Day 6Genesis 8:1-9:7 ... A New Start

The gloomy tone of Genesis 7 brightens almost immediately.  The next chapter tells of Noah and his family landing on an earth fresh-scrubbed and sprouting  new life.  All the people who had so grievously offended God had died off.  For the first time in years, human beings sought to please God:  In his first act on land, Noah made an offering of thanksgiving.

God showed his pleasure by responding with a solemn promise, the first of several covenants in the Bible.  The terms of the covenant reveal how deeply Adam’s fall had affected all of creation.  man had cast a shadow across all nature, a shadow of fear and dread that would continue to spread throughout the animal kingdom.  God’s covenant recognized certain sad adjustments to the original design of the world.  It took for granted that human beings would continue to kill, not only the animals, but also each other.

Despite these adjustments God promised, regardless of what might happen, that never again would he destroy life on such a massive scale.  He vowed, in effect, to find another way to deal with the rebellion and violence of man, “though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.”

An appropriate symbol-the rainbow-marked this first recorded covenant by God.  Noah, like Adam before him, had a chance for a brand-new start.  Honored by God’s special approval, he had the opportunity to set civilization on a whole new course.  But before long, Noah went the way of his predecessors-the last glimpse Genesis gives of him, he is sprawled in his tent, drunken and naked.  What seemed like a brand-new story turns out to be a tired recapitulation of the same old story of human failure.

Point to Ponder: What does God's covenant with Noah teach about the uniqueness of  human life?