At the conclusion of every year, we share some of our favourite videos from the past 12 months, either because of some nice videography, or some content we thought was really exciting. Enjoy – we’ll return with fresh content next week!
If you know the story of Noah’s Ark from childhood or culture, you may think of cute animals lined up to board a huge ship. But the real story is a lot darker and less cute.
Two people I know were surprised after going to see Noah, the Hollywood film released last year. It was a fascinating film – not exactly the Biblical version of the story, but good film. All kinds of things in that movie were imagined, influenced by other philosophies, etc. but what they got right was that the story starts with a very dark world, that calls for a very dark solution.
As we explore the real story, we’ll hear God saying difficult things. And he’ll be saying those things about something he loves quite dearly – the world he created – and the animals – and particularly us, the human race who were meant to be the crowning glory of his masterpiece…but that had gone terribly, terribly wrong.
We’ll read part one of the story today.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. 13And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.14Make yourself an ark of cypress* wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch(Genesi6 5:11-15)
17For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. 21Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.’22Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.(Genesis 6:17-22)
17 The flood continued for forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19The waters swelled so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; 20the waters swelled above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.21And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings; 22everything on dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, human beings and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. 24And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred and fifty days. (Genesis 7:17-24)
So God’s world has gone so far from his original plan, he needs a new plan. Noah’s asked to execute: build a huge boat, put two of every animal in it, and enough food. Considering the era in which this happened, then was written after having been oral history, there is an amazing amount of detail in this story (some which we didn’t read here for the sake of time), even though it’s not answering every question. You can fill in the rest, and the “how” of it all, to imagine how this happened. Did people laugh at him, building a boat in a desert? Did they try to get on the boat themselves once the waters started rising? The Noah movie from 2014 tries to fill in some blanks, too. It shows animals being put to sleep by some kind of incense, kept burning throughout the trip. It shows cages and compartments of all kinds. The film takes a concept – a boat of animals – and imagines how it might have actually happened. Fascinating stuff, even though we can’t really know “how” it happened.
But let’s not let the “how” make us ignore the “why”. God needs to reset his creation. Not something he takes lightly – he said it was “good” when he created it, but now it’s corrupt and full of violence.
One man stands out, Noah, and God’s going to start over with him. The rest of humanity and the world are devastated – complete destruction. The graphic language is shocking – everything whose nostrils had the breath of life died. No euphemisms here.
Question: What do you think this accomplished? Would things be different with a fresh start? If not, what did this mean?