And Violence Filled the Earth

Now we find ourselves in the midst of one of the best known and most troublesome stories of the Bible. That of the great flood. It is unclear exactly what God’s issue with humankind is. It is mentioned that violence fills the earth and that the flesh is wicked, but it is also mentioned that God is simply tired of humanity and regrets making them.

The big question of the flood is if God is love then how can this action to wipe the slate clean be viewed as a loving action? There are those that would argue that the nature of man is sin and that God is disappointed with humanity. That the sinful nature of humankind has gotten beyond his control and all he can do is start over.

Here is the issue. It wasn’t that long ago, Chapter 1, that God made humankind and looked upon them and proclaimed them good. Then God created Adam and Eve and even when they went against his wishes and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil he didn’t punish them with destruction and oblivion. Even when Cain slew Abel he wouldn’t let him be destroyed. In fact he promised seven-fold vengeance upon anyone that harmed Cain.

So, now God looks down on humankind in the sixth Chapter of Genesis and says there are too many of them and their wicked flesh keeps making more and they are violent and that is enough for him to wipe everyone but Noah and his family out?

At times I believe the Bible is as much about the character development of God as it is of anything else. Here is a supreme being with divine, unlimited power. He used it to create an entire universe. He used it to create all the life on earth, including humanity, and now because he doesn’t like his creation he is going to smash it.

I don’t think it is supposed to be easy. Lots of people come to religion seeking easy answers to complicated questions and instead we find complicated mysteries to simple questions. The Bible is meant to be questioned and analyzed and I do not think we are always meant to agree with God.

When God tells Noah that he is going to destroy all life on earth it says that God walked with Noah. I do not think it was God giving the lecture on that walk. How can God allow evil to exist in the world? Sometimes God is the evil in the world and it is our duty as followers of God to point this out to him as Noah surely does on his walk with God.

What is the story of the great flood? Is it the story of a supreme being in his divine infancy throwing a temper tantrum or is it a story of how when faced with great cataclysm and danger we must save all we can so that life can continue afterwards?

This is not the story of God and the sins of man, the violence upon the earth or the wickedness of the flesh. This is the story of Noah finding out what is to come and preparing. Doing the best he can to make certain that life goes on.

After Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil God walked with them, after Cain murdered Abel God walked with him, but here it is Noah that walks with God. Here is not a transgression of humankind but a transgression of God. No one in the Bible is perfect. Not even God.

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