God’s Work, Now And In The Pre-Flood World

Some years ago the movie 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 descendants, 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 descendants were killing each other.

God established marriage as a one man-one woman union that made them one flesh. Adam and Eve’s descendants 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—not a typical description of a senior citizen.

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. Because of His warning to and forgiveness of Nineveh, And ultimately, because He Himself went to a cross to die for the sins of the world.

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.

This post is an edited version of one that appeared here in July, 2015.

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

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

    You mean learn anything over and above the fact the biblical tale is simply a work of fiction, or course, yes?

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    • Clearly you’re closer to the pre-flood people, Ark, and haven’t learned any lesson. The biggest thing they did not do was listen to God. You actually have no way of knowing if there was a flood or not, but you confidently declare it a “work of fiction,” as if you have insight the sovereign God who inspired the words in Genesis didn’t have. Honestly, it breaks my heart, Ark. You are headed down the same path as those people Noah confronted day after day. They scoffed undoubtedly. Build a boat (and a big one at that) so far from water? Who does that? No, it was not the thing “science” would tell you to do. But regardless of the doubters, Noah did what God told him to do.

      The fact that people who lived much closer to Noah’s time than we do, considered his experience history, should tell you something. It’s a bit of a mystery to me why anyone would proclaim his knowledge of the past without any actual evidence.

      Becky

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      • My view is based simply on what geologists tell us. And they do provide evidence.
        Furthermore, the notion that humans and dinosaurs co-existed is pure nonsense.

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        • Your view is one sided, Ark. I can give you links to articles that give geological evidence for a flood, but you would discount them because those people believe the Bible. So here’s one from ABC, a summary of an interview with a well-known geologist, not a Christian, not someone who believes the Bible the way I do. https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/evidence-suggests-biblical-great-flood-noahs-time-happened/story?id=17884533

          The other sites give varied evidence. One includes these points:
          1) Fossils of sea creatures high above sea level
          2) Rapid burial of plants and animals
          3) Rapidly deposited sediment layers spread across vast areas
          4) Sediment transported long distances
          5) Rapid or no erosion between strata
          6) Many strata laid down in rapid succession

          If you want to read details about these points, I can give you the link.

          The other site doesn’t repeat these points, but there is some overlap in their six facts, many of which are more technical and detailed than I could explain. Here are the points, with the first one in full:

          1) Fast moving water

          Fast moving water can erode away dirt, sand and even rock. When the water slows down, the dirt, sand and rock are dropped. This sediment may contain minerals that can be weathered away quickly. In the San Francisco area of California, beds of sediments hundreds of feet thick contain minerals that would have been destroyed if not buried quickly. Such beds can be seen in many other areas world-wide. These sediments could not have been laid down slowly over thousands of years otherwise the minerals would have been destroyed by weathering. Such beds tell us that a great quantity of water was involved and the sediment was deposited and buried quickly.
          2) Conglomerate
          3) Redwall and other beds
          4) Decay rate of fish fossils
          5) Massive plant and animal graveyards
          6) Widely diverse fossil mixtures

          All this to say, this is not a simple “no evidence” situation. You are ignoring a whole lot of data when you discount the flood.

          As far as dinosaurs are concerned, the Bible doesn’t talk about dinosaurs, so when any Christian who believes in creation and a flood, talks about how the dinosaurs fit into the picture, he’s speaking from his own perspective, not the Bible. I have my own idea, but I’m sure you’d mock it as you did my theory on creation. But that doesn’t matter—my ideas are my ideas, not the Bible’s. The Bible simply does not address anything about the dinosaurs, and anyone who says otherwise is mixing his own thoughts with those God revealed. So you can call them “pure nonsense” if you want, but that has nothing to do with the Bible because the Bible never says anything about dinosaurs (which tells me that they probably weren’t a factor in human history or God would have had something to say on the subject, most likely).

          Becky

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          • Ballard’s work in the Black Sea adds credence to the belief there was a large local flood.
            There is nothing to suggest a global flood as per the bible.

            Again, no geologist supports the claims of a global flood as per the biblical tale.
            Young Earth Creation is not science.
            Read scientific literature.
            And it would be better to stay away from biased sites like ABC as well.

            The dinosaur issue is not mentioned in the bible – unless you consider the term behemoth refers to dinosaurs – simply because the term was not coined until the 19th century. But they are addressed by YEC.
            The obscene waste of money known as the Ark Encounter is the perfect example.
            It is nonsense and , sadly , taught to kids as historical fact.

            Bottom line. It did not happen.

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          • Ark, you said, “Again, no geologist supports the claims of a global flood as per the biblical tale.
            Young Earth Creation is not science.
            Read scientific literature.
            And it would be better to stay away from biased sites like ABC as well.”

            Honestly, this thinking is so narrow, I don’t quite know what to do with it. Essentially you’re saying, If the conclusion of some scientist doesn’t agree with what I believe, then stay away from it. Don’t read it because if it was science it would agree with what I believe.

            Real scholarship is about investigation and truth. I’d think you’d want to know why some geologists believe in a worldwide flood. But no. If the source is Christian (or as you say, young earth creation) or if they are “biased” then don’t give them an audience, don’t listen to what they have to say. Shut your ears. Be blind to their data, to their research, to their discoveries.

            It’s a narrow position and a dangerous one, but it’s actually the direction western culture is going toward, all the while claiming to be “tolerant” and open minded. Sure, tolerant of those who don’t disagree. YIKES.

            Becky

            Like

  2. Great post! There’s a biblical scholar named Michael S. Heiser who writes books you might enjoy. They tackle the more spiritual and confusing issues in the Bible.

    (Also, funny that there’s a guy named Ark arguing about Noah. There’s some irony there :-p )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I appreciate the irony as well. The moniker always tends to confuse Christians.

      Like

    • Thanks, Yari. I’ll have to look for Heiser’s books. I appreciate the encouragemet!

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person


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