In the New Testament, the word “religion” is recorded in five verses. Curiously, the word “religion” is not found in the Old Testament. This does not however imply the absence of religion since the beginning of time.
Before the fall of Adam, both Adam and Eve knew God intimately. Religion in an institutionalized form as a system of beliefs to compel them to approach and worship God wasn’t necessary. Even after the fall of Adam, none of them were compelled strictly as a matter of form in their approach to God.
The incident of Cain is a case in point. When he approached God in his own way, God simply dismissed and ignored his offering. God didn’t rebuke him. God just didn’t accept his sacrifice and that was all. There wasn’t any penalty for approaching God in a way that was unacceptable to the Creator God.
This wasn’t the case after Moses showed up to deliver an institutionalized format of worship. The moment Aaron’s sons tried to be funny and offered strange fire, they were executed immediately on the spot.
Leviticus 10:1: And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.
Leviticus 10:2: And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
Numbers 26:61: And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the LORD.
Hence, religion is a serious business and not to be taken lightly. Until Moses showed up, religion before the Global Flood was still free and easy. It was up to men to approach God in an acceptable way with animal sacrifice given to Adam after his fall to cover his nakedness. Unfortunately as the human race progressed, they got further and further away from God.
Notwithstanding, there were still men seeking after the God of Creation, in particular, Noah found grace in God’s sight and were spared together with his family from the destruction of the entire world.
Genesis 4:25: And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
Genesis 4:26: And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
After the flood, the way to approach God didn’t really change much. Noah continued with the same worship with animal sacrifice and was accepted by God.
Genesis 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.
Everyone from Noah’s family knew God and knew the way to approach God. There wasn’t any need to regurgitate an acceptable format in this regard.
After the flood however, additional laws were given. Capital punishment came into effect for murder while before the flood, even after Cain killed Abel, he wasn’t put to death immediately but allowed to die like every other man on earth. So killing and lawlessness became rampant before the flood with no penalty and deterrence to compel men to exercise self-restraint. Continue reading The Development of Religion According to the Bible