Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Genesis 6:5-22


Here we have a text that establishes a significant theological thrust of Scripture. For in it we see the effect of sin on humanity as well as the entire creation (cf. Rom. 3:10-18; Rom. 8:22), something of the nature of God (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9-13), and the splendor of grace (cf. Eph. 2:1-10).

At this time in the biblical record, the creation was covered with a canopy. No rain had yet to fall from the heavens, but the soil of the earth was watered through a mist from the ground (cf. Gen. 2:5-6). Even the original Garden of Eden still remained, albeit humanity could no longer access it (cf. Gen. 3:24).

The original sin of Adam's perversity was expansive, magnified by humanity seeking eternal life apart from the presence of God by intermixing with those not of "its kind" (cf. Gen. 6:1-4). The depth of sin impacted not only humanity but all of creation as well (cf. Gen. 6:5,13).

For those curious, dinosaurs existed at this stage in history, many of them became exceedingly vicious as sin spread throughout the created order, and most all of their kind were destroyed in the flood waters. Suffice it to say that not every animal was brought onto the ark; rather, the biblical account speaks of every kind of animal (cf. Gen. 6:19).

The wickedness of creation grieved the Father's heart, and He repented that He had made man. I do not intend to speak to the anthropomorphic language the Bible often uses to help us understand the personhood of God, only to say that the Lord is not like us and that He transcends us (below, I cite an observation B. H. Carroll makes). I intend, however, to make two distinct observations:
1. As a holy God, He could not stand for the sinfulness of humanity. This aspect of God's nature demands justice.
2. As a loving God, He would not let the earlier promise of deliverance through the seed of the woman go unfulfilled (cf. Gen. 3:15).

In relation to #1, God said He would flood the earth. Such a thought would seem laughable to the wisdom of the world, seeing as how it had never rained. Yet, as the biblical record will continue to show, God uses what the world regards as foolishness to shame those who would boast in their own strength (cf. 1 Cor. 1:20-31).

In relation to #2, God shows Noah grace. Such a huge word, "grace." It literally involves or means God stooping down to show unmerited favor to someone. Noah did not earn or deserve salvation; it was God's free gift to him.

Yet, grace does produce fruit. That which grace yields is faith. Noah believed the Lord would send a flood and that he was to build an ark as a means of salvation from that flood.

That which grace yields is righteousness. Like his great grandfather Enoch, Noah conducted himself in a manner that was ethical, not overcome by the wickedness of his generation.

That which grace yields is integrity. More than just not being overcome by wickedness, Noah stood for that which was good. Like his great grandfather, Noah preached to an unbelieving world the message of God (cf. 2 Pet. 2:5).

That which grace yields is relationship. Like his great grandfather, Noah "walked with God." This expression communicates intimacy. It describes a son or a daughter who is not so much as concerned about breaking rules as he or she is concerned about breaking the Father's heart.

I would be remiss here if I did not ask, "Have you been touched by grace?" You might respond in turn, "How would I know?"

The answer to your query is the primary lesson I think the introduction to the flood narrative teaches. Let it be clearly noted that you would know if you have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ so as to walk with God as a son or daughter through the Holy Spirit who now lives in you, given to a life of righteousness and integrity.

Indeed, there is great testimony to the theological thrust of Scripture in this passage from Genesis 6. The original creation would be destroyed because of human sin (including the original Eden), but a new creation would emerge because of God's grace. So let it be that you would die to sin in Christ and emerge as a new creation (cf. Rom. 6:3-4). So let it be that you would rest secure in the Ark of Christ's salvation now, prepared for the judgment at His Second Coming and the ushering in of a new Eden.


The way I understand what it means to be touched by the grace of God entails:



from runner-up to Best Devotional Commentary - "When it is said: 'God is not a man that He should repent,' it means, as men repent. A man may change his mind when he gets more light on a subject, or he may change his mind from mere instability of character. The Almighty never changes His mind from either of these considerations. His very unchangeableness of nature, however, necessitates a change of mind and conduct toward a creature who has changed moral positions toward Him" (Carroll).

from Best Academic Commentary - "We are simply told over and over again that Noah obeyed God: clearly he believed the divine warnings and acted on them and so could be described as a man of faith. When the flood subsided, he patiently waited until the earth was dry. Then he offered a sacrifice. But he never speaks" (Wenham).
     Let me add to this observation that Noah's silence in the account says much about his relationship with the Lord. Noah does not dispute, does not question, does not grumble, he just does. As men and women of faith, we should take from Noah's example a great lesson that James would later stress: "But prove yourselves doers of the Word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22). Best we walk the walk more than we talk the talk. Yes, that's convicting.

from runner-up to Best Preaching/Teaching Commentary -   "Understanding this narrative in its literary context reveals many similarities between the flood narrative and the creation narrative of Genesis 1. In both we have the tehom, 'the deep' (7:11; 8:2; cf. 1:2), the earth covered by water (7:24; cf. 1:2), the ruah (Spirit or wind) of God over the waters (8:1; cf. 1:2), the waters recede (8:1-5; cf. 1:9), dry land appears (8:5; cf. 1:9), the classification of animals (6:20; 7:14,21,23; cf. 1:21, 24-25), God blesses them (9:1; cf. 1:28), 'be fruitful and multiply' (8:17, 9:1,7; cf. 1:28), and human beings in God's image (9:6; cf. 1:27). In other words, the narrator wishes us to understand that the flood is the undoing of creation and the world after the flood is a new creation, or at least God's new beginning with His creation" (Greidanus).

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