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Read: Genesis 6-9 (yeah, I know it’s a lot)

If you visit a church and you look in the nursery there is a good chance that the walls will be decorated with animals in a cartoonish telling of the story of Noah’s ark. It’s a very popular theme, with lots of colorful images: Animals, rainbows, God’s people, God’s powerful actions in the world, punishment for sin, and the promise of grace.

On the surface it makes sense. Digging deeper, I’m not convinced. You see, I believe Jesus when He says, “the Father and I are One” (John 10:30). And, “if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). And I don’t think the story of the ark reflects the character and temperament of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to reveal the Father (John 17:25-26). So, frankly, I struggle with the way God is depicted in the story of Noah and the flood.

Let me explain. I’m troubled that (an all-knowing) God regrets creating people because they were sinful (Gen. 6:6-7). That’s not the God I know in Jesus Christ. In the flood story God regrets creating people and vows to destroy them. Then, God notices Noah and decides to rescue a few, because they weren’t as bad. Zoom ahead: God warns > Noah builds an ark > animals come > 40 days of rain > evil (and everything) is wiped out > rainbow promise to never do it again > Noah (stressed out from it all?) gets very drunk > and the cycle of human sin begins again!

Didn’t God know that’s what would happen? Didn’t God know destroying all those animals and all those men, women and children, would be pointless to ending sin? Did God really regret creating people? Did God feel remorse after the flood? Is that why God gives the rainbow? Does God change God’s mind like people do? Does God have good days and bad days? If we become as bad as people back then, would God change God’s mind again? I don’t think so. So, like Jacob, I wrestle to receive God’s blessing and to discover the deep spiritual truths. And, I work to discern what is faulty human understandings of God and what is true revelation about the God of love, revealed by Jesus Christ.

Is God against sin? Yes. Are there consequences to sin? Yes. The bottom-line end-of-the-story point is what matters most. The point: flood or not, wrath or not, the enduring truth is that God has promised NOT to destroy life by flood because of sin. The permanent, “now-truth” about God is that it won’t be like that. Ever.

Shalom,
Pastor Rob Nystrom