Recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma were epic storms in their own right, but they did not come close to the flooding of Biblical proportions that gave God’s once-perfect creation a “fresh start”. That creation and flood especially were on my mind this past week as I visited both the Creation Museum and the Ark Experience in northeastern Kentucky.
Both destinations do good jobs addressing matters such as the age of the earth, evolution, and claims that the flood was only a localized event. In addition to such “apologetics”, they also deliver reasonable law-Gospel messages of humanity’s corruption and God’s deliverance by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. To some extent, however, both missed key New Testament fulfillments of the two Old Testament “typical” events.
For example, not only is Christ a second “Adam” (Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-23, 45-49), but also, as we are in Christ, we are recreated and made new (Galatians 6:15; 2 Corinthians 5:17). And, not only does Jesus Himself, in calling for our repentance, liken the flood’s judgment and deliverance to that of the last day (Matthew 24:37-42; Luke 17:26-27), but also one of His Divinely-inspired apostles likens the ark’s saving Noah and his family through water to Holy Baptism’s saving believers today through water (1 Peter 3:20-22). That is a saving side of water to which many hurricane victims now can relate, having experienced water carry themselves, their loved ones, and their possessions out of flood-ravaged areas.
The same inspired and inerrant Holy Scriptures that speak both of a literal six-24-hour-day creation and of a worldwide flood also tell of God’s recreating us in Christ and saving us through such things as Holy Baptism. If we want the fresh start that God is offering us in Jesus Christ, we can hardly accept God’s recreating us but at the same time inconsistently reject Scripture’s teaching of Creation, the Flood, and God’s saving action in Baptism. Rather, we by faith in Christ receive all of His Word as true (for example, Hebrews 11:3), and ultimately we reap fully the benefits of peace and joy promised therein.
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.