[In the Communion with God class, each student this year was required to research a story from the Bible and then write a paper about what he learned and what it means for us today, incorporating all we learned about studying the Bible and hearing the voice of God. Every assignment I give our students, I also give myself. The following is the result of my research into Noah and the flood.]
The single most devastating flood in modern history occurred in 1931 when the Huang He (Yellow) River flooded; 88,000 square kilometers of land were completely inundated, 80 million people were left homeless, and anywhere from 850,000 to 4 million lost their lives. While grievous, this flood cannot compare to that which occurred during Noah’s lifetime when nearly all of human and animal life was eliminated from earth. When we hear news of any natural disaster, we find it difficult to face, and our reaction is even stronger when we read about the flood in Genesis. We wonder, “How could a loving God kill so many millions so casually?”, and we question the goodness of our Creator. While our first reaction to the story is often one of disgust and bewilderment, the thrust of the narrative as told in Genesis 5:28-9:29 is not, in fact, the catastrophe. The narrative of the flood is far more a story of redemption than of retribution, and we see this most clearly by examining the relationships within the account, in particular, the broken bond between man and nature and, by extension, the redemption of that between man and God.