Imagine being able to send a strategic analyst back several thousand years into Noah’s time. Imagine also being able to reverse the effects of Babel1 so they can understand one another. Mr E. Van Hypeman and his business manager, Mark Etting (author of a book on church growth) suddenly land in Antediluvia!
Ernest and Mark found themselves in Violence Parade.2 Punch-ups seemed to be the order of the day. Shouts and screams assailed their ears. A door burst open and a figure flew out and lay inert on the dirt. A woman sobbed as her male companion lashed into her. They went right into Nephilim3 Avenue and the scene was similar. There were a lot of extraordinarily tall people about. Turning left into Corrupt Street,4 they nearly collided with a drunk. Loud discordant sounds with an earthy beat floated out of ‘Jubal’s Wind and Strings’.5 Unkempt youths were dancing around outside. A woman in an ultra-short robe accosted Ern. In Lamech’s Literary Centre,6 clay tablets were selling like hot cakes.
‘Wonder what they’re about, Mark?’ ‘Pornography,7 what else? Ern, didn’t you ever read Genesis 6? Come on, our assignment is to talk to Noah. We’d better head out of town. There’s no room for his boat here.’
There was no mistaking the Ark.8 It loomed larger in the distance than they expected—the height of a four-storey building and the length of several good-sized house blocks. Approaching, they noticed a crowd milling around the base of a ramp leading up to the one doorway. Way up at the top of the ramp stood a man a little past middle age,9 addressing the crowd.
‘Please listen,’ shouted Noah above the background sounds. ‘There’s not much time left. The flood’s coming soon. Come aboard or you’ll all be drowned.’10
Laughter! Jeers! ‘That much water? That’s impossible!’ ‘He’s been saying that for years and years.’11 ‘Hey, Noah, you’re wrong! A loving God wouldn’t do that!’
‘Our Creator is just. He must punish evil—and we are being evil,’ cried Noah. ‘Look at the violence and corruption in our society. But there is a way out for those of you prepared to turn your back on evil. Believe what He says and you’ll receive a free ticket to board the Ark. Put your faith12 in Him. Come on board and you’ll be saved,’ called out Noah urgently.
But the group began to disperse. ‘Noah’s really lost it. Pity his family.’
Noah moved sadly down the ramp to meet Ern and Mark. ‘Have you come for your tickets?’ he asked hopefully. ‘No thanks,’ replied Ern. ‘We’re from 4,500 years into the future. I’m Ern Van Hypeman and this is Mark Etting. I enjoyed what you had to say. I’m a preacher too, an evangelist actually. It’s not easy when your audience doesn’t respond, is it? Look, would you mind if I made a few comments? Our century might have something to teach yours.’
‘Go ahead,’ said Noah.
‘First, you did say some pretty harsh things.’
‘I’m only repeating what God13 told me to say,’ replied Noah.
‘Of course,’ replied Ern. ‘But I noticed you have a lot of social problems in Antediluvia. Those poor people need help, not criticism. Second, this flood you’re talking about. It won’t be worldwide, you know. It’ll only be local. Scientists have found that out. So tell the people they could move to another area instead. Third, if you don’t mind my saying so, try to make your approach “user friendly”. Mark, how about giving our brother Noah a few ideas.’
‘Sure,’ said Mark. ‘Some lively music always helps. Get in some lyre and pipe players. That’ll get the people in the mood to listen. Then ease off a bit on the judgment side and market the whole thing as a pleasure cruise. The main thing is to get them on board, then you can preach a bit more and help them with their problems. Surely God intends more than your family14 circle to go with you, or won’t there be room for more than eight people once you load all the animals and food?’
‘Oh there’ll be plenty of room left,’ explained Noah.
‘There were others who would have come—my father, Lamech, for instance. He died15 just a few years ago. And my grandfather, Methuselah, died only this year.16 God has spared them the trauma of it all. Don’t forget also that Shem, Ham and Japheth’s wives17 became believers under my preaching. But most won’t listen. Perhaps it’s not so surprising. The earth is filled with violence. I think we must be the most evil generation that has ever lived.’
‘How could you be sure of that?’ exclaimed Ern. ‘Man has been evolving many hundreds of thousands of years!’ ‘Evolving? What do you mean? God created us and everything else only a couple of thousand years ago,’ said Noah in surprise.
‘Oh, I was forgetting. Of course you would think that in your time, sir,’ Ern replied. ‘Our scientists have proved it took many millions of years for everything to evolve.’
‘But that can’t be true,’ Noah objected. ‘Only the other day we carried on board the Ark some clay tablets recording my family history.18 The information is very precise. If you add up all the figures you only go back one thousand six hundred and fifty six years to Adam. Even if a few generations have been omitted it can’t be a great deal more—certainly nowhere near what you say. Would you like to come on board and read these details for yourself? You could see the pens for the animals too!’
‘Thanks,’ replied Ern, ‘but ancient history’s not really my thing. We must be going. Think over what we said. Hope all goes well!’
‘Nice guy, Noah,’ remarked Mark, as they headed back to town. ‘Somewhat naive though. I hope his animal management skills are better than his approach to getting the people in. Can’t expect him to understand things as we do, not having our knowledge. Never mind, we tried. Let’s head for Deluge Lane and eat at that dino burger bar.’
2 Peter 2:5 (KJV): ‘ … (God) spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.’