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Genesis: God’s Book of Beginnings (6)

SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 6

The rapid increase of the world’s population before the flood unleashed an appalling and widespread explosion of human depravity upon society. Intermarriage between the lines of Seth and Cain produced offspring that were renowned for violence and rebellion to God. God saw men as slaves to sin displaying a wicked spirit of lawlessness. His righteous nature being grieved, He determined to judge the world. To keep a godly seed alive on the earth, God chose Noah and his family as a link between the first Adam and the Messiah. Noah believed God’s warnings of judgment upon the earth and so obeyed God to build the ark to preserve life from the world-wide flood.

Noah’s testimony was clean- cut. He was a faithful and obedient servant of the Lord, who obeyed God through faith (Genesis 6:22; Hebrews 11:7).

Key verse: “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (v 8).

This super-abounding concept of God’s undeserving mercy is found here in God’s dealings with Noah. One man walked with God causing him to stand out from the world of rebellious men. Noah’s name means peace. He was God’s instrument to bring peace to a lawless world. He and his family saw the new world and they saw God’s promised rainbow in the sky, that signified His covenant of peace.

Observations: Lessons From This Chapter

1. Like a disease, the spread of evil in the world was driven by a massive increase in population.

The first millennium after Creation was almost free from human mortality. Men continued to have children throughout their long lives. See the increase in Methuselah’s family (Genesis 5:26). The first note of alarm that rang out in this Genesis record declared, “When men began to multiply” (Genesis 6:1).

Intermarriage between the line of Seth (“the sons of God”) and the line of Cain (“the daughters of men”) brought sudden and irreparable apostasy, a dramatic departure from God. Men became beastly in their ways. “Mighty men” took over. Wicked men began to hold offices of power and leadership and morality spiralled downward. These “giants,” literally bullies, gave no place to righteous Noah. There is no place for the notion that procreation took place between angelic beings and humans to produce these “giants.” Nephilim (see margin), means bullies, not angels. The same term is used for the Anakim, who were a people of large stature (Numbers 13:33).

2. Under the microscope of Scripture, man’s nature is found to be totally depraved.

The words “only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5) show that man is corrupted by sin and is incorrigible
in his rebellion to God’s law. He is independently driven by his own carnal lusts, for his every faculty is affected by the fall. Due to this inner depravity, men need no enticement to rebel against God for the unregenerate man is a natural, thoroughbred sinner. Left to himself, he will never turn to God. He craves for freedom to follow his own natural desires and will always choose evil, unless God is pleased to change his heart.

3. The reference to God repenting in Genesis 6:6 is human speak.

In this language God’s repentance is referred to after the manner of men. It is language adopted for men to understand that the lifestyles of men whom God had created good and upright to bring Him pleasure, deeply offended Him. God’s nature had not changed, nor had His holy standard required of men. John Calvin explained God’s repentance over man:

“This is not my workmanship; this is not that man who was formed in my image, and whom I had adorned with such excellent gifts: I do not deign now to acknowledge this degenerate and defiled creature as mine.”

This offence to God brought a righteous response—a determination of judgment that affected the whole world including living things in the earth, over which man was given dominion. To this day, the whole creation groans under the future judgment that awaits this fallen world (Romans 8:20- 23). All of this should teach us to dread sin. The more we realize how sin offends God bringing terrible consequences upon the world, the more we will hate sin.

4. God dealt with Noah in grace.

It is in the background of the judgment of the world that we begin to recognize the amazing nature of God’s grace to Noah. Noah was of the line of Seth. He was a preacher of righteousness. He walked with God. All of these good qualities in Noah were the result of grace. Grace preceded his works, which is also true in New Testament saints (Ephesians 2:8-10). God dealt with Noah in undeserving mercy, and in the blessing of this mercy he withstood the forces of evil in his generation. By God’s grace stirring his heart he obeyed God through faith in His Word (Hebrews 11:6 -7).

5. God revealed to Noah both his plan of judgment and his plan of salvation.

He warned Noah that He would cause a world-wide flood within 120 years (Genesis 6:3). The extent of the flood is clearly stated, “And every thing that is in the earth shall die” (Genesis 6:17). This was not a local flood!

When God instructed Noah to build the ark (Genesis 6:14-22), He revealed to Noah the way of salvation for himself and his family, and for all who would heed God’s call to be saved from the flood. God gave the dimensions of the ark and the materials to use. Likewise, salvation is not left to man’s planning. God’s way of saving sinners by the sacrifice of His Son on the cross is God’s eternal plan of redemption by the blood of Christ. Gospel preachers are to both warn sinners of the wrath to come and to preach the cross of Christ to be saved, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Application:

How does this apply to me? 

We must consider the world before the flood, the present world, and then the world that shall be when Christ shall renew the world in righteousness (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1,22-27). This present world is the world that has been judged. It bears all the marks of the world-wide deluge and its destructive forces. Fossils, layered rocks, ice ages, continuous volcanoes, and storms as well as lethal viruses are all reminders that this present world is groaning until the day of redemption.

God’s judgment upon the old world is a warning to us of the reality that God’s wrath will fall upon this present world for its rebellion against Him. God’s wrath is real, and it is terrible. His righteous nature demands that He cannot tolerate sin. His longsuffering with sinners, granting time for repentance, must not be interpreted as indifference. From the Genesis account we learn that God sees our sin (Genesis 6:5); God responds to our sin in grief (Genesis 6:6); and God intervenes to judge our sin in wrath (Genesis 6:7).

It is in sovereign, covenant mercy (Genesis 6:18) that God works to save His people. God’s mercy to Noah opened a new chapter in world history. From one man and his family, the world has been re-populated (Acts 17:26). Through Noah’s line of descendants, God has provided a Savior. Our Lord Jesus is the Savior of sinners, though they are depraved. He calls sinners to repentance to enjoy the power of His redeeming blood, which is able to cleanse them from the penalty of sin and to free them from the power of sin. Our great commission is to go into all the world and preach the gospel—God’s good news to sinners.

Things to do in light of this study:

Visit the Creation Museum in Kentucky, U.S.A. to see a life-size model of Noah’s ark (Google: Ark Encounter).

Calculate the cubic volume within the ark. Dr. Henry Morris estimated 1.4 million cubic feet. (The Genesis Record, p 181).

Study the fossil record to discover the amazing evidence in so many parts
of the world for a definite period of destruction and death.

Ask: Is evolutionary dating based on the geological record valid? What about the missing links?

Check out the Lord’s reference to the genealogy of Noah (Luke 3:36). Note: Look for “Noe.”

Read the gospel passages where Christ spoke of the days of Noah’s flood. (Matthew 24:37-38; Luke 17:26-27).

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Ian Goligher

By Ian Goligher

Rev. Ian Goligher is the pastor of Cloverdale FPC, Vancouver, BC. He was Editor of Current from 2014 to 2019.