On Saturday, Holly-Rae wrote about Noah’s Ark from Genesis 7. She mentioned that many people believe it to be a metaphor and I was reminded that the reason someone built a replica in Kentucky is to help us understand that these stories are real. I will admit that when I read the story, I have the same thoughts. In fact, it’s easier to read Bible stories as metaphors, in order to pull every ounce of wisdom from them. For example, in today’s reading, I might review the powerful imagery of ravens, doves and olive branches (Genesis 8:6-11). I’ll reflect on them and consider how they relate to my life today. I might even work up a strategy or two so that will allow me to be more intentional with my life. Most of the time I stop right there. I take the wisdom and don’t even consider, let alone contemplate, the bigger picture. It’s easier that way. Truth is, stopping there debases God and the Bible. In fact, it reduces my relationship with God to a self-help guru or a life coach. Sure, I will walk away with big thoughts about Noah’s faith and maybe even his leadership capacity. Those are good things. But, those are not the purpose of the stories in the Bible. When I read it right, God reveals to me who he really is. To get there, I have to get messy.
Getting messy means that I have to ponder what kind of being, what kind of God, has the ability to do all those things. In fact, how can that actually be? I have to poke at my own understanding to determine why this God would do all those things. I have to wrestle with what is good or bad about it. Even what I like and don’t like. I have to discover that these are things that God wants to reveal to me about himself but I have to seek them out (Luke 11:9). In my seeking, I would discover that God is far bigger than a piddly little flood. This was nothing for him. I would discover that the answers I find create even bigger questions about who he is and what that means for who I am. He would reveal to me his righteousness and holiness along side his justice and his mercy. In fact, I would encounter the mystery of God and begin to realize that there is no way I can really experience him in this lifetime (1 Corinthians 2:7). In many ways, I would begin to feel like a foreigner here on this earth and understand that I was created for far more than this life. My heart would start to sing “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty” day and night, without ceasing (Revelation 4:8).
Or not. I could just go with the metaphor theory. Besides, I have a lot to do today.