These articles are the fruit of my preaching through the book of Genesis in 2017-2018. It is refreshing to review each chapter with an eye to the context of the rest of the book and the context of the Bible as a whole. It is my prayer that these articles are helpful to those seeking a better understanding of the book of Genesis. More can be found at www.fbcroxana.com
Noah’s ark has become a sort of fairy tale that we tell children, but which is not taken seriously by adults. There are story books and toys that depict a small boat overstuffed with animals and smiling people. But this is not a children’s story. This is a story of the greatest judgment that the world has yet faced. God obliterated millions, perhaps billions, of people from the face of the earth because of their sin. It is a historic, true narrative that cannot be made light of. Sin had gotten so out of control that it required extermination. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23), and for the first time we see that penalty being enacted in the form of judgment.
Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
There has been much discussion regarding this paragraph, and a number of views have been put forward. Some see the sons of God as being the righteous line of Seth who marry the daughters of ungodly men. Others see the sons of God as being kings who marry common women. The most prevalent view, being from ancient origin, is that the sons of God are fallen angels who leave their own domain and marry the daughters of men. This is supported by the term ‘sons of God’ being used of angels in Job 1 and 2, and is often matched with the passages in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6.
Whichever view one chooses to adopt, the intent of the paragraph is remarkably clear: mankind was enveloped with lust and sexual promiscuity, bringing about a race of ‘fallen ones’ (Nephilim). There was no lack of sin, and the righteous were almost non-existent.
5 Then 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. 6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
According to the chronology in chapter 5, this culture of utter depravity only took about 1500 years after Creation to come to fruition. From the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, sin and depravity has so taken hold of every aspect of human beings that every intent and thought a person had was only and continuously evil. And God grieved over the sin of mankind, for it had come to a point that His Spirit could not strive with it much longer. Mankind was given 120 years until the judgment would come upon the whole earth.
But by God’s grace, He had a plan to save the righteous and bring them through the judgment unscathed.
9 These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. 10 Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Noah means ‘rest.’ He was so named, because it was thought that he would give his people rest from the curse (cf. 5:29). However, Noah was not the promised Seed (cf. 3:15) who would end the curse. He was a type of the One to come, but he was not the Messiah. Noah walked before the Lord, and was known as a righteous and blameless man.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.
This verse reiterates the wickedness and depravity upon the earth. The earth was completely corrupt and filled with violence. Sin had so taken hold of the hearts of mankind that their every thought and intent was only evil all the time (cf. v. 5). And that spilled out in terms of violence and corruption.
13 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.
God announces the judgment that He is going to bring about in order to destroy all flesh from the earth. However, He also intends to save any who will trust His word and obey. He gives Noah these instructions:
14 Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.
God may have given Noah more instructions, or Noah may have understood by these specifications exactly what God was intending. It is likely that there were boats and ships at this time. Having lived more than 500 years by this time (cf. 5:32), Noah was probably a very proficient builder.
God gives details about the survival of Noah and his family and the animal kinds:
17 Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.” 22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.
It is not my intent to write about how all of the animal kinds (notice: NOT species) fit on the ark or how Noah and his family (8 people) cared for approximately 15,000 animals while on the ark. This has been aptly demonstrated by Answers in Genesis and the Ark Encounter and other ministries with experts in these fields of apologetics. Amazingly, the Bible simply states that this is true, and leaves the details to be worked out by the information given.
God told Noah to prepare the ark for the Flood that was coming. And Noah did, spending 120 years of his life building and prepping the ark for the Great Flood. That is a faith worth imitating. He believed God, and did everything that God told him to do.
Just as judgment came upon the earth in the days of Noah, so will the final judgment. The Great Flood was only a foreshadowing of what all people will face, for they will stand before the God who brought the Great Flood and they will be judged for everything they have ever thought and done. But praise be to God that He is a God of grace. For just as He provided a way of escape through the ark, so He as now provided salvation through His Son, Jesus, on the cross 2,000 years ago. Jesus took the penalty of sin in place of all who believe in Him. Only through believing in Jesus may one be saved from sin and from the condemnation that will result from the final judgment. Believe in Him, and be saved from the wrath of God.