Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Sermon Addendum: Wrapping up the Flood

 As we finish off the Flood narratives, there are a few additional thoughts on the entire story that I think fit this category of “sermon addendum.”

First, we should note that the whole of the Flood situation arises because of God pouring out His judgment on the Earth. Sin has negative consequences and the accumulation of it gets worse and worse. That includes what we may believe is a disproportionate response, but is honestly as fair as it can be. We usually underestimate the impact of our choices—we downplay the good we do, but we also tend to substantially truncate the side-effects of the bad things we do. It is not really for us to minimize our own sins.

Second, we should notice that “Noah finding favor in the eyes of the Lord” does not equate to him being sinless. It just means he met with God’s grace in the situation. God does not require perfection to save you—salvation is a display of His grace. 

This is not to say that somewhere, somehow, perfection is not required. For lack of any better understanding, we see perfection in Jesus and that is how we are saved. His perfection, not ours.

Third, catch that the story is told with some repetitions: chapter 6 has Noah gathering 2 of every kind of animal and chapter 7 has 2 of the unclean and 7 of the clean. A reasonable understanding of this would suggest that Noah is bringing a breeding pair of all animals for survival and then additional animals for food and sacrifice. 

Fourth, one thing that is a bit questionable here: how does Noah know what is clean and what isn’t? The delineations between clean and unclean animals has NOT been given in Scripture. We do not get that information. There are suggestions that Noah knows this by received tradition, potentially dating back to Adam.

However, we do not know. It is here that I should perhaps remind you that, while we can try to fill in the gaps with what we imagine, that gap-filling is not the same as revealed truth. Even if you know the culture, know the Scripture, you do not know what exactly happened. That’s important to separate out. And remember: neither does your favorite Bible teacher or preacher know. I know you grew up hearing the story of Noah and this interaction with the world around him or that interaction, but we have only a few New Testament references to Noah and should be careful reading our current idea of “preacher of righteousness” back on to him. Hebrews suggests that the condemnation came from seeing Noah obey and choosing to reject God more than rejecting a tent-meeting style sermon series.

Fifth, there is always a debate about what animals were on the Ark, what animals were not. It is useful to remember that “kind” is not equivalent to “species,” for we are dealing with conversational vocabulary rather than scientific vocabulary. Something we should all realize is that, in post-Space Race America, we all have a basic science education well beyond what was once considered normal. So we tend to think in different categories than much of history has. 

Those are some of the post-sermon thoughts now that we are post-Flood.

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Sermon Replay April 14 2024

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