Reconciling An All Loving God With The Genesis Flood

floodpanorama

It seems that for decades and centuries, the debate has raged over how God can be loving and still use the Flood encountered by Noah and his family to eradicate all life on earth aside from those present on the ark. Some secular authorities claim that this account proves that God is evil and is not the same God of the New Testament. Such a claim is a fallacy. Here’s why.

Why a Flood?

John Davis contends in Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis: “ the imaginations of the human heart became so wicked that God had to judge them, and He did so in the great flood. The nature and extend of God’s judicial acts always reflect the seriousness of the sin which is being judged, and all were destroyed with the exception of Noah and his family. God clearly considered the sins of the antediluvian race so wicked that nothing short of total near destruction would satisfy His holy demands.”[1].

Facts About The Ark and The Flood

– Noah and his family were on the ark for 377 days. This included 7 days waiting, 150 days water prevailing, 150 days water receding, and 70 days earth drying[2].

The entire extent of the Flood lasted over a year in timeframe. Such a flood would have destroyed everything. By God’s grace, Noah and his family were saved with the livestock they took in the ark with them. This is still a demonstration of grace by God during a very dark time.

– The ark was made of “gopher wood” which is most likely cedar or cypress. The ark was more of a barge than a ship. Using the cubit of 17.5 inches, it was 437.5 feet long, 72.92 feet wide, and 43.75 feet high. It had three decks which gave it approximately 95,700 square feet, 1,396,000 cubic feet, and gross tonnage of 13,960. It also included windows for light and ventilation[3].

The ark was made of elements God provided on the earth. God made sure these elements were available to Noah in a further demonstration of His grace and mercy.

Why Was Noah Spared?

It must be understood that during this time, sin was widespread and that very few people worshipped God. In fact, Genesis 6: 9 gives rationale for why Noah and his family were the only people spared: “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” (NIV).

Genesis 6:9 says that Noah was a just man and perfect. This is not perfection in the sense of flawlessness but in the sense of completeness or maturity. He separated himself from the wickedness of his contemporaries and followed the Lord which no one else did. He was a spiritual giant in a world that was thoroughly corrupt[4].

What we find here is that sin was so common and rampant in society at the time, that only Noah stood out for worshipping God. Surely, we can look at our society today and know that are numerous people who stand out as Christians referenced by the fact Christianity is still the most popular religion in the world. Can we even fathom being the only Christian in the world? Surely if all God’s creation was rebelling, they deserved a form of punishment.

Here we can look at several verse references with a brief interpretation of each that illustrate who Noah was as a believer and a man.

Genesis 6:9: Noah was the only man in his time that followed God faithfully and abstained from wickedness.

Genesis 6:22: Noah followed God’s every command and commandment without hesitation. He loved God faithfully.

Genesis 7:1-5: God allowed Noah to enter the ark because Noah was the only righteous man along with his family. Noah took the animals as God commanded him to do.

Genesis 7:16: Noah gathered the animals as he was instructed and God rewarded his faithfulness by shutting him in the ark before and during the flood.

Genesis 8:15-18: Noah and his family were given the land after the flood for their obedience and righteousness. God allowed Noah’s family to live to start creating life again.

After The Flood

God’s Covenant with Noah began with God promising not to cause another great flood or curse the ground. God commanded Noah to “be fruitful and multiply” [5], reaffirmed man’s dominion over the animal kingdom [6], and for the first time God encourages man to utilize animals in vegetation and for food[7], warning that man should not eat blood[8]. God affirms His covenant with Noah with a “bow in the cloud”[9] which is a rainbow. Though rainbows had appeared before, they were now given covenantal significance[10].

Yet again we see a demonstration in God’s grace in that He allowed man to obtain dominion over the earth once again.

At this point, a secular approach would say that God has broken His Covenant with Noah because we have floods all the time. This is not true at all. The flood was universal in nature and floods we see today are localized. The need to build an ark demonstrates the extent of the Flood and shows that the Flood went further than just a local event.

Is This The Same God From The New Testament?

Of course the same God is present in the New Testament. When someone uses the Flood account to argue against God being the same God throughout the Bible, they are denying every instance of grace and mercy shown. Considering the age of the world and universe alone shows us that God is merciful. He only caused one Flood and has allowed for the continuation of life despite man’s inability to stay loyal to Him.

This mercy is reflected by God’s love. God even covenanted with Noah that he would never cause another universal flood. The teachings of Jesus emphasize this important characteristic and narrative in God’s divine glory.

We must be ready to defend God by emphasizing the point that all of man had become corrupt and wicked. All of man. Not one other than Noah made even an attempt to worship God or adhere to His commands. Not one person showed legitimate love or compassion for another. Murder, crime, and false worship ruled the earth. Man had collectively made the decision to reject God and deny His mercy and grace.

It is easy for a critic to make the argument in modern times because of the number of Christians in the world. Can we even begin to fathom the idea that everyone on earth thought and acted the same way? It is true that all of man sins, but it is also true that many seek repentance and seek God. That critic’s argument falls flat because they lack a clear understanding of the conditions of the world at the time.

The dilemma facing the critic is a quite simple. If Jesus was not representative of the same God, how could He have possibly fulfilled one hundred Old Testament prophesies? The critic gets so caught up on one event that they miss the greater picture. Look at all the times man resisted God in the Old Testament and God allowed it to persist. God carries that mercy into the New Testament and sacrifices His Son for the sins of all.

The fact remains, God could have eradicated the world completely if He chose to. But He provided a way for man to continue life following the Flood and gave them the tools to thrive. This is the same God of mercy and compassion found in the New Testament.


[1] Davis, John J. Paradise to Prison. Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing Co., 1998. p. 109.

[2] Genesis 7-8.

[3] Davis, p. 121.

[4] Davis, p. 117.

[5] Genesis 9:2

[6] Genesis 9:2

[7] Genesis 9:3

[8] Genesis 9:4

[9] Genesis 9:13

[10] Davis, pp. 127-128.

 

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charlestinsley

My name is Charlie Tinsley and I blog about The Bible. In particular, I post my thoughts, commentaries, and Bible Study teachings I have done. I hold a Bachelors Degree in Science in Religion Summa Cum Laude with a Biblical Studies Minor. I am currently studying for a Masters In Divinity at Eastern Mennonite Seminary with PhD ambitions in the study of Theology. I am married and have been for several years and I currently reside in Virginia.

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