July 20, 2014: Drowning our Problems

Posted on : Jul 22nd, 2014 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

“Our God said, I will wipe this human race that I have created from the face of the earth – not only the humans, but also the animals, the reptiles, and the birds of the heavens. I am sorry I ever made them.” (Genesis 6:6-7)

Do you believe God said this? I don’t.

The story of Noah and the ark is a story that we’ve heard since children and one that most atheists could recite by heart. It is such an epic tale that even today when this ancient story was made into a movie it generated $43.7 million in it’s opening weekend and surpassed $300 million in global sales. Not bad for such an old story with an ending that everyone knows even before they see it.

What is it about this story that is so enticing? So captivating? So intriguing?

It’s not rational, that’s for sure. One simply could not gather two of every living creature on the earth, one male and one female, put them all together in a boat which was about half the size of our large cruise ships for 150 plus days. Sooner or later the lions would have had lamb chops for dinner – but how did lions get there?  Aren’t they supposed to be in Africa? And why are all the animals post-historic as opposed to pre-historic? Isn’t this story about the beginning of the world? And let’s be real, there’s going to be at least 5-10% of these animals who are gay or lesbian. It’s just natural. That defeats the whole purpose of “gender pairing.”

So, if it isn’t rational, what is it?

This story touches one of the deepest psychological issues of humanity: the struggle between good and evil.  Ironically, no matter how good or evil we are, we always assume that God has chosen us as the good ones who are to survive. The “bad guys” are destroyed.

Think for a moment about who it is that you relate to in this story? Do you ever think of yourself among the ones who are not “on board?” Almost everyone associates her or himself with those on the ark. The survivors. The good people. The ones who are given a second chance.

The story of Noah’s ark is an “apocalyptic” story. It’s a story about “the end of the world” – in which good wins out over evil. In the ancient world, primordial floods were the form most apocalyptic stories took. Today, war is the form of our apocalyptic stories. After years of failing, we still think if we just “kill off the bad guys” everything will be fine. Our success rate has not proven that theory true. However, there is something in most of us that wants to believe that violence and destructive behaviors can somehow correct the evil we encounter both personally in our lives and globally in our world.

Things get really messy when we believe God blesses our violence, which is what we do when we assume God blesses our country over another, or our troops over “the enemy’s;” or in the case of Noah, one family over the rest of the humanity.

So why is this story in the Bible and what can we learn from it today? We’ll explore that this Sunday.

God Bless – and remember: God doesn’t do weather!

Blessings,

Dan

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Genesis 6 & 7

The Story of Noah and the Ark 

Noah was just and blameless among his contemporaries, and walked in accord with God. Noah had three children: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

It was clear to God that the world was corrupt and full of violence. God looked at the earth, and saw that it had gone to ruin: all flesh had defiled its way upon the earth. So God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before me, for they are the cause of all its violence. I will destroy them, and the earth as well…

What I have decided to do is to flood the earth and to destroy all flesh under heaven that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will die. But I will establish my covenant with you: you and your wife will go into the ark, with your children and their spouses. Bring with you two of every living thing – one male and one female – of all flesh, to preserve them….”

God said to Noah, “Come aboard the ark, you and your household.”

Noah was 600 years old when the flood waters came over the earth. So Noah and his wife, together with their sons and spouses, entered the ark to escape the flood waters. With them came the clean and the unclean animals, birds and creatures that move on the ground, two by two came to Noah into the ark, male and female as God had commanded…

For forty days the flood continued, and the rising water lifted the ark so that it rose high above the earth, and the ark rose with them. The waters rose so high over the earth that all the high mountains under heaven were covered….

All life on earth perished – birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures and all humankind. Everything that had once had the breath of life in its nostrils, everything on earth, died. God destroyed all living things that existed on earth, from humans to animals, from things that crawled to things that flew; all were wiped out throughout the world. Only Noah and those with him in the ark survived. The waters rose for 150 days.

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