebooting won’t repair physical damage, of course, but before taking more drastic measures, it’s always worth a try. But do remember before rebooting, save all open documents, if you can. Otherwise certain information may be lost forever.
Our planet is a very complex system within a larger complex system, the universe. This week’s Torah portion is about the time when the system of life on earth was so problematic, it needed to be rebooted. After Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s directions, human existence went from bad to worse. Near the end of last week’s portion it reads: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Bereshit/Genesis 6:5). Every intention of the heart continually evil! That’s pretty bad. The passage goes on to say: “And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart” (Bereshit/Genesis 6:6). It is difficult for us to conceive how God could regret his original plan or how he might experience grief, but he did. Time to reboot!
I imagine he could have completely destroyed the earth instead, but he didn’t. Having found one man who was in right relationship with him, Noah, he restarted the human race through him and his family. He then blessed him to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” the same words he had said to Adam and Eve (see Genesis/Bereshit 1:28).
By rebooting the earth rather than replacing it altogether, God demonstrates his commitment to the system he created. The creation is essential to the plan of God. That might be hard for some people to understand or accept, for there is a tendency for spiritually minded people to view the material world as somewhat of a mistake. Associating evil with the creation itself is contrary to how the Bible regards life. Scripture views the material and the spiritual aspects of the creation as an integrated whole. We are called to love and serve God within the material world as integrated material/spiritual beings. The New Covenant Writings tell us that God’s motivation for sending the Messiah was that he “loved the world” (John 3:16). The Greek word for “world” here is “cosmos,” referring to the whole of creation, not just the people in it. Not only does God love the creation, he continues to work out his plans and purposes within it, the culmination of which will be a new heavens and a new earth (see Isaiah 66:1-24; esp. v.22).
The new heavens and the new earth are not a reboot, but an upgrade. While there are aspects of the current system that will carry-over to the new, there will be brand new features, some of which we have a taste of today through Yeshua the Messiah, including right relationship with God, forgiveness, and healing. The new system will feature God’s personal presence on earth forever along with the complete eradication of evil, sickness, and death.
You can experience the preliminary features of the coming upgrade right now, but for a limited time only! All you need to do is turn from self to God and trust in Yeshua’s death and resurrection. Your sins will be forgiven, you will have an intimate relationship with God, and you will live forever in his new creation. Act now before it’s too late!
Scriptures taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise indicated