Day #3 – Back to Life, Back to Reality…

Reality CheckToday’s Old Testament reading is Genesis 7-9 (NLT) and the New Testament reading is Matthew 3 (NLT).

I remember a calm Saturday during my university days. It was morning and as the typical college student, I was taking my time to start the day. My sloth-like activities were interrupted by a phone call from my girlfriend (now wife). She was in a elated state of excitement after reading the story of Noah and the ark in her Bible. I’ll never forget her cute smarty pants tone say, “Do you know what the rainbow means?” Nonchalantly I replied, “That God will never desroy the Earth again with a flood.” There was silence on the other end of the phone. We laugh about that moment now but I had let the air out of her balloon and stole her thunder. The great part was that the story had become alive and had helped to solidify her faith.

Noah's ArkThe story of Noah and the ark. In American culture today, one might not know this story, but you’ve seen the icons plastered all over a baby’s nursery. Our culture loves the ideas of two of every kind of cuddly animal trouncing into a boat with a jolly bearded man that will care for them. I myself remember as a young man of five having the time of my life loading up a toy ark in Sunday School class. The interesting thought I’m left with here is that no matter our culture’s fascination with this story – it’s just that. It’s a story. In university I had a section of an English course devoted to the study of the flood myths in different cultures. Thus, it is easy to reduce this tale to a good yarn that explains instances without the knowledge of scientific methods.

My entry ends here except that I notice that the New Testament reading speaks of a man named John preaching that the Lord is coming. Now John’s story isn’t as widely told as Noah. You won’t find a rugged and wild looking man adorning the walls of an infant’s room. However, we know that John lived, and his teachings were powerful enough to get him executed since he is mentioned by the secular historian Josephus. Right away there seems to be a reality to John that the secular authorities of the time thought worth mentioning. With one leg deeper in reality through this story, one can’t ignore John’s encounter with Jesus- an encounter where John, a powerful teacher, feels inadequate to baptize Jesus. John, a great preacher, humbles himself in the presence of Jesus, an unknown man. If we can accept the reality of this story, it is little less than amazing. At the end God, Himself announces that this unknown man is His son-the Son of the living God. That is someone I can change my life for and follow.

Consequently, what does this do to our old pal Noah? The art on a baby’s wall is cute, but the discovery that God cares for His creation so much that He would never destroy it makes the rainbow magical – it’s life changing. If then we can accept that one part of the Bible is grounded in reality, what does that do for the rest of it? How does finding the reality of a story impact your life?


About darren_fink

Dynamic Social Media Manager and Graphic Artist for @MyFanplicity - Adoptive Father of four - Avid fan of the Harry Potter book series Co-creator of Transfiguring Adoption: Twitter: @darren_fink LinkedIn: View all posts by darren_fink

9 responses to “Day #3 – Back to Life, Back to Reality…

  • drphilipnordstrom

    Very good Darren. I think your question about the reality of the story gets at the heart of this ancient mysterious tale. I sometimes think a lot of these ancient stories answer the ancient and modern questions of children, “How did we get here? Why was there are flood? Why are their rainbows in the sky? We have all heard scientific explanations for what causes rainbows, but for those of us who believe life is as much spiritual as it is physical, Noah’s story answers the question on a much deeper leve.

  • darrenfink

    I also think that as adults we get to caught up with justifying everything. If a person holds to the Christian perspective, there is a great opportunity for excitement in life. One doesn’t have to completely understand the mysteries of the universe. You can merely sit back every once in a while and say, “Wow. That is so neat. God is great.”

  • Marc Gaerlan

    But, but, but…. Jesus believed the flood happened as told–in Matthew 24: 37-39 🙂

  • Cynthia Heren

    I”m excited to try and stick to this reading plan this year.
    1 thing that struck me reading the message translation was the total length that Noah was in the boat. It was nearly a year from the time they got it, the 40 days of rain, + all the time it took for the water to recede before they got out. Thats a long time to be a boat with a bunch of animals, and not a quick process for God to rid the earth of the evil he was destroying.

    • drphilipnordstrom

      I love The Message too Cynthia. Maybe we can stick to it together, by having a little accountability and interaction. Thanks for following. Looking forward to hearing more from you. I’m Phil and I will be the Friday blogger.

  • Andrew Westberg

    Marc, Jesus was a finite human being while on earth. He probably was a geocentrist or flat-earther and likely couldn’t comment on quantum entanglement. He probably had a good grasp of the geometry related to carpentry though.

  • darrenfink

    @Cynthia – My family saw Noah the musical in Branson, MO. I think that was the first time that I also thought about how long Noah’s extended family had to be shut in a boat together. Actually in the musical the family is almost at each other’s throats right before Noah decides to release the dove. Again, as I was trying to portray above, I don’t know if we think of the reality in that story. There was a real problem with evil on the earth and there was a real God in control of it all.

    @Marc – I find it interesting in that section of scripture that you metioned that Jesus was using the history of Noah to make the second-coming more real/tangible for his audience.

    @Andrew – Aside from the fact that I’m completely stoked that the phrase “flat-earther” got used here 🙂 (it sounds like something out of Middle Earth in a Tolkien book – it makes me smile), I think the topic of what Christ’s day-to-day knowledge would be fascinating thread all on it’s own. I mean He’s man so He’s taught the concept of a flat earth. However, He’s God so on some level He knows the secrets of the universe. If His knowledge is limited because He was man, how does it work out that He is still completely God? It appears to be a paradox to me.

  • Marc Gaerlan

    Andrew, many times in scripture Jesus portrays His knowledge above and beyond His humanity. In fact, when it’s said in the Bible that Jesus “spoke with authority” it means precisely that. Jesus was in effect saying “I know”. No one else in scripture has that distinction, and no one else spoke in that manner of knowing.

    Jesus also said He was at the beginning of creation, and that He and the Father are one; so we can infer from that Jesus knew more about the universe than anybody.

    I can go into more depth if you’d like (I had considered it, but this isn’t my blog) and would be happy to do so. Or perhaps senior pastor Phil or director Darren would like to expound more.

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