Genesis Day 15: Courage to look in the mirror
EVERYTHING IS WRONG! So I would cry as a young child, when my world was upside down. My mother would often point out that perhaps—as I was throwing my tantrum inside a heated home with a non-leaking roof, and only after I had eaten my latest meal—that perhaps everything was a bit of an overstatement.
However, when in Genesis 6, God says, “the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.” …when God says everything is wrong, perhaps we need to have the courage to look in the mirror.
The story of God, Noah, and The Flood, is a story that challenges my perspectives from two angles.
It challenges what I think about God—and what I think about humanity.
1. First, regarding GOD, it requires I ground my feet in a simple statement: “God is in charge, not me.”
I know that may sound trite, but you and I have been raised in a world where we are taught to give our intellectual ascent only to things we agree with—and to only agree with things after we have thoroughly evaluated them.
That sort of mindset leads us to “stand outside of” or even “stand above” God and judge Him.
It is why Jesus, as God come to earth, is so important. It is God’s sacrificial love shown in Jesus that grounds me to not “stand above” God. It is why I must remind myself that this same Jesus is present at The Flood.
God is in charge. God is never wrong. God concludes that all flesh had corrupted their way. (This, by the way, includes Noah. Noah is not perfect. He does, however seek obey God—he walked with God, v.9.)
And so, in faith, I must accept that our All-Loving, All-Knowing, God, was right to flood the earth.
2. Second, regarding HUMANITY, can I accept that we have the ability to become corrupt? Seriously. Let me unpack this a bit.
I wrote here that the story of Genesis 3 is our story. And our story is that we choose loving self over loving God. What we now read about in Genesis 6 and 7 is that the progression of that tendency – that human bent towards selfishness – is a progression towards violence, depravity, and worse.
Do you think that is true?
Because that is one of the key differences about how people think today. Some people think “humans, all by themselves, are basically good” and that society is generally progressing. Others (like me) think “humans, apart from God, destroy themselves and all those around them.”
Have you ever met someone who said that “people are basically good”? How about you: do you think people are basically good?
Because when I think about it, when we say we are basically good, we’re saying we can do it without God. And these early stories in the Bible show us over and over again that we cannot.
Don’t misunderstand. When we live with God, and truly seek God’s will, etc. we won’t be perfect. We will still make mistakes, sometimes huge mistakes. But we won’t sink into a world of total depravity.