My Sabbath school class discussed what it must have been like for Noah and his family when they stepped off the ark. Listening to the discussion, I (strangely?) started to think of a movie I watched a while back called Time Trap. Time Trap is about a the experience of a group of grad students searching for their professor, who went missing while investigating a series of caves.
Almost immediately after entering the cave, things take a bad turn for the students, and they end up trapped below ground. Eventually, they send a scout to the surface via scaling the wall (since they've lost their equipment and not everyone has the ability to climb out). When the scout reaches the surface, it's a waste land; there is no cell reception and a weird triangular object is in the sky. It is from this experience that the students discover time moves differently in the cave than it does on the surface. The deeper in the cave they go, the slower time moves for them (or the faster time is moving on the surface).
There's a lot more in the plot on why the professor was interested in the caves and what they find down there, but what makes me relate it to Noah is the scene I just mentioned—plus the final moments of the movie. In the end, they are rescued by humans of the future—humans who live in outer space (on the weird triangular thing in the sky 😂). The students are given the chance to live in a futuristic civilization where they have healing waters that bring people back to life and cure ailments!
How does this relate to Noah? When Noah got on the ark, mankind was thriving—in the worldly sense of the word. The Bible says people were eating and drinking and marrying right up to the day of the flood (Matthew 24:38). I imagine one day people were moving about, buying and selling in the markets, throwing feasts, dancing and singing, and then suddenly there was silence and emptiness. I imagine something akin to surviving a tornado—one minute you're running to your basement to seek shelter and when you emerge, your whole neighborhood is gone. Now that we've experienced COVID, imagine the days of early March 2020, and then suddenly the entire world was shut down.
When the students in Time Trap go searching for their professor, life for them is as it always was. A sign of how ordinary the day started is that they take two kids with them on the excursion. When send someone to the surface after what they believe to be about an hour, in their minds all the person has to do is call for help on a cell phone. However, the person who goes to the surface sees a radically different landscape—gone are the cell phone towers, trees, or anything recognizable. Imagine going into your house, then walking back outside moments later to discover all your neighbors' houses are gone. Forest and weeds have overtaken everything, and wild creatures are roaming your neighborhood freely. Or worse (like the movie), everything is a barren wasteland; there are no homes, no trees, no animals, just dust and dirt.
I imagine that's very similar how the first days of the flood were for Noah. Everything and everyone (other than his immediate family) was buried under water. Sure, God gave him the plans for the ark, and he had been planning for the flood, but in the midst of the flood I wonder if Noah started to fret about what to do after the flood. Was he sad at the lost of his neighbors?
Time Trap ends with the people in the cave being rescued and taken aboard a space ship. In truth, the space ship seems a metaphor for Heaven. Part of the mystery of the cave is water that heals (e.g., a Fountain of Youth); this water is also aboard the ship. Injured members of the group are healed and members of the group who were killed are brought back to life. They are the last of our kind since the future humans have evolved into a different subspecies of humanoid.
Similarly, when the ark comes to rest, Noah and his family are the last of their kind in a very foreign world. Granted, the flood would have damaged much of the vegetation of the earth so it would not have been Heaven-like, but it was a new start. In theory it had the potential to turn in to a paradise. Noah and his family have been survived the storm and now they have the opportunity to live out the rest of their lives.
Subsequently, Noah get's drunk—did he bring wine with him on the boat in anticipation because you know, it takes a little minute for things to ferment... As we discussed inth the Sabbath school class, Noah was likely overwhelmed by what happened. Though the movie ends on a positive note, you have to wonder how the students felt when they processed that they would never see their friends and family again.
Although both the students of the movie and Noah have much more permanent experiences, living through COVID has brought so much more clarity to what it must have felt like for Noah. Such a sudden shift can be traumatic. What do you think it was like for Noah and his family when they stepped off the ark?
References and Footnotes
- This is not an endorsment of macro evolution, just a statement of what is portrayed in the movie