The Portrait of God in the Noah Narrative
God in mass consciousness is presented as a kind man who cares for people and other living creatures and proposes protection and aid for everyone who needs it. However, there are parts of the book that illustrate other traits of the character of the creator, which show him as an ordinary man who can experience the full range of emotions, including the negative ones like anger, dissatisfaction, or resentment. One of the representations of these specific parts of the Bible is the Noah narrative, where God is described as a fair but cruel person (Coogan et al. 19). This paper aims to analyze the particular details of the plot in order to examine the positive and negative attributes of God’s portrait and to provide arguments for the ambiguous character of the creator.
The Noah narrative describes the story of the flood, the purpose of which was to return Earth back to its pre-historical position in order to start from the beginning. This decision of God was caused by the behavior of people who did not believe in the creator, did not follow the laws, and killed other living creatures for food (Coogan et al. 19). It is important to mention that this plot exists in a great variety of forms depending on the particularities of culture and traditions of different nations. For example, in the ancient Mesopotamian myths, God got angry with people and made floods without any specific reason. In the classical version, the creator consciously decided to kill people and save Noah and his family, who were supposed to start the new era of humanity (Coogan et al. 20). It is necessary to point out that the emphasis is placed on the fact that no event is non-accidental: everything happens for some reason.
The portrait of God in the Noah story is controversial and requires a detailed analysis in order to provide an objective description. Firstly, the creator is presented as a demanding person: he gave Noah not advice but orders (Coogan et al. 20). He insisted on following the rules that he had established; among them were the respect of the other people’s property, the family, the human’s life, and others. On the one hand, these laws were fair and comprehensible. On the other hand, God did not give Noah a choice and was not interested in the opinion of any other person. It makes the portrait of the creator more violent and uncompromising. Another negative detail of the character is the cruelty of God: instead of helping people understand their mistakes or overcome the challenging period, he decided to kill them to make the world a better place (Coogan et al. 19). This choice shows God as an exacting and impatient man who had severe methods of solving the problems.
The portrait of God also has its positive details, for example, the creator’s attitude towards Noah reminds the relationship between father and son. The dialogues between them are an illustration of God’s generosity and the ability to support and emphasize (Coogan et al. 21). He guided Noah through the difficulties and made his mission easier, for example, he sent the wind to Earth, and the waters receded to make a path for a man (Coogan et al. 21). This case shows that God’s decisions and attitude changed, depending on the particular situation.
In conclusion, the portrait of the creator in the Noah narrative is presented as ambiguous and controversial. He is violent and cruel with people who disobeyed, disappointed him, and broke the law, and are kind to the man he trusts in. In this part of the Bible, God is described as a human with a variety of feelings and emotions and his own perception of the situation.
Coogan, Michael David, et al. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version. Oxford University Press, 2010.