Retribution and Mercy—Genesis 6–9; 18–19

Here is the fourth in a series of Bible studies that present the Bible as being in the side of pacifism. In this essay, “Retribution and Mercy—Genesis 6–9; 18–19,” I look at the stories of Noah and the flood and of Sodom and Gomorrah. Here we have the problem of inter-human violence and injustice identified leading to divine retribution. In Genesis 6–9, God “repents” of creating humanity. And as a consequence of God’s distress, an overwhelming punitive act happens–the great flood. However, the story ends with a renewed covenant with humanity and God’s resolve to bring healing to creation. In Genesis 18–19 God brings judgment down on Sodom, allowing only Lot and his family to escape. Are these story “problem stories” or inspirations for our peacemaking work?  Both, I suggest.

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