ALIVE: Chapter 19. Circle Back to Meaning - Baptism

I am going to miss Noah and Sha-me, and the rest. These characters had been so alive to me that now that their scenes are over, I wonder where they went and what they are doing, like old friends, like people in heaven.

The account of the Flood is found in only a few short chapters of Genesis, yet bulges with information about life, which in essence is our reflection of, and our relationship with, our Life Giver. These few chapters reveal to us several key insights into the Personality of our thoughtful, intelligent, and emotional God. We also experienced many firsts during the Flood event that could help us to understand the significance of such things as baptism, forty day periods, mercy, and salvation.

As I have started to show the reader, the Flood story is much more than a cute tale about a boatload of animals and a chosen family. The logistics, the ecology, and primitive engineering of this event were also fascinating to think about. I surmised that the Flood explains the extinction of dinosaurs, and Neanderthals; since earlier passages in the Bible mention sea monsters, and sons of God marrying daughters of men. After the Flood there was no such mention of monsters or distinction in kinds of human beings.

First and foremost the Flood is about baptism. It is about the one and only watershed moment in the history of the earth and humankind when God attempted to destroy evil and wickedness with water. It is about wholesale death by water. Water, the primary element in the creation story, was used in full force to kill man and beast and to wipe out vegetation as well. After that, baptism is about re-creation, renewal, rebirth.

To be baptized is to die as one thing and be born again as something else, something better.

This explains why the Bible and the Church call for one and only one baptism. We may receive the Eucharist as often as we want for the remission of sins, but there is to be only one baptism.

The created world died and was reborn once; it was baptized; becoming something else, something better.

In John 3:3-6 Jesus said, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “But how can anyone be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked Him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?” Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God...”

Even Christ allowed Himself to be baptized by John to mark the end of His life as an obscure son of a carpenter, and to be reborn as the Son of Man, and the Son of God.

As the people of the Eastern Church enter Lent, let's begin by contemplating Baptism. Let's imagine this period of Lent as entering the ark, like Noah and his family, to leave the world of the violent and the dead, and our old lives and gradually, over the next 40 days, to be renewed.

Quickly enter the Ark, closed the door tight and stay inside!