Read: Genesis 9:1-2
The account of the flood is a tricky one. Honestly, it’s a hard story to swallow. The idea of God wiping out all but one small family on the earth. Stories like this can create doubt in the character of God. Is He really good? Is He really for us? Does He really loves His creation?
This kind of doubt is rarely content to sit idly in thousand year old stories. Instead, it permeates the very intacies of our own narratives. Can God really be good as I watch family members die slowly from their third bout with cancer? Is God really good if He allows nations and peoples to slaughter each other? Is He really good when it comes out that thousands have been abused within the walls of church buildings?
The story of the flood is not uncommon among other near eastern cultures. However, there are some profound differences. The Babyloian’s version of the flood is a result of the gods desiring to rid the world because human population had become so great and all the noise was becoming disruptive. However, after they destroy everyone except the man and his family who built the ark, they freak out because no one is left to sacrifice to them. They then invent celibacy and miscarrage in order to control human population without completely destroying humans.
The Genesis narrative paints a very different picture. The first thing God does as Noah and his family are of the boat is blesses them. The word for blessed is the same one that is used when God blesses the Sabbath, Adam and Eve, and the coming family of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. God here is setting Noah apart for Himself. He then commands Noah’s family to be fruitful and fill the whole earth. Here God is repeating the command that He gave to Adam and Eve. Later, God gives them dominion over animals.
You see after His creation revolts against Him, plunges itself into murder and rape and all kind of nastiness, God decides to give humanity a second chance. He again give man authority into their hands. In His mercy and grace He again intrust the earth to them.
The questions of a good God and a suffering world have been around for hundreds of years and I don’t suppose they will disappear, even from my own life. God doesn’t give an explanation to Noah of why He choose to judge the earth by completely wiping it out, but what He does extend to Noah is a second chance to do things a little better.
So often I demand of God an answer to why I and those around me in this world suffer, and like Noah I don’t find that He gives me any profound answers. I do find though, that everytime that He restores me and gives me a second chance.
It’s hard to trust God in the face of suffering. Maybe you’ve been stuck in the cycle of asking God why…? That’s totally understandable. But today ask Him where is is trying to restore, where is offering you a second chance. Even in the midst of suffering we serve a God who is redeeming all things. (If you doubt that read Roman 8, specifically verse 28!)