What God Says and Does, VIII: He Promises Noah
The sun will come up tomorrow.
by Everett Wilson
September 24, 2012
Genesis 8:22—'While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease."
God never says that our world will last forever. We cannot expect it to, because it exists in a universe where worlds end—they wear out, or blow up, or their suns do. What he says about our world is that for as long as it lasts it will be a dependable home for the human race. The universe will not peter out on us until after God is through with it anyway. God makes this promise to Noah because for a little while it really looked as though the world was done for. God had just wiped out the animal kingdom except for the fish of the sea, a few specimens of dry land creatures, and the family of Noah. It was a very close call from a human point of view, but not from God's.
If a question remains, it is not "Did the flood really happen, is the biblical report dependable?" That is moot, because here we are, after all, so "Is the promise of God dependable today, or even relevant," is the remaining question. The believer says Yes, the unbeliever, No.
For those still undecided, there is a clarifying question: "Dependable compared to what?" If the God of the Bible is indeed God of all the earth, nothing is more dependable than his promise. He has the right to make any promise he wants with no ifs, ands or buts conditioning it. He also has the power tokeep the promise.
In contrast, human science is crammed with ifs, ands, and buts. Human scientists don't know everything and know they don't.
It's the journalists who report on their work by using "gee-whiz" language at about fourth-grade level who create the illusion that science in every applicable instance is more certain than other sources of knowledge. In the cosmology of these journalists, scientists aren't God, but they're something like his second cousins.
A Nobel Laureate in Physics recently parodied their reporting by naming Higgs-Boson "the God particle." When journalists started using his joke as a scientific term, he explained that he called it the God particle because his publisher wouldn't let him call it the goddamn particle. In other words, he was kidding.
But the cat was already out of the bag; the term stuck, trivializing both science and theology almost on a level with the moronic "Maybe your grandma was a monkey, but mine wasn't" dialogues of two generations ago. Higgs-Boson was a big discovery of something very small in the physical world, giving investigators real hope that it would lead to more discoveries; but its discoverers were not seeking to develop a doctrine of God, nor did they stumble on one. The God of heaven and earth cannot be discovered by accident.
In this series I am developing a doctrine of God out of what the Bible tells us about his words and actions. God makes promises, a dependability that no mindless concept or entity can demonstrate. In this essay I am pointing out that God has promised a home for the human race for as long as this world lasts. That's what is meant by "seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease."
In the musical play about her, Little Orphan Annie gets it. "The sun will come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar!"
About the Author:
Everett Wilson has been a published writer on many themes for over fifty years. He is a retired minister of the Evangelical Covenant Church, currently in the midst of writing a novel tentatively entitled Scoundrels, Fools, Principalities and Powers.
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