We are still in these chapters prior to the appearance of Patriarch Abraham, the first protagonist of the Bible with some historical basis. At the moment we continue with texts of doubtful historicity but, on the other hand, with a high and deep catechetical charge.
The narrative is well known. God communicates to righteous Noah that tired of so much infidelity, he is going to do a good “cleaning” as punishment. He only thinks to save Noah and his family, and a sample of each animal species. To do this, Noah will build an ark where he can navigate on the waters during the “universal ” flood.
Yes, I have put “universal” in quotation marks to begin by drawing attention to what Noah could understand by the concept “universal” . If we take as a reference that the American continent was not known until 1492, we can imagine how quantitatively the universe could be for Noah. Or put another way, could it be that what is being talked about is the “Noah’s universe” .
In the most elementary practice of our lives, when someone says “it is raining” , is he referring to the whole world or is he talking about “his world” , that is to say , of his city, of its streets, where he has to travel. So, what difference does it make to what God wants to convey to us with the event that this passage narrates, which refers only to a territory, which we today know as “part” but which for Noah was “all” ?
And just one more detail, dedicated especially to creationists and other fundamentalists, lovers of literal readings. Is there really anyone who thinks that, if the flood is literally universal, Noah could get hold of the sample of animal species that are only found in Africa or Europe? God works miracles but does not dedicate himself to feeding the absurd.
Overcome, I hope, the first stumbling block, we stumble upon the second. It is a constant, in the reading of the Old Testament read from a certain rashness, to look only at the tremendous aspects, not overcoming a distorted image of God. He thus presents himself to God as an insensitive tyrant, a “forgives” of his favorites. It is the result of focusing only on the murderous arm of Cain, the “righteous” water of the flood or the “fanatic” weapon of Abraham.
Yes, they insisted so much on this image of God that, when as children, in religion or catechesis class, they would ask us for a drawing about Cain and Abel, or about Abraham and Isaac, the constant in all those drawings was elongated shadow of sin and death. And it is that, of course, seen like this and only like this, it only remained to question the strange way that God has of practicing what we call love.
But if we practice a more generous reading that takes us beyond our endogamous ghosts, in those same passages we find the God of life. It is God who defends Cain’s life. For certain “supposedly religious” mentalities, Cain would deserve death, or at least rot in jail. And it is God who sends his arm, the arm of the angel, to prevent the death of Isaac (we will read it calmly in a future article). And, of course, it is God who preserves the life of the human being, and of all creation, through Noah’s Ark.
And it is in this aspect that I would now like to focus on. God is not content with saving only the human being, but it is also the human being that he asks to save all creation. Perhaps this is the great catechesis of this passage. Everything that at the beginning “God saw that it was good” , now, after time, continues to be recognized as good and, therefore, worth rescuing and conserving. And so on, until today.
Unfortunately, even today many take this call to respect creation, to practice ecology, as something merely debatable, when they do not make it “spring progress thing” . And it is even sadder when this is done from certain women who pretend to be Christian or, at least, call themselves inspired by Christian humanism. Which, so often, is the same as saying nothing or, even worse, manipulating the truth.
We already know that some unspeakable economic interests try to make us believe that there is no global warming of the earth. The hard thing to assimilate is that some media, and some of them owned by the Church in Spain, even knowing what the pontifical magisterium says on the matter, join in defending those interests. Pope Francis has pointed out in Evangelii Gaudium that we must stop being naive about the benefits of the market.
And, of course, that an ecology that cares about everything created above the human being is ridiculous. But it is just as ridiculous to separate human ecology from environmental ecology. In the same way that Pope John Paul II made us see that we should not do a theology of the person that separates soul from body, in the same way the defense of life should not be separated from the defense of what God created as necessary. for the development and happiness of human life.
May the flood water drown prejudices and may God give us an awakening of respect for all his Creation.
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