After or before [me] the flood?

Frank Steinert
Peter Michael Lupp

We are depriving ourselves and our children and our children's children of the foundations of life at a dizzying rate. Driven by self-optimization and greed, the attitude "After me the flood" subtly dominates the spirit of economic cycles and affluent societies. If this attitude of lifestyle continues to develop unreflectively, two entire earth planets will be needed by 2030 to meet the demand for food, water and energy. The consequences of overexploitation resulting from this human behavior are already noticeable today: famines, species extinction or extreme weather catastrophes are assuming ever more dramatic proportions. Wars are spreading. Millions of people are on the run. In total, three of the ten ecological stress limits, within which the stability of the earth and its habitats is defined, have been exceeded: in biodiversity loss, climate change and the nitrogen cycle. The so-called ecological footprint of people in Germany has stagnated for 15 years at a level that is clearly too high. Every German currently consumes more than twice as many resources per year as he or she would be entitled to on a global average (excerpts from the Living Planet Index).

Against this scenario and in view of the floods provoked by climate change, the myth of the flood takes on a present-day dimension. Does the covenant hold?

In view of this starting position in the current structure of the earth's circle, which is dominated by unreflective growth thinking and greed, the saying "After me the flood" takes on a cynical flavor. Are we prepared for the fact that there are many indications that a "flood" is possibly ahead of us?

Can we still be saved?

From the mythical world view - Noah's Ark

... then God said to Noah: Hereby I make my covenant with you and your descendants and with all living beings with you ... who came with you out of the ark... and God said: This is the sign of the covenant, which I establish between me and you and the living beings with you for all coming generations... My bow I set in the clouds: it shall be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Gen 9:8-13

The great flood (Gen 7:7-8:4) is about a primal human experience. The "primeval flood" pours over the creation, because the violent acts of man have broken the order of creation. After the clarifying catastrophe, the world leader restores it for a new beginning. Noah and his family as well as the representatives of the non-human living beings (one pair of each animal species) survive the atoning flood in their ark, ready to renew the covenant and seal it with God. The so-called Sinai covenant, that covenant in which God, man and nature (because it is an equal contracting partner next to man) commit themselves to each other, is reactivated... for an indefinite time.

The mythical worldview of the flood narrative was probably also a regular theme in the canon of pastoral care of the medieval priory of Wintringen. The DenkBild per annum MMXVIII at the cultural site Wintringer Chapel reacts to this in a contemporary way.

Concept/Text/Photo: Peter Michael Lupp
Artistic realization of "Noah's Ark" (lead, plaster, lime slime): Frank Schneider, restorer/sculptor, Saarbrücken

Event flyer

Flood dispute

For behold, I will cause a flood to come ... Everything on earth shall perish.

World leader, Gen 6, 17

Skulptur Arche Noah Skulptur Arche Noah

Topos 1 After [me] the flood

Degenerate humanity Exhausted without measure Alienated by greed Devoured by unleashed seas Severed from the covenant of earth time Falling heavy as lead from the net Run aground in the shallows Sunk in the sands of the seas Everything stands still Sinking Obstructs the view Overshadows the cosmic order
Skulptur Arche Noah Skulptur Arche Noah

Topos 2 Before [me] the flood

A hesitation before the last access Pauses Who before the flood feeds the world caterpillar for change? Even before the covenant breaks and the flood covers the tracks? Tamed greed expands Wants to lift life from the bottom Humility bursts the cocoon from the narrowness of the multiplying haste Layer after layer up to look out over sinking tides Still the wings quiver according to the colors of the bow stroke Between heaven and earth Wide while on the edge of the new world