The Red Wedding and the Flood of the Earth

Good news for those who missed the boat

The Red Wedding and the Flood of the Earth

Good news for those who missed the boat


Do you remember when your friends or coworkers first saw the “Red Wedding” in the Game of Thrones? I do. The wide-eyed descriptions of the surprise and sheer volume of death at a wedding, the “can you believe?!” gut reactions – and with them – the observation that George RR Martin is willing to bring any of his beloved characters to an end for reasons hidden to us – the reader and/or viewer. Maybe he’s doing this to keep us on our toes, remain edgy, or just to prove that he can? Only GRRM knows.

The flood in Genesis 6-8 is perhaps the closest thing to a Red Wedding in the story of the Bible. It’s one of the most substantial accounts of judgment and death we have on record. Things had moved from bad to worse since human beings one and two rebelled against God in the garden. Evil had filled every human being to the brim and the world once called good, even very good, needed a cosmic reset button that went as follows:

  • Genesis 6: Instruction to build an ark
  • Genesis 7: Judgment comes through an apocalyptic flood
  • Genesis 8: Waters of judgment recede 

This is one of those sections in the Bible we may be tempted to skip over, censor, or even separate “The God of the Old Testament” from that of the New. Because let’s face it – it’s a dark passage. All that is alive that isn’t on the ark comes to an end: 

“The waters prevailed above the mountains…Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died” (Gen 7:20–22). 

Like the Red Wedding, a massacre abruptly shows up in the presence of things that are good and beautiful, like a wedding. Indeed, here in Genesis, we’re only 6 chapters away from the very first wedding and scenes of celebration at the song of creation. But suddenly, things descend into violence and devastation. The loss of all, save the eight people on the ark. 

Unlike the Red Wedding, the author of this story doesn’t hide his intentions or reasons for the plot surprises. The judgment that happens here is neither capricious nor tribal. It’s an act of cleansing. The New Testament invites its readers to see accounts of passing through and over waters of judgment as a type of baptism (see 1 Corinthians 10), where that which belongs to an old empire of evil in God’s world is being brought to an end to make way for that which is new and eternal. 

This is the Apostle Peter’s reading of these events. He sees Noah’s account of water deliverance as a type of baptism. It becomes all the more intriguing when we see how. Far from saying don’t watch bad things or fast forward this part, the New Testament invites us to ponder deeply how you and I are not the ark riders, worthy of deliverance, but the villains – drowning in the sea of judgment. And if we’re the villains then who is the Noah in our story? 

The answer rests at the very heart of reality, indeed the Apostle Paul calls it a profound mystery that has now been revealed. The Bible’s true and better Red Wedding flips the script on both the Noah story and The Game of Thrones when one man dies in place of the many. This is how God always planned to bring evil to an end, not by crushing his enemies, but by transmuting the evil of his enemies onto himself to die and rise again — out of the stormy waters of judgment to unite himself to his bride forever. All the things that leave a wake behind you in your life have been drowned in the storm of judgment at the cross of Calvary. And like the waters subsiding under Noah’s ark, your old self has been drowned at the bottom of the ocean and you have been lifted out. So, take heart today in the Redder Wedding of the gospel and in the arms of a God who let his blood mingle with our sins in order that we might be brought up onto the dry land of salvation.