How Genesis 7-8 Applies to the CCM Debate

March 2, 2015

Some supporters of CCM assert that because God made music, all instrumental musical styles, including rock music, are necessarily inherently acceptable for use in divine worship. An examination of certain statements in Genesis 7-8 points to why this argument is invalid.

Divine Instruction to Noah about Animals

In preparation for the Flood, God gave Noah specific instructions about the animals that he was to bring into the Ark:

Gen 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

Among those animals, he was to bring specified numbers of clean animals and unclean animals:

Gen 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

 3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

Scripture does not give us any further information about this distinction among the animals, but we can understand the following truths based on this revelation:

  1. The Lord expected Noah to know which animals were unclean and which ones were not and to act accordingly. Scripture does not tell us how Noah would know this information; it may be that God also specified this information to him at this time but chose not to record His doing so.
  2. Scripture does not reveal how or why this distinction among all the animals that God had created originated nor does it explain what this distinction signified concerning in what sense some of the animals were clean and others were unclean; we are simply told that this distinction existed.
  3. Scripture does not tell us whether this distinction had been in place prior to this time or it was established only at this time.

Furthermore, because later revelation shows that God had not yet given animals to humans as food (Gen. 9:3-4), we have no basis for saying that the distinction among the animals at this time had anything to do with human consumption of them as food.

Divine Worship by Noah Using Animals

After the Flood, Noah built an altar to the Lord and worshiped Him by offering burnt offerings on it:

Gen 8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

Notice that Noah offered these offerings only from every clean animal and bird—he did not offer any of the unclean animals in his worship of God.

God accepted Noah’s worship that offered to Him only these clean animals and birds (Gen. 8:21) that he had taken on the Ark in obedience to divine directive (Gen. 7:2-3). God blessed Noah and his family after he had worshiped Him (Gen. 9:1ff.), including now giving all animals to them for food (Gen. 9:3).

Strikingly, God then made a covenant with Noah and his sons that Scripture explicitly specifies four times was a covenant that was also with every living creature that was with them in the Ark (Gen. 9:10, 12, 15, 16)—the covenant therefore was also with those unclean animals and birds that were not offered to God in worship to Him!

Discussion

As the Creator, God made everything (Gen. 1), including all living beings (Gen. 1:20-28). After God had made all things, He pronounced that all that He had made was good (Gen. 1:21, 25, 31).

Just prior to the Flood, however, we read that God directed Noah concerning his bringing into the Ark both animals that were clean and animals that were unclean (Gen. 7:2-3). Scripture does not explain how, when, and why some animals received this designation of being unclean and others did not.

After the Flood, we see Noah offering only the clean animals in worship to God, even though God had also made all the unclean ones as good animals when He created them. After Noah had worshiped God, we read that God gave all animals to Noah and his family for food, including those animals that were designated as unclean and not offered in worship to Him.

Based on this biblical data, we see that although every animal that God created was originally pronounced by Him as good, He declared just before the Flood that an unspecified number of them were unclean animals. These unclean animals were not acceptable for use in divine worship even though God created them and pronounced them good at the Creation.

Because, however, God entered into an everlasting covenant with these unclean animals after the Flood—just as He did with the clean ones—we know that their unacceptability for divine worship was not because these animals were of no lasting value to Him. Moreover, because God gave these animals to humans as food after the Flood, we know that their unacceptability for divine worship was not because they were somehow unfit for human consumption.

Application to the CCM Debate

Many supporters of CCM argue that instrumental rock music is both inherently moral music and acceptable for use in divine worship because God created all music. From our study above, however, we have seen that such an argument from Creation is not valid because some of the animals that God created as good at the Creation were for some unspecified reason unclean and unfit for use in divine worship just prior to the Flood.

Even if it were true, therefore, that all instrumental musical styles were inherently good at the Creation because God created all music, it would still not necessarily follow that they all are inherently acceptable today for use in divine worship. Supporters of CCM, therefore, cannot legitimately use an argument from Creation to support their view that using CCM in divine worship is necessarily legitimate because all instrumental musical styles are inherently acceptable to God.

Conclusion

In the debate about the propriety of using CCM in divine worship, many supporters of CCM argue that rock music is inherently fit for use in divine worship because God created music and therefore all musical styles are necessarily acceptable for use in worshiping Him. A close examination of biblical revelation about divine worship in Genesis 8 has shown, however, that it is not true that everything that God created as good at the Creation is necessarily therefore still acceptable for use in worshiping Him. An argument from Creation, therefore, does not prove that God accepts the rock music that those who use CCM in divine worship offer to Him.

Rajesh

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