Why did God send the Flood? The Bible specifies in the very next verse that: "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.
And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. Gen 6:5-7.
These giants (Nephilim) were called “men” in Genesis 6:4. God was so grieved by the wickedness of men, which can refer to giants (Nephilim) as well, that God decided to destroy mankind. We know today that demons are evil spirits, and they oppress people with many negative things.
They apparently were wicked back then also, back when they had their own mortal bodies, as were all men. It was because of the wickedness of all men, giant (Nephilim) or not (though they were included in this accounting), that God chose to destroy the world. It should be noted that the wickedness of all men was the reason for the Flood, and the stated reason was not the intermixing itself.
If intermixing happened as described above, it may have to do with why God spared Noah. This ties back to the prophecy of Ezekiel 31, which describes a giant tree so tall, and with so many high branches, and boughs, that it outgrew everything else. These giants (Nephilim) are called “men” by the Bible, and so their children were all “men” also.
Their bodies would have been human, and so God considered them human. But if you were to take a snapshot picture of the spirits of all the people who looked human living on the earth at that time, and look at it, what would you see? It could be that the vast majority of the population had immortal spirits originally begat of these angels who fathered the giants (Nephilim), while only a small minority of people had the mortal human spirits which were begat originally by Adam.
Those with immortal spirits would not sleep in death, but would become what we know today as demons. Looking at the symbolism of Ezekiel 31, it seems possible that humanity was spiritually being out-bred and becoming like an endangered species, though not out-bred physically. Physically there were many who had human bodies, everyone had a human body, but spiritually only a few had human spirits begotten originally from Adam. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
These [are] the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:8-9. Noah had a perfect lineage tracing back to Adam, as is recorded in Genesis. Part of why Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord was because he was a just man.
But the other reason that Noah found favor with God was because his spirit was human, and traced back to Adam. One has to wonder just how much pure humanity was left in the world by the time of Noah. God did say that “all flesh” had corrupted His way, and there was violence cause of them.
“And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth…
And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die.” Genesis 6:12-13,17. And so God sent a worldwide Flood, which destroyed all people except for Noah and his family.
“Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” 1 Peter 3:20. We can know that Noah was “perfect in his generations” and therefore had a human spirit, seeing his lineage that traced back to Adam.
Therefore, his three sons also had human spirits, and so all of humanity that was to follow after the flood would have human spirits also. But apparently while Noah was perfect in his generations, either his wife or daughter-in-laws were not perfect in their generations.
The eight souls on the Ark were all human, including Noah’s wife and daughters-in-law. Yet the fact that humanity dropped to having 120 year life-spans several generations after the flood, and gigantism showed up in their descendents, shows that not everyone on the Ark was “perfect in their generations”. Only Noah was specified to be. Many people have thought that the change of shortened life-spans after the flood was due to atmospheric changes.
But in fact one Christian creation scientist, Dr. Carl Wieland, has theorized that the loss of longevity could have been caused by genetics. "…All positions which attempt to explain the ‘lifespan drop’ in environmental terms have another bit of data to explain, and that is the temporary persistence of longevity after the Flood. Noah was 600 at the time of the Flood, but lived another 350 years afterwards, in the post-flood atmosphere! Even in pre-Flood terms, Noah was already of moderately advanced age.
One would presume that, if the post-Flood atmosphere/environment has such devastating effects on us now, then because Noah would have been instantly exposed to these same effects, it should have cut his life short much more rapidly. Actually, only Methuselah and Jared lived longer than Noah”… “Even though the post-Flood decline is obvious, we see that eight generations after the Flood, people are still living more than twice as long as is common today.
It would seem much easier to explain the situation if the change occurred within the makeup of humans, rather than external to them. If our longevity is genetically pre-programmed, then that can explain why Noah still lived for a considerable time after the Flood, regardless of any change in radiation or atmospheric pressure. In other words, he was fulfilling his genetic potential as far as lifespan was concerned (in the absence of accidental death or disease).”… “I suggest that our ancestors simply possessed genes for greater longevity which caused this ‘genetic limit’ to human ages to be set at a higher level in the past”…
“If this suggestion has merit as the major (if not the sole) cause of greater pre-Flood ages, then the obvious question is how some of these longevity genes were lost. The human population went through a severe genetic bottleneck at the time of the Flood—only eight individuals.
The phenomenon of ‘genetic drift’ is well-known to be able to account for ‘random’ selectively neutral changes in gene frequencies (including the loss or ‘extinction’ of genes from a population) which may be quite rapid. Also, loss of genes is far more likely in a small population.”… “This brief essay is meant solely as a stimulus to further thought, not as a precise model of events.
However, it would seem that an explanation along these lines would be feasible, especially if several genes contributed to such longevity. For this scenario to work Noah’s sons and their wives would have to have significant heterozygosity at the relevant gene loci. That this could well have been so is suggested by the age of Shem at death – 600, considerably less than that of his father.
‘Short-lived’ alleles of the relevant genes may always have been present, which would mean that in the pre-Flood world, there would have always been some individuals (homozygous for such alleles) living drastically less than the ages recorded for the patriarchs."
The idea is that before the flood there were people with genes for longevity, and those with genes for a shorter lifespan. The small population size which survived the flood could have resulted in the gene for longevity being lost, and the gene for a shorter lifespan coming to exclusively dominate the gene pool.
If in fact the giants (Nephilim) and their descendents had genes for 120-year life-spans, and these genes were carried on the ark by one of the human women, this would line up perfectly. Noah “was perfect in his generations” and had a human spirit, as would all his descendents, and he had genes for longevity.
But it is possible one of the women on the ark had genes for a shortened lifespan, because she, though human, was descended from a son of Adam and a daughter of the giants (Nephilim). And through such a bottleneck effect as proposed above, the shorter-lifespan genes came to dominate the population universally.
This is in contrast to the rarer and more recessive genes that cause gigantism, which seem to have cropped up in only a minority of the population after the flood. It is very important to note that because Noah had a human spirit, so did all of his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and of their descendants.
All the people after the flood were therefore human, having human spirits that would sleep in death, and human bodies, even if those bodies had genes that were corrupted by the messenger angel insurgence before the flood.
All of the people living after the flood were human, even though eventually all people came to live no more than 120 years, and even though a minority of people after the flood developed gigantism. However, if this entire theory about how spiritual/physical reproduction and lineage works through multiplication is incorrect, then what does the Bible teach?
Then the Bible simply describes these giants (Nephilim) as being “men”, and there is no Biblical argument to be made (that I have found) which explains what the demons are and where they came from. As such, in the absence of any such Biblical argument, the only thing to assume about the giants (Nephilim) is that they were “men” in every way. And then one would have to conclude that spiritually they were no different than any other human people, despite their angel fathers.
One can only make the argument that the giants (Nephilim) became demons with Biblical backing and from Biblical argument if one accepts that the spirit of the child is multiplied from the parents, and at that, begat solely from the child’s father. But if one accepts that the spirit of the child is begat solely by the father of the child, then this also means that if the giants (Nephilim) had daughters (which the bodies of “men” can produce daughters) which a human man could have had a human-spirited child with.
Even though such a daughter of a human father and Nephilim-daughter mother would have genetic corruption producing shortened lifespan and/or gigantism, that child would be human spiritually.
And if such a female child was on the Ark, this could have led to shortened life-spans and gigantism in humanity after the flood. One cannot pick and choose which parts of the ramifications of this theory to accept, without ignoring the simple logical implications of the theory.
If the Bible teaches that we can know the giants (Nephilim) became demons, based on the spirit of the child coming from the father of the child, then by the same teaching it must be accepted that a human man could have human-spirited human children with a daughter of such giants (Nephilim). Assuming this theory about multiplication and begetting is wrong then all I could say the Bible, God-breathed Holy Scripture, teaches is:
1. The giants (Nephilim) are called “men” and must be assumed to be have been human in every way, including their spirits, and as such (had they known Christ) would have been redeemable, and could have theoretically been saved by faith in Jesus Christ like any other human.
2. The Bible does not specify where the demons came from, these evil spirits who have no physical body and are not seen in a physical form, but seem to want to get in the bodies of people and animals. It is therefore a great mystery as to when God created the demons and where they came from.
Other teachings are out there which conclude that the demons came from the giants (Nephilim) but these teachings are based upon extra-biblical texts, and not the Bible. But the above two points are the only things that can be found in the Bible, or argued from the Bible, unless this theory about the spirit of the child being multiplied and begat by the spirit of the father, etc. is accepted as correct.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has recently faced significant criticism for its handling of the voter registration exercise. In this prose I aim to shed light on the various instances where the IEC has demonstrated a lack of respect towards the citizens of Botswana, leading to a loss of credibility. By examining the postponements of the registration exercise and the IEC’s failure to communicate effectively, it becomes evident that the institution has disregarded its core mandate and the importance of its role in ensuring fair and transparent elections.
Incompetence or Disrespect?
One possible explanation for the IEC’s behavior is sheer incompetence. It is alarming to consider that the leadership of such a critical institution may lack the understanding of the importance of their mandate. The failure to communicate the reasons for the postponements in a timely manner raises questions about their ability to handle their responsibilities effectively. Furthermore, if the issue lies with government processes, it calls into question whether the IEC has the courage to stand up to the country’s leadership.
Another possibility is that the IEC lacks respect for its core clients, the voters of Botswana. Respect for stakeholders is crucial in building trust, and clear communication is a key component of this. The IEC’s failure to communicate accurate and complete information, despite having access to it, has fueled speculation and mistrust. Additionally, the IEC’s disregard for engaging with political parties, such as the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), further highlights this disrespect. By ignoring the UDC’s request to observe the registration process, the IEC demonstrates a lack of regard for its partners in the electoral exercise.
Rebuilding Trust and Credibility:
While allegations of political interference and security services involvement cannot be ignored, the IEC has a greater responsibility to ensure its own credibility. The institution did manage to refute claims by the DISS Director that the IEC database had been compromised, which is a positive step towards rebuilding trust. However, this remains a small glimmer of hope in the midst of the IEC’s overall disregard for the citizens of Botswana.
To regain the trust of Batswana, the IEC must prioritize respect for its stakeholders. Clear and timely communication is essential in this process. By engaging with political parties and addressing their concerns, the IEC can demonstrate a commitment to transparency and fairness. It is crucial for the IEC to recognize that its credibility is directly linked to the trust it garners from the voters.
The IEC’s recent actions have raised serious concerns about its credibility and respect for the citizens of Botswana. Whether due to incompetence or a lack of respect for stakeholders, the IEC’s failure to communicate effectively and handle its responsibilities has damaged its reputation. To regain trust and maintain relevance, the IEC must prioritize clear and timely communication, engage with political parties, and demonstrate a commitment to transparency and fairness. Only by respecting the voters of Botswana can the IEC fulfill its crucial role in ensuring free and fair elections.
The Oil and Gas industry has undergone several significant developments and changes over the last few years. Understanding these developments and trends is crucial towards better appreciating how to navigate the engagement in this space, whether directly in the energy space or in associated value chain roles such as financing.
Here, we explore some of the most notable global events and trends and the potential impact or bearing they have on the local and global market.
Governments and companies around the world have been increasingly focused on transitioning towards renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. This shift is motivated by concerns about climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Africa, including Botswana, is part of these discussions, as we work to collectively ensure a greener and more sustainable future. Indeed, this is now a greater priority the world over. It aligns closely with the increase in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing being observed. ESG investing has become increasingly popular, and many investors are now looking for companies that are focused on sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. This trend could have significant implications for the oil and fuel industry, which is often viewed as environmentally unsustainable. Relatedly and equally key are the evolving government policies. Government policies and regulations related to the Oil and Gas industry are likely to continue evolving with discussions including incentives for renewable energy and potentially imposing stricter regulations on emissions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a strong role. Over the last two years, the pandemic had a profound impact on the Oil and Gas industry (and fuel generally), leading to a significant drop in demand as travel and economic activity slowed down. As a result, oil prices plummeted, with crude oil prices briefly turning negative in April 2020. Most economies have now vaccinated their populations and are in recovery mode, and with the recovery of the economies, there has been recovery of oil prices; however, the pace and sustainability of recovery continues to be dependent on factors such as emergence of new variants of the virus.
This period, which saw increased digital transformation on the whole, also saw accelerated and increased investment in technology. The Oil and Gas industry is expected to continue investing in new digital technologies to increase efficiency and reduce costs. This also means a necessary understanding and subsequent action to address the impacts from the rise of electric vehicles. The growing popularity of electric vehicles is expected to reduce demand for traditional gasoline-powered cars. This has, in turn, had an impact on the demand for oil.
Last but not least, geopolitical tensions have played a tremendous role. Geopolitical tensions between major oil-producing countries can and has impacted the supply of oil and fuel. Ongoing tensions in the Middle East and between the US and Russia could have an impact on global oil prices further, and we must be mindful of this.
On the home front in Botswana, all these discussions are relevant and the subject of discussion in many corporate and even public sector boardrooms. Stanbic Bank Botswana continues to take a lead in supporting the Oil and Gas industry in its current state and as it evolves and navigates these dynamics. This is through providing financing to support Oil and Gas companies’ operations, including investments in new technologies. The Bank offers risk management services to help oil and gas companies to manage risks associated with price fluctuations, supply chain disruptions and regulatory changes. This includes offering hedging products and providing advice on risk management strategies.
Advisory and support for sustainability initiatives that the industry undertakes is also key to ensuring that, as companies navigate complex market conditions, they are more empowered to make informed business decisions. It is important to work with Oil and Gas companies to develop and implement sustainability strategies, such as reducing emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy. This is key to how partners such as Stanbic Bank work to support the sector.
Last but not least, Stanbic Bank stands firmly in support of Botswana’s drive in the development of the sector with the view to attain better fuel security and reduce dependence risk on imported fuel. This is crucial towards ensuring a stronger, stabler market, and a core aspect to how we can play a role in helping drive Botswana’s growth. Continued understanding, learning, and sustainable action are what will help ensure the Oil and Gas sector is supported towards positive, sustainable and impactful growth in a manner that brings social, environmental and economic benefit.
Loago Tshomane is Manager, Client Coverage, Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), Stanbic Bank Botswana
So, the conclusion is brands are important. I start by concluding because one hopes this is a foregone conclusion given the furore that erupts over a botched brand. If a fast food chef bungles a food order, there’d be possibly some isolated complaint thrown. However, if the same company’s marketing expert or agency cooks up a tasteless brand there is a country-wide outcry. Why? Perhaps this is because brands affect us more deeply than we care to understand or admit. The fact that the uproar might be equal parts of schadenfreude, black twitter-esque criticism and, disappointment does not take away from the decibel of concern raised.
A good place to start our understanding of a brand is naturally by defining what a brand is. Marty Neumier, the genius who authored The Brand Gap, offers this instructive definition – “A brand is a person’s gut feel about a product or service”. In other words, a brand is not what the company says it is. It is what the people feel it is. It is the sum total of what it means to them. Brands are perceptions. So, brands are defined by individuals not companies. But brands are owned by companies not individuals. Brands are crafted in privacy but consumed publicly. Brands are communal. Granted, you say. But that doesn’t still explain why everybody and their pet dog feel entitled to jump in feet first into a brand slug-fest armed with a hot opinion. True. But consider the following truism.
Brands are living. They act as milestones in our past. They are signposts of our identity. Beacons of our triumphs. Indexes of our consumption. Most importantly, they have invaded our very words and world view. Try going for just 24 hours without mentioning a single brand name. Quite difficult, right? Because they live among us they have become one of us. And we have therefore built ‘brand bonds’ with them. For example, iPhone owners gather here. You love your iPhone. It goes everywhere. You turn to it in moments of joy and when we need a quick mood boost. Notice how that ‘relationship’ started with desire as you longingly gazed upon it in a glossy brochure. That quickly progressed to asking other people what they thought about it. Followed by the zero moment of truth were you committed and voted your approval through a purchase. Does that sound like a romantic relationship timeline. You bet it does. Because it is. When we conduct brand workshops we run the Brand Loyalty ™ exercise wherein we test people’s loyalty to their favourite brand(s). The results are always quite intriguing. Most people are willing to pay a 40% premium over the standard price for ‘their’ brand. They simply won’t easily ‘breakup’ with it. Doing so can cause brand ‘heart ache’. There is strong brand elasticity for loved brands.
Now that we know brands are communal and endeared, then companies armed with this knowledge, must exercise caution and practise reverence when approaching the subject of rebranding. It’s fragile. The question marketers ought to ask themselves before gleefully jumping into the hot rebranding cauldron is – Do we go for an Evolution (partial rebrand) or a Revolution(full rebrand)? An evolution is incremental. It introduces small but significant changes or additions to the existing visual brand. Here, think of the subtle changes you’ve seen in financial or FMCG brands over the decades. Evolution allows you to redirect the brand without alienating its horde of faithful followers. As humans we love the familiar and certain. Change scares us. Especially if we’ve not been privy to the important but probably blinkered ‘strategy sessions’ ongoing behind the scenes. Revolutions are often messy. They are often hard reset about-turns aiming for a total new look and ‘feel’.
Hard rebranding is risky business. History is littered with the agony of brands large and small who felt the heat of public disfavour. In January 2009, PepsiCo rebranded the Tropicana. When the newly designed package hit the shelves, consumers were not having it. The New York Times reports that ‘some of the commenting described the new packaging as ‘ugly’ ‘stupid’. They wanted their old one back that showed a ripe orange with a straw in it. Sales dipped 20%. PepsiCo reverted to the old logo and packaging within a month. In 2006 Mastercard had to backtrack away from it’s new logo after public criticism, as did Leeds United, and the clothing brand Gap. AdAge magazine reports that critics most common sentiment about the Gap logo was that it looked like something a child had created using a clip-art gallery. Botswana is no different. University of Botswana had to retreat into the comfort of the known and accepted heritage strong brand. Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital was badgered with complaints till it ‘adjusted’ its logo.
So if the landscape of rebranding is so treacherous then whey take the risk? Companies need to soberly assess they need for a rebrand. According to the fellows at Ignyte Branding a rebrand is ignited by the following admissions :
Our brand name no longer reflects our company’s vision.
We’re embarrassed to hand out our business cards.
Our competitive advantage is vague or poorly articulated.
Our brand has lost focus and become too complex to understand. Our business model or strategy has changed.
Our business has outgrown its current brand.
We’re undergoing or recently underwent a merger or acquisition. Our business has moved or expanded its geographic reach.
We need to disassociate our brand from a negative image.
We’re struggling to raise our prices and increase our profit margins. We want to expand our influence and connect to new audiences. We’re not attracting top talent for the positions we need to fill. All the above are good reasons to rebrand.
The downside to this debacle is that companies genuinely needing to rebrand might be hesitant or delay it altogether. The silver lining I guess is that marketing often mocked for its charlatans, is briefly transformed from being the Archilles heel into Thanos’ glove in an instant.
So what does a company need to do to safely navigate the rebranding terrain? Companies need to interrogate their brand purpose thoroughly. Not what they think they stand for but what they authentically represent when seen through the lens of their team members. In our Brand Workshop we use a number of tools to tease out the compelling brand truth. This section always draws amusing insights. Unfailingly, the top management (CEO & CFO)always has a vastly different picture of their brand to the rest of their ExCo and middle management, as do they to the customer-facing officer. We have only come across one company that had good internal alignment. Needless to say that brand is doing superbly well.
There is need a for brand strategies to guide the brand. One observes that most brands ‘make a plan’ as they go along. Little or no deliberate position on Brand audit, Customer research, Brand positioning and purpose, Architecture, Messaging, Naming, Tagline, Brand Training and may more. A brand strategy distils why your business exists beyond making money – its ‘why’. It defines what makes your brand what it is, what differentiates it from the competition and how you want your customers to perceive it. Lacking a brand strategy disadvantages the company in that it appears soul-less and lacking in personality. Naturally, people do not like to hang around humans with nothing to say. A brand strategy understands the value proposition. People don’t buy nails for the nails sake. They buy nails to hammer into the wall to hang pictures of their loved ones. People don’t buy make up because of its several hues and shades. Make up is self-expression. Understanding this arms a brand with an iron clad clad strategy on the brand battlefield.
But perhaps you’ve done the important research and strategy work. It’s still possible to bungle the final look and feel. A few years ago one large brand had an extensive strategy done. Hopes were high for a top tier brand reveal. The eventual proposed brand was lack-lustre. I distinctly remember, being tasked as local agency to ‘land’ the brand and we outright refused. We could see this was a disaster of epic proportions begging to happen. The brand consultants were summoned to revise the logo. After a several tweaks and compromises the brand landed. It currently exists as one of the country’s largest brands. Getting the logo and visual look right is important. But how does one know if they are on the right path? Using the simile of a brand being a person – The answer is how do you know your outfit is right? It must serve a function, be the right fit and cut, it must be coordinated and lastly it must say something about you. So it is possible to bath in a luxurious bath gel, apply exotic lotion, be facebeat and still somehow wear a faux pas outfit. Avoid that.
Another suggestion is to do the obvious. Pre-test the logo and its look and feel on a cross section of your existing and prospective audience. There are tools to do this. Their feedback can save you money, time and pain. Additionally one must do another obvious check – use Google Image to verify the visual outcome and plain Google search to verify the name. These are so obvious they are hopefully for gone conclusions. But for the brands that have gone ahead without them, I hope you have not concluded your brand journeys as there is a world of opportunity waiting to be unlocked with the right brand strategy key.
Cliff Mada is Head of ArmourGetOn Brand Consultancy, based in Gaborone and Cape Town.