"Now the Lord observed the extent of the people's wickedness, and the Lord was sorry he ever made them; it broke his heart."
- Genesis 6:5-6
(New Living Translation)
Despite all the tragedies occurring in the world just now, I've refrained from making any connection between what one pastor calls "the theory of devolution" and what God might do either to punish or to shape up the devolving human race.
Call me timid, but I shudder at sounding (Pat) Robertsonian, or incurring the wrath of what I assume would be a plethora of disagreeing readers.
But because my devotional reading this year has come from the historical books of the Old Testament (Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles), where one king after another "did evil in the sight of the Lord" and suffered monstrous calamities as a result, it hasn't been easy to dismiss the possibility that there may be a connection between human behavior and divine response.
Still, I'm reluctant to go out on an Isaiah-Jeremiah limb and say that, in the past year for example, God intentionally shook the western Himalayas, roiled the South China Sea or sent a raging wind across the American Gulf Coast.
However, concerning what man does to man or how nation treats nation, I do believe the farther we stray from God's formula for human behavior -The Ten Commandments, The Sermon on the Mount, etc. - the more responsible we are for the punishment we mete out or incur.
But it has occurred to me that the waterlogged folks in the Northeast might be wondering if there is a connection between their circumstances and those of the Biblical Noah. Some may even be drawing up plans for a new ark.
However, no matter how much it rains or how many of their dams break, as one of my e-mail friends suggests, with today's government regulations a modern-day Noah would never be able to duplicate that amazing feat. Here is what some clever writer assumes would foil his plan:
In the year 20005 the Lord appeared again to Noah, now living in Georgia, and said, "Once again the earth has become wicked and I fear the end of all flesh before me. So I need you to build another ark and place two of every living thing plus a few good humans inside.
"But you must finish within six months, after which I will send rain on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights."
Six months later God looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard - but no ark.
"Noah!" God roared. "I'm about to start the rain. Where's the ark?"
"Forgive me, Lord," begged Noah, "but things have changed. I needed a building permit and my neighbors claim I'll violate zoning laws by building the ark in my yard. Then the Department of Transportation demanded that I post a bond for the cost of altering power lines and other obstructions when we move the ark to the sea. I told them the sea would be coming to us, but they wouldn't listen.
"Getting the wood was another problem. Since the Publix parking lot fiasco, there's been a ban on cutting local trees, and when I started gathering the animals the local humane society sued me. They insisted I would be confining wild animals against their will and that it's cruel and inhumane to cram so many animals into such a small space.
"Next, the EPA said I couldn't build the ark until they conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood, and I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I'm supposed to hire for my building crew. Besides, the trade unions say I can't hire my sons because I have to use only union labor with ark-building experience. And to make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets because I might try to leave the country with endangered species.
"So forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this ark."
uddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in amazement and asked, "You mean you're not going to destroy the world?"
"No," said the Lord. "The government beat me to it."
(Barbara Seaborn is a local freelance writer. E-mail comments to seabara at aol.com.)
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