ALIVE: Chapter Six - The First Baptism

Do you not know that as many as have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of The Father, even so we also might walk in the newness of life. Romans 6:3-4

Make no mistake about it, baptism kills. It all started with the baptism of the Earth when water was used to extinguish corrupted life.

John the Baptist submerged men in water to kill the old soul, so that a renewed person would emerge in his place. As a seed is buried deep in black soil, where neither light nor oxygen can reach it, the baptized is buried in a watery grave that is equally hostile to the breath of life.

The death of baptism initiates souls into Christianity. To be a Christian is to be physically linked to Christ's sacrificial death through one's own watery death.

The emerging baptized Jew and Christian are reborn after experiencing death by water. Baptism wasn't always a symbol. It was the only way God could rebirth the Earth, to be rid of worldwide wickedness, the evil and violence of humankind. He didn't wash it way, He suffocated it.

"Lord, what are you are telling me?"

"Do you love Me?"

"You know that I love you Lord, I have walked with You before I could crawl. When I sat on my grandfather's knees, Methusalah opened the eyes of my mind to behold your majesty and your glory."

"Then trust me Noah, I must do this. I can no longer abide the violence of man and beast. This world grieves Me to the core. Before I made this earth I could not imagine that such hatred and vulgarity would emanate from it. The life I created has become rotten and malignant. I did not create evil, but I have the power to annihilate it, and I will!"

"Excuse me Lord, but before you do anything rash, let's talk this through. I was told by my father that You put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the center of a garden. You knew evil existed all along, but you didn't want my grandparents to eat from that tree; you didn't want them to have the knowledge of good and evil. Did evil exist before you created the tree, and before You created the Earth?" Without hesitating for a response, Noah continued, "Surely, the serpent was evil to convince Eve to distrust you, to want to be like you. He hadn't eaten of the forbidden fruit. Where did evil come from? Tell me Lord, did eating that fruit actually open the floodgate of evil that troubles you so? How?" Noah asked with as much meekness in his voice as he could muster, lest He offend God with his questions.

"Noah, you have learned well at your father's knees. But don't be fooled. Evil does not exist on its own, as if something created. It is a parasite thriving on its relationship with good. There is no such thing as pure evil; it is a good and evil dynamic. You are right to say that evil pre-existed Creation because I pre-existed creation. Evil has always taunted Me. The heavenly host has always included rebels, jealous demons which want to destroy everything I build. I hoped that Adam would not be aware of it. By his trust and obedience, he was linked to Me and in Me, who Am pure Good. I could have shielded him from destructive self consciousness that separated him from Me. I thought I could create a world where the absence of the knowledge of good and evil would allow man and beast to coexist in a peaceful, blissful state of ignorance. I wanted that. When Adam and Eve were led into temptation and accepted the irrational lie that by separating from Me, they would be like Me in wisdom knowing both Good and Evil, they destroyed my ideal for humankind. The only way I could suppress evil was for humanity to be ignorant of it by trusting Me."

"So, Lord are telling me that you expected ignorance to maintain peace and harmony? Really?"

God replied, "I prefer to think of it as innocence, not ignorance. Adam and Eve were my children; I wanted to protect them from the knowledge of good and evil. I hoped they would trust me enough to obey me."

"Lord, said Noah, "knowing Your enemy, surely You knew the day would come when ignorance, uh, I mean innocence would be shattered by Your parasitic opposition. The snake embodied your enemies, the rebel angels. Apparently, You could not keep evil spirits from infiltrating your world, expressly because it is so full of beauty and goodness. If they existed, they had to be discovered eventually. Ignorance, I mean innocence is unsustainable, even I know that." But that explains your lack of anger when they disobeyed You, and even when Cain killed his brother."

God was silent for a while, meditating on His conversation with Noah. God was actually enjoying this conversation, just as He enjoyed His conversations with Enoch, Noah's great grandfather in heaven. God was glad to have friends. This was the reason, He thought, that He created humankind, for companionship, for conversation. Even if humans were still so young and ignorant, like little children they could form rich relationships with Him. Noah kept the silence too. Noah too enjoyed his conversation with God. He wasn't afraid of Him, afraid he would be struck down by challenging Him. God had become Noah's best friend, just as Methuselah and Lamech said He would be. This silence was a densely rich kind of silence, a fragrant silence, a luminous silence and both Noah and God were basking in it.

Suddenly God blurted out, "Please don't try to talk me out of this Noah. I can no longer wait. I must start over; I must! I cannot allow evil to be so rampant. This parasite has gone too far. It is corroding My Creation! I will wipe out everything from the face of the earth rather than let evil prevail! I will re-birth the Earth and humankind!"

"Lord, please don't! You will be destroying our food too. What will become of me and my family? Have You thought of that? Surely there is something redeemable in this world. Look at flowers, at babies, how can you destroy so much that is good?" pleaded Noah who was shocked at the sudden passionate tone in their conversation.

Noah was afraid of what God was telling him. Although God's sudden anger was alarming, Noah knew that He was right. Just the day before he saw a man raping another man before his very eyes. He had seen dogs murdered for entertainment. He had seen lying cheating power-mongers exploit the most vulnerable. No one could be trusted. If Noah didn't have God for a refuge, he would have gone out of his mind.

"Noah, please don't try to talk me out of this," said God, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is full of violence because of them. I am going to destroy mankind and animals alike, all the creeping things of the earth, especially the serpents. By doing this I will destroy parasitic evil with its food, rather than save the good for evil to continue to consume."

"But Lord, then, aren't you being violent too?" Noah whispered.

God didn't answer, but neither did He mind the question.

Feeling guilty for second guessing God, Noah quickly changed his approach, "So what's the plan? How can I help?"

"Water." replied God. "When I separated the waters above the firmament from the waters below, the whole earth was filled with water until I gathered the waters to make the earth. I will go back to that day before land appeared and start anew. The whole earth will be only water again. With water I will suffocate everything that needs oxygen to live. Water is the foundation of life. I will destroy life with the foundation of life. It's My way." Smiled God with His tone of voice.

"How can You fill the earth with water again, now that you have gathered the seas to form land?"

"Simple, rain, I will release the water above the sky to fall upon the earth until it is full."

Noah was shocked and confused. He had never seen rain. The thought of water falling from the sky frightened him, but he didn't want to say anything. Noah had learned to trust God, so he figured that he would wait to see what would happen. Instead he asked self-consciously, "What about me and my family? Will you let us perish in this watery grave too?"

"No, of course not. Noah, I want you to build yourself a house-boat. We will call it an ark. It must be tight so the water will not enter and it will float on top of the sea. Into this boat you will gather pairs of animals of each and every kind, and birds of the air, for when waters come, they will have nowhere to perch. Your sons will help you. Now get started."