“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart” (Gen. 6:5-6). God feels a flood of emotions. And learns. Oh-oh! Look out!
The earth was “corrupt before God” and “filled with violence” (v. 11).
Scary, sounds so much like today!
But back then, one big problem was “sons of God” (Gen. 6:2) taking wives for themselves, resulting in giants on the earth. This was not fallen angels interbreeding with women to produce half-demon giants! Humans—not angels which can’t reproduce (Luke 20:35-36)—were the problem here. “The reference has to do with the breakdown of the separation of the godly line of Seth by intermarriage with the godless line of Cain” (The Scofield Study Bible III, p. 13).
Our loving God felt compelled to wipe out all the evil with a worldwide flood as the best merciful solution. In His comprehensive plan, the drowned would have their opportunity for salvation in His Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-12). In due time He would teach mankind His Holy Day called the Eighth Day (Lev. 23:36).
“But Noah found grace
[in the Old Testament!] in the eyes of the Lord…. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:9)—like Enoch had.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear” (Heb. 11:7, King James Version). Surprise, we don’t expect to find fear in the Hall of Faith chapter! The Greek word here for fear [eulabeomai] appears only one other time—in Acts 23:10 where the commander was fearing Paul might be ripped to pieces by the mob. Barnes Commentary says “It might mean Noah was influenced by the dread of what was coming.” Happily, he was more influenced by obeying God!
Noah built by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). He kept swinging the hammer under cloudless skies.
If Noah had normal human resistance to undertaking such a massive project, perhaps God did win him over with Bill Cosby’s classic “how long can you tread water!”
It’s encouraging that God allowed Noah’s wife [surely not named Joan of], three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their three wives to survive with him. It gives hope that when it’s time to flee to the Place of Safety (Rev. 12:14), God might allow unconverted family to flee also if they are willing to step out in faith.
Noah and his family built the three-deck ark according to God’s specs—surely the Master Ark-itect!
“On the basis of a cubit as 18 inches, the ark was 450 ft. long with a beam of 75 ft. and a depth of 45 ft. Similar to the proportions of a modern ocean liner”—Scofield, p. 14).
To gather all the wood, it took a lot of go-foring! And more pitching than Jason Verlander! Building the ark took 120 years, with Noah bravely serving his neighbors as their “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) though they undoubtedly jeered and mocked him as a religious nut building in the middle of a desert! Surely this 600-year-old neighbor must be having a mid-life crisis! (Gen. 7:11). Gone off the deep end!
Interesting, it was while Noah was occupied with building the ark that Jesus “went and preached to the spirits in prison”–Satan and the demons in tartaroo (a Greek word meaning “place of restraint” which is usually translated “hell”) (1 Peter 3:19-20). They were restrained on earth, and perhaps Jesus warned them they wouldn’t have much to do during the Flood except call a plumber! Actually He probably informed them that they would have additional restraint from influencing man to become evil so fast.
It’s crucial to note that Noah understood about clean and unclean meats because God instructed him to load seven pairs of clean vs. one pair of unclean (7:2). This would be necessary to eat, sacrifice and repopulate.
Note that this was long before Mt. Sinai, but long after Abel knew he needed to sacrifice a clean animal, which Leviticus would later show would be partly eaten. It’s likely that Adam who named the animals was taught which foods “God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Tim. 4:3, Lev. 11, Deut. 14).
Skeptics question that there was
Room for all the animals
Noah only had to take pairs from each Genesis kind of animal (Gen. 1:25) rather than scientific species. A biblical kind is more like a scientific genus where two horses can be selectively bred and end up with 400 different varieties ranging from Shetland Pony to Clydesdale. Similarly, all humans to come down from Adam were funneled from the eight passengers.
Since the biggest percentage of land animals are insects, and it’s been calculated that the average-sized land animal would need only a cubic foot and a half of space, many studies have concluded that the ark was big enough to serve as a floating zoo. In June I plan to visit the exciting life-size Ark Encounter theme park in Kentucky!
Then, in a thoughtful gesture to spare Noah feeling guilty, God shut the door. Noah had relatives who must have drowned including probably other sons and daughters born before he was age 500 (Gen. 5:32). It is thought that 969-year-old Methusaleh, the longest living human who out-clocked Noah by only 19 years, died at the Flood and maybe clawing at the door! Adam and Methusaleh tag-teamed all the way to the Flood!
“All the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (7:11). It rained 40 days and nights! With all the critters aboard, Noah probably felt like it was raining cats and dogs!
If you believe the Bible [which we must and do!] the Flood covered even all the mountains of the earth by 15 cubits. Believe it, a worldwide flood! Peter knew that “The world that then existed perished” (2 Peter 3:6). The Bible indicates that the waters of the earth at that time were gathered in one place with one land mass (Gen. 1:9).
The Flood—God’s, not actually Noah’s, since how much water can a human come up with except water under the bridge—is dated 2,325 B.C.—1,656 years after re-creation.
After the Flood
“The ark rested … upon the mountains of Ararat” (8:4). With Ararat being an ancient name for Armenia, covering much of far eastern Turkey and western Iran, who knows if God will allow eager artifact hunters to find it. It’s exciting for me to know a brother in Christ who is an expert on the subject and believes he will find the ark in Iran!
God delegated the administration of the death penalty to man (9:6). And at this time He permitted meat to be eaten (9:3). This doesn’t mean they had been vegetarians because we’ve already seen that clean meats were surely eaten before the Flood so it looks like they hadn’t been allowed to eat the cargo while on the ark.
After the Flood the canopy of “water above the firmament” (Gen. 1:7), which it’s thought provided greater air pressure and a shield from the sun’s harmful rays, was gone. This may have allowed the first rainbow to be seen, establishing God’s Covenant that promises He will never again wipe out the earth with a Flood. The average lifespan plummeted from 857.5 years to 120 years (Gen. 6:3).
During the first 2,000 years of human history, eight generations had direct access to righteous Noah.
In our day
Jesus, the Living Word, showing He believed the Flood occurred just as he inspired the Written Word to attest, prophesied that “as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37-39).
Life goes on looking pretty normal, people eating, drinking and marrying. As with Noah’s day, they don’t know until they’re taken all away.
How long can we tread ignorance?
Watch next Friday for
“Babel and Tower Then, Babylon and Towers Now”
What’s It All About?