Lucia's Blog: NOAH AND THE FLOOD
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Thursday, April 3, 2014

NOAH AND THE FLOOD


"And Jehovah 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 Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And Jehovah said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the ground; both man, and beast, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah... And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon this earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is in the earth shall die."
Genesis 6:5-17


There are many variations of the Biblical Flood account which are found in various cultures and on every continent.  Although the stories differ in their details, it is significant that there are so many stories about a worldwide Flood.  The Flood was so massive that it changed the whole world into a new one.  The Flood is remembered by cultures around the world even millenia later.  The Flood drives history:  before the Flood, the Bible tells us little about human history except that the people grew wicked.  After the Flood, we start to see some recording of human events.

One difference between the Bible account of the Flood and other accounts is that  in the Bible, God himself starts the flood and ends it after forty days (although the waters prevail and subside for over a year).  In most other tales and fables, it is said that an evil god starts the flood and a good god then ends it.  Of course the Bible emphasizes that there is only ONE GOD and that He is GOOD.  Notice that other cultures blame the gods for the evil that happens on the earth, whereas the Bible blames sinful men.  The Biblical account of the Flood begins in Genesis 6.  In Genesis 6:5 we read, "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."  Now if we contrast that verse with verse 9 of Genesis 6 we read,  "Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God."  The contrast between Noah and the rest of the human race is important.  Noah was everything that God desired and expected of man.  God's divine design is stated thus, "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God."  Micah 6:8.

Noah was a righteous man in whom God found favor.  He was the only one that was found blameless that was living on earth at that time. Noah was living in a world that was consistently and totally evil.  He was a man who walked in close fellowship with his God in faithWe see a very angry God; a God that was grieved in His heart and was sorry that He had made man on the earth. Our God hates sin very much and when He saw that the intentions of man's heart was in doing evil continually, He decided to blot out man whom He had created from the face of the earth except for Noah and his family.

The following is what the Bible tells us that God felt about the wickedness of man in the earth:

"And Jehovah 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 Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And Jehovah said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the ground; both man, and beast, and creeping things, and birds of the heavens; for it repenteth me that I have made them."  Genesis 6:5-7.

Notice that only Noah and his family would be saved.  "By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."  Hebrews 11:7.

"That aforetime were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water: which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."  I Peter 3:18-21.  

Some scholars believe that it had never rained anywhere on the earth before the Flood.  The following is what they point out: 

  • Genesis 2:6 says that "but there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground."  This clearly indicates that the earth was watered by a mist and not by rain.  We don't know whether this natural process continued until the time of the Flood.
  • Hebrews 11:7 may indicate that Noah had never seen rain. "By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."  Of course, he had never seen a worldwide flood either.
  • The mere fact that the rainbow, given after the flood as a covenant between God and Noah, is such a new phenomenon which could easily indicate that it had never rained before.
  • The fact that Noah was mocked by others while he was building the ark could easily indicate that rain and a flood was unreasonable and unknown in their minds.


 God gave Noah specific instructions about how to build the ark, Genesis 6:13-22.  God told Noah who and what to take with him.  Notice also that Noah by faith obeyed God.  "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he."  Genesis 6:22. God also promised He would protect Noah and his family throughout the flood.  God also made a covenant with Noah which is the first recorded covenant that God made with man:

"But I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee."  Genesis 6:18.


In this manner God's covenant places Him precisely in contrast with the other so called gods of the Ancient Near East.  The gods of these Ancients never made covenants with humans.
 

In Genesis 6:19, Noah is instructed by God:  "And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female."

Then in Genesis 7:2-3, Noah is instructed by God "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee seven and seven, the male and his female; and of the beasts that are not clean two, the male and his female: of the birds also of the heavens, seven and seven, male and female, to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth."

Why do you think there are two different instructions to follow?  Why does God tell Noah to take all the animals two by two?  Why does God tell Noah to take seven of every kind of clean animals?  Notice that God tells Noah this just a few verses later.

An explanation for the above instruction lies in the understanding of clean and unclean animals under the Old Testament.  In the Old Testament, clean animals were animals that were considered suitable for food and for sacrifices offered to God.  The sacrifice of clean animals was pleasing to God.  Hence, God instructs Noah to bring seven of every kind of clean animal to fulfill both of these purposes.  The reason for this was that Noah and his family were evidently going to survive the Flood.  They would need clothing, shelter and food.  The clean animals would help provide these things.  These clean animals would be the beginning for Noah to have access to a new livestock, perhaps, with cows and goats for milk and meat, chickens for eggs, sheep for wool, and so on.  Our wonderful God thinks of everything that we need and provides it!!

After Noah and his family left the ark, they built an altar and made a sacrifice to God.  "And Noah builded an altar unto Jehovah, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar."  Genesis 8:20.  Notice that some of the clean animals were set aside for this sacrifice.

After Noah and his family went into the ark, the LORD shut them in.  This is also unique to the Biblical account of the Flood.  By contrast, in other Ancient cultures of the far East, their stories or fables tell of boats.  It was always a man who closed the door.  In the Bible account of the Flood, God closed the door.

God then released heavy streams of rain until the mountains were covered.  In other flood accounts, the gods became terrified at the forces that were released.  Some of them cowered and cried out.  However, in the Biblical account of the flood, God remained fully in control.  After forty days and nights, the rain stopped and the waters began to recede:

"God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; the fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; and the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters decreased."  Genesis 8:1-3.

Noah then sent out birds from the ark as God had instructed him in order to make sure the land was dry.  Noah first sent a raven, then a dove.  All this was done three different times.  In the fables and stories regarding the flood, birds appear also.  The second time the dove returned, it brought an olive leaf to Noah.  The third dove did not return.  Genesis 8:7-11

Afterward, the LORD told Noah to leave the ark.  One of the first things Noah did was to build an altar to the LORD Jehovah.  There he offered a sacrifice to the LORD.  Although, other flood accounts do mention sacrifices, the sacrifices were only  for the purpose of  feeding the gods since the flood had destroyed their food supply.  On the other hand, in the Biblical account of the Flood, Noah offered sacrifice as an act of worship.  The worship was to be a fragrant aroma sacrifice that was to be pleasing to God.  In the case of Noah's sacrifice God was pleased.  Genesis 8:15-22

Finally, the LORD Jehovah made a covenant with Noah where God promised not to ever destroy the earth with another flood.  The LORD Jehovah placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign of  His oath saying:

"And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud, and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth."  Genesis 9:12-17.


There is a fascinating fact about the Ice Age and the Flood where Creationists believe that the waters of  the Flood came both above and below the ground, as Scripture says in Genesis 7:11.  According to this view, waters bursting out of the ground might have caused earthquakes, volcano eruptions and massive changes in the earth's crust.  Volcanic ash and dust might have spewed into the atmosphere, creating an "anti-greenhouse" effect that brought on the so called "Ice Age." 


The story of Noah and the Flood stands as an historical warning that not only did God judge the wickedness of ancient men, but He also has fixed a day in which He will judge the wickedness of all men again.

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for these things, give diligence that ye may be found in peace, without spot and blameless in his sight."  II Peter 3:9-14.


Luci