September 07, 2008

The Flood

Anthony Prete has an interesting discussion of The Flood and God's relations with Noah, and by implication the Israelites, in The Quaker Bible Reader. His argument is that God was not punishing evil people, but rather acting like a potter who simply can't do anything with a blob of clay and returns to the clay pile to get a new one. Like many Quaker and other scholars a primary interest is to refute the idea of the angry God, probably the most common vision of God in our age like most others.

Prete has particular reference to the writers of late Isaiah and quotes in Isaiah 54:7-10, speaking of the days of Noah and its close relationship to the Israelites at and after the Captivity.

The Flood of course is one of the Bible stories familiar to all sorts of people, and I for one feel called to disabuse people of their vision of the angry God in every way possible, primarily by interposing the God of Jesus.


At 1:15 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

A post for my birthday! (Although I just now found it.) And a reminder of Anthony Prete, definitely one of those on my Goodfolks list!

Noah should be setting off any time now (although I've been slow getting things posted lately!)

An 'angry' God?--or an angry image of God?

Is anger so bad that we don't dare imagine God feeling it? I remember when my own father was in as vindictive a snit as I ever knew him, while insisting that he wasn't angry; he felt just fine!

Anger is a misfortune... If you maintain it any length of time, it's quite debilitating. But it doesn't have to imply doing harm to anyone. (Jesus was portrayed as angry more than once, if I remember right.)

Anger has been described as "a feeling plus a judgment." And judgment, a dangerous activity for limited creatures, is all the same a natural byproduct of experience.

Anger is a common means of social control; it makes other people also uncomfortable, which does, one hopes, serve as a deterrent. (Like most weapons of the weak, it doesn't necessarily work very well.)

If your system includes reincarnation, as it does for many traditional Jews, the Noah story doesn't have the finality we initially see in it.

But of course for those pre-Flood persons, and the Israelites in the days of the monarchy, and for (perhaps) us, there's the disquieting notion that God, when a civilization has gotten too far out of touch, will do whatever it takes to keep things from going irretrieviably bad. Including wetting down a whole batch of clay blobs who've been putting out more ugliness than the system can accommodate.

At 10:51 a.m., Blogger Larry said...

Thanks, Forrest. Glad to see you're back.


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