Monday, November 02, 2009

The Character of God: The Flood

The Flood

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
(Genesis 7:4)


 “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”
(Genesis 6:5-7)

Were the animals evil?  Why would god destroy every living thing on the planet just because mankind was wicked?  Why not just destroy mankind?  I can think of no legitimate reason for killing everything, except perhaps god acting out of pure rage, not thinking clearly of the consequences.  Rage? God? Yes.

“for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”
(Exodus 20:5)

I think this clearly shows that god, as described in the Bible, is certainly capable of jealousy and rage.  After all, in the Exodus passage above, he is punishing those that haven’t even been born for the “sins” of their fathers.  At the very least he is demonstrating his capacity for injustice.

We have all heard of the flood and Noah’s ark and in Sunday School and elsewhere they try to make it “cute” for kids.  You know, a little wooden ark, with a giraffe, some sheep, etc. - a warm and cuddly scene.  They never really explain exactly what the flood would have been like.  Think about it – rain for forty days and nights.  Water would be rising steadily and after awhile, people would begin to panic.  They would be climbing onto buildings, but the water would continue to rise.  The disabled and the elderly would be unable to climb and so succumb to the waters.  Children would see their parents, grandparents, and friends frantically trying to keep their head above water only to lose the battle and drown before their eyes.  Dead bodies of animals would float by the rooftops and trees that the tentative survives were desperately grasping.  Children would die; pregnant women would die along with their unborn children – so much for god being against abortion.  Imagine the fear and agony involved with drowning.  Have you ever been underwater in a pool and no longer able to hold your breath, but not yet close to the water’s surface?  A sort of panic sets in.  Now imagine that terror magnified by the site of your spouse and children drowning next to you as you realize that you too will not survive.  Imagine what your children would be going through and imagine this whole thing spread over the entire population of the planet, including all of the animals.  The scene is unbelievable horrific.

And yet, this is the method god supposedly chose to punish humanity (and everything else) for being “wicked”.  But why punish humanity, if he was ultimately going to let them die?  If he was unhappy with their behavior, why not just instantly annihilate them?  Why all of the pain and torture?  Oh, that’s right, I forgot, I was talking about the loving god of the Bible.

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