The story of Noah has been popularized again and again and again. From Bill Cosby’s comic routine to the newly released “Evan Almighty,” the Noah story is everywhere, including YouTube. This atheist who calls herself “Hellbound Alleee,” posted this video about Noah’s Ark. She explains how ridiculous it is that Christian parents are so concerned with TV content and ratings systems. They buy vchips to censor what their children watch. Then, they decorate their kid’s room in Noah’s Ark themes and let them play with Noah’s Ark toys. She says, “Don’t these people have a clue? Noah’s ark is not a cutesy children’s story about having a bunch of sweet cuddly pets in a big boat. Noah’s ark is a horror story. There are dead bodies floating in the water. God is wiping out the human race in judgment. Parents might as well put “Saw II” posters on their kid’s walls…”
One of the problems that I have with what this agnostic has to say is that she understands the story better than some Christians do! Now, she hates the story and will not submit to what the Spirit of Christ is teaching her, but there were dead corpses in the water. Noah’s ark is a horror story. It is a story of judgment. Unfortunately the world has seen a taste of this kind of devastation in recent years with the Tsunami in 2004 and the Katrina in 2005. We have seen firsthand the carnage of a flood, but imagine it on a global level.
The story of Noah’s ark is a story of God’s judgment against human sin. God created the world and it was good, but the fall of Adam brought on the realities of sin and death. Human sin increased to the point that God decided to release his hand of judgment in a global flood. One man finds favor in God’s eyes, Noah. Too often we see the Noah story in black and white. Noah is the guy in the white robe with the halo around his head, and those who do not heed his sermon are the wicked villains dressed in black with twisted mustaches. That helps us not to be as upset about this story as Hellbound Alleee is. It helps us pass by the fact that a lot of people that many would have felt were basically “good” people drowned, gasping for air as the waters covered them and their children.
Our notions of the biblical characters shield us from the sting of God’s Word too often. We think to ourselves “those wicked idiots didn’t get in the boat. I would have got in the boat for sure.” Yet, these were real people, living real lives, working hard to provide for their families, and all of a sudden it is all swept away! Jesus says that is exactly what judgment will be like, like the days of Noah. People were eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. They were living life and all of a sudden “boom” the judgment of God fell! Jesus says in Matthew 24 that is exactly the way judgment will be again. People will be living life, doing what they normally do, totally unfazed by the warning of disaster. People will be falling in love, getting married, having children, climbing the corporate ladder, and then BAM! We say, “These people are fools” for not heeding the warning of Noah. Yet, these people had some very good reasons for not getting in the boat, the same way it seems very reasonable to people today not to avoid the judgment to come. After all, we hear the doomsday messages of movies like “The Day After Tomorrow” and Al Gore’s documentary on Global Warming, but we don’t switch out the Styrofoam coffee cups in Sunday School. We don’t trade in our SUV for a Prius. That’s exactly what is happening here. It seems reasonable to many not to fear global judgment. In the same way we don’t lose sleep at night wondering if the Ozone is deteriorating, most people don’t wake up in sweat fearing impending judgment… We don’t live as if the “Ark” is our only hope of rescue. Jesus says these people were just living life, and then like a thief in the night that you don’t expect judgment fell. The same is going to be true again. Noah heard the warning and he changed everything.
Noah is righteous, but he is still a sinner (seen clearly by the end of his life in Gen. 9). The writer to the Hebrews tells what was different about Noah, faith. Because of Noah’s faith God is going to save one family through the ark and bring a new creation out of judgment. God gives this warning to Noah. Noah is faced with a choice to take God at his word or doubt because this is something he has never seen before. He aligns his life with the coming judgment. Also, Noah preaches (2 Pet. 2:5)! There is a global judgment coming and he is the only one with the message of salvation, so he must share it. We are given the same task. There is a global judgment coming that is going to wipe away every man, woman, boy and girl on the face of the planet. We know it is coming and it is our job to share that warning with others in love hoping they believe and are rescued.
The flood comes. From the flood, to the destruction of Pharaoh’s army, to the fish who vomits Jonah, to Jesus’ statements that his cross is a baptism, water is pictured as judgment throughout the Bible. 1 Peter 3 tells the church that Baptism is the anti-type of the flood. It pictures the fact that in Christ we have been drowned in the wrath of God and raised to walk in newness of life. That is the message of Noah’s ark. Judgment will come, but there is an “Ark” that drowned under the wrath of God outside the gates of Jerusalem gasping hour after hour after hour for one last breath. Three days later the Ark of our Salvation stood up and walked away from death because the message of Noah is that “God is not willing that any should perish” (2 Pet. 3).
Hellbound Alleee is right! The Noah story is a story about judgment. It is horrific. But, it is about a lot more than that! We should weep at this story. We should never contemplate the wrath of God against sinners without tears. But even as it causes sorrow, Noah’s story should bring rejoicing on the other side! What Hellbound Alleee misses about this “horror” story is exactly what she needs! It’s the side of the Noah story that is captured by the Ark of our Salvation when he said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved!” Let’s say a prayer tonight for Alleee that she will one day seek refuge from the coming flood in the Ark that’s already drowned in it!
And if you want to buy Noah’s Ark toys for your children, then I am all for it. I did for my little girl. My prayer for her everyday is that Noah’s Ark will point her to the dangerous reality of judgment and the wonderful hope of rescue. As she plays with the boat, the animals, and the guy with the long white beard I will constantly tell her what this story is telling her, John 3:16!
Note: In keeping with the theme of my original two posts on preaching the gospel, I post an example here in the narrative of Noah.
Please retract the part where you say I am “agnostic.” I am a strong atheist, and am very proud of it!
Sorry for what you are putting your child through, presenting her with such a cartoon-violent world. Save your prayers for yourself and your child.
I apologize for misrepresenting your views and have made the correction.
I would like to ask you one question: since you believe there is no God what is the standard by which you measure right and wrong? For example, you believe it is wrong for me to bring up my daughter this way b/c you think my beliefs are untrue. What then is the true standard by which I should bring up my daughter? What is the standard for right and wrong in other decisions I might make in my life?
Where do you come by that standard? How do you know it is better than mine?
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I tell people who take the bible literally that either they haven’t really studied it objectively with a critical mind or they are really, really stupid! Of course, they usually are initially offended and angered that I am calling them stupid. They don’t even hear the first option. I encourage anyone to read the bible and, while doing so, to stop and investigate anything they read that seems suspect. As far as any standard for raising your children goes, how about teaching them to think critically for themselves and to not be afraid to shine the light of reason into any dark recess? Life is all about making decisions. The best decisions are made with the most and best information. Fairytales and fantasies can be fun but should always be recognized as such. Knowledge and ignorance are mutually exclusive. There are myriad problelms with the Noah’s Ark story. If you really believe it happened just as written in the bible, then you should have no problem explaining to your daughter how all of the animals indigenous to Australia and all of the food for their special diets not only made it to the Ark on their own but were able to safely return to their native habitats after the flood subsided! I’m betting you won’t even mention it to her or you will tell her something like “The Lord moves in mysterious ways” or “We can’t always understand the ways of the Lord”. I’ve been listening to Hellbound Alleee’s podcasts for several years and I can assure you that, besides entertaining, she has a deep interest in helping people to use their brains for something other than keeping their skull from collapsing!
You should hope that your daughter turns out to be as bright, articulate, and creative as Alleee is! If she doesn’t believe in the Boogey Man, SO WHAT!
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I don’t think that calling people stupid who submit to the Bible as their ultimate authority will help you convince anyone that they are wrong or that you’re worldview is right. I think it is always better to kindly engage in dialogue than to name call. Since I believe that I would like to ask you a few questions about your comments.
I understand your point about raising children to think critically but my question is still the same. Why ought/should I raise my daughter that way? Why is that way of parenting better than raising her to believe in something with full devotion? Why should critical thinking be valued? Why is that what life is all about?
Your question about Noah’s Ark is interesting. I’m not really sure how to answer it, but I will certainly think about. My question for you is “How did animals that are indigenous to Australia and all of the food for their special diets get there in the first place?” Were these animals and this food always there? Did they originate at a point in time? Is it just an accident that they are in the place they need to be to get the food they need to get and the safe habitat that helps them survive? How do you think they got there?
One final question. Why do you think Alleee has a deep interest in helping people use their brains? Why is she so evangelistic in that way? Why is that valued? I hope these questions do not come across as smart aleck because I am extremely interested in your answers to these questions and hope that you will respond.
Equating The God and Father of our King Jesus with the Boogey Man is certainly provocative, but again it doesn’t engage the real issues. I do hope that we can avoid sloganeering and engage in a real conversation about these things. I know that you think belief in Jesus is foolish and ignorant and that I shouldn’t care if my daughter has that kind of belief. The irony is that this is exactly how God’s Word says you will respond (1 Corinthians 1).
I await to hear your response,
Almost all of your questions to me were answered in my first post. As for how the animals and plants unique to Australia got there in the first place, you would have to understand how evolution works. There are many good books on the subject but one of my favorites is “Evolution and the Myth of Creationism” by Tm M. Berra. If you are hung up on the Earth being a few thousand years old, you will not be able to accept the possibility of evolution for large spans of time are essential to its mechanism.
Also, if you reread the first few lines of my original post, you will see that I accurately predicted your response to my first statement! Touche!
You haven’t answered my main question, so please tell me, “Why SHOULD I raise my daughter to think critically?” You tell me that is HOW I should raise her, but I want to know WHY that is the “right” way.
Second, in terms of the animals and plants in Australia it seems you are just as hesitant to answer the question as anyone. I never said anything about the age of the earth. I asked how the animals and plants got there. Just pointing me to a book and saying it took a long time says nothing about origin. Those who believe in evolution always want to play the “time” card, but always seem to avoid answering the origin question.
Third, I don’t understand what you are getting at when you say that the first few lines of your original post predicted my response to your first statement? I was not offended by your comments or angry. All I was saying is that it didn’t add to a rational, reasonable, critical discussion where two people dialogue and think critically. Isn’t that what you are after? It seems to me that you are just as likely as anyone to not thinking critically about your position and assume your own presuppositions…
If you are willing to think critically about your own presuppositions and dialogue with me about them I would love it because I do want to learn and educate myself as well. If you do, then tell me what is your standard for decision making (i.e. parenting) and why it is the right one? Also, tell me where did matter (animals/plants in Australia) originate from?
Thanks for your willingness to engage in these difficult, yet helpful discussions. I am just reading this now, 4 years later, but wanted to reply briefly. I appreciate what you had to say, but one issue gave me pause. I am a little worried about your language of another flood in light of God’s clearly stated covenant of not doing that again. Maybe it’s not a big deal, but it certainly isn’t keeping with the Biblical account that God’s judgment will come in the form of a flood again. Thanks
I challenge you to watch this short, provocative video clip regarding the morality of your God’s act of killing little children in Noah’s flood. If at the end of viewing this video clip you can still say that your God and your belief system are moral and good, I will strongly and sincerely encourage you to see a mental health professional.