seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
Remember the power of God’s words in Genesis 1 – God spoke and it was so?
There is a reiteration too of God’s command to be fruitful and multiply…the events of the flood have not changed this prerogative.
And they all processed out of the ark – each by their kinds. A symphonic, choreographed moment. Or, a whole lot of moo-ing and screeching.
Here Noah takes a decisive action – he responds to God by building an altar, and sacrificing burnt offerings. Yahweh ‘smells the pleasing aroma’. Such human language! Are we to imagine that God has a nose? Personally I would take this as an anthropomorphism; I don’t envisage God having a nose.1 It’s an interesting one though – if God invented smell, than does this mean he too has a sense of smell? Is it possible to create smell without having the ability to do the smelling?
But I digress.
And Yahweh comes to a decision ‘in his heart’ – again God is cast as the main character. We are told the thoughts and feelings of Yahweh, not of Noah. He is the subject of the narrative, the one whose thoughts are described to us.
The human heart has not changed, nor its inclination to evil. Nevertheless, God will never again curse the ground – again, the ground – keeps popping up in these chapters. And never again will he destroy all living creatures. Ground and life. Ground and breath. Never again.
That lovely little poem at the end – that reaffirmation of cycle and season, of rhythm and remembrance. As long as the earth endures.
1 This reminds me a little of what I’ve been talking about over at my main blog ( here and here) about using human language to talk about the ‘feelings’ of God. I don’t discuss nostrils, however.