So we’ve been going through Genesis at The Refinery and its been making me think. I have begun to see the images and the story of human nature in the scenes played out around me. Just when I would think myself done with it for the day Mumford and Sons would release an album clearly influenced by Genesis 1-11 or a friend would describe himself with language like that of Cain. My scientist friends have an issue with the beginning of Genesis because they expect it to function like a science textbook, likely because Christians often have the same expectation. Yet, Genesis makes no such promise. It is a story, by definition something which seeks to take us captive. It has no intention of persuading us that its material is true and it will not allows us to dictate the terms by which it may speak. I am in the habit of saying that Genesis isn’t so much about the specific hows of the world coming into existence but the whys. Why did the world come into being, why did it go wrong?
As a captive of Genesis I have been wrestling with the story of Noah. One of the basic premises of most Christian theological systems is that human beings are flawed, crippled, twisted from birth since the Fall. We are a people filled with violence. God’s rationale for the flood is that the humans that are should not be (Gen 6:5-7, 11-14). So, why would God save humanity through one man, apparently against his better judgment (Gen 8:21)? He tells Noah that the human heart is inclined (NRSV) toward evil since birth, a depressing admonition for one of the few humans left alive! Yet the statement comes on the heels of a promise; God’s solution for the problem of human nature will no longer be allowing violence and evil to flood over them. The complete destruction of humanity represents an unacceptable loss for God. This begs the question: What is the solution? What will God do in light of such an obviously problematic creature as man? One thing is clear, the Creator of the World in Genesis 1 will not allow the world to be uncreated. He seems intent on finding a way to redeem that which has been broken.