Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
In the ancient Near East, there, every culture had a story of the Great Flood. And the one in Genesis is found in Genesis 6 through 9. Now, there's actually two stories there from two different traditions weaved together. You can tell them apart in that one uses the word ""Lord"" for God in the English translation, and the other just says ""God."" But the way the stories are weaved together, outside of just some details, they are telling the same story. Now, it begins with God noticing that humankind has just become sinful. Noah is righteous in God's eyes, and so God tells Noah that unfortunately he's going to destroy the world. Noah is told to build this ark and to take two of every kind of animal and place it upon the ark. Now, the stories differ — it rained for 40 days; it rained for 50 days, but the world floods and everything is destroyed, and Noah and his family are saved on the ark. They send out a bird, a dove or a raven, depending on the story, to find out whether it's safe to land and to disembark. And when they get the word, everybody leaves the ark. And God makes promises to Noah. In one story it's that God will never destroy the world again. In the other, there is an eternal covenant that God will never destroy the world by water again. And to give a sign of this, God sets a rainbow in the sky as a reassurance that the world will never be destroyed. And that is in essence the story of Noah and the Ark.