I have what I call a “fan theory” about the Bible. You hear about fan theories about shows like LOST or Doctor Who. They are theories that the creator knows won’t happen in canon*. If you peruse tvtropes.org, most shows, books, movies, etc have a section called Wild Mass Guessing where the craziest of these theories go. (Spoiler Alert: Everybody’s a time lord.) Why do I call what I’m going to write a Wild Mass Guess? Because I don’t hold it as solid doctrine or theology. But if I was making The BIble: The Movie(tm) I would include it.
*This does not refer to biblical canon. The word canon is used for any official work relating to a tv show, book, movie, comic, etc. Sometimes “canon” can refer to some or all of the above.
So here it is. In Genesis 8, Noah and his family are holed up in the ark waiting for the water to recede from the flood. He sends out a raven and it just flies around. He also sends out a dove. But because the water hadn’t receded it came back to the ark. A week later, he sends it out again. It comes back with an olive leaf in its beak. So the tops of the trees were beginning to peak through. Another week later, he sends it out again and it doesn’t come back.
Question: Where did the dove land? The Bible doesn’t mention finding the dove again when they eventually hit dry land. Here is my theory. In all four gospels, Jesus gets baptized. The short version is that John is baptizing people in the river for the repentance of sins. Jesus comes along and asks to be baptized. John complies. When Jesus gets up out of the water, the Holy Spirit like a dove, comes out of the sky and rests on him. So my fan theory is that these two doves are one and the same. The dove is mystically transported through time and finds its resting place on Jesus shoulder, the solid rock.
I think that is a wonderful picture. Imagine Jesus rising out of the water just as land must have risen out of the flood waters. The Earth under a baptism of water just as Jesus is baptised in water. The etymology of the word “baptism” was a reference to pickling. You take a cucumber and soak it in vinegar for a little bit and it becomes a pickle. The nature of the cucumber is fundamentally altered.
The flood itself was a baptism in that sense as well. The Earth was covered in millions of tons of water. If you know anything about oceans, you know that you don’t have to go down very deep to sense a great change in pressure. Deep sea divers have many procedures that need to be followed before and after diving to ensure that they don’t become very, very ill or even die. And we haven’t even gone very deep into the oceans! Imagine the Earth covered in very deep waters. The pressure on the Earth’s surface must have been astronomical!!! Imagine how the entire geography must have changed. Whether there was one continent or many, Noah’s maps would have been useless. I also imagine this would have caused enormous seismic activity. See it in your mind. Mountains made low and valleys made high. Forests are washed away. Deserts are seeded.
Both baptisms were in relation to repentance. In Genesis 6, God announces that he has “repented” of making man because of their violence. In the Gospels, John is baptizing people and saying, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”
When going through a flood of our own, when the geography of our life is being shifted and remolded, we only have one resting place and that is Jesus.