Reversing the curse
We looked at Genesis 9:1–17 last time. Now we are going to zoom in on the first seven verses of the chapter. God blesses Noah and his sons telling them to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Then God said the fear and terror of humanity would fall on all animals because they were in our power. God changed people’s diet by saying that everything that lives and moves could be food for us. It would no longer just be grains and vegetables that we could eat. The only restriction was that we could not eat meat that still had the lifeblood in it. Then God gave his instructions regarding the death penalty when he said he requires the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. A wild animal that kills a person must die. That also goes for any person who murders a fellow human. God made human beings in his own image. So anyone who takes another person’s life must also have their life taken by human hands. God finishes his instructions to Noah in these verses by repeating the command to be fruitful, multiply, and repopulate the earth.
This passage shows us how humanity’s relationship with creation changed after the flood. Genesis 9:2 is comparable with Romans 8:18–23. Those verses tell us that we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory God will reveal to us later. All creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will show who his children really are. Everything God created was subjected to God’s curse against its will after Adam sinned. But creation is also hopeful as it looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. The animals God made will no longer look on us with fear and terror. Believers groan with the rest of creation as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. But we have a foretaste of future glory because of the Holy Spirit within us. We long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children. That includes the new bodies he has promised us.
Now we will fast forward into the future by going backward in our Bible to Old Testament passages that speak of the Messiah’s coming reign on Earth. Isaiah 11:6–9 says the wolf and lamb will live together when Christ returns. A little child will lead animals as leopards lie down with baby goats and calves and yearlings are safe with lions. Cows will graze near bears. Cubs and calves will lie down together, and lions will eat hay like cows. Babies will play safely near holes that contain cobras. Little children will put their hands in nests of deadly snakes without harm. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all of God’s holy mountain. The earth will be filled with people who know the LORD as the waters fill the sea. Isaiah 65:24–25 promises in that time that God will answer us before we even call to him. He will go ahead and answer our prayers while we are still talking about our needs! Then he repeats what he said in the other passage when he talks about how wolves and lambs will feed together, and lions will eat hay like cows. Snakes will eat dust because God has spoken and said that no one will be hurt or destroyed on his holy mountain in those days.
What a glorious time that will be compared to the world we live in today. Genesis 9:1–7 pointed out the changes in people’s diets after the flood. God gave every seed-bearing plant and all the fruit trees throughout the earth for our food in Genesis 1:29. Genesis 2:9 says the LORD God made all sorts of beautiful trees grow up from the ground that produced delicious fruit. Genesis 2:16 says he gave Adam and Eve permission to eat of every tree in the Garden of Eden freely. But sin and God’s curse changed all of that. Christ’s return will reverse the curse as he reinstitutes the world in the way God originally intended it. I am really looking forward to the return of Jesus and the future he has in store for us. That grows more and more true daily as this world gets darker and darker. Let us be about the work of inviting as many people as we can to join us in God’s kingdom before it is too late.