The Flood

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will understand that the flood narrative can be found in many faith/secular traditions.
  • Students will better understand the attributes of God (mercy, grace, justice, etc.)
  • Students will be able to see how the Flood Narrative could be used today to justify violence.

Scripture Reference

Genesis 6:1-9:17

Teaching Notes

  • Always begin a lesson with a broad question to help students become engaged with your lesson.
  • For this lesson you could ask, “Have you ever been made fun of for something? Have you ever been made fun of for your faith?” “Has anything(an injustice) ever made you so angry you wanted to do something about it?”

Teaching Points

  • This is one of several places in the Bible where reference is made to supernatural, non-human beings that sound more to our ears like Greek mythology than Christian Theology. In Genesis 6, we read about Nephilim, beings born out of the union of male deities and female humans. It is interesting to note that discussion of the flood narrative usually glosses over this strange point. Remember that at this point in history, the Hebrew people were not yet monotheistic (believers in a single god).
  • As with the create narratives, we see two flood narratives interwoven into these chapters. As such, there are several conflicting details as to the duration of the rain, how long the floodwaters lasted, and how long Noah and his family must wait for dry land to appear.
  • The flood narrative is a known piece of mythology that exists in other religious traditions and secular writings. For example, Tablet Evleven of the Epic of Gilgamesh: There may well have been a historical flood in the Babylonian region that led to the writing of several tales to explain its cause and purpose; however, it most certainly did not actually cover the surface of the entire earth and did not wipe out every living creature/human being.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you make of the suggestion that God could no longer tolerate the being God had created?
  2. What is God’s primary complaint against the people of the earth? Do you have any objection to the idea that God would decide to wipe out every living creature?
  3. What can you learn about the way the people of the time viewed/understood their God/gods? Assuming a tragic event had occurred in this part of the world, why do you think people told the story this way?
  4. What are some traditional interpretations of the flood narrative? How do those/or do they? fit into this new information/perspective?
  5. Imagine if you did not grow up in the church or hearing Bible stories, what objections do you think you would have with the story?
  6. How does it change your understanding to realize that this same flood narrative exists in other religious traditions and secular writings?
  7. What does this narrative tell us about God?
  8. What do we learn about human nature through Noah and those around him?
  9. What do you think is the point of the story?
  10. Take a look at Matthew 5:43-48. Compare Jesus’ words to what we just read.
  11. Have you ever heard of people using God’s name today to justify violence? Are they justified?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s