12 March 2017

The New First Family

After God washed away all plant and animal life, Noah, his family, and all those animals emerged from the ark. He built an altar and promptly killed one of those animals that he had so diligently delivered and offered it up as a burnt sacrifice. God smelled the "soothing aroma" that only a sizzling steak on a summer's eve can emit.

Noah and his family thus began their new lives in the world-as-we-know-it.

God commands Noah's sons and wives to replenish the earth.

The animals preserved in the ark began to replenish the earth.

And somehow, all the plant life floating amidst all the other debris took root and soon replenished the earth.

God pronounced some new ordinances for the new age.

He pronounced that from that time on, the fear and dread of mankind will be upon all animals. This is because he now permitted the consumption of animal flesh. Only after this pronouncement do readers recognize that until this time mankind ate only plants. God restricted humans, however, from eating the blood of the animals under penalty of death. "And surely your blood of your lives will I require, " warned God, "at the hand of every beast will I require it." Apparently anyone who even eats animal meat with the blood will himself be killed by animals.

Moreover, he forbids the taking of human life under penalty of death. "At the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso shedeth mans' blood, by man shall his blood be shed. For in the image of God made he man." Until this time, exile served as the consequences of murder.

Finally, God issued a couple of promises. He pledges to never again to "curse the ground from man's sake." It is difficult to know what to make of this. According to the Bible, mankind both before and after the flood toiled a cursed ground for subsistence. Perhaps the pronouncement refers to his covenant never to destroy all life through a flood. Before advances in meteorology determined otherwise, a rainbow in the sky served as a sign of this covenant. But the thought of it has no doubt  provided much comfort and solace through subsequent ages.

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