Read Genesis: 7:6-24
“Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth.”
“The waters rose and covered the mountains…”
This image haunts me.
I picture dark grey skies; endless, heavy, rain; and then muddy water swirling upwards, clogged with debris that eventually settles to the bottom. Where once were towns, roads, animals and farms; now is just an endless, churning sea: killing waters.
God un-made his creation.
If the actors in a plan only always fight the director, making up their own lines and creating confusion, eventually the director has to give up. The play loses all resemblance to what it was supposed to have been, and falls into chaos.
Or, to put it another way: if I love you, but you only, ever, run away – eventually I have to give up.
God loves humankind. Remember how he hung out with Adam, naming the animals together? And how he came to the garden, just to be with Adam and Eve? He spent time with Cain, urging him not to sin – inviting him to greater closeness. Noah found favor with God simply because he walked with him.
God wants people to love him back. All creation was good when it danced to his song – his love song.
But then they all went to the dragon. “All the people on earth had corrupted their ways” (6:12). Obsessed with their dragonish cravings, they ran away from God’s love, and forgot that he held their lives in his hand. Finally, God gave up. He let them have what they wanted, which was none of him. He took back the love and life he had given them.
The muddy waters swirled upwards.
“As the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth.”
Noah loved God back. He showed his love through the long, crazy obedience of building a boat that could never be brought to water; and with that boat, God rescued him.
Through the love and obedience of Noah, God was able to save not just Noah, but his whole family, thousands of animals and – really – all of creation. The story doesn’t end here. God isn’t giving up.
He’s starting a whole new chapter.
“The ark floated on the surface of the water.”