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The Synchroblog is where bloggers write on spiritual topics – often different perspectives. This month is about the Flood in Genesis and God’s actions. Links to other articles below

I don’t blame those who morally question the story of the Flood in the Bible. There were surely a few people innocent of evil so horrific justifying such actions by God. We condemn people drowning just one child in a bathtub or a litter of puppies in the river. Why does God supposedly not blink an eye killing millions? Are humans holier or more moral than God?

Should we dare question God? 

Assuming stories in the Bible are always literal leads to rationalizing God’s behaviors and claiming God can do whatever and mere mortals must not question God. I have my doubts this is the thinking of a relational God. What loving parent, spiritual or human, commands morally “do as I say not what I do.” If a good God encourages us to be perfect like God (Mt. 5:48), how can we know what is good if God’s actions sometimes are evil according to our moral senses?

Does God seek our fear or respect to help in our battle against self-centeredness? Leaders don’t have true followers by commanding rather than earning respect. Fear only leads to brief obligations often out of guilt. Jesus who claimed to be God in flesh didn’t initiate relationships by demanding respect. Jesus got His dander up the most with the religious elite who portrayed God as demanding obedience rather than desiring a relationship through mutual respect. 

Doesn’t the Bible claim there was a literal flood where eight survived?

John Walton and Tremper Longman III in The Lost World Of The Flood suggest Old Testament writers used accepted literary practices in the Near East such as hyperbole in writing about historical events to convey spiritual insights. Other ancient literature wrote about local floods in their lands. It is not fabrication when a local flood is used to illustrate global human problems and convey spiritual food for thought.

There are literary cues to suggest that the Genesis stories were not always literal. There is a talking serpent. Are trees magical or used as a literary device to discuss a relationship between God and humans? The sun and moon were said to not be created until Day 4, though light and darkness is mentioned on Day 1. Many scholars who respect the authority of Scriptures suggest the creation narrative weren’t written to convey actual creation events to begin history but to convey God’s desire to bring order to existing chaos. We must be open-minded not dogmatic regarding interpretations so to not lead people to reject God for the wrong reasons.

What are some possible spiritual lessons from Genesis and the Flood?

It takes faith either way to believe there was or wasn’t a Creator. The Bible encourages us to consider there is a God who desires relationships with humans. The Creator of the Bible respects freedom and knows what humans know – freedom not force leads to genuine transformations. God warns us of the sometime catastrophic dangers of freedom. Unrestrained freedom only leads to destruction in relationships. A loving God only teaches what loving parents teach their children.

What are we to believe about God?

We cannot know with certainty the intent of writers thousands of years ago. Relax! Literature can’t mean anything. Only extremists don’t accept that their interpretations feed their hunger for power and control rather than love and freedom. It seems the idea of infallible Books has led to subjective interpretations being proclaimed as “certainty” in God’s name. The only reason some condemn gays or women entering the priesthood is because supposedly a Book disapproves in God’s name. It is best we read the Bible with a questioning spirit motivated by love and putting oneself in another’s shoes. A universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated hints a Creator communicates to all what is good. God’s influence may be most recognizable when we have thoughts to be the perfect partner, parent, or friend we desire to be deep down.

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This post was part of the September 2018 Synchroblog on the topic of the flood. Here are the other contributors to this month’s topic. Go and read them all!

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