This is the list of the descendants of Adam. When God created humankind, he made them in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them “Humankind” when they were created. When Adam had lived one hundred thirty years, he became the father of a son in his likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years; and he had other sons and daughters.
These are the descendants of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.
Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.
There is something about the Noah story which captures the imagination of science fiction writers. Recently I’ve been binge watching a series called The 100 which constructs a view of earth after a nuclear war which is unable to be inhabited. A few humans survived in various space stations which docked together to form an Ark where they’d ride out the radiation until Earth was inhabitable again. It’s a reworking of the Noah story which is deeply embedded in our communal psyche. The idea that the earth could be destroyed is, perhaps, more in our minds as a possibility than it was for those who first heard the Noah story as now we have the capacity to do it ourselves.
A new American president takes office tomorrow who gives every indication of being rather careless in his attitudes and approaches to the complexity of international relations; it remains to be seen if he will be as bellicose as his campaign implied. However, Trump’s extraordinary rise to power shows how volatile our world is and how easy it would be for our leaders to unleash cataclysmic destruction that the ancients thought was reserved only to the Almighty.
The inter connectedness of our world means we can’t build ourselves an Ark and hope for the best; we have to work to make our world a safer, better place and pray that we’re not in the position of having to rebuild like Noah and his family were in the story.
promiser of life,
inspire us to work for peace,
lead us away from destruction,
guide us to build a better world,
that your rainbow continues to signify
your loving kindness.
Andy Braunston is a member of Wilbraham St Ninian’s URC in Chorlton, South Manchester and an ordinand at the Scottish United Reformed and Congregational College.