Manual Are You Even Thirty Yet? (Message 8: Gods Real Evaluation and Fake Evaluation Book 1)

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Jesus gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers at His ascension Ephesians , and these represent a distinct category of apostles. They do not have the authority to write Scripture as the original Apostles did. They also have a different purpose in the sense of establishing the church — the foundation has already been set. The mission for those with the gift of apostleship today is to plant new ministries and churches, go into places where the Gospel is not preached, reach across cultures to establish churches in challenging environments, raise up and develop leaders, call out and lead pastors and shepherds, and much more.

They often have many different gifts that allow them to fulfill their ministry. These are leaders of leaders and ministers of ministers. They are influencers. They are typically entrepreneurial and are able to take risks and perform difficult tasks. Missionaries, church planters, certain Christian scholars and institutional leaders, and those leading multiple ministries or churches often have the gift of apostleship.

The word describes being able to distinguish, discern, judge or appraise a person, statement, situation, or environment. In the New Testament it describes the ability to distinguish between spirits as in 1 Corinthians , and to discern good and evil as in Hebrews The Holy Spirit gives the gift of discernment to enable certain Christians to clearly recognize and distinguish between the influence of God, Satan, the world, and the flesh in a given situation. The church needs those with this gift to warn believers in times of danger or keep them from being led astray by false teaching.

See also I Corinthians , Acts ; ; 1 John All Christians are called to evangelize and reach out to the lost with the Gospel Matthew , but some are given an extra measure of faith and effectiveness in this area. Evangelists are given the unique ability by the Holy Spirit to clearly and effectively communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others. They are burdened in their hearts for the lost and will go out of their way to share the truth with them.

Evangelists are able to overcome the normal fear of rejection and engage non-believers in meaningful conversations about Jesus. Their gift allows them to communicate with all types of people and therefore they receive a greater response to the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. See Ephesians , Acts , , , Matthew It means to beseech, exhort, call upon, to encourage and to strengthen.


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The primary means of exhortation is to remind the hearer of the powerful and amazing work of God in Christ, particularly in regard to the saving work of Jesus in the atonement. We see Paul commanding Titus to use this gift in Titus and throughout chapter 2, particularly Titus He also charges Timothy in 2 Timothy The Spirit of God gives this gift to people in the church to strengthen and encourage those who are wavering in their faith. Those with the gift of exhortation can uplift and motivate others as well as challenge and rebuke them in order to foster spiritual growth and action.

The goal of the encourager is to see everyone in the church continually building up the body of Christ and glorifying God. See also Romans , Acts ; ; The spiritual gift of faith is not to be confused with saving faith. All Christians have been given saving faith Ephesians , but not all receive this special gift of faith.

The word for faith in the New Testament is Pistis. It carries the notion of confidence, certainty, trust, and assurance in the object of faith. Those with this gift have a trust and confidence in God that allows them to live boldly for Him and manifest that faith in mighty ways.

In the Bible the gift of faith is often accompanied by great works of faith. In Acts we see this gift in action when Peter sees a lame man at the Beautiful Gate and calls on him to stand up and walk in the Name of Jesus. Jesus said even a small amount of this faith could move mountains Matthew ; Paul echoed this truth in 1 Corinthians The Holy Spirit distributes this gift to some in the church to encourage and build up the church in her confidence in God.

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Those with the gift of faith trust that God is sovereign and He is good. They take Him at His Word and put the full weight of their lives in His hands. They expect God to move and are not surprised when He answers a prayer or performs a miracle. See also I Corinthians , Hebrews The Greek word for the spiritual gift of giving is Metadidomi.

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This word tells us much more about the kind of giving that is associated with this gift. The Holy Spirit imparts this gift to some in the church to meet the various needs of the church and its ministries, missionaries, or of people who do not have the means to provide fully for themselves. Those with this gift love to share with others the overflow of blessings God has given them. They are typically very hospitable and will seek out ways and opportunities to help others.

They are also excellent stewards and will often adjust their lifestyles in order to give more to the spread of the Gospel and the care of the needy. They are grateful when someone shares a need with them, and are always joyful when they can meet that need. The spiritual gift of healing found in 1 Corinthians is actually plural in the Greek. All spiritual gifts are to be exercised in faith, but gifts of healings involve a special measure of it.

This gift is interesting in that there is no guarantee that a person will always be able to heal anyone he or she desires. It is subject to the sovereign will of God, as all spiritual gifts are. The Disciples were given authority to heal and cast out demons, but they were not always successful. This gift is given at various times and places to reveal the God of heaven to the sick and tormented.

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If healing is not granted, then we can conclude that God has greater plans for letting the person go through the illness or infirmity. The spiritual gift of healing is an intimate one as it reveals the heart and compassion of God. Jesus is the Great Healer and Physician and during His ministry on earth He healed countless people and cast out demons Matthew ; ; , Mark Healings reveal that God is near to His people and He cares about their sufferings. God wants those healed to respond in faith with thanksgiving and love as the leper did in Luke , and as the demon-possessed man did in Mark Those who have this gift are compassionate toward the sick and pray over them regularly.

They have great faith and trust that God can and will heal some and are not deterred when He chooses not to. Their ultimate concern is the spiritual well-being of those being healed and their relationship with Jesus. They yearn for the day that there will be no more pain and suffering, and sin will no longer wreak havoc on the people of God.

See 1 Corinthians , 28, 30, James The spiritual gift of interpretation of tongues is found alongside the gift of speaking in tongues in 1 Corinthians The Greek word for interpretation is hermeneia and simply means to interpret, explain, or expound some message that is not able to be understood in a natural way. Thus, this spiritual gift is the supernatural ability to understand and explain messages uttered in an unknown language. When this happens in the church two things happen: the church is edified and God is glorified.

The spiritual gift of interpretation is given by the Holy Spirit to certain individuals to reveal messages spoken in an unknown tongue to God for the building up of the church. Like the gift of prophecy, tongues that are interpreted have the effect of encouraging and blessing the church to love and serve God more deeply and effectively. See also 1 Corinthians , 30; The Scriptural emphasis in 1 Corinthians is on the ability to speak this knowledge to others in a given situation. In the opening passages of 1 Corinthians, Paul spoke of knowledge and recognized that the highest form of knowledge among men is the Gospel of Jesus Christ i.

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What we can conclude then is the gift of knowledge is an understanding of the things in this world and in our lives that is founded in the Gospel and rooted in the Scriptures. This gift is closely related to the gift of wisdom which is alluded to by Paul in 1 Corinthians The Holy Spirit gives this spiritual gift to some believers to bring about understanding and to inform the church or individual believers.

The person with this gift is usually well-versed in the Scriptures and often has much committed to memory. They can retain the truth and communicate it effectively at the appropriate times. The gift of knowledge allows a believer to relate the Scriptures, and particularly the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to all aspects of life in this world.

They can see how it connects to every situation and circumstance and how the reality and truth of the Gospel is to inform every decision a Christian makes. See also 1 Corinthians ; Romans ; 2 Corinthians The Greek word for the spiritual gift of leadership is proistemi. This word means to lead, to assist, to protect and to care for others.

The spiritual gift of leadership is found in Romans sandwiched between the gifts of giving and of mercy. It is placed there intentionally to show that it is a gift associated with caring for others. It is more people oriented than task oriented in its application. This is not to say those with the gift of administration do not care for people, of course they do, but those with the spiritual gift of leadership focus on people and relationships more directly.

The word proistemi is connected to caring for people in other passages as well. They base their success on how well they help others succeed and grow in their spiritual walk with Jesus. They are able to accomplish many different tasks and objectives as they lead, but they will always lead relationally and with a deep concern for the well-being of others. Many are entrepreneurial and willing to take risks to see the kingdom of God advanced through the church.

They will go to great lengths to protect those under their care and are well-equipped to lead through crisis situations. See also Romans ; 1 Thessalonians ; 1 Timothy , 12; All Christians are called to be merciful because God has been merciful to us Matthew ; Ephesians The Greek word for the spiritual gift of mercy is Eleeo.

It means to be patient and compassionate toward those who are suffering or afflicted.

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The concern for the physical as well as spiritual need of those who are hurting is covered by the gift of mercy. Those with this gift have great empathy for others in their trials and sufferings. They are able to come alongside people over extended periods of time and see them through their healing process. They are truly and literally the hands and feet of God to the afflicted. The Holy Spirit gives the spiritual gift of mercy to some in the church to love and assist those who are suffering, and walk with them until The Lord allows their burden to be lifted.

They are sensitive to the feelings and circumstances of others and can quickly discern when someone is not doing well. The spiritual gift of miracles is described in Scripture much like the gift of healing. Thus, the gifts are subject to the divine will of God and His purposes and are not decided by the one who performs the miraculous works.

We know that Jesus performed many miracles in His earthly ministry, even more than those recorded in Scripture John , Acts The Apostles regularly performed miracles of all kinds including casting out demons, healings, raising people from the dead, striking people dead, causing blindness, and much more Acts ; ; ; ; ; Miracles were given by God to the church to reveal the presence and glory of God among His people and to create a sense of awe and wonder and Godly fear.

Though there were many enemies of the church, often the result of miracles being performed was more people coming to faith in Jesus and glorifying God, as well as greater faith and boldness within the church Acts ; , Those with the spiritual gift of miracles often have a heightened sensitivity to the presence and power of God through His Holy Spirit. They have a special measure of faith and desire for God to reveal Himself and draw many to faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

They take care not to draw attention to themselves or have a following of people, but are constantly pointing others to Jesus. Those with this gift understand that God is Sovereign and He can work when and how He desires, but they make sure they are available and listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

This gift is often accompanied by prayer and strong petition by these individuals for God to reveal His glory to people. They do not claim power themselves, but always give credit and glory to God for His mighty works. Often God will deliberately humble them to keep them relying on His grace and pointing to His Son, rather than miracles.

See also 1 Corinthians , ; Acts ; Galatians The cycle begins again with dominion, although it may not be immediately recognizable as such. Meredith Kline puts it this way, "God's making the world was like a king's planting a farm or park or orchard, into which God put humanity to 'serve' the ground and to 'serve' and 'look after' the estate. Quite the opposite. We are to act as if we ourselves had the same relationship of love with his creatures that God does. Subduing the earth includes harnessing its various resources as well as protecting them. Dominion over all living creatures is not a license to abuse them, but a contract from God to care for them.

That does not mean that we will allow people to run over us, but it does mean that we will not allow our self-interest, our self-esteem, or our self-aggrandizement to give us a license to run over others. The later unfolding story in Genesis focuses attention on precisely that temptation and its consequences. Today we have become especially aware of how the pursuit of human self-interest threatens the natural environment. We were meant to tend and care for the garden Gen.

Creation is meant for our use, but not only for our use. Remembering that the air, water, land, plants, and animals are good Gen. Our work can either preserve or destroy the clean air, water, and land, the biodiversity, the ecosystems, and biomes, and even the climate with which God has blessed his creation. Meredith G. Chisholm Jr. We have already seen that God is inherently relational Gen.

These relationships are not left as philosophical abstractions in Genesis. We see God talking and working with Adam in naming the animals Gen. How does this reality impact us in our places of work? Above all, we are called to love the people we work with, among, and for. The God of relationship is the God of love 1 John Francis Schaeffer explores further the idea that because we are made in God's image and because God is personal, we can have a personal relationship with God.

He notes that this makes genuine love possible, stating that machines can't love. As a result, we have a responsibility to care consciously for all that God has put in our care. Being a relational creature carries moral responsibility. When Eve arrives, Adam is filled with joy.

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Although this may sound like a purely erotic or family matter, it is also a working relationship. To be a helper means to work. Someone who is not working is not helping. To be a partner means to work with someone, in relationship. Clearly, an ezer is not a subordinate. It is a tragic consequence of the Fall Gen. A yoke is what makes it possible for two oxen to work together. In Christ, people may truly work together as God intended when he made Eve and Adam as co-workers.

A crucial aspect of relationship modeled by God himself is delegation of authority. God delegated the naming of the animals to Adam, and the transfer of authority was genuine. The foundation of this kind of development has been in Genesis all along, though Christians have not always noticed it. In turn, working relationships make it possible to create the vast, complex array of goods and services beyond the capacity of any individual to produce.

And without the intimate relationship between a man and a woman, there are no future people to do the work God gives. Our work and our community are thoroughly intertwined gifts from God. Together they provide the means for us to be fruitful and multiply in every sense of the words. Francis A. God could have created everything imaginable and filled the earth himself. It is remarkable that God trusts us to carry out this amazing task of building on the good earth he has given us. Through our work God brings forth food and drink, products and services, knowledge and beauty, organizations and communities, growth and health, and praise and glory to himself.

A word about beauty is in order. This is not surprising, since people, being in the image of God, are inherently beautiful. Christian communities do well at appreciating the beauty of music with words about Jesus. Perhaps we could do better at valuing all kinds of true beauty. A good question to ask ourselves is whether we are working more productively and beautifully.

History is full of examples of people whose Christian faith resulted in amazing accomplishments. If our work feels fruitless next to theirs, the answer lies not in self-judgment, but in hope, prayer, and growth in the company of the people of God. No matter what barriers we face—from within or without—by the power of God we can do more good than we could ever imagine. Both are creative enterprises that give specific activities to people created in the image of the Creator. By growing things and developing culture, we are indeed fruitful. We bring forth the resources needed to support a growing population and to increase the productivity of creation.

We develop the means to fill, yet not overfill, the earth. We need not imagine that gardening and naming animals are the only tasks suitable for human beings. Work is forever rooted in God's design for human life. It is an avenue to contribute to the common good and as a means of providing for ourselves, our families, and those we can bless with our generosity. An important though sometimes overlooked aspect of God at work in creation is the vast imagination that could create everything from exotic sea life to elephants and rhinoceroses.

While theologians have created varying lists of those characteristics of God that have been given to us that bear the divine image, imagination is surely a gift from God we see at work all around us in our workspaces as well as in our homes. Much of the work we do uses our imagination in some way. We tighten bolts on an assembly line truck and we imagine that truck out on the open road. We open a document on our laptop and imagine the story we're about to write.

Mozart imagined a sonata and Beethoven imagined a symphony. Picasso imagined Guernica before picking up his brushes to work on that painting. Tesla and Edison imagined harnessing electricity, and today we have light in the darkness and myriad appliances, electronics, and equipment. Most of the jobs people hold exist because someone could imagine a job-creating product or process in the workplace. Yet imagination takes work to realize, and after imagination comes the work of bringing the product into being. Actually, in practice the imagination and the realization often occur in intertwined processes.

While it is being done, it changes as one's thoughts change. And when it's finished, it goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr. Waltke, eds. While this quote is widely repeated, its source is elusive. Whether or not it is genuine, it expresses a reality well known to artists of all kinds. God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.

And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. Without him, our work is nothing. We cannot bring ourselves to life. We cannot even provide for our own maintenance. We do not have to depend on our own ability or on the vagaries of circumstance to meet our need. The second cycle of the creation account shows us something of how God provides for our needs.

He prepares the earth to be productive when we apply our work to it. Though we till, God is the original planter. In addition to food, God has created the earth with resources to support everything we need to be fruitful and multiply. He gives us a multitude of rivers providing water, ores yielding stone and metal materials, and precursors to the means of economic exchange Gen. Even when we synthesize new elements and molecules or when we reshuffle DNA among organisms or create artificial cells, we are working with the matter and energy that God brought into being for us.

Did God rest because he was exhausted, or did he rest to offer us image-bearers a model cycle of work and rest? Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.

While religious people over the centuries tended to pile up regulations defining what constituted keeping the Sabbath, Jesus said clearly that God made the Sabbath for us—for our benefit Mark What are we to learn from this? When, like God, we stop our work on whatever is our seventh day, we acknowledge that our life is not defined only by work or productivity.


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  • Walter Brueggemann put it this way, "Sabbath provides a visible testimony that God is at the center of life—that human production and consumption take place in a world ordered, blessed, and restrained by the God of all creation. Otherwise, we live with the illusion that life is completely under human control. Part of making Sabbath a regular part of our work life acknowledges that God is ultimately at the center of life. Having blessed human beings by his own example of observing workdays and Sabbaths, God equips Adam and Eve with specific instructions about the limits of their work.

    In the midst of the Garden of Eden, God plants two trees, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Gen. The latter tree is off limits. Various hypotheses are found in the general commentaries, and we need not settle on an answer here. For our purposes, it is enough to observe that not everything that can be done should be done. If we want to work with God, rather than against him, we must choose to observe the limits God sets, rather than realizing everything possible in creation.

    Francis Schaeffer has pointed out that God didn't give Adam and Eve a choice between a good tree and an evil tree, but a choice whether or not to acquire the knowledge of evil. They already knew good, of course. In making that tree, God opened up the possibility of evil, but in doing so God validated choice. All love is bound up in choice; without choice the word love is meaningless. God expects that those in relationship with him will be capable of respecting the limits that bring about good in creation.

    Human creativity, for example, arises as much from limits as from opportunities. Architects find inspiration from the limits of time, money, space, materials, and purpose imposed by the client. Painters find creative expression by accepting the limits of the media with which they choose to work, beginning with the limitations of representing three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional canvas. Writers find brilliance when they face page and word limits.

    How do you avoid failure? Jim Moats claims, "I believe that failure is the least efficient method for discovering limitations. There are limits to healthy eating and exercise. There are limits by which we distinguish beauty from vulgarity, criticism from abuse, profit from greed, friendship from exploitation, service from slavery, liberty from irresponsibility, and authority from dictatorship. In practice it may be hard to know exactly where the line is, and it must be admitted that Christians have often erred on the side of conformity, legalism, prejudice, and a stifling dreariness, especially when proclaiming what other people should or should not do.

    The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. The use of this terminology is not essential, but the idea it stands for seems clear in Genesis 1 and 2. It is not in our nature to be satisfied with things as they are, to receive provision for our needs without working, to endure idleness for long, to toil in a system of uncreative regimentation, or to work in social isolation. Until this point, we have been discussing work in its ideal form, under the perfect conditions of the Garden of Eden.

    Logical Problem of Evil

    But then we come to Genesis Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat from any tree in the garden'? The serpent represents anti-god, the adversary of God. Bruce Waltke notes that God's adversary is malevolent and wiser than human beings. He's shrewd as he draws attention to Adam and Eve's vulnerability even as he distorts God's command. He maneuvers Eve into what looks like a sincere theological discussion, but distorts it by emphasizing God's prohibition instead of his provision of the rest of the fruit trees in the garden.

    In essence, he wants God's word to sound harsh and restrictive. In short, they turn what is good into evil. By choosing to disobey God, they break the relationships inherent in their own being. First, their relationship together—"bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh," as it had previously been Gen. Eve likewise breaks humanity's relationship with the creatures of the earth by blaming the serpent for her own decision Gen. God speaks judgment against their sin and declares consequences that result in difficult toil.

    The serpent will have to crawl on its belly all its days Gen. The woman will face hard labor in delivering children, and also feel conflict over her desire for the man Gen. All in all, human beings will still do the work they were created to do, and God will still provide for their needs Gen.

    But work will become more difficult, unpleasant, and liable to failure and unintended consequences. It is important to note that when work became toil, it was not the beginning of work. Some people see the curse as the origin of work, but Adam and Eve had already worked the garden. Work is not inherently a curse, but the curse affects the work.

    In fact, work becomes more important as a result of the Fall, not less, because more work is required now to yield the necessary results. Adam, made from dirt, will now struggle to till the soil until his body returns to dirt at his death Gen. Domination of one person over another in marriage and work was not part of God's original plan, but sinful people made it a new way of relating when they broke the relationships that God had given them Gen. Two forms of evil confront us daily. The first is natural evil, the physical conditions on earth that are hostile to the life God intends for us.

    The second is moral evil, when people act with wills that are hostile to God's intentions. By acting in evil ways, we mar the creation and distance ourselves from God, and we mar the relationships we have with other people. We live in a fallen, broken world and we cannot expect life without toil.

    The Fall created alienation between people and God, among people, and between people and the earth that was to support them. Suspicion of one another replaced trust and love. In the generations that followed, alienation nourished jealousy, rage, even murder. All workplaces today reflect that alienation between workers—to greater or lesser extent—making our work even more toilsome and less productive.

    Nonetheless, God continues to provide for them, even to the point of sewing clothes for them when they lack the skill themselves Gen. The curse has not destroyed their ability to multiply Gen. The work of Genesis 1 and 2 continues.


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    There is still ground to be tilled and phenomena of nature to be studied, described, and named. Men and women must still be fruitful, must still multiply, must still govern. But now, a second layer of work must also be accomplished—the work of healing, repairing, and restoring the things that go wrong and the evils that are committed.

    To put it in a contemporary context, the work of farmers, scientists, midwives, parents, leaders, and everyone in creative enterprises is still needed. But so is the work of exterminators, doctors, funeral directors, corrections officers, forensic auditors, and everyone in professions that restrain evil, forestall disaster, repair damage, and restore health.

    Roughly speaking, there is twice as much work to do now than there was in the garden. Genesis 4 details the first murder when Cain kills his brother Abel in a fit of angry jealousy. Both brothers bring the fruit of their work as offerings to God. Cain is a farmer, and he brings some of the fruit of the ground, with no indication in the biblical text that this is the first or the best of his produce Gen. Although both are producing food, they are neither working nor worshiping together.

    God looks with favor on the offering of Abel but not on that of Cain. In this first mention of anger in the Bible, God warns Cain not to give into despair, but to master his resentment and work for a better result in the future. But Cain gives way to his anger instead and kills his brother Gen. God responds to the deed in these words:. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.

    He can no longer till the ground, and Cain the farmer becomes a wanderer, finally settling in the land of Nod, east of Eden, where he builds the first city mentioned in the Bible Gen. See Gen. The remainder of chapter 4 follows Cain's descendants for seven generations to Lamech, whose tyrannical deeds make his ancestor Cain seem tame.

    Lamech shows us a progressive hardening in sin. First comes polygamy Gen. Yet in Lamech we also see the beginnings of civilization. Division of labor —which spelled trouble between Cain and Abel—brings a specialization here that makes certain advances possible. The ability to create music, to craft the instruments for playing it, and to develop technological advances in metallurgy are all within the scope of the creators we are created to be in God's image. The arts and sciences are a worthy outworking of the creation mandate, but Lamech's crowing about his vicious deeds points to the dangers that accompany technology in a depraved culture bent on violence.

    The first human poet after the Fall celebrates human pride and abuse of power. Yet the harp and the flute can be redeemed and used in the praise of God 1 Sam. As people multiply, they diverge. Through Seth, Adam had hope of a godly seed, which includes Enoch and Noah. When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair, and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose The Nephilim [giants, heroes, fierce warriors—the meaning is unclear] were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them.

    These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. What could the godly line of Seth—narrowed eventually to only Noah and his family—do against a culture so depraved that God would eventually decide to destroy it utterly? Some situations may be redeemable. Others may be beyond redemption.

    In Genesis , we hear God's lament about the state of the pre-flood world and culture, and his decision to start over:. The Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, "I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them. From Adam to us, God looks for persons who can stand against the culture of sin when needed.

    Adam failed the test but sired the line of Noah, "a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God" Gen. Noah is the first person whose work is primarily redemptive. Unlike others, who are busy wringing a living from the ground, Noah is called to save humanity and nature from destruction.

    In him we see the progenitor of priests, prophets, and apostles, who are called to the work of reconciliation with God, and those who care for the environment, who are called to the work of redeeming nature. To greater or lesser degrees, all workers since Noah are called to the work of redemption and reconciliation.

    Despite the hardship, the text assures us that "Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him" Gen.