Lesson 5: Evil Pervades (Genesis 6:1-8:19)

It seems strange that Noah and the Ark ( Genesis 8:20-9:28) has become a beloved children’s Bible story. You have to question what we are teaching our young people. Sadly, it is usually presented as a precaution about being good so God does not punish you–  something like behaving or Santa Claus will not bring you presents. The awful picture of God and humanity this presents is hardly what we want to teach our children.

The biblical story presents a much more profound insight into the relationship between God and humanity. It does capture the message of evil pervading all of humanity. Noah is the only good person left, inciting God to start all over again, wiping everything out with a flood.

However, the complete story indicates this did not work. Noah celebrates his victory by getting drunk and cursing his children. Here we go again.

The beauty of the whole story, which again is seldom told, lies in the rainbow covenant that provides a transition to the basic plot of Genesis, the beginning of the history of salvation. That transition has God look at what he has done in the flood and say he will never do that again. It was too painful. The rainbow that appears after storms becomes a symbol of this promise to himself and humanity.

God decides to try a better way, which is to use a chosen people to rescue his creation. Genesis 12 takes that up when God makes promises to Abraham, the father of the Hebrew people.

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