The Pre-Flood World

NoahLast year Noah, supposedly an epic film inspired by the Biblical story of Noah, turned the spotlight, though not particularly brightly, on events recorded in the Bible. Like Exodus that followed it months later, the movie deviated from the historical account—understandable since most atheists such as the film maker don’t look at the Bible as history and would have a hard time showing God as the Bible reveals Him.

I didn’t see the movie, but I saw trailers and clips. One of the more memorable had a mob of people clamoring to get on board the ark, only to have Noah hold them off at gun point under threat of violence.

Interesting since the small amount of information we have about the pre-flood world mentions violence as one cause for God’s judgment. Of course there was the whole Sons-of-God-copulating-with-the-daughters-of-men issue. Nobody really understands what that was all about, of course. Some scholars insist the “sons of God” refer to angels, but then there’s not a good explanation why God would judge Mankind for what angels were clearly responsible for.

Be that as it may, we can put down as fact that something immoral, of a sexual nature, was taking place. My theory, which I may have shared in this space before, is that Adam and Eve had children before they sinned. These would have been “sons of God” in the sense that they didn’t have a sin nature. Daughters of men would have been born in Adam’s likeness, with a sin nature.

But that’s a theory.

The bottom line is that humankind didn’t just sin occasionally:

the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen. 6:5)

A few verses down, God references their violence:

Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. (v 11)

We don’t have details here, but we know that Cain killed his brother—2nd degree murder, or premeditated murder, we don’t know for sure. Either way, God didn’t respond with capital punishment. Instead he protected Cain from those who might want to kill him by branding him with a special mark. This was not a curse as some have suggested or a mark he passed on to his descendents as others have said.

There’s no indication it was anything more than a way people could identify Cain as a man under God’s protection. God’s promise was that if anyone killed Cain, they’d pay sevenfold.

Perhaps the people of the day took this to be a license to kill. We know in fact that one of Cain’s descendents, Lamech, also committed murder. In fact he confessed to two murders:

For I have killed a man for wounding me;
And a boy for striking me (4:23b)

Lamech then claimed the right of seventy-sevenfold retribution against anyone who would seek to kill him.

One more thing Lamech is famous for: he’s also the first recorded bigamist.

Apparently he was a trend-setter because few men from that point on until the first century were monogamous.

So here are the facts: God said to Adam and Eve, be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Their descendents were killing each other.

God established marriage as a one man-one woman union that made them one flesh. Adam and Eve’s descendents were partnering inappropriately—in the wrong way (multiple partners), with the wrong people (sons of God with daughters of men).

So apparently humankind was 0 for 2—they failed to obey the only two commandments God had given them. And things were only getting worse:

God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

As we know from Romans, humankind’s corruption affected the rest of creation.

The point I want to make here is that God judged Lamech and his sons and their sons, not because they were good people and God just had a temper tantrum. He judged them because they were mass murderers and rapists and adulterers and bigamists. They rejected God’s right to rule their lives in the simplest, most basic aspects.

Noah alone was righteous.

And still, after God passed judgment, after He gave Noah the command to build the ark, it took a hundred years to get it finished.

Yes, these were the days when humans still lived long lives. Scripture intimates in a number of places that humans didn’t lose their faculties as they aged at the same rate we do today. So at 75, for example, Sarai, Abram’s wife, is still referred to as very beautiful.

But to the point, God didn’t strike down all the corrupt of the earth in a fit of anger. And Noah wasn’t off in some corner happily preparing his escape from the coming judgment while other “good people” were unaware of the coming catastrophe.

Scripture refers to Noah as “a preacher of righteousness,” suggesting that he was splitting his time between building the ark and telling everyone else about God, His expectations, and His righteous judgment.

The people who died in the flood were “ungodly” according to 2 Peter. They’re listed along with the angels God judged and the infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which God also judged and destroyed.

God does not whack innocent people like some gangland kingpin who’s having a bad day and wants to take it out on whoever is in his way.

God is a righteous judge.

He’s sovereign, but He’s good; his judgments are pure and right, every one of them.

I’m convinced we don’t have to fret over the people who died in the flood. God says He takes no delight in the death of the wicked, and yet He carries out the judgment against them. I have no doubt that he made the right call. Am I happy many people died? Of course not. But God knew each one of those people by name. I’m confident He wanted more than I ever could, for them to do an about face so that He didn’t have to carry out the judgment upon them.

How do I know this? Because of the prophets and the ways God worked to spare Israel and Judah—the extent He went to in the effort to induce His people to turn back to Him. And ultimately, the fact that He Himself went to a cross to die in my place.

Would a God who loves that much, have done less to win and woo the pre-flood people? It’s not consistent with His character to think He was uncaring in His judgment. But His judgment is a fact and a warning to us that God’s patience is long-suffering but not endless. There is a day of judgment for our world that is also coming.

Would that people today will learn the lesson the pre-flood people failed to grasp.

Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 5:52 pm  Comments (7)  
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  1. You know think about it. Noah preached 120 years and nobody not one single person listened| I think anybody who would have listened could have gotten on that ark too

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Wally. I don’t think God put a cap on the number of people He wanted to save at 8.


      Liked by 2 people

  2. “Would that people today will learn the lesson the pre-flood people failed to grasp.” Hi there, nice to meet you! I’m a friendly doubter and skeptic toward the Bible. I strive to be quite knowledgeable and open-minded as well. I suppose I have a curious question relating to your last comment. Do you believe that human beings throughout this world are inherently aware of the Bible’s God? In other words, in your opinion, do you think that human beings are internally aware of an invisible God? Thank you for your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you stopped by, h4t.

      Interesting questions. Inherently aware of God? I guess I’d say, no. But I think we’re inherently in need of Him and that He is present in what He has created, so that knowing Him is within everyone’s grasp.

      However, some people refuse to acknowledge Him and look elsewhere to have their need for Him fulfilled. When they acknowledge their emptiness, they explain it in terms other than God—a sense of purposelessness, a feeling of alienation, that sort of thing.

      So to your bottom-line question: I don’t think humans are internally aware of God whereas I think they can look externally to what God has made and realize He exists.

      The passage Tabitha mentioned, Romans 1:20, makes it clear that God purposefully made it possible for us to see Him and His character in the particulars and in the entirety of creation.

      Hope you feel free to ask further questions whenever they arise, even in response to this answer.


      Liked by 2 people

      • I think you gave a refreshingly honest answer considering the framework you are building from. Overall, I would disagree that the things within our material world are able to bring people into some kind of knowledge of an unseen God. At least, I don’t think these things in themselves are very helpful in that regard considering the vast variety that we observe today within religion and how the concept of God is viewed and defined. I can’t help but to notice how much of a role geography seems to play when it comes to the formulation of religion as well as it’s set of claims and beliefs. This is not to say that geography is the only factor involved, but there does seem to be a strong correlation in my mind. Have you always been a Christian Becky? Just out of curiosity? Thanks!


  3. Amen to all you said here! If I may respond to hero4thought (above) I would like to point out Romans 1:20 for his meditations. Bless you, Rebecca! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great article, Rebecca! I would like to add to Tabitha’s reference as well. When I was younger, a friend of mine was in Ocean Beach watching a glorious sunset. Being one who likes to get people talking, he said loudly, “Isn’t amazing that all this happened by accident?!” His provocative comment stirred vehement responses to the contrary. “This couldn’t have happened by chance?”and “How can you say that?” and “Are you blind?!”. I think many people look at the physical world, the massive power of nature, the perfect setting of the earth and the tilt of it’s axis as well as it’s perfect distance from the sun and can’t help but feel that there must exist something greater than themselves. Obviously, not everyone comes to that conclusion or feels that sentiment, but I do think that it causes people to pause. Albert Einstein, who was not a Christian also believed in the existence of a God, in fact he even pondered the existence of many gods. He saw too much evidence in the universe that pointed to the existence of Someone Greater.

    Liked by 1 person

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