Once upon a time, our species came close to extinction.
It was about 12,000 years ago, when the Ice Age ended. The climate was warming up, the glaciers were melting, and sea levels were rising. There was massive flooding everywhere on the planet. Lots and lots of people died. Our cousins, the Neanderthals, went extinct before our eyes.
A lot of people thought: “The gods must be trying to destroy us!”
People started telling one another stories about how humans had gotten too loud, and it was giving the gods a headache, so they decided to send a flood to kill everyone so they could get some peace and quiet.
Our people — the people of Yahweh — heard those stories, but we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to believe that Yahweh was like that. Because if we knew anything, we knew Yahweh is good, and Yahweh loves his creatures. Extinction events are hard times to hold on to that kind of belief, but we did hold onto it, because we knew it was True.
So we started telling one another a different story about the Flood:
- About how somehow such extinction events are good things (After all, think about the dinosaurs. It’s because they went extinct that our mammal ancestors were able to branch out and fill the world. If it weren’t for that asteroid, you and I wouldn’t be here).
- About how the earth was caught in a cycle of self-poisoning because of human hate and violence.
- About how sad this made God.
- About how the earth was going to die if that toxic cycle wasn’t ended.
- About how God loved us enough to save a few of us, so that we wouldn’t quite go extinct.
It was a story about a guy named Noah.
We’ll talk about that story on Wednesday…