Progress Without God

In Genesis 4, we meet their two sons, Cain and Abel. And Cain murders his brother Abel. This story is telling us, “Every time you hurt someone, you’re hurting a brother.”

Cain builds the first human city. And his children and grandchildren develop musical instruments, livestock raising, and metal tools. But alas, they also develop more violence. More oppression. Especially violence against women. The powerful abusing the powerless.

Genesis was written 3,000 years ago but I still see the stories of Genesis when I watch CNN today. It’s Progress without God. One day, all this progress will come crashing down. If you remove God, gardens become graveyards. The mountain of beauty will become a valley of bloodshed.

Isn’t this our personal experience too? If we act in pride, or greed, or lust, or selfishness—and make excuses, twisting what God declared bad as good—sooner or later, we destroy our life and the life of the people we love.

Where Do Typhoons Come from?

Six chapters later, evil has taken over the world: The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. (Genesis 6:5 NLT, emphasis mine) “Consistently” and “Totally”? Whoa. That’s really bad.

The author repeats how depraved the world has become: Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. 12 God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt. 13 So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth! (Genesis 6:11-13 NLT)

This passage is very disturbing.

It appears that the God of the Flood is a punitive, angry God.

Especially for us, Pinoys. For have we not just experienced three super typhoons, one of them the strongest in recorded history, with barrios still submerged in water to this day?

Question: Did these storms happen because of our sins? Were the victims being cursed by God?

Answer: No!

No, No, No, No, No x Googolplex— which, you know, is the highest number in the world. I cannot be more emphatic. Because the Bible describes God’s anger in a more nuanced way than you think.

God Is Completely Heartbroken
In the Flood story, not once did the writer mention that God was angry. Not once did the word “wrath” or “anger” appear from Genesis 6 to 9. The Great Flood was not a result of God’s wrath.

Instead, this is what the text says: So, the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. (6:6 NLT, emphasis mine)

The word “sorry” here meant “God was full of sorrow”.

And then it says that God was heartbroken.

Friend, when do you get heartbroken?

When you loved someone, but that someone didn’t love you back. As Ramon Bautista would say, Bakit ka hindi crush ng crush mo?

God is in love with you.
There is another story in the New Testament where Jesus was walking on water one night, and He asked Peter to do the same. And Peter got out of the boat and started to walk towards Jesus. But when Peter saw the waves, he became afraid and he started to sink. That’s when Jesus immediately pulled him out.

If you are drowning in your sins, you’re tired of being seized by them, Jesus Christ, the One who defeated the power of sin by defeating the power of the grave, guess what, He is reaching out to you – and all you have to do is reach out, grab hold of Jesus because the Bible says when you grab on to Jesus immediately He grabs on to you.

I invite you to reach up right now, lift your hands and say this with me: “I’m tired of drowning in my sins, Jesus, I am reaching out to You, lift me up, lift me out! Amen!

‘You Want To Go There? Go Ahead…’

Today, I’d like to preach the message, “Restart your life.”

Let me start with a confession: I have zero sense of direction. You can ask me how to go to Heaven, but I cannot tell you how to go to Quiapo. Or Baclaran. Or Novaliches.

My wife, on the other hand, is a walking GPS. She’s just phenomenal when it comes to direction. That’s why she found her way towards me.

One day, I was traveling with her in Tokyo and we were looking for a coffee shopthat we went to before. But because it was the third time we were in that part of Tokyo, I got cocky. I led the way, telling her, “Come, the coffeeshop is this way!”

She shook her head and said, “Nope. It’s the other way.”

Because I was so sure, I said to myself, “Aha! For the first time in the history of the world, I’m right and she’s wrong. And I’m going to prove it!”

So, I argued with her and said, “No, it’s this way!”

I insisted. After 60 seconds of arguing, Marowe shrugged her shoulders and said, “You want to go there? Go ahead…”

Twenty-nine minutes of walking in the wrong direction, getting totally lost in Japan, and realizing that my beautiful GPS was right again, I told her, “Sweets, this is your fault. Why did you not stop me?”

My wife sighed and said, “Haaaay, ewan ko sa iyo…” (Sorry, I cannot translate this in English.)

Why share this story? Because I believe many times, we too insist on our own way and tell God we know better. We make excuses. We disobey. We get stubborn. And do you know what God does?

Like Marowe, He says, “You want to go there? Go ahead…”

He lets us taste the consequences of our wrong decisions. And like Marowe, God doesn’t leave us. Even when we walk in the wrong direction, He tails us. He sticks around. He does not abandon us, even when we go in the opposite direction. After all, the Good Shepherd leaves the 99 to look for the lost sheep. So that when we finally realize we’re lost, we can turn to Him.

And restart our life.

God Lets Us Have What We Want
My first reaction to the Great Flood story: We sinned so bad, God picked up His big stick to punish us. And His big stick was the cataclysmic flood.

But Bible scholars say that if you analyze Genesis as a whole—and the entire Bible story—our key passage provides a different meaning.

When God created the world, He separated the chaotic waters from the dry land. Based on the ancient worldview, the universe existed because God was holding back the chaotic waters.

But man kept choosing chaos over creation. Again. And again.

Thus, the authors said, “all the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky.” (7:11) That meant the chaotic waters, which were under the earth and above the earth, merged with the dry land.

What does that mean? The flood wasa de-creation.

Look at your own personal life. Do you see the same de-creation happen when you lie, or cheat, or harm yourself and others?

Through sin, you welcome chaos back into your life.

May I shout this from the rooftops?

Sin is de-creation.

And this fills my heart with terror: That God lets us have what we want. You’d wish God would stop you. But He won’t. And boy, that’s scary.

We Become Like Animals

Man was destroying the earth. So, through the flood, it was like God accelerated its destruction so that the earth becomes ripe for restarting.

At the end of the day, sin is its own worst punishment.

If we choose evil, by its nature, evil will consume us.

Evil makes us less human.

Evil makes us like animals.

One day, a priest told me this story.

He said, “Being a priest has its benefits. In a party, I get to eat first. I get the choicest cuts. If there’s pancit, the rule is ‘sa pare ang atay’. (The priest gets the liver.) I get the best seat and the best table. But alas, I also get the best drinks. Sadly, I became an alcoholic. I was out of control…”

Because of alcohol, he said he no longer acted like a human but an animal. “When I get drunk, I act like a monkey, laughing and prancing around. Soon, I become like a dog, urinating anywhere. And finally, I become a pig, because I sleep on my own vomit.”

But when he hit rock-bottom, that was when he was ready to change. One day, he joined a Prayer Meeting. And through the prayers of lay people, God transformed his life. Except for the wine at Mass, he never touched alcohol again. When I met him, he has been seven years sober.

The Noah’s Ark story is not about a trigger-happy, emotionally unstable God who in a raging fit annihilated mankind. It’s a theological story of a faithful God who would respond to our stubbornness with the statement, “You want to go there? Go ahead…”

Out of compassion, He will allow us to hit rock-bottom, so that we could bounce back and restart.

The Noah’s Ark story is not a story of destruction but salvation.

God’s goal was not to destroy you but to rescue you.

I urge you: Restart your life!

We close with three messages about the ark, the mountain, and the bow.

1. The Message of The Ark

Instead of wiping all of humanity from the face of the Earth, God saves one guy named Noah. I believe Noah represents the good that is still in us.

Even if we do evil, God believes that we’re still worth saving.

Remember how God created the dry land as a divinely protected space for man, safe from the chaotic waters around it? Well, guess what. The ark functions just like the dry land—it allows life to survive above the chaotic waters

What else is the ark but an Eden 2.0?

Why does He do that? Listen to your heart. Today,

God is telling you, “Sure you’ve failed me. But I will never give up on you.”

Say that aloud: “God will never give up on me!”

2. The Message of The Mountain

When the floodwaters subsided, “The boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat” (8:4)

We’re on a mountain again.

When Adam sinned, the ground was cursed, but Ararat in Hebrew literally means reversed curse.

God says, “Restart your life!”

He even repeats the same words He told Adam and Eve to Noah and his family: “be fruitful and multiply” (8:17). Meaning? God has not given up His call for us. He’s still calling you, “Be my Representative. Be my Partner. Be my Co-Creator.”

3. The Message of The Bow

And God does one more thing for us.

Even if we mess up again — and all we have to do is read Noah’s story after the flood to find out that we do— God promises to find another way to undo our mess. God says, “I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth… Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life.”(9:13, 15)

But in Hebrew, there’s no word for rainbow. The original word used was just bow. So, the first thing that ancient readers would think of is the warrior’s bow.

Message? God is a warrior who lays down his bow.

God’s solution to humanity’s evil is to suffer for us.

Jesus on the Cross is God submersing in the dark waters of sin, where He allows the consequences of human evil, greed, and selfishness to overwhelm Him. But on the third day, Jesus makes it through the waters of chaos to reach the other side. He reverses the curse. Sing with me… Jesus is the New Ark.


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