In Part 1 of this three-part series, we introduced the subject and gave the first two answers. Answer #1 talked about God’s obvious love of diversity in nature and the logical necessity of him creating the human race with the capability of developing similar diversity. Hence, it is something that shouldn’t make us afraid of one another, but highly appreciative of our variations. They are God-given and that makes them special indeed.
Answer #2 focused on the spiritual purposes of God through our diversity, notably bringing us all into one family, and through our relationships, showing the world the power of God to change lives. Just as Jew and Gentile were that divine demonstration in the early church, racial diversity in the church now is likewise designed to be that magnet that gains the world’s attention and draws them in. From here, answer #3 moves into some deep waters – in more than one sense. Read on.
Answer #3 – An Act of God’s Judgment
The Bible contains many examples of God bringing judgment on mankind, be it on a single individual, a group within a nation, a whole nation or even the whole world. Besides those examples are warnings of judgments to come. The only example of the whole world being judged and punished was, of course, the flood of Noah’s day. The results of that flood were both immediate and long-term. The long-term results are the ones on which we will focus.
I understand that anything contained in Genesis 1-11 has come under increasing attack. Not only do unbelievers attack it, but many claiming to be Christians and Bible believers have ended up doing something similar. They have sought to reduce those chapters to mythology or something like it – anything other than reliable history in efforts to harmonize the Bible with modern science. When that seems impossible, the Bible is called into question rather than calling modern science into question. If that path weren’t so serious and didn’t carry so many implications that reflect on the rest of the Bible, I would find it quite humorous.
Modern Science, aka Current Science
Think about the term, “modern science” for a moment. What does that really mean? Only current science, that and nothing more. If you would like to release a few endorphins into your system through laughter, study the history of modern (meaning only current) science. Some of the most outlandish views imaginable about our universe in all its parts were held at given points in time, views that seemed to those “moderns” of that era to be absolute facts. Many false assumptions about the Bible were held because the evidence for proof had not been yet discovered, but in time many of those same assumptions were dispelled through later discoveries (especially in archeology). Whether a false assumption is disproved scientifically or not, the Bible is still the Bible and it unquestionably claims to be God’s inspired word. That’s always going to be good enough for me.
On the subject of modern science (which again can only be defined as current science), one of the areas that receives the most attention and the most funding is that of nutritional and medical science. Those related branches of science are funded by billions upon billions of dollars annually. Yet in our lifetimes, how many “truths” have been asserted only to be debunked later? If you pay too much attention to those areas of “modern” science, you are likely to develop paranoia. Drinking coffee is bad for you – no, it helps with dementia and other health threats! Drinking alcohol will kill you – no, not drinking alcohol may kill you and it will increase your odds of getting dementia significantly. Those illustrations were found in very recent reading, by the way, and scores of similar ones could be noted and quoted.
Noah’s Flood Literal?
My point is that current science is by nature pretty dogmatic and often wrong. It will label theories or working hypotheses as facts, and if Bible believers aren’t careful, they may be sucked into that whirlpool of arrogance and pride that is most often based on atheistic worldviews. Thanks for listening to me vent a bit – I feel better! Back to the Noahic flood. That horrific destruction is a fact if the Bible is to be believed. If it is some sort of symbolic fable, by whatever term, the rest of the Bible becomes untrustworthy. Here are a few of the comments made in other parts of the Bible, in contrast to those who consider Noah a symbolic figure and the flood a symbolic event:
To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.
as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they could save neither son nor daughter. They would save only themselves by their righteousness.
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
1 Peter 3:20
to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,
2 Peter 2:5
if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;
Of course, we could add in the mentions of Noah in both OT and NT genealogies, but you get the point. Both Noah and the flood are described as historical outside Genesis, and if they aren’t historical, then Jesus and the other writers of the Bible must have been hysterical or otherwise deluded. Some are tantalized by the discussion of whether the flood was local or universal. We don’t even know what the nature of the earth was back then, and how the continents may have been divided – or not. Feel free to read about the alleged Pangaea, or ancient super-continent, and later phases (Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous). Keep reading and you will find the hypothesis out there that most of the continents will combine once again into another super-continent, the Amasia. You might enjoy the reading, but please put your trust in the only book about which Jesus made this claim: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
Honestly, I don’t have time for those views that Genesis is non-historical verbiage and I hope you don’t. I also hope you will speak up when otherwise respected people reduce those opening chapters of Genesis into something other than historical accounts. The so-called evidences of “modern” science that contradict the Bible are not my focus; the word of God decidedly is.
Two People and Eight People
In the beginning, there were two people – Adam and Eve. There were eight people who survived the flood and disembarked the ark. Surely I don’t need to multiply verses about what both OT and NT have to say about these facts and figures. As I was recently exiting a restaurant, I struck up a conversation with a black family sitting on a bench awaiting a table inside. As we talked about racial diversity (a subject I introduce as often as possible with as many people as feasible), the man in the family observed that we all got off the Big Boat together through our Noahic ancestors. Spot on! We did.
This means that we all started off appearing much more alike than we are today. So what happened to us? With some divine persuading, our forefathers finally were dispersed by God from the vicinity of their building project, the Tower of Babel,” (Genesis 11:8-9) into the locations he intended. Paul described it this way: “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands” (Acts 17:26).
The fact that we all got off the ark together through our ancestors must mean that God created humans with a remarkable ability to adapt to our environments. And that innate capability explains quite simply why we are different colors. Yes, seriously. My good friend James Williams, a black brother in our church, spent his entire career teaching Social Studies to 8th grade students in his home state of Mississippi. He has said to me a number of times that our skin color and other physical characteristics trace directly back to the proximity of our ancient ancestors to the equator. The closer they were to the equator, the darker their skin. Not only is that a simple answer, it is absolutely accurate. Can it be proved? If you are a Bible believer, it has already been proved. Take a look at humanity in their native lands and there you have it. Oh, you want something from modern science (as we call it)? Okay, keep reading – Part 3 is soon to follow. Be looking for it – and hold on to your seat!