Having just watched the film Arrival (where times arrow is a bit more of a loop), and currently reading a book which includes an “Ark”-like spaceship called the Gilgamesh, I started thinking about the various stories of a global flood in history, from the earliest right through to Plato’s Atlantis.
There must have been many great floods in the past, whether caused by earthquakes or landslides, rain or astroid impacts. However we have legends and stories of a single great flood that covered the whole world. The biblical story of Noah adds a promise from god not to flood the whole world again. The strange thing of course is that the whole world does not seem to have been flooded at the same time.
So if we for a moment take these stories out of the allegorical context they are often placed in, is “the whole world” more a reference to the end of the ice age as the waters rose – surely explosively at times ? There do seem to be events such as the breaking out of the ice age Black Sea that could account for these stories (as the known world for many was indeed flooded). At the time most settlements would be on coasts and next to low lying rivers, and so the whole ‘known’ world to these people would literally sink under water as the post ice age world melted.
However the thought of time as a river (where the start and end can be seen by an observer above) gave me another option – of these accounts of floods being more like prophesies. Suddenly these stories of a global civilisation, advanced in technology but also in ‘loose morals’, becomes our times, with global warming being just one of the many ways we are causing problems to the planet and its wildlife.
If you narrow in on the biblical story, Noah creates the Ark which symbolically saves all the animals and specifically saves some of the people – those trying to live for something more dignified than self gratification. Those saved become the twelve tribes of Israel. Anyone who knows the bible will know how god makes an original promise to these twelve tribes and their descendants, but then says this promise will be renewed and opened to the whole world – the “new covenant”. This is the “new jerusalem” – part of a new heaven and a new earth. Whereas the old covenant was written on stone and kept in a temple, the new covenant is written on the hearts of all who are ‘born again’ in Jesus. This is a birth to and of the spirit, but it is also linked to a baptism in water.
Quite a verge into speculation there and I have no idea whether it works consistently, but there is something compelling in it.