At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the Earth.
Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole Earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him.
He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the Earth.
Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.
I just read an intriguing comment; this story is about faith! Of course it is; it isn’t only about faith but that is an element, one I hadn’t considered!
I mean, here’s this guy building a huge ship on dry land, and putting everything he has into the job, filling it up with a menagerie of animal squatters, domesticated and otherwise. Either he’s got a large tribe of hired help, not mentioned here, or he’s had to employ his neighbors for the occasion; aren’t they going to talk?!
So far as we know, there has been no person, book, weather report or any external source telling him he needs to do this! It isn’t telling him to go smite his Wicked Neighbors, or sacrifice his son to Chluthu, or to do anything antisocial, but he is taking a big step out of Consensus Reality here!
Now we typically hear the word “faith” from some person trying to tell us we need to do what he wants us to do, out of blind-faith in the Bible and in his understanding of what it all means.
But I think “faith” is a lot more about taking a step where we don’t see the ground, but only know it’s there!
“Belief” is another, related word. I recently read a Borg book where he pointed out something new to me. (Okay, Tony Priete (if I’m spelling him right) had said something similar about Hebrew… Their word for “true” was not about the factuality of a statement, as in Greek logic. It meant something more like “trustworthy, dependable.”) Borg says that until recently, we did not say that we “believed in” some statement or other. We “believed” a person; we trusted him. To “believe in God” implied that we agreed God exists, but the essence was, to trust God. It meant that we “beloved” God–which is the expression Borg says came first here.
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domesticated animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the Earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the Heavens were closed; the rain from the Heavens was restrained, and the waters gradually receded from the Earth.
At the end of one hundred fifty days the waters had abated; and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the high mountains. The waters continued to abate until the tenth month; on the first day of the month the tops of the mountains appeared.
Noah was 600 years old when the flood of waters came on the Earth. And Noah with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, and animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah as God had commanded. And after seven days the waters of the flood came on the Earth.
In the 600th year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day, all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. The rain fell on the Earth forty days and forty nights. On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons entered the ark, they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the ground, and every bird of every kind–every bird, every winged creature. They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded; and the Lord shut him in.
The flood continued forty days on the Earth, and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the Earth. The waters swelled and increased greatly on the Earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. The waters swelled so mightily that all the high mountains under the whole Heaven were covered; the waters swelled above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.
And all flesh died that moved on the Earth: birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the Earth, and all human beings; everything on dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing on the face of the ground, human beings and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the Earth.
Only Noah was left, and those that were with him on the ark. And the waters swelled on the Earth for 150 days.
And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the Earth is full of violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them together with the Earth.
“Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. This is how you are to make it; the length 300 cubits, its width 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks.
“For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the Earth, to destroy from under Heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the Earth shall die.
“But I will make a deal with you; and you shall come into the ark: you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of each kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive.
“Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and them.”
Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you and you alone are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the Earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the Earth for forty days and forty nights; and every living thing I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.
The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the Earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was continually evil. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the Earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the Earth the human beings I have created–people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.
But Noah found favor in God’s sight.
These are the descendants of Noah. [Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God.] And Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Now the Earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and filled with violence. And God saw that the Earth was corrupt; for all flesh had taken up evil ways upon the Earth.