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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Chapter 1: Why did Noah let God Drown the World?


Big news!  After four years of putting my husband through Grad school for his advanced degree, I now have time to re-activate my blog!  Bigger news: I'm now writing on the same themes as fiction.  Here’s my first snippet:

“Don’t return to this church or contact Pastor David ever again,” commanded the  head elder, shaking his head and letting out a sigh.  I had just been blackballed.  He then "prayed" for me and closed with the last words I heard spoken by anyone at my church: “You’re just like Eve.”

Just like Eve.  I had heard those words before.  I was eleven.  Our Sunday school class was studying the story of Noah’s flood.  “You see,” the teacher said, “The entire world was filled with wickedness.  The scripture records that ‘every intent’ of every person on earth – except for one – was full of ‘only evil’ and that every human, except for one, had corrupted the earth.’”  He then asked us what may have made Noah different, unique in the human race of his generation as a good man.  One of my Sunday school classmates said that maybe he wasn’t selfish; another said that he may have been willing to share his things with his friends; another said that maybe Noah didn’t litter all over the earth and pollute it like the others. 

The teacher nodded at all these responses.  I was unsure whether Noah really was unique, even whether he really was good.  I couldn’t quite pinpoint why, but I somehow felt that he wasn’t good. 

Francine raised her hand and offered her answer: “Noah was obedient.”  To this, my teacher grew a wide grin, and said, “Exactly, Francine.  The scripture records this is exactly what made Noah so special: He obeyed God.  Let’s look at what the Bible says in Genesis 6:22: ‘Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.’  While every other person on earth was disobeying God, Noah obeyed him.” 

So the teacher encouraged us to obey God and to memorize two scripture verses about Noah for the following week: “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8) and “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did” (Genesis 6:22).

It was then that I understood what disturbed me about Noah: he obeyed God.  That was it!  So I raised myy hand and asked, “If Noah had found favor with God, why didn’t he use his favor to ask God to save the world?”  The teacher looked at me stunned, even disturbed.  But I didn’t know I was stepping out into dangerous, inappropriate territory by asking questions in Sunday school.  I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong by wanting to know why Noah obeyed, so when the teacher remained silent, I thought I’d better clarify my question, you know, make it blunt: “Why did Noah let God drown the world?”

The entire class went silent.  Each student looked at the teacher with eager eyes for an answer.  Each wanted to know the same thing: why had Noah let God drown the world?  The teacher was flummoxed.  The lesson that he had intended to instill upon his class was the lesson of obedience, but now my insolence was about to undermine the entire lesson with its opposite: disobedience.  I was suggesting that it would have been better if Noah had disobeyed God!  That it would have been better for Noah to supersede God and put forth Noah’s own, human notion that the evil world should remain.  The way I had phrased my question dug deep with prickles under the teacher’s skin: “Why had Noah let God drown the world?”  The question suggested that little, human Noah had authority over God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.  How insolent of me to think that Noah “lets” God!

“Who created the heavens and the earth?” teacher asked me.  “God,” I replied.  “Why was Noah special,” teacher asked Francine. “Because he obeyed God,” replied Francis.  “Right,” said teacher to the full class.  Then, without answering my question, he turned to me and said with tinge of scorn, said, “You want the knowledge of God, and the power of God, and you want to disobey to get it.  You’re just like Eve.” 

He took a deep breath with the resolve to salvage the lesson I had fairly well bombed for him and asked us all to recite the memory verses: “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. . . . Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did” (Genesis 6:8 and 22).  After we obediently recited these verses, he took another breath to keep as calm as he could and then closed: “Now, everyone, keep reciting these verses for next week, and we’ll begin next Sunday with each of you reciting the verses.  Most of all, remember to be just like Noah and not just like Eve.

I felt the pierce into my heart at those words “not just like Eve,” that pierce of condemnation, condemnation I couldn’t even grasp or understand.  Why had I been so condemned?  What had I done wrong?

I did not know.  And, yet, I felt fully condemned, and ashamed, and I buried it.  I buried my condemnation, my shame, and my memory.  And I had forgotten this moment in my fifth grade Sunday school class -- until now.

© 2018 by karina.  All rights reserved.  Please use only with permission from the author.

2 comments:

  1. Howdy! I could have sworn I've been to this blog before but after browsing through some
    of the post I realized it's new to me. Nonetheless, I'm definitely happy
    I found it and I'll be book-marking and checking back often!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you and blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete