It's a wonderful account of God working on our behalf... when I see a Rainbow I'm reminded of the promise to never destroy the world with water...next time it will be cleansed with fire.
It kind of bothers me that another group has taken...hi-jacked the Rainbow to mean something totally different.
If the dove did not return after the second try, how do we still have doves today?
The dove's not returning does not mean he did not die. It meant that he found food and and place to live.
Does the Bible ever say that the people tried to get it after it started raining? I know Genesis doesn't, but anywhere else? Is this just another one of those "good preaching" ideas that has become a tradition?
I'm not aware of any place that says once the rain came, people understood what Noah had been talking about for years. It would seem as if some people might have, but by the time it started raining, the door had been shut on the ark and there was not anything someone outside the Ark could have done about it. That's actually the point of the last chapter in Noah: The Real Story and the C.S. Lewis quote on page 149: when Jesus comes back to earth, "it will be too late then to choose your side. . . . It will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Not, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side."
If we take the literalist approach to the text, the sort of justice delivered by God on this occasion would not be recognised as justice my the vast majority of compassionate Christians today. The whole of humanity except the chosen few were to condemned to the same punishment of execution through drowning whatever their specific individual crimes or moral culpability, no proportionality, no mercy, no chance of redemption or rehabilitation - men, women, elderly, infirm, children, babies, unborn. It's a very shameful episode, if taken as historical fact, with some appalling echos in recent times. If, however, it is regarded as an allegorical teaching story, that's a completely different matter..
It amazing how people before Noah and the flood did not believe about the coming flood. And here we are thousands of years later, a lot of people still didn't believe about the flood. Remind me what happened to those people who did not believe the flood back then? What does that tells us today, who still do not believe it? Remember, rain and flood was preposterous to people before the flood. For some people today, believing the flood today is still preposterous. It was faith in God that saved Noah back then, in the future I have a feeling the same thing will save us - faith in God. The Real story of Noah is a warning sign!
Sonia, there's no mention in Genesis chapters 6 and 7 of people before Noah and the flood did not believe about the coming flood. The biblical account is that God communicated only with Noah about the flood, no reference to any ultimatum of repentance or death to the rest of the population. Whether the rest of the population believed the flood or not is not part of story, so we can't draw a lesson from that for today. There may be other lessons to draw, but not the one you are suggesting doesn't follow from the biblical story of Noah.