And the LORD spoke to Noah and said: “Noah, I am going to make it rain until the whole earth is covered with water, because it is filled with nothing but evil. But I will save you and your family because you have lived righteously before Me, and I will also save two of every kind of living creature on the earth to repopulate it after the flood. Therefore, you are to build Me an ark in which you and your family and the living creatures can survive the flood of my wrath.”
Then lighting flashed and thunder roared and the specifications and plans for the ark rode the lightning down from heaven.
Noah picked up the smoldering scrolls and said, “Okay, LORD.” His hands trembled with fear as he fumbled to unroll them.
“On the day that I have set for the flooding of the world it will start to rain,” said the LORD, “and it will rain for forty days and forty nights. So you had better have the ark completed by that day or learn how to float for a very long time.”
Ribs of Ark Days passed as the LORD waited, then weeks, months, years, and still there was no ark. The LORD visited Noah again, and found him sitting in his back yard next to a few planks and the beginning skeleton of a boat. He was weeping.
Noah!” said the LORD, in a voice like the sound of many waters. “It’s been a hundred years since you started working on the ark—WHERE IS IT?”
A lightning bolt slammed into the ground near Noah’s feet, dark clouds rolled in over the horizon, rain began to fall, and giant spouts of water began to shoot up out of the earth.
“LORD, please forgive me!” begged Noah. “I did my best. But there were big problems. First I had to get a building permit for the Ark Construction Project, and Your plans didn’t meet code. So I had to hire an engineer to redraw your plans.
“Redraw MY plans?” thundered the LORD.
“I tried to explain who I was building the ark for, LORD, but all the clerk at the permit office said was, ‘Oh sure, and I’m the Queen of Sheba.'”
There was a slight pause while the LORD checked the location of the Queen of Sheba, and then He said, “Was that the only problem?”
Noah’s neighbors”Not quite, LORD. First I got into a big fight with the local fire department over whether or not the ark needed a fire sprinkler system. Then my neighbors objected to my building the ark in my back yard, claiming I was violating community zoning laws, so I had to get a variance from the city planning commission.”
“Anything else?” asked the LORD.
“Yes,” said Noah. “I had a big problem getting enough wood for the ark because there was a ban on cutting trees to save the red-breasted songbird. I had to convince U.S. Fish and Wildlife that I needed the wood to save the bird. But they wouldn’t let me catch any of them. So we don’t have our two red-breasted songbirds. Then the carpenters I hired to help my sons and me build the ark formed a union and went on strike. I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board before anyone would pick up a saw or a hammer. Now we have 12 carpenters working on the ark, but still no red-breasted songbirds.”
“Did you get any of the animals I told you to get?”
“Well, I started gathering up animals, but I got sued by an animal rights group. They objected to me taking only two of each kind. Just when I got the suit dismissed, EPA notified me that I couldn’t complete the ark without filing an environmental impact statement on Your proposed flood, and detailed plans on how I was going to handle the waste disposal problem on the ark. I told them they would have to check with You about the flood.”
“Hmmm, I wondered why I was hearing from the EPA,” said the LORD. “Usually they don’t bother with Me. Anyway, they didn’t like the answer I gave them. It seems they never considered the possibility that they don’t have jurisdiction over Me. So what happened then?”
Earth globe “Well, after that,” Noah continued, “the Army Corps of Engineers wanted a map of the proposed new flood plain. So I sent them a globe.”
“Nice move,” said the LORD. “How are things going now?”
“Not too good,” Noah said, with just a hint of a whine. “Right now I’m trying to resolve a complaint from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over how many Cainians and Giants I’m supposed to hire, the IRS has seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to avoid paying taxes by leaving the country, and I just got a notice from the State about owing some kind of ‘use tax.'”
About then Noah’s wife came out of the house to see who he was talking to, and Noah moved a bit behind her as he continued. “Considering everything, LORD, I don’t think I can finish the ark for at least another hundred years.”
The LORD was silent as Noah shuddered and waited. Then suddenly the sky began to clear, the water spouts sputtered down and stopped, the sun began to shine, and a glorious rainbow arched from the few completed ribs of the ark to some distant place.
Noah moved his wife out of his way, looked up toward heaven, and smiled hopefully. “Does this mean, LORD, that you’re not going to destroy the earth?”
“There is no need,” the LORD replied, His voice gradually fading into the distance. “Government bureaucracy already has.”