Chapter 7 of the Book of Genesis is the flood itself. Noah has built his ark and God instructs him on exactly how many animals to take out the ark. Seven pairs of every clean animal and seven pairs of every unclean animal. Then after seven days the rains come and it rains for forty days and forty nights.
This is the story of the flood and the flood alone. It is presented as a great undoing. Every creature that draws breath is extinguished from the world. The previous chapter gave the reason as God saw that man was wicked and violent and wanted a do over and so he sends a great flood.
Here is the big question. Why? Why a flood? There are probably very practical reasons for it. Floods were dangerous. In this time in civilization there were probably a great many people that died in floods, but there is more to it than that. All life is wiped out, but it doesn’t just happen in the Bible. Every world religion has a flood story. There is one in Gilgamesh and Hinduism and in Chinese folklore and in Egyptian myth. It is as universal a story as can exist and the story is similar.
One of the issues in the previous chapter with God both deciding to send the flood and to warn Noah is that in other flood narratives there are multiple gods. One god decides to send the flood and another chooses a human to warn and save.
In Chapter 7 we have the flood itself. I have spent much of the day thinking about water. How water is presented in the Bible. Here it is the wrath of God, but later on it will be the living water, the love of God. Throughout the Bible God is both love and wrath and water works much the same way. Too much or too little water and we perish. We need the proper balance of water to survive.
If a drowning man and a man dying of thirst were to switch places they both would have what they need but neither would be saved. In our live we need less of God’s wrath and more of God’s love, but if they are both water then how much of either can we bear?
It is my conclusion that the Bible isn’t meant to be understood. It is a book we are meant to think on and explore. It is a book that can take us on journeys deep into the past and deep into ourselves.
I will leave you with this thought. As I looked up flood narrative after flood narrative I kept thinking there has to be a single source for all this. Sort of a religion prime, and then I realized the source is God. All these flood narratives are stories of man. It is the word of God filtered through the minds of man. Written down and passed from generation to generation until it has reached us here today, and very much has been lost in translation.