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The Rainbow (6 of 23)
Series: The Hope of the Gospel
This is not the story of the first creation of the rainbow. God had been for ages setting His bow in the clouds. This is a case of the investiture of a familiar sight with a new meaning. "It shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth." Noah and his sons had seen the rainbow many a time before, for whenever the sun's rays had fallen upon the glancing raindrops at a certain angle, this glorious arch had sprung into being and spanned the earth. The rainbow had been in existence, as Dr. Parker puts it, as long as the sun and the rain had known each other. The scoffer who thinks he has detected the Bible in another absurdity in that it says that the rainbow was created for Noah's special benefit has simply entirely misunderstood the narrative. For the Bible says nothing of the kind. All that it says is that after a certain day the vision of the rainbow became charged with new significance for Noah and his household. You remember the old story. The great storm had practically subsided. The sun at last had struggled through the dense clouds that had for days and weeks covered the earth like a pall. Its emergence from the cloud had, very likely, called the rainbow into existence. And God, pointing to the bow in the clouds, says that from henceforth it shall be token of a new covenant of mercy between Him and the earth. What was before a mere physical phenomenon receives now a moral meaning. What had previously been natural becomes henceforth sacramental. Every time that arch of many colors spans the heavens, it shall speak to men of God's forbearance and all-embracing love.
And I am tempted just here to pause in order to say that the rainbow in this respect is typical of nature as a whole. Nature is moral. Nature is charged with meaning. Nature is sacramental. There are plenty of humble men and women in the world today who know nothing abou ...
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