Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Noah's Ark: A Love Story

I'm often forced to watch every kid's movie ever made for the sake of my children's interests. If you have children, you know what I mean. Only occasionally is there something worth watching, so it's many times a struggle to keep awake during them. One of the movies that I thought was just OK (with some major reservations on how God is portrayed) was "Evan Almighty." The movie is about a regular guy whom God calls upon to build a modern day ark, and all of the chaos in his life that ensues when he does so. It's corny, but interesting. But one of the best things said in the movie is when the God figure (Morgan Freeman of course) explains to Evan's wife that the ark story in the Bible is really a love story. I completely agree with this assessment, and am saddened by the fact that so many see it as otherwise.

Let me explain. The flood is a judgment upon the evil of mankind. In the biblical story, it wipes out almost the entire population of the earth. One would think this to be a great tragedy, and in many ways it is, but that is not the main point of the story. The main point of the story is that God is saving humanity, not only through the ark, but by bringing the flood to begin with.

To illustrate this, I'd like to bring up another kid's program. This one, however, is one of my all-time favorite kid shows, and that is "Avatar: The Last Airbender" (no, not the horrible movie, but the cartoon series). (Spoiler Alert) The earth has been scorched both by a hundred years of war and the Fire Nation's recent and last battle that has brought about the near destruction of the Earth Kingdom's forest. Aang, the avatar, finally meets the firelord in battle and defeats him. The last act of the battle shows Aang looking over upon the valley that is on fire from the war, and he raises the waters up over the earth, puts the fire out, and heals the land. This idea, that water heals, is a continual theme throughout the series, as his friend Katara has healing powers due to her being a water bender (in fact the two friends that bring most healing to the earth and to Aang are Katara and Saka, her brother, both members of the water tribe).

I thought this was a great illustration of the biblical flood as well. We are told that at this time people do nothing but smx "violence toward humanity." The word describes those who, rather than seek the procreation and perpetuation of human life, as God's ambassadors to creation, work against human life. We are told that they think "chaos" (i.e., that which tends toward a humanless world) continually, even from their youth. In other words, chaotic agents, rather than agents of life, have taken over the world. Humanity is doomed. There is nothing God can do but destroy it completely, since it will inevitably destroy itself anyway, and its existence is without purpose in this chaotic role.

However, Noah finds favor with God. Noah and his family are humanity as it is meant to be in the fallen world. He seeks for life and healing of the land (his name itself likely means "rest" since he will bring rest to the land). The ark, as well as the flood, then is brought on because God wants to save Noah and his family. In other words, He wants to save real humanity, agents of life in the world, against false humanity, agents of chaos. Both cannot be saved. False humanity is not what God wanted in the world, as false humanity is evil, and God does not seek evil as His goal in making human life upon the earth. Instead, true humanity is what God seeks to save. These are the humans God loves (as this situation calls for love or hate, or if one prefers, love and love more). These are the humans that cause God to destroy the other humans who would destroy them. God is the good Father who seeks to protect and preserve His children. The only way to do so is to destroy their destroyers. 

True humanity was being destroyed by false humanity. Agents of life were being destroyed by agents of death and chaos. What else was there for the God of love to do, but heartbreakingly destroy those who could have been agents of life, but chose chaos instead, in order to save His children, agents of life, true humanity. 

I find it disturbing that so many people view the flood in such a superficial way as to miss this point. It's as if they would not do the same thing to preserve their children, when in fact, we all know that everyone would. Who would not kill a man who breaks into his home and is about to kill his children? He cannot love the murderer and his children the same. He must love his children, and although it might break his heart to kill another human, he will do it to save their lives. He does so because he loves them. He cannot let them be destroyed. It would, in fact, be an act of hatred and evil for him to let the murderer do so. The only course of action in such a situation is to destroy the destroyer, and that is precisely what God has done in the flood. The ark is a love story, My Friends. Don't let fools tell you otherwise.

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