WINDS

Ephesians 4:14 presents an interesting idea.

. . . so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (underlining added) (ESV; English Standard Version)

Paul speaks of a phenomenon he calls “every wind of doctrine.”  That phrasing is used consistently in well-known translations.  I say that because I intend to examine the phenomenon a bit with you.  There are two main terms in use here: wind (anemos) and doctrine (didaskalia).   It is interesting to me that the first term is a concrete, natural term.  The second term is quite abstract until a meaning is agreed to.   It’s good to know in starting that the translations are consistent.  These Greek terms are not translated in a wide variety of ways.  So, agreement as to basic meaning looks straightforward.  Let’s proceed.


TENT IN THE DESERT

Help me.  Let’s construct a tent together.  Of course, you and I hope we won’t have to live in a tent, but this is a metaphorical exercise.  From the exercise, I hope we can make some important observations. 

It turns out that in very early times God’s people frequently lived in tents.  It is clear that Abraham, for example, lived in a tent, at least most of the time.  It’s quite clear that the sojourn of the nation of Israel while in the desert was in tents arranged into a camp of camps.  Tents back then, like houses today, performed basic functions related to identity and shelter.  To a certain extent, the tent was also expected to perform some security functions.  Again, the same is true today for houses although that is not as much an issue ordinarily.  On the other hand, even after houses became a common phenomenon, there were such considerations as where the home was located relative to a city’s defensive walls (inside or outside for example).

Of course a tent is useful for defense in a somewhat meager way.  It did provide for some screening from the enemy’s observation.  The grouping of tents might also be intimidating to potential attackers.  But let’s don’t focus much of our attention on the defensive functions of a tent, at least for now.

For the moment, in fact, let’s focus primarily on the sheltering function.  Even a simple tent could provide some shelter.  One might need to get in out of the sun.  The tent might even be arranged to provide some minimal cooling.  A tent would often be warmed in cold weather.  A tent could provide some shelter from animals.  You get the idea.


HAM AND THEM

If we are to believe the biblical narrative, there was a point in time when the future of the earth and its human inhabitants was in the hands - and genes - of three brothers.  Their names were Shem, Ham and Japheth.  They, along with their father, who was the donor of the male part of their genes, were the survivors of what we might call “the great flood” along with the unnamed wives of the four men.  The Bible states this flood was universal, and that it was caused by the will of the Creator as a reaction to the dishonor shone Him by men.  It appears that He sought to rearrange some things that had gotten “out of whack” as it is sometimes said.  But our purpose is to peer a bit into the lives of the three brothers, particularly Ham.  Hence, the name of this writing.

From a genetic perspective, the three sons of Noah were to be the fathers of the first generation of post-flood humans.  So their genes mattered.  They, in turn, had each received half of his DNA from Noah, the other half coming from Noah’s wife.  Anyway, that was the biological starter kit for all humans in the future.  Keep in mind that the DNA material of Noah and that of his wife had come down through the generations from Adam originally.  The three brothers would subsequently pass on their genetic material in combination with that of their wives to their sons, many (all ?) of whom are named in the narrative.  That’s the genetics part of the story.  Genesis 9:18-19 summarizes this.


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