Sunday Morning Musings: Raining a great deal this past week. The normal areas around here have flooded, receded and are now flooding again. In other places across Canada more serious flooding is causing a lot of damage and getting much attention. The news is filled with pics of people filling sand bags in an attempt to keep out the water. I heard mentioned that some community was considering banding together to build a big boat.
The boat idea is in jest, I think, but on the other hand, will it be big enough for everyone and at least two of each animal? More importantly who determines who gets in? For many cultures there is a flood story very similar to the Noah’s Ark story of the Bible. In this story it was God who decided “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight” (Genesis 6:12) and decided to “bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life” (Gen 6:17).
To me that sounds pretty harsh – harsh punishment for a people who were wicked. Surely not everyone but Noah’s family were bad. But that is the literal story and one could ask and many have asked if it is truly historical. The scientific mind asks about “all” including polar bears and penguins –if there were any of these critters in the middle-east. The progressive Christian might simply say the story is metaphorical which still doesn’t say too many nice things about God. My mind simply wonders about God who is creator of all things and allows for evil to happen and can only resort to such drastic measures to clean up that which ‘He’ created.
Another element that causes me to pause is the whole idea that even after the flood, evil continues even to this day. Of course, when we fail to remind ourselves about history, we are bound to repeat it; so what should we do, or think, or believe?
There is no doubt that when the biblical flood story was finally penned, the idea existed of a single God who continued to intervene into the day to day lives of creation. We are also told that God really just gave “dominion” over all of the other parts of creation to man (let’s be more inclusive and say “humans” and left us to our own resources. Such an idea means that people should multiply (and we keep doing just that – over 7 billion now). We have also increased pollution, destroyed much needed forests, continue our demand for fossil fuels, to name a few which some would call evil.
Is God ever going to intervene again? That would depend firstly, on your understanding of God. Just because I don’t believe that is even the nature of God and I am not an atheist; the one I call Creator is in essence “love”. If we are truly loving (made in the image of God) then it is no longer about destruction but compassion for all of creation. That is why we help sand bag. It is not to fight against God but to be more god-like in our caring for one another and the environment. Floods will continue to happen, just like a year ago many were concerned with “The Beast” that engulfed Fort Mac in Alberta. It is not a matter of whether the people are evil or not (most of us aren’t); rather it is a call to be more caring towards all.