The one thread that binds the whole book of Genesis (and the entire Bible, for that matter) is the theme of God’s grace in relation to the plan of redemption. As I read Genesis, it almost felt like the old, familiar children’s stories are literally leaping off the pages of the Bible in different shades and colors of grace. Adam and Eve’s clothing, Cain’s mark in the forehead, the choosing of Noah, the language confusion in Babel, Abraham’s call, Hagar’s desert wandering, Jacob’s complicated story and Judah’s trysts all point to the dismal failure of humanity and the staggering magnitude of the grace of God.
What’s especially significant to me was the often repeated theme of men trying to forge progress without the blessings of the divine. The lineage of Cain and the builders of Shinar were a curious case study of humanity’s relentless pursuit of the good life apart from God. It’s both sobering and revealing to me because historically speaking, and even today in our larger society, we see it happening the same way it happened to them.