A Generation as a Biblical Category

A Generation as a Biblical Category, Decline as a Choice, Woody Harrelson, and Geneticism The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show

Generations are a thing that exists, and which the Christian ought to take into consideration. By that, I mean that the generation is a Biblical category.

Consider Genesis 6:9.

“These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”

To my way of thinking, not just the character of Noah is briefly sketched here. He is said to belong to a generation, or to have a generation that belongs to him. Either way, the character of that generation associated with Noah is also briefly sketched. The compare and contrast brings the narrative distinctives into sharper focus.

Consider also Psalm 12:7-8.

You, O Yahweh, will keep them;
you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

Again, as with the case of Noah’s introductory context, the Psalmist here eludes to the character of a generation contemporary to himself, that it is associated with evil schemers. Such being said would presumably have to be more true of some generations than others, or else it would be odd to comment on it.

This fits the Exodus narrative as well, as a matter of fact. Where Israel wanders in the desert for 40 years until all that generation God brought out of Egypt had passed away, save Joshua and Caleb, God’s own judgment apparently sometimes prefers one generation over another.

Even in the New Testament, the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:16-17 are worth calling to remembrance here.

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’

That there’s something whiny and manipulative about the character of the generation Jesus contended with suggests that not all generations are that way. Yet some are. And what is the appropriate response but to call them out on it?

For that matter, what else could be the point of this or that generation being described in the Biblical narrative, in both the Old Testament and New, except that we are supposed to understand the statements and actions of God and His servants in a new light given what they had to reckon with?

Come back to our own context, then. It’s important for the Christian to know the character of the generation he hails from, and what generation preceded him, as well as what sort might follow after him.

The picture will not always be pretty, but it won’t always be equally bleak and ugly either, nor either progressively worse and worse, nor either ever better.

Yet you might as well overlook peeling paint on an old house that could use a fresh coat as ignore our reality. And it would be just as foolish to not appraise a particular property before you buy it and move in, neglecting or refusing to consider what neighborhood it’s set in.

As in real estate, so in demography. The first rule of wise investment is to consider location, location, location.

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