What does the story of Noah tell us about human nature? I think we have here a reflection upon the destructive power of sin. It is not really a story about God’s direct punishment of sinful humanity but more about the destruction we bring upon ourselves when we embrace a life of sin. Unchecked sin in the world can only lead to one place – disaster. It is important here to make the observation that sin’s destructive power is indiscriminate, that is, the consequences of sin generally do not distinguish between those who are guilty of sin and those who are not. This is evident in that a victim of crime is often hurt in one way or another but is generally in no way to blame for the actual crime itself.

 

With the story of The Flood we are reading about a reflection upon the sinful state of humanity and how such a thing is utterly repugnant to God. Yet, we will discover that God ultimately decides that He will never send such destruction to the earth again! Why not? Probably because fighting fire with fire so to speak rarely works. It was not long before the state of humanity was such that the people had reverted once again to sinful ways. The doctrine of the New Testament will point us in another direction when it comes to confronting sin and its effects, namely the path of love and forgiveness.

 

In one way the story of The Flood provides us with the means to reflect upon and compare these two different approaches to evil. Yes, there are times when force may be needed to put an end to evil in the world; however the use of force will not prevail in the long run if it is not used or administered in love. For example, it took the USA and its allies only a few months to forcibly oust Saddam Hussein from Iraq and the Taliban from rule in Afghanistan; but has the use of force been balanced with love in order to win over the people of these countries to the US way of thinking. There seems to me to have been a big lacuna in the plan of the US along these lines and the continued violence is evidence of this. There are even some who question whether the situation can be salvaged or if we are not going to be left with the US et al being forced to leave admitting that they are not able to set in place an alternative form of government due to the hostility of the people.

 

Do I tend to solve problems of evil by force or by love?

 

Jesus, teach me how to forgive those who hurt me and so challenge them to open their lives more deeply to your love.