How amazing - the story of the flood in our Bible. Of course, G-d, since the beginning of time, has destroyed his own creation through war, which He planted in the hearts of men; and disease, which is an element of nature as surely as earthquakes and fields of corn. But never with such efficiency as the flood. (Of course, there s always the nuclear option, which would do an even better job, but that waits in the wings.)
He, who turned dust into a living, breathing, cognitive creature and lit eternity with the lamps of the galaxies, discovers that the wickedness of man was great in the earth...and the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. Shocking. G-d s creature is evil? What a monumental mistake the Perfect One has made. He has created a beast with bestial instincts. This is even worse than that picnic with an apple entree attended by Adam and Eve and the snake.
The Christian belief about original sin is similar to this anger in the eyes of G-d. His words are simple and chillingly foreboding:
Man is only evil. A lethal prelude to Sodom and Gomorrah, the entire earth (not just Dodge City) shall know G-d s wrath, but what follows you know. I will destroy all flesh, says the angry Creator. Noah and his family, an exception within the rabble of mankind, is selected for survival and the seed germ of the animals is preserved, too. A passage that both pet lovers and PETA love - for what good is man without animals?
Events proceeded as expected. It rains like it did on your last vacation. The fountains of the deep were broken up - the windows of heaven were open, says our Book.
So, G-d s intentions are fulfilled. The conundrum of destruction - the elimination of G-d s creature - with a few exceptions is complete. Finally, like on the last day of your vacation, the rain ceases. Now Chapter 2 of the mystery begins. Noah, his family, and his zoo exit his makeshift cruise ship. Can you imagine Noah s family trying to get a good night s sleep with all those wolves, coyotes, elephants, and lions in the adjoining stateroom?
So, the ship is grounded. But then the plot turns even stranger.
Noah and his family have plenty of protein, but they must plant a crop. And what does he plant? Grapes! He plants a vineyard. Not corn, not wheat, not fruit trees, but a vineyard. Evidently, there was no bar on the cruise ship. And Noah drank the wine and was drunken. Even Rashi, famous Old Testament exegesist is flabbergasted. He calls Noah profane," and adds, "He should have planted anything but the vine.
This is the man that G-d chose to save? This is the Prince of Humanity? How was he selected? A lottery? If Noah is a dipsomaniac, but stands head and shoulders over the pack, can you imagine his former neighbors, his survival-lottery competitors.
But we re not through with surprises. Noah s three sons, one of whom is Ham, the father of the Canaanites, takes part in a cloudy scene of sexual embarrassment. And Ham, the father of Canaan saw the nakedness of his father. Ham laughed about it, but his two good brothers cover up poor, drunken, naked Noah -- and looked not upon his nakedness. On that note ends the story of Noah and his family. If this is the best moral aristocracy that G-d can find, can you imagine the ex-residents of Planet Earth now drowned on the floor of a temporary sea?
But again, in consolation, our Book tells it like it is. No whitewash of G-d and his creatures. Interestingly enough, after the debacle, the words of the Chumash convey a repentant, even regretful, tone: I will not curse the ground any more for man s sake.
Repetitively, G-d promises never, never again. He makes his famous covenant in the neon of the rainbow. The reader can t miss the sorrow, along with hope in the divine voice. Were he human like us, you can almost hear an apology. But amidst all this theological puzzle there s a consolation. We get six lines of inspiring and hopeful poetry:
While the earth remains, Seed time and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.Ted Roberts
In other words, the world rolls on eternally.
The humor of Ted, the Scribbler on the Roof, appears in newspapers around the U.S., on National Public Radio, and numerous web sites. Ted Roberts lives and writes from Huntsville, Ala. Roberts uses the traditional "G-d" to refer to the name of the Most High. He can be contacted at.
In case you're curious, here is the official trailer for the current big-screen movie, "Noah," starring Russell Crowe. It looks like an amazing ride --
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