4A3

©  Jeff Stacey   |   Last updated:  11 March 2019

4A3.  God’s primary purpose in all of His creation:

To express His own nature forever,

beginning especially on Earth by making Himself known to people worldwide, and through them as they responded to Him

4A3(title)  God’s primary purpose in all of His creation

It has already been shown [2A3(a) and 3A3(b)] that God’s primary purpose in all of His creation had neither changed nor been thwarted.  This was despite the FALL, the FLOOD, the ongoing opposition of the Satan [3B(JOB)27(f)] and the ongoing evil inclinations of people’s hearts Gen 8:21b.

4A3(sub-title)  To express His own nature forever, beginning especially on Earth by making Himself known to people worldwide, and through them as they responded to Him

The whole narrative of Genesis 3 – 11 depicts a series of spread-of-sin events.  These led to Divine punishments and then acts of Divine forgiveness or mitigations of punishment.1

Even after the FLOOD the people’s responses to God were mostly negative.  Once more they started to set up communities centred on themselves instead of God.  He then intervened to stop this from again becoming universal.  He confused their languages and scattered them over the whole Earth Gen 11:1-9 [3B31(b)].

Yet in all this God was continuing to express His own nature.  He was accomplishing His primary purpose by making Himself known TO and THROUGH people worldwide, either positively or negatively.

4A3(a)  God’s ongoing strategy:  His UNCONDITIONAL choice of Abraham and His commitment to him

Then in the midst of this renewed rebellion against Him, God abruptly initiated a whole new movement.  Chart 4A portrays how God UNCONDITIONALLY chose Abraham, commissioned him Gen 12:1 and made several vast declarations and promises to him Gen 12:2-3,7a.  God’s unchanging commitment to him was later formally “confirmed” and “established” by God as “covenants” Gen 15:17-18,  17:1-8,9-14 [see 4A8].

This commitment to Abraham was the centre of God’s ongoing strategy to accomplish His primary purpose.  Once again it was based on His choosing and focussing on a particular individual and some of his family and descendants [3B27(d) and 4A(intro)3].  God was now going to make Himself known specifically TO and THROUGH Abraham and his chosen descendants.

So began a history of Abraham and his chosen descendants that was theologically significant.  It would involve a future series of people and events that actually fulfilled God’s declarations and promises to Abraham, although in diverse and unforeseen ways.

4A3(b)  God was making Himself known TO Abraham

God began by making Himself known TO Abraham in several direct encounters and dialogues with him [see 4A5(sub-title)].  Similar interactions later occurred with various others [see 4B21(sub-title)].

4A3(c)  God’s primary purpose was specifically stated by Him and later reaffirmed

4A3(c)(i)  God’s UNCONDITIONAL declarations and promises to make Himself known worldwide THROUGH Abraham

God’s intention to express His own nature worldwide THROUGH people [1A3(h, j, r)] was now stated to Abraham explicitly.  This was contained in the second of God’s two UNCONDITIONAL declarations to him, that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” Gen 12:3c.  This is a “declaration” of intent by God, since the verb is in the Hebrew perfect tense (indicating future completed action).  It is different to the preceding five “promises” Gen 12:2a-3b [see 4A9(a-e)] that used participles in the imperfect tense (indicating incomplete actions).

Another previous statement by God to Abraham, “be a blessing!” Gen 12:2d [see 4A5(sub-title)] was also clearly a declaration as the verb is in the imperative.  So like Noah before him, Abraham was making a new beginning “armed with a charter of blessing”.2

Two of the five UNCONDITIONAL promises also mentioned the blessing of Abraham Gen 12:2b,3a.  Another concerned the opposite, being God’s curse on any who cursed Abraham Gen 12:3b.  The remaining two promises referred to God making Abraham’s name great and his descendants into a great nation Gen 12:2a,2c.

Later God promised UNCONDITIONALLY to give Abraham countless descendants Gen 13:16 who would possess the Land of Canaan as their homeland forever Gen 12:7a,  13:14-15,17,  17:8a.  God intended them to become His own blessed nation in Canaan Gen 17:7b,8b,  18:18a.  Their whole culture and communal life was to be God-honoring Gen 18:19.  This would express His nature to all other peoples worldwide Gen 18:18b,  22:18.

4A3(c)(ii)  God was declaring the ultimate accomplishing of His primary purpose

God had declared to Abraham that “all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you” Gen 12:3c.  Given the meaning of “to bless” [1A6(b)] God was declaring that He was going to make Himself known TO and THROUGH Abraham.  He would enable or empower Abraham and his chosen descendants to share with Him in accomplishing His primary purpose!

God was also declaring that THROUGH the nation of Abraham’s chosen descendants He would eventually bestow His blessing, this same enabling, upon all nations!  This implied that those nations also would be empowered by God to express His own nature THROUGH their whole culture.  Ultimately all nations worldwide would share with Him in accomplishing His primary purpose completely!!  Little wonder then that these two verses Gen 12:2-3 “set the agenda” for the rest of Genesis.

4A3(c)(iii)  God reaffirmed that He would accomplish His primary purpose

Later God specifically identified His primary purpose when He asked Abraham a rhetorical question Gen 18:17 and then repeated His previous declaration Gen 18:18b.

At the end of Genesis, God’s intention was again reaffirmed in a particular situation.  He preserved the lives of Jacob’s sons and families so that His declared intention to “bless all nations through” them could be realized.  Joseph stated this to his clan, his fellow chosen descendants of Abraham Gen 45:7,  50:20.  Despite all their faults, they were the beginnings of God’s chosen nation of Israel.

Therefore God’s primary purpose was obviously reaffirmed and remained unchanged throughout this Era also.3  It was now being focussed specifically by God upon Abraham, THROUGH whom it would in the future be fully accomplished by God.

4A3(d)  Further confirmations that God was just beginning an eternal accomplishment of His primary purpose

God had referred once to “My Covenant” with Noah [3A8(b)] as being an everlasting Covenant Gen 9:16b [3A3(d)].  It will be shown [see 4A8(d)] that God’s “My Covenant” with Noah was the same in intent as His “My Covenant” with Abraham.  When establishing it with Abraham, God again referred to it three more times as an “everlasting Covenant” Gen 17:7,13,19 [see 4A8(b)(i)].  It included the Land of Canaan as the everlasting possession of Abraham and his descendants Gen 17:8 [see 4A8(b)(ii)].  This latter declaration confirmed what God had already promised Abraham, that He would give Canaan to them “forever” Gen 13:15.

Clearly God’s intention was for this Covenant to never end.  How Abraham’s descendants and the Land of Canaan would be involved in this eternal future was not made known to them.  But it was unmistakable that it would be eternal and they would be a central part of it!

4A3(e)   The sublime accomplishing of God’s primary purpose THROUGH people  –  further acts of worship

Altars for worship of God were built by Abraham 4 times Gen 12:7b,8b,  13:18b22:9.  They were also built by Isaac once Gen 26:23-24,25a and Jacob twice Gen 33:19-20,  35:1,2,3,6-7.  On other occasions they and others offered sacrifices or other offerings, although no mention was made of altars Gen 31:53,54,  35:14-15,  46:1b.  At other times they and others “worshipped” God Gen 24:26-27,48,  47:31b and/or “called on the Name of the Lord” Gen 12:8c,  13:3-4,  21:33b.  So a total of 14 various acts of worship of God in Era 4 were mentioned.  

Two of these were as commanded by God Gen 22:2,  35:1, four were in response to God appearing to them Gen 12:7,  13:14-18,  26:23-24,25,  35:9-15,  six were in relation to travelling and establishing camp settlements Gen 12:8,  13:3-4,  21:31,33,  31:53,54,  33:18,19,  46:1 and three were in gratitude for God’s favour Gen 24:26-27,48,  47:30-31.

All of these acts of worship were in various situations within the journey to Canaan of Abraham and his chosen descendants.  They could all be seen as further sublime examples of God accomplishing His primary purpose, as they encountered, obeyed, revered and thanked Him.

Arrow 4A1 -> 4A3

This arrow indicates that God’s primary purpose in all of His creation flowed directly from His own nature.  It was in fact the expression of that nature, now to be seen specifically in the ongoing history of Abraham and his chosen descendants.

Continue to 4A4

FOOTNOTES

1.    W.J.Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation, page 62.(Return to reading).

2.   W.J.Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation, page 63-67.(Return to reading).

3.  W.J.Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation, page 64.(Return to reading).

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