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GENESIS 6:9 – 8:19 – The Flood

What happened between the Fall in Genesis 3 and the time of Noah, ten generations later?

Cain killed Abel because God preferred Abel’s offering over his own. Lamech killed “a young man for wounding me.” He also was the first bigamist. The earth became corrupt and filled with violence. I wonder: how would a writer of the Bible describe the earth as it is today? Would it be the same as the world in which Noah lived?

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). He was a righteous man in the midst of great iniquity.

God told Noah He was going to destroy all flesh from off the face of the earth and begin anew with Noah, his three sons, and their wives. The earth was to be purged of its sinful ways by a flood of water over the entire earth. Noah, his family, and a pair of animals of every kind would be preserved in an ark Noah was to build.

This event receives a great deal of attention in the New Testament in at least four different contexts:

  1. Life went on as usual until the flood suddenly came and swept them all away (Matthew 24:38-39; Luke 17:26-27) as an example of how it will be when the Lord returns.
  2. Noah’s faithfulness condemned the world through his obedience in building the ark (Hebrews 11:7).
  3. The flood is a type of how baptism saves us from the evil world as the flood saved Noah from his generation. In a sense, for Noah to walk out of the ark into a renewed world was for him to enter a new creation even as Christians become new creatures by death and resurrection with Christ (1 Peter 3:20-21).
  4. The flood is an example of the certainty of judgment, even when scoffers mock the Lord’s delay in His promised return (2 Peter 2:1-3, 5; 3:3-9).

Thus, the flood lays a foundation for understanding our salvation and the end of our world, which will in many ways be similar to the end of Noah’s world . Noah is an example to us of how faithfulness while waiting for the Lord’s return is so important for us to be able to live within God’s STORY.

The Flood as God’s judgment on the sinful world is an important part of the Bible STORY that points to God’s final judgment as well.

As a matter of interest, many ancient people in diverse parts of the world have traditions of a great flood from which the human race was preserved by a single family in an ark-like vessel. One of these is The Epic of Gilgamesh from ancient Sumeria in Mesopotamia, near Abraham’s home when God called him. While some use this to say these chapters in Genesis are simply another of these flood traditions and should therefore be discounted, it is more likely that all of these traditions spring from a common experience in the history of the human race – and that Genesis is the story of that event. Where it differs from the other traditions is in how the others are mixed with pagan influences that reflect how man’s understanding of God has devolved from the time of Noah.

Our next installment will look at God’s covenant with Noah as His STORY continues.


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