While reading an American Thinker article, http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/11/the_presidential_degradation_of_the_medal_of_freedom.html, Ms. DeAngelis quotes Matthew Henry regarding how bad our society must be when acknowledged sinners are renown.

I decided to look it up, and I’m quoting here the entire comment on the first seven verses of Genesis chapter 6 (the beginning of the story of Noah):

“The most remarkable thing concerning the old world, is the destroying of it by the deluge, or flood. We are told of the abounding iniquity of that wicked world: God’s just wrath, and his holy resolution to punish it. In all ages there has been a peculiar curse of God upon marriages between professors of true religion and its avowed enemies. The evil example of the ungodly party corrupts or greatly hurts the other. Family religion is put an end to, and the children are trained up according to the worldly maxims of that parent who is without the fear of God. If we profess to be the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, we must not marry without his consent. He will never give his blessing, if we prefer beauty, wit, wealth, or worldly honours, to faith and holiness. The Spirit of God strove with men, by sending Enoch, Noah, and perhaps others, to preach to them; by waiting to be gracious, notwithstanding their rebellions; and by exciting alarm and convictions in their consciences. But the Lord declared that his Spirit should not thus strive with men always; he would leave them to be hardened in sin, and ripened for destruction. This he determined on, because man was flesh: not only frail and feeble, but carnal and depraved; having misused the noble powers of his soul to gratify his corrupt inclinations. God sees all the wickedness that is among the children of men; it cannot be hid from him now; and if it be not repented of, it shall be made known by him shortly. The wickedness of a people is great indeed, when noted sinners are men renowned among them. Very much sin was committed in all places, by all sorts of people. Any one might see that the wickedness of man was great: but God saw that every imagination, or purpose, of the thoughts of man’s heart, was only evil continually. This was the bitter root, the corrupt spring. The heart was deceitful and desperately wicked; the principles were corrupt; the habits and dispositions evil. Their designs and devices were wicked. They did evil deliberately, contriving how to do mischief. There was no good among them. God saw man’s wickedness as one injured and wronged by it. He saw it as a tender father sees the folly and stubbornness of a rebellious and disobedient child, which grieves him, and makes him wish he had been childless. The words here used are remarkable; they are used after the manner of men, and do not mean that God can change, or be unhappy. Does God thus hate our sin? And shall not we be grieved to the heart for it? Oh that we may look on Him whom we have grieved, and mourn! God repented that he had made man; but we never find him repent that he redeemed man. God resolves to destroy man: the original word is very striking, ‘I will wipe off man from the earth,’ as dirt or filth is wiped off from a place which should be clean, and is thrown to the dunghill, the proper place for it. God speaks of man as his own creature, when he resolves upon his punishment. Those forfeit their lives who do not answer the end of their living. God speaks of resolution concerning men, after his Spirit had been long striving with them in vain. None are punished by the justice of God, but those who hate to be reformed by the grace of God.”

My wife and I discuss a lot while driving. Several years ago, probably before our first child, we were discussing Noah, and she was becoming agitated over the details, science, and facts I was interjecting. Things like how impossible so much of it was, and how one should not claim science in trying to explain an overt miracle.

Calmly, but with significant exasperation, she looked at me and asked, “What then am I supposed to teach the children?”

Keep in mind, she has taught young children bible stories since her early teens. I fell for her watching her teach a group of toddlers in the Sunday school. I replied by asking, “What do you teach them?”

She confidently, but brusquely replied, “I teach them God loved Noah, God warned Noah, Noah obeyed God, and God saved the world through Noah because of his obedience.”

That made it so simple. I replied, “Isn’t that the point? What else would you teach them?”

With that, she realized none of the science mattered to the truth in the story. She resolved to avoid the contentions in her teaching and in the curriculum she developed over the years. It is possible to stay true to the truths of our faith while staying honest and committed to the true facts. (Besides, toddlers never questions about where all the water came from or how a wooden boot could be so big, or how floor-space amounting to twice that enclosed by a typical track-and-field lot could hold all the critters in the world and food for a year.)

Speaking of my wife, there is a Matthew Henry quote that I must have heard first near 7 years of age, and have heard many times since. It is referring to the traditional translation of Genesis 2:22, “the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”

The sentiment has been expressed by others, presumably independently. I certainly see it as the point of the verse.

 

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