Water: Symbol, Element, Utility II

When God saw how corrupt human beings had become, he chose to put an end to it all, everything, all animals and plants. “I am going to destroy men and women for their wickedness,” says God, “and the earth with them”. And the means he chose was a flood.

He chose this indiscriminate judgment even though the earth and its creatures were innocent of charge. There is no blame laid at their feet, and yet he says…’I am going to destroy the earth with them’.

And so, because of the evil actions of men and women God is moved to withdraw the boundary he had set for the march of the seas, the waters above and below flowed together and whole creation was engulfed.

It is an antediluvian truth we are painfully re-learning in our day that the consequences of the sin and wickednesses of human beings cannot be circumscribed to human beings alone. If we continue to live in unrestrained ways, the whole earth will suffer and be engulfed by the waters of chaos again.

It is a sombre story artfully disguised in the bright clothing of a children’s tale. The lifestyle choices of men and women have global consequences. And how appropriate that we, whom the bible professes to have been made of the dust of the earth, are drowned and dissolved in the waters of judgment.

There is hope however, in the story. Noah and his family are shut into the Ark by God himself and by this means they survive the watery chaos. The scriptures record that the human actors were shut in with the animals. They are there in their dumb obedience, chosen to represent the whole of the created order to teach human beings that there is no salvation remaining for us in the dark days which does not also include the whole of God’s world.

At Blackwater Pond, Mary Oliver
At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands. I drink
a long time. It tastes
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them
deep inside me, whispering
oh what is that beautiful thing
that just happened?

Water: Symbol, Element, Utility I

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