Scripture for today: Genesis 9:8-17
Key verse for today: Genesis 9:16, "The bow will be in the clouds, and upon seeing it I will remember the enduring covenant between God and every living being of all the earth’s creatures."
When I was in high school, I met a man who believed that rainbows did not exist on earth before the flood in Genesis. It was as if God changed physics to suddenly work normally after this occurrence. After all these years, that still doesn't make sense to me.
There are quite a few Christians that get caught up in trying to prove that a global flood happened in earth's history. The first movie I saw in the theater was concerned with this very premise. "In Search of Noah's Ark" was not so much of a movie as a documentary. Here it is in its entirety - oh the wonders of the internet!
Finished yet? Okay, I didn't really expect you to watch the whole saga... One of the talking heads at the beginning states that if the ark were found, it would declare to the world that Genesis in its earliest chapters is history rather than myth or poetry.
This is stated as if there is something inherently wrong with myth or poetry. In fact, these two mediums are ways in which humanity has embedded truth for millenia into preliterate culture.
One of the best books I have read on the subject of a historic flood that could have inspired the truth within Noah is entitled Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event that Changed History. It's premise is that the Black Sea was originally a freshwater lake that flooded from the Mediterranean Sea some 7,000 years ago. It would have permanently displaced villages and towns surrounding the lake. The science behind this investigation is available at National Geographic if you want to explore it further.
The fascination for me is that historical data could somehow be embedded within such an old story. But even more fascinating is seeing the holiness within the Bible and what it shares with me about God. Those early Jewish writers saw grace within this awful tragedy: God's covenant not to destroy the world by flood. It is hard enough to understand natural disaster today with all of our meteorologists and seismologists. Imagine working it out over two thousand years ago.
Yet the authors of this narrative have an intuitive grasp that God is not happy about all this destruction. The rainbow is our reminder that this is true indeed. Scientists will tell you how and why rainbows happen but theologians will tell us something different altogether but no less profound.
It could be that you need a rainbow in your life today.
Breath prayer: Saving God, spare me from the flood.