Page:A Brief Bible History (Boyd and Machen, 1922).djvu/14

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TEACHING THE TEACHER

of the "river that went out of Eden to water the garden" in which our first parents dwelt. The region is at the southern end of what is now called Mesopotamia. At the northern end of this river basin towers the superb mountain known as Mount Ararat. But the "mountains of Ararat," mentioned in Gen. 8 : 4 as the place where Noah's ark rested when the waters of the Flood had subsided, are no particular peak, but are the highlands of Kurdistan, which in ancient times were called Urartu (Ararat). Between Kurdistan on the north and the Persian Gulf on the south, the highlands of Persia on the east and the great Syrian Desert on the west, occurred the earliest drama of human history.

That drama was a tragedy. It became a tragedy because of man's sin. The wonderful poem of creation in Gen., ch. 1, has for the refrain of its six stanzas, "God saw that it was good." Best of all was man, the last and highest of God's works — man, made in "his own image," after his likeness. On the sixth "day," when God made man, God said of his work, "Behold, it was very good." More than that: through the kindness of God man is put in a "garden," and is ordered to "dress it and to keep it." Ch. 2 : 15. Adam sees his superiority to the rest of the animal kingdom, over which he is given "dominion." He is thus prepared to appreciate the woman as a helpmeet for him, so that the unit of society may ever mean for him one man and one woman with their children. Adam is also warned against sin as having disobedience for its root and death as its result.

All this prepares us to understand the temptation, the miserable fall of the woman and the man, their terror, shame, and punishment. Ch. 3. And we are not surprised to see the unfolding of sin in the life of their descendants, beginning with Cain's murder of Abel, and growing until God sweeps all away in a universal deluge. Chs. 4, 6.

God's tender love for his foolish, rebellious creatures "will not let them go." At the gates of the garden from which their sin has forever banished them, God already declares his purpose to "bruise" the head of that serpent, Rom. 16 : 20, who had brought "sin into the world and death by sin," Gen. 3 : 15. Through the "seed of the woman" — a "Son of man" of some future day — sinful man can escape the death he has brought upon himself. And from Seth, the child "appointed instead of" murdered Abel, a line of men descends, who believe this promise of God. Ch. 5. In Enoch we find them "walking with God," V. 24, in a fellowship that seemed lost when paradise was