I won’t say I’m offended by the current use of the symbol of the rainbow. That’s not my job. I will say it is an ironic diversion from the original intent. The early earth had become a place befouled by immorality, and God decided to clean house. You can read the account in Genesis 6 through 9. Yes, I do believe in a universal flood. The account suggests that perhaps the water of the earth was stored up in the ground and in the atmosphere, so there would have been no rainbows, no rain, no visible sunshine getting through to create either rain or rainbows…until after the flood!
The implication of the account is that sexual immorality was out of control, and violence due to that and other wickedness were rampant. It reminds me of the present, I’m sad to say. God decided to start over with Noah’s family and a boat filled with non-swimming animals, birds, and such. Keep in mind that it’s not a story to answer every conceivable question or objection. It has a single purpose, to warn humans of the danger of unfettered, uncontrolled sin, sexual immorality, and violence. Where do such thing arise? They come from extreme self-centered, self-serving greed, materialism, and lust. God didn’t—and doesn’t now—condemn sin simply because it displeases him; he condemns it because it is self-destructive. It is the opposite of love, the real article, that is unselfishly caring and compassionate. God is the source, and Jesus is the example.
Afterward, God makes a promise: “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” The rainbow is the sign of his covenant, of his promise never again to destroy humanity over the entire earth by flood. That covenant comes with a warning: “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.” This isn’t a warning to governments or societies; it is a warning to people to beware their own sinful predilections.
So, using the rainbow as a symbol of the LGBT movement is truly ironic, because they have has their root the immoral, sexual liberality that spawned in the 60’s and 70’s. I’m not pointing my finger there, but at the much broader problem of sexual sin, sex before marriage, adultery in marriage, divorce and unfaithfulness to spouses and the resulting violence. It isn’t just the frequent sense of betrayal that this creates; it is also the violence that it causes. Most murder is personal as this report indicates. How much of that is rooted in sexual alienation, unfaithfulness, and anger doesn’t matter, but it’s significant and not surprising. Nothing about sex is casual. Sex is deeply personal and therefore sexual hurts are deeply upsetting. The answer is not more wanton freedom but greater responsibility. Yes, I do believe God’s plan, as the master designer of humans after all, is the best plan. The use of a rainbow as a sign of more sexual license is an offense to Him. Personally, I will make a point of remembering his use of the rainbow as the sign of his promise, never forgetting that there is another: “By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” Will it be an act of God or the results of mankind’s own departure from what is good, the end result of its own sin? How soon? I don’t know. God doesn’t tell us. I’m not among those who think it’s so soon as to stop trying to spread the truth any longer.
The rainbow is a symbol of hope, hope from a God who loves his people, even the sinful ones (all of us actually!). He offers escape as he did to Noah and his family through his son Jesus Christ. He, in an act of loving sacrifice, gave his life in our place so we could find eternal life with our sin forgiven. To his followers he says, “Love your neighbor” and “Love each other as I have loved you.” This is why I don’t crusade against gay sin or other sins that aren’t my weakness; indeed, I don’t crusade against sin, except to speak honestly about it. I’d rather crusade for love, grace, mercy, peace, patience, kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, and all the good qualities that encompass the love of God.