Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Review of Lesson Five

Thank you for joining us for our fifth lesson of Biblical Reflections: Finding Yourself in the Book of Genesis. Here’s a quick recap:

A. The Corruption of Society

Our lesson began with a discussion of the challenge that results from technological sophistication. Advanced societies are prone to arrogance and hubris. However, with appropriate guidance, their advantages can be used to make the world a better place.

The society that preceded the flood, unfortunately, was an example of an advanced society that was exceedingly corrupt, especially in the social realm. They were adept at subverting the justice system, and so there was little hope for remedy. Noah was a lone exception to this sorry state of affairs, and was worthy of surviving the fate of his contemporaries.

B. The Flood

Although G-d could have destroyed the pre-flood society instantaneously, he did so by bringing about 40 days of rain.This was to highlight that in addition to drowning evil, the flood also had a purifying purpose. It served as a womb of sorts, giving birth to a new world.

After the flood, a rainbow adorned the sky, standing as a promise that G-d would never again destroy the world. This is because the flood purified and transformed the very nature of the earth, making an appreciation for G-dliness an integral part of the earth’s independent identity.

The rainbow served as an apt symbol. Rainbows are formed when the sun is able to penetrate clouds and moisture, causing the light to be refracted by the droplets. The sun is a metaphor for G-d, and the clouds for physical creation. Before the flood, the clouds were too thick to allow the sun’s light to penetrate. But when the droplets of moisture in the clouds are able to reflect the light of the sun, it is a sign that the creation has reached a point of refinement that allows an appreciation of the divine to enter.

Next week we will look at how a failure of leadership may have made the flood inevitable. We will examine why the pre-flood world was particularly vulnerable to this lack, and the factors that are critical to effective leadership. I look forward to seeing you next Tuesday.

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