Genesis 9:8-17, Mark 1:9-15, 1 Peter 3:18-22
The great flood
Our first reading today talks of the great flood and funnily enough, yesterday I had dropped into the manse a box of books from a family member of a dearly departed loved one and when looking through I found a book about the great flood written in 1956.
It was very interesting and so, there went two hours of sermon writing time â€œout the windowâ€ so to speak.
It had many interesting points and seemingly in 1956, from his quotes it would seem that a large percentage of scientists actually believed that the bible stacked up not against their scientific outcomes, but actually informed, sat alongside and confirmed them to be true in regards to both creation and that the flood of Noahs time caused things such as the geological rock layers from a great floods after effects rather than from billions of years in formation. A flood of such ferocity that from the mixing and smashing of waves and so forth would see sand, rock and fossils settling from various weight and so forth to the levels as they are now from seeping through the soggy ground. Of course this can be said of forming the same over billions of years to the same effect, except, that going through these levels can be found tree trunks and other matter that dissects between them. Howâ€™s that work if not from a sudden almighty incident. Maybe a tree that stood firm for a billion years. Thatâ€™s one tough tree.
Another thing that interested me was of course of what we already know. Being that oil is from fossils and coal from wood. But if we can imagine the mighty wash of the flood it makes sense that whole forests and schools of fish would be covered with soil that would later bring about those reserves to be found in a later period like ours.
As Christians that is a pretty universal understanding but what interested me was the thoughts from the author and many scientists of his time was that prior to the flood, the earth was not on a tilted axis as it is now. Meaning not the seasons as we know them now, but an even climate throughout that supports how the animals of all regions could gather in one spot and co-habitat in the one habitat as in the ark.
Could sound a bit like lunacy but good old google tells me that current day scientists such as Richard Gross of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has stated that earthquakes such as the magnitude 9.00 earthquake in Japan last year may have shifted the earthâ€™s axis and shortened the length of an earthly day by 1.8 millionths of a second.
Hardly anything to worry about but if as many great flood commentators believe, that at the time of the flood that both the underground water gushing up and the climate to bring such rain was through the eruption of massive amounts Â of volcanoes going off together, I imagine good old earth may have got a wobble up.
All interesting stuff from a â€œscientificâ€â€ nature.
But what of poor old Noah and his family because as based on biblical blood lines it is said that they took 120 years to build the ark. I imagine that adds up to a lot of ridicule from the locals watching them building a boat in the â€œmiddle of nowhere.â€
And what of God who after seeing the world in such an evil mess, after his decree to start again still has to watch another 120 years of such evil. Evil not just of fornication and gluttony, but that God had taken such a decision there must have been killings, rape and torture of magnitudes we could not imagine.
So a cleansing of sin through the waters of the flood, and yet a way out for the remaining few led by Noah who still following and listened to God the Father. The same Noah that directly after the flood account is found in what must have been years in the making but told as if in the next moment, finds Noah smashed to the eye balls on wine.
So much for the greater than thou Christian brigade seeing themselves as a mighty fortress of piety and goodness up and against those heathen swine living a life of â€œwine, women and song.â€
Of course I imagine Noah, along with Abraham, Moses and King David and the like were better Christian people than those like myself. Better yes, but sinless-no. All these guys stuffed up at one time or another, but what was different too each in different ways was like what was aid of King David on Ash Wednesday. King David called by God â€œas a man after his own heartâ€, not because he was sinless-but because in his sin and mistakes, he continually turned back to God in repentance, prayer and thanks.
The Ark was a vessel of safety too save those at that time who believed, followed as best they could and still worshipped and trusted God.
A rich picture that has continued again and again throughout the bible.
The decree from the Pharaoh in Egypt goes out that all the Jewish boys are to be killed and so Mosesâ€™ mother places him in a basket. A basket that becomes his ark and drifts to safety along the river into the hands of the Pharaohs daughter.
The exodus of the Israelites led by Moses.Â The people of God who facing certain death trapped in front of the Red sea with the Egyptians chasing behind, only to have God part the seas that they pass to safety and destroy their enemies in the same sea behind them, and in finally reaching the promised land after forty years in the wilderness, the surviving Jewish generation led by Joshua are told by God to enter the land of milk and honey by crossing the river Jordan with the priest leading the way with the Ark of the Covenant out front. Being the chest they carried containing the Word of God on the stones to which was carved the Ten Commandments.
Water and arks that saved the earthly life of Godâ€™s people and yet, though they certainly served Godâ€™s purposes, like all things in scripture-all point to the great truth of Salvation in Jesus Christ His Son-the Ark of safety to heavenly salvation.
Jesus our Saviour, our Ark to heavenly safety and salvation through the waters of baptism that when attached to the word of God and in our faith in Christ alone for forgiveness, delivers on the promises from God himself.
The promise given to Noah in the form of a rainbow that never again shall the waters again become a flood to destroy all flesh, and though tsunamis and torrents have raged, we know that promise given to Noah has come to fruition.
The promise given to you in Baptism and though your lives still ebb and flow lurching left and right on our earth suspended in space wobbling on its axis as it too feels the sting of a broken world, it is still supported by the hands of its creator our all mighty God. Brocken, suffering, used and abused and a shadow of its days before sin arrived. Yet the same earth that will be replenished on the last day and be restored to its former Glory and again be home to lion and deer that will lye together in harmony alongside Noah, Abraham, Peter, James and John. Alongside black, white and yellow and alongside you.
On the sixth day God created humans, saw it was good and rested.
Baptised and with faith in Christ Jesus, God now looks at His sixth day creations through His Son Jesus Christ and sees not our sin, but the righteous of His Son and sees it is good, and most assuredly like His Son who on the cross announced â€œit is overâ€ before rising back to His heavenly home, God the Father waits patiently that others may come to faith and stand alongside you within the multitudes washed clean by the blood of the lamb Jesus Christ our Lord, and after again and again having carried His people to the promised land, welcome us home and give us the rest, that we have taken from him. Amen.