The temptation of a clean slate


On Wednesdays I’ve been reading and reflecting on Genesis. Last week I touched on the portrayal of YHWH’s response to human evil – YHWH puts a limit on the human lifespan so that they will not live for hundreds of years. As I’ve continued to read today, YHWH is shown to take a much more drastic response to human evil. The text claims that humanity was constantly inclined towards evil and that YHWH regretted creating them. YHWH’s decides he will blot everything out.

As I Christian I’ve often read this and considered how this depiction of YHWH as God conflicts with the depiction of Jesus as God in the New Testament, but I think there’s stuff we can miss if we jump to doing that.

I wonder what this has to say to us about our own response to mistakes and regrets? Here we have a deity seeing that his creations are evil. Is he being confronted with the possibility that he is responsible for evil and suffering? It looks like his response is to blot everything out and start again with a clean slate, hoping he will get it right the second time.

A number of times I’ve heard leaders suggest that messy projects would be better to just blot out and start with a clean slate, and sometimes I’ve been convinced. However, I think this often happens because of breakdown in relationship with people. We think it will be easier to get rid of the people we have problems with and start again, rather that working through our problems. If we don’t learn to work through our problems with people we’ll find that the same problems will come up with the next group of people we work with or that new problems will present themselves. We’ll still need to learn to work with other people in all of our mess, and I think that’s what we see later on in this story.

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