Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Flood: God of Violence or Grace?


Genesis 6-8 describes an event know as the great flood. How do you read this story?

I suggest that how we understand the story says much about how we think of God.

Many people who see and understand God as a wrathful, vengeful god who needs to be appeased read the flood account as describing a god who is fed up with humanity and ready to wipe them off the face of the earth.

Many times the story seems to get watered down (pun intended) because it has become such a “fun” read for kids. I doubt any of us actually go into detail about what happens to the wicked people that weren’t lucky enough to get on the boat

. Why is that? Maybe because it’s we know it’s a tragic way to view the story and a tragic way to view God.

But what if the story is actually about something else? What if it is not essentially about wrath and anger and does indeed somehow reveal to us the grace and mercy of God to all of humanity?

I understand the flood account to actually be a reflection of the first creation story, and instead of being about wrath and judgment, is actually about a New Creation established through the obedience of one man.

Throughout the story the author repeatedly refers us back to the original creation story. Just as in Genesis one, the earth is once again covered in water. Just as in the first creation God’s breath (spirit) hovers over the face of the deep.

The author even gives us the details that on the SEVENTH month, the ark RESTED. And on the FIRST day of the FIRST month of a N EW year the waters had dried up from the earth. This is seemingly a very Jewish way of saying, “It’s the beginning of a new week/month/year. The beginning of a New Creation. And there are plenty more parallels throughout the story.

Your thoughts? A story of destruction or reconstruction?

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