Adam dies and the generations after him. For a while, it seems the venom of the snake in the hearts of men would go unchecked until the poison consumed anything good that was left from creation. That continued until the Creator saw how deep the poison had gone – infecting every thought and motive in almost every human. God was troubled and determined to wipe the slate clean. Every man, woman, child, animal and bird. Then one man stood out. Noah. Blameless among the people of his time and faithful in his focus on God.

How do you get rid of the evil? Wipe every sinner off the map? If we learn anything from this story of Noah, we see that if God chose to wipe the slate clean to get rid of evil, he couldn’t leave even the best of us behind. He did that once. Noah and his sons spent 100 years building an ark that would house the remnant of life. For a year and more the survivors huddled in their refuge while God wiped the face of the earth clean of its perversions. Surely, when this catastrophe was over, we could find Eden again.

But no. A short time after the first rainbow marked God’s promise of new life and hope, the most righteous man on the face of the earth stumbled in a stupor and the action of his son brought a curse back on humanity. Something else changed. All the animals and plants were opened for his palate. The image bearer’s sacred life would be guarded and the violation of the sacred would demand life in return.

The rainbow was wrapped up with a promise to every man, woman, child, animal and bird. God said this rainbow is my sign for a lasting promise for all of creation. Never again will I use water to wipe out life and bring my judgment.[1] Whenever the rainbow appears take hope. Judgment will come another way.

It didn’t take many generations before the seething serpent’s venom bubbled to the surface again. There was one language and a common speech and the people congregated on the plains of Shinar where they conspired to build a tower to the heavens. God had told them to fill the earth but they pulled in like a turtle in a shell and determined to stay put in one place and make a name for themselves instead of him.

How does evil spread? From one mouth to another mind. From one person to another soul. From the hand, through the eye. As we regather, we multiply our diverse expressions and experiences of corruption. In our modern age we pride ourselves in overcoming boundaries and our perversities flow freely. We build towers of technology, bridges of barbarism, enterprises of experience. And they all lead us east of Eden toward our own destruction. What must God do to save us from ourselves?

In mercy, God threw a boulder into the pond, creating a plethora of languages to keep humans from communicating any more of the poisonous ideas spewing out of their hearts and mouths. Evil diluted but segregated into diverse cultural manifestations spread throughout the earth. As people moved away the earth split apart and drifted – isolating and segregating to keep the evil at bay.

And so, Easter became necessary for every tribe and tongue and nation. For every manifestation of evil in every human heart.

Come again tomorrow as we keep marching toward Easter.

[1] Genesis 9:11 NIV 2011