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Beginnings in Genesis – A Flood

April 6, 2008

…just as it was in the days of Noah
Luke 17:26

The Flood story in Gen 6 tells us of the end of one great epoch of human history and the beginning of a new one. It is a story of salvation in the midst of unimaginable calamity. It is about survival when all seems lost. and it promises us that God remains committed to his world.

It is perhaps a very appropriate word for our world at this time. We stand in the turmoil of seemingly endless wars, that whilst not being on the scale of the great wars of the last century, nonetheless threaten the lives of millions, civilian and military. Perhaps more sinister is the daily awareness that the West apparently lives in the face of the unseen threat of global terrorism. I remember Jack Straw, then Home Secretary warning the country that whether war in Iraq is long or short we will likely face terrorist threats at home.

Add to that the more local threats, even the sense of apprehension in recent weeks over death on our roads, over savage and uncalled-for beatings of innocents; the seemingly intractable problem of drugs; our revulsion at the mere ideas of child pornography and prostitution. It is easy to imagine that in this flood of evil God has forgotten about his world.

It was in the face of such a flood or war and evil that Jesus made his only reference to Noah:

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man”.
Luke 17:26

His words are a reminder, if we need it, that God’s judgment is coming on the world and men and women seem capable of ignoring it.

and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man,
Matthew 24:39

says Jesus.

“Watch therefore,’ he says, ‘your Lord is coming’ (Matt 24:42).

Into such a context he story of the Flood has much to teach us as we seek to live faithfully in this world.

From → Genesis

  1. Mitch, aka, Grieving Gooner permalink

    Good perspective, Glenn, unlike the ref who awarded Liverpool a penalty. (Aren’t you proud of me that I didn’t say pk?!) . . . I have thought about these two passages in the context of the eschatology that is usually connected to them, dispensational premillennialism (a.k.a., ‘rapture’ theology). Rather than see these passages for what they plainly are–as you have pointed out–a warning of impending judgment and punishment in which the wicked are “taken away” like those in the days of Noah, contemporary evangelicals (at least in the states) have completely inverted the meaning to see those “taken away” as the supposedly “raptured.” (See the verses that follow: two in bed, one is taken, two are grinding, one is taken). Only problem is, being “taken” here is not good, just like being taken away by the flood was not good in Noah’s day, just like being “taken away” to exile was not good for Israel. And lest there be any doubt, when the poor disciples ask “where?” (which can only refer to those taken, as the hearer/reader plainly knows where those left are: still in bed and still grinding), Jesus answers: “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.” (Lk 17.37) . . . Funny how people who understand themselves to be committed to a literal reading of the Bible have twisted things to mean the exact opposite. Hope this isn’t too much of a rant. And sorry if it doesn’t translate across the pond. You all are much saner over there. Except for Champion’s League officials who can’t quite tell what is a penalty and what is not. Ok. Now I’m really done.

  2. Ahhh GG, so sorry for your pain. But console yourself that Arsenal have known far more joy than than Leeds ever have. I am the very definition of ‘long-suffering’ and sometimes wish I could be ‘taken away’.

    And you know I ALWAYS enjoy your rants.

  3. True, true, you have me in the long-suffering department. And I’m glad to know that I’m not banned from Crookedshore just yet. Now if I could only get my students to enjoy my rants . . . (!)

  4. I have read that verse in Matthew countless times and missed the fact that there is a high probability that my interpretation of it (in line with generations of other evangelicals and pentecostals) is perhaps upside down… But who can be bothered reading the Bible when there’s Tim La Haye!!!

  5. Sorry, I’ve just realised I’m using a lot of exclamation marks at the moment… How tacky…

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