Rainbows & Fire

Let us not be mistaken about the rainbow symbol. Even a modern schoolchild, before whose eyes these flutter every day, can tell us: it is a symbol of inclusion, used especially to emphasize the beauty and worthiness of what ignorant and nasty people used to call sexual perversion. That, one must say, has now become the normal meaning of the rainbow: it is the universal emblem of sodomy and its world.

Believers insist on quite another meaning given the rainbow, the original, when God said to Noah:

“This is the covenant I shall make between me and you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I shall make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud. . . .” (Gen. 9:11–12)

The rainbow is a symbol of God’s mercy and his promise never again to destroy all earthly life with a flood (or, one must suppose, anything which could reasonably be regarded as such). It is a promise not to visit upon sinning people their just deserts.

In our day it is being used by those who boldly advertise their sin coram Deo, publicly, proudly, and deliberately, and as such, it is a taunt cast into the face of God by displaying a promise he once made not to destroy those who deserve it in the similitude of the men of Sodom. Their spirits insolently claim a right to indulgence on the divine remembrance of past mercies and promises.

These, however, were given with respect to inundation of the earth and not conflagration, its elemental opposite and the sign of final judgment, ironically represented to the sodomite community especially in James Baldwin’s book title, The Fire Next Time, and against which believers make this prayer, set to profound music in Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem:

Libera me, Domine, de morte æterna, in die illa tremenda
Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra
Dum veneris iudicare sæculum per ignem.

Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day
When the heavens and the earth shall be moved,
When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.

S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

more on culture from the online archives

32.5—September/October 2019

Must Say No

on When Christians Can't Compromise by Joshua Steely

31.6—November/December 2018

Virtue Gone Mad

Victimhood Culture Scapegoats Its Very Source by Michael P. Foley

32.2—March/April 2019

The Mimetic Bachelor

Reality Shows, Even in a Popular TV Series by C. E. Smith

more from the online archives

31.4—July/August 2018

The Names of the Christian

Labels & the Ecumenism of Discipleship by James M. Kushiner

20.6—July/August 2007

The Anglo-Saxon Evangel

The Beowulf Poet Was a Shrewd Christian Apologist by Douglas Wilson

32.4—July/August 2019

Image- Bearers for God

Does Biblical Language for Man Matter? by Stephen F. Noll

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone