And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth." (Bereshit / Genesis 9:1; ESV)
I am the main computer person at home. Most of the time my wife and kids have no issues with their various technical devices, but every now and then, they need my help. The screen is frozen, the mouse is stuck, the sound isn't working, the web browser is too slow, a program won't open, etc., etc. When the solution isn't obvious and before panic sets in, I most often suggest restarting, or as it's commonly called, rebooting. Rebooting clears out data that may get lodged in memory and restore the computer back to normal. There are times when this is not the answer. Loose cables may need tightening, programs may need to be reinstalled, a virus might be present, and so on. The solutions to most of these problems are also pretty simple, except for in some cases, viruses. Rebooting will also not repair physical damage, but before taking more drastic measures, it's always worth a try. But do remember before rebooting, save all open documents, if possible.
Our planet is a complex system within a larger complex system, the universe. This week's Torah portion is about a time when God rebooted Earth. After Adam and Eve rebelled against God's directions, human existence went from bad to worse. Near the end of last week's portion we read "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Bereshit / Genesis 6:5; ESV). That's pretty bad. The passage goes on to tell us "And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart" (Bereshit / Genesis 6:6; ESV). It is difficult for us to conceive how God could regret his original plan or experience grief, but he did. Time to reboot!
Hypothetically he could have completely destroyed the Earth, but he didn't. Having found one man, Noah, who was in right relationship with him, he restarted the human race through him and his family, blessing him to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth." The same words God had said to Adam and Eve at the beginning (see Genesis / Bereshit 1:28), he repeated to Noah as part of the reboot process.
Rebooting rather than replacing Earth altogether demonstrates God's commitment to his designed system. The creation is essential to the plan of God. That might be hard for some people to understand or accept, for there is a tendency for spiritually minded people to view the material world as something of a mistake. They associate evil with the creation itself. But this is so contrary to how the Bible sees life whereby the material and the spiritual aspects are an integrated whole. We are called to love and to serve God within the material world as material beings. The New Covenant scriptures tell us that God's motivation for sending the Messiah was that he "loved the world" (John 3:16), the Greek word for "world" is "cosmos," thus referring to the universe, not just the people in the world. God loves his creation. Still today, he continues to work out his plans and purposes within the creation, the culmination of which include a new heavens and a new earth as referred to in this week's Haftarah portion (Isaiah 66:1-24; esp. v.22).
The new heavens and the new earth is not a simple reboot; it's a substantial upgrade. While there are aspects of the new creation that are carry-overs of the current system, there will be brand new features, some of which we have a taste of today through Yeshua the Messiah, including right relationship with God, forgiveness, and healing. The new version will feature the eradication of all evil, sickness, and death as well as God's personal presence on Earth forever.
For a limited time only, you can take advantage of this upgrade. By repenting and trusting in Yeshua's death and resurrection your sins will be forgiven, you will have an intimate relationship with God, and you will live forever in his new creation. Act now before it's too late. If you have any questions, contact me.