“I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Genesis 9:11

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Genesis 9

The myth of the Flood – probably a folk memory of the end of the last Ice Age – is a feature in the literature of ancient cultures on every continent. In Genesis, it is interpreted as the work of an angry God who got fed up with us and decided to start again. The promise, the Covenant, made to Noah suggests that God will never do such a thing again.

But Nature might.

Natural sciences suggest in fact that our planet has gone through a series of extinctions over the billions of years of Earth’s existence. Some occurred over time – millions of years, as the climate changed and the Earth evolved. Others happened in moments, like the asteroid strike that wiped out the dinosaurs.

We may be due for another extinction – sooner than we think, and largely the result of our human greed and negligence. Climate change is real, and one of the effects of it may well be rising sea levels – a new flood.

And God isn’t lying. It will not be God’s doing but our own unless we take the necessary steps to reverse the crisis. We’ve broken the Covenant (actually again and again). We need to restore that Covenant – with the Earth and with the God of creation.


send forth your Spirit and Unsettle our complacency about the environment; Challenge us to do our bit to renew your Creation; Not as an afterthought but as something urgent, The urgency of the reign Your Son proclaims ‘on earth as in heaven’


Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for spotlight.africa. He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.

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