Genesis 6:5–9:18. The Flood As Judgment and Noah's Ark As Salvation.

Key Notes: God is immutable and flexible. The Great Flood is in the sphere of miracles. New Testament lessons from the Flood.

The Flood has been the source of discussion for ages, more especially in the last 20 years.Mount Ararat has been seaerched repeatedly for traces of ancient wood. We will simply lay out the text and refer the controversies to others who have written and argued. Some references are listed. The message is taught and amplified in the New Testament.

6:3 “My Spirit will not always strive with man, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” The 120 years represents a dramatic decline in the life-expectancy of mankind. The reported change begins after the Flood and makes a smooth decay curve to 70 years. Gen.11:10–26

6:6 "The Lord repented that he had made man on the earth and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast...for I am sorry that I have made them.'"

6:11 The earth was corrupt and filled with violence.

We are faced with a puzzle. The Lord repented? Can God change His mind?
God is unchanging.

“...with whom there is no variation, neither shadow of turning.” (Jm.1:17)
“The counsel of the Lord stands forever.” (Psa.33:11)
“Thou art the same and Thy years have no end.” (Psa.102:27)
“God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should repent. Has He promised and will He not do it? Has He spoken and will He not fulfill it?” (Num.23:19)
“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Heb.13:8)

Yet God changes or repents.

“The Lord repented of the evil He thought to do to His people.” (Ex.32:14)
“And when the angel stretched forth his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented of the         evil and said to the angel...'it is enough; stay your hand.'” (IISam.24:16)
“I knew You were a gracious God, merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and repenting of evil.” (Jonah 4:2; also Joel 2:13)
“If that nation concerning which I spoke, turns from  their evil, I will repent of the evil I thought to do to       them.” (Jer.18:8.)

In each of these cases, the people in question repented of sin, and God turned away His anger from them as a result. Hence, God does not change, but His response to people changes depending on their actions. He is immutable, but not unmovable. His promises are certain. His plans are fixed but His actions are flexible. He answers prayer although He knows what we need before we ask. He responds in mercy when we turn from our sin and seek Him with a whole heart. He also rejects those who reject Him. IIChron.14:2

6:14–22. Noah was commanded to build an ark, a box-like house-boat 450ft long, 75ft wide, 45ft high with three decks, a door and an‘" slot window under the roof. It was the size of a modern ocean-liner. There were 33,000 sq.ft. on each level, a total of 100,000 sq.ft with 15ft ceilings. He was to make "nests" (rooms) for the animals. The kind of wood is not known; it may have been cypress.

6:20 The animals would come to him in pairs. He was to provide feed for them; their water came from rain. We suppose they hibernated for the long cold year they were in the ark.

7:1–10 Noah was ordered into the ark, with seven pairs of clean animals, a pair of all others, with seven days' notice. This is the first reference to clean animals--those fit for eating or sacrifice. He was six hundred years old.

7:11 Rain fell and geysers were opened in the seas. The rain continued for almost six weeks.

7:16 God shut Noah in. He did not have to bear the guilt of shutting the door on other human beings.

7:20 The mountains were covered with 20–25ft of water. All air-breathing life died.

8:1 God remembered Noah. The waters abated. After seven months the ark rested on Mt. Ararat (a mountain range in Turkey?).

8:6 After 40 more days he sent out a raven which went back and forth from the ark. Then he sent out a dove; after seven days he sent her again and she came back with an olive leaf. He let her go again after seven days and she did not come back. She had found a home.

8;13 After a year the “face of the ground” was dry, suggesting that the mud was dry. A month later, the earth was dry enough to walk on. He waited six more weeks and then God instructed them to leave.

Comments:

Why does God allow human beings the freedom to destroy themselves? Why did God not restrain sin then by His Holy Spirit as we believe He does now? (IIThess.2:7). Why not let men destroy themselves by war or use a plague? Why destroy all the air-breathing animals? We wonder why God chose the method of flood but there is a spiritual lesson in the use of water for purification.

An interesting detail is the generous use of numbers to specify time, dimension and distance, an unexpected feature of ancient history.

Was the Flood local or universal? We would love to know more. It is thought quite impossible that the Flood could have covered the high mountains, like the Himalayan range, as they now exist. The International Bible Encyclopedia (GF Bromley et al Edit; Eerdmans,’82; Vol.2, p.315–321) has a long article on the Flood and the many controversies it has generated, especially since “The Genesis Flood.” by J.C. Whitcomb and H.M. Morris,’61. The ISBE article says that stories of a universal flood come from more than 200 cultural sources around the world. A reasoned approach to the Flood and geology is given in “Creation and the Flood”. D.A.Young; Baker,’77.

The whole Flood description takes it out of the sphere of ordinary experience and into the domain of miracles-- all distant from normal existence:

*The faith of Noah to carry out an absurd building project,
*the decision to destroy all air-breathing life,
*the animals coming to Noah in pairs rather than being herded,
*God shutting the door,
*the magnitude and depth of the water,
*wild animals surviving a year in captivity,
*the replenishing of all animal life from fertile pairs.
*Can an olive tree live after being totally submerged for most of a year?

All of these details lead us to conclude that trying to make naturalistic explanations of the Flood is a useless project and probably a needless distraction. We make a similar mistake obsessively pursuing a sea animal that could preserve Jonah alive for three days, and missing the important lessons that the book teaches. Attempts to find natural explanations for the Resurrection of Christ are ludicrous. Happily, the NT teaches us the four important lessons of the Flood.

1. Faith saved Noah and his family:
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, For whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who seek Him. By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and built an ark to the saving of his house; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of  the righteousness which comes by faith." (Heb.11:6–7).
He was "a preacher of righteousness...." "He condemned the world." (II Pet. 2:5)

2. The ark is a model of salvation:
"... the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (IPet.3:20)
They were saved from destruction, baptized by the Flood and buoyed up above it in a vehicle of safety, surviving to begin a new life.

 3. The righteous will be protected in trial:
"…if {God} preserved Noah...then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial and keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment." (IIPet.2:5)
The experience of safety in trial is also testified by the prophet Isaiah. He knew the Assyrians were coming to attack Israel. He said, “Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in Him. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of Hosts.” (Isa.8:16–18)

4. Another and final judgment is coming on the earth and believers must be ready:
"As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matt. 24:36–44)

The final destruction will be by fire and we should be living godly lives in preparation.
"By the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and the earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." (IIPet.3:5)

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the Day of the Lord…?” (IIPet.3:11)