In the story of Noah, god is pictured as destroying the world because it was full of “corruption.” While reading this, I naturally expected that some sin would be listed as paramount in the corruption, a sin that was washed away by the flood and of course one that no longer exists.
Yet the only corruption specifically mentioned as offending god is of all things – violence. What a sick joke – is the Jewish man writing this picturing his people as the first pacifists, a people whose only weapon was diplomacy?
The whole story of Noah (Genesis 5:32-10:1) is deeply ironic. It seems that god is even offended that animals are too violent. The writer hoists himself with his own petard. Here is the most relevant Biblical passage (Genesis 6: 11-13):
“11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.”
Incredible, but true – god is deeply offended by human violence, but he does not teach his chosen people a viable pacifistic strategy with intelligent diplomacy as the weapon of choice. No, he commands them not to kill, but then orders them to bloody their swords time and again, only to spare the young girls for a worse fate (slavery). We have lived for two millennia with this contradictory legacy, and will live with its consequences for many years to come.