Well, let’s turn to the Word of God tonight, and what an honor and a privilege it is for us. We’re going to be looking in just a moment at the sixth chapter of Genesis, but you can just hold your Bible for a minute because I want to take you somewhere else first.
As we approach the section that we’re going to be looking at in the sixth chapter of Genesis, we are coming to the reasons for the worldwide judgment of God, the flood, which drowned the entire population of the earth. We’re going to be looking at the flood in weeks to come. Tonight we’re going to be looking at the reasons for it. But to begin with, I want to lay out some things that I think are important for us to understand because though this is an ancient event, it has very important modern implications.
We have a society that works feverishly to preserve its future, to preserve the planet, to preserve the environment, to preserve certain human institutions, to preserve the human race, to preserve animals, certain threatened species. People who are trying to conquer sickness, working with the most care in the study of DNA, microbiology, electron microscopes, trying to figure out genetics and try to correct deviant genetics to prolong human life, to conquer sickness. Billions of dollars are spent working on answers to AIDS and cancer and heart disease and every other malady.
But no matter how hard people work, no matter how clever their scientific understanding might be, no matter how great their passion or feverish their effort to guarantee the continuity of human survival, it’s not going to work. There is nothing within the power of man to stop the inevitable destruction of the human race and the earth and the universe as we know it.
The Bible tells us how history is going to end. It’s going to end when the Lord Jesus returns, destroys all the ungodly, establishes His kingdom. At the end of that kingdom will be a final victory over the ungodly who have been born during that kingdom, and then the entire heaven and earth as we know them will be uncreated, and everything that has existed in this realm will cease to exist and be replaced by the eternal state.
At that time, all of the human race will be destroyed. Only those who belong to God will escape that destruction. Everything in this physical world is not going to remain the way it is. The world as we know it is not billions of years old, first of all, and it’s not going to go on for billions more. It is not a universe that is uniformly sustaining itself perpetually without cataclysm and interruption. The truth is, as we experience it, the universe as we know it is about forty-five hundred years old. It was forty-five hundred years ago or so that the flood came, changed the character of the skies, and changed the earth dramatically.
It also destroyed all of the human race, with the exception of eight people, so that all humanity was begun again from those eight. And that destruction occurred about sixteen hundred and fifty years after the original creation, so the whole thing is something around sixty-five hundred, I should say, sixty-five hundred years old.
This is not a universe or an earth that’s billions of years old at all. Just forty-five hundred years or so ago, the whole of humanity was destroyed. Here we are, forty-five hundred years later, on the edge of another massive holocaust that will again transform this planet and the universe around it, as well as killing all ungodly humanity and every other living creature.
The big lie of humanism, the big lie of evolution, is uniformitarianism. The big lie is that everything has always continued the same way. Everything has gone on for billions of years at the same rate it’s going on today and will continue the same way in the future. That is the pervasive lie in human philosophy, and it is exposed in the Bible. To see that, I want you to turn to 2 Peter chapter 3, toward the end of the New Testament, just a couple of books from the end, really, separated from the book of Revelation by epistles of John and Jude. You come to 2 Peter chapter 3, and this gives us a link from the flood to the present.
Second Peter chapter 3. How much is it worth to know the future? Apparently, it’s worth a lot. People are making their fortunes on the psychic hotline and writing books like The Celestine Prophecy and other things like that. It is really a consuming desire for people, soothsayers, prognosticators, seers, prophets, psychics, fortunetellers, oracles, astrologers, mediums, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, all make their living from the desperation of people who want to know the future, which none of these people know. But they create the illusion that they do and they make their victims willing subjects.
But here is the real future, right here in 2 Peter 3, for man, humanity, and the planet. Verse 1, “This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere” (or pure) “mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.” This isn’t anything new, but I want to take you back to what is pure. I want to take you back to what is sincere. I want to take you back and disconnect you from the seduction of human ideas.
I want to take you back to the prophets and back to the apostles. What’s that? The writers of the Old Testament, the writers of the New Testament. I want to take you back to divine revelation. And we know well that in the Old Testament, the prophets spoke of the final judgment to come, as well as the apostles writing of it in the New Testament. I want to take you back to Scripture, he says, and therein you’re going to find how history is going to end.
And then in verse 3, he says, “Knowing this, first of all” - let’s start here - “that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts.” Know this, that when you come into the last days, there will be scoffers or mockers. And what will they mock? Well, they’ll mock the Scripture. They’ll mock Christianity. They’ll mock the Bible. What in particular about the Bible? Well, they will mock following after their own lusts, verse 4, and saying, “Where’s the promise of His coming?” They’re going to mock the Second Coming.
They’re going to mock the promise that the Bible has of judgment. They’re going to mock the idea of the return of Jesus Christ in divine retribution. They do this because they are filled with lust. They, following the path that they’re led into by their own lust, obviously, want to eliminate retribution because they live as creatures of lust and creatures of, therefore, sin. They don’t like to consider the reality of divine retribution since they are driven by and filled by, motivated by lust. The idea that God is going to invade the world and destroy sinners isn’t suitable. It’s not politically correct. And so they mock and scoff.
And the way they do that is by saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? You’ve been saying this for a long time, here it is in the Bible, it’s been repeated by preachers through the centuries, where is He? All of you who say He’s coming, all of you who say that divine judgment draws near, where is Jesus?” They deny the judgment promised in Scripture. And their argument is just what I said earlier. Here it is, it’s the argument of uniformitarianism, verse 4, “For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
They go all the way back, there were no evolutionists in Bible times, everybody understood that somebody had to make the universe, every effect has to have a cause, as we’ve been saying, and they said, “We understand there was a creation, but everything from the creation has gone on in a uniform fashion. It’s always been the same. Life is stable, life is fixed, life is ruled by unwavering non-variables. Life has patterns that are uninterrupted and unbroken. Everything has gone on since the creation without any divine intervention. The Lord has never come in judgment, so why are we to believe that He ever will?”
That is their argument. It is the argument of uniformitarianism, everything has always gone on the very same way since the creation. Verse 5 says about them, “When they maintain this,” which they maintain, when they do it, “it escapes their notice,” better translated, they purposely forget or they purposely ignore “that by the Word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.”
There is something that they willfully forget. And what is it that they forget? That after the creation of the world, after the creation of this planet earth and the universe, which originally placed the earth both, as it says, in water and out of water, they forget that there was a massive worldwide flood that drowned the earth. They willfully ignore that. It’s in the Bible, but it’s also in the science, as we’ll see when we get into the study of the flood.
The original earth was standing out of water and in water, the text actually says. That is to say, when the Lord created the planet earth originally, He created it between two watery masses. One was above the earth and one was under the earth in a subterranean location. And with that water that was above the earth, or surrounding the earth in the atmosphere, and that water that was in the subterranean part of the earth, with that water, God destroyed the earth, verse 6 says. Broke up the surface of the earth and the fountains of the deep gushed out.
He stopped His suspension of the water above and they crashed to the earth in a deluge that drowned the entire world. So he says in verse 5, “It escapes their notice that by the Word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water or out of and in water, and that very water was what God used to destroy the earth.”
All things have not continued from the beginning as they were. There was a world, called in verse 6, the world at that time or the world that then existed, as some translations put it. The pre-flood world, the world from Adam to Noah, that world perished, that world was judged, that world was destroyed, that world was flooded. This history is recorded in the Bible. Interestingly enough, there are histories of floods in the writings of many, many ancient cultures.
There is also evidence for the worldwide flood in the geology of the earth, in the stratification of the earth, and in the fossils that are found. Grand Canyon is one great evidence of the universal flood that covered the earth. But sinful men conveniently ignore what the Bible says and conveniently ignore what the evidence indicates to deceive themselves into thinking that there never will be judgment because there never has been judgment.
To them, verse 7 says, “But the present heaven and earth by His Word are being reserved for fire.” And I might hasten to add that the present heaven and the present earth have the potential for an absolutely inconceivable holocaust of fire. We know what happens by way of fire, heat in an atomic explosion. Well, the entire universe is made of atoms, and when God decides to split them all, the incineration of the universe will be beyond conception.
In the future, the judgment will be fire. This present heaven and earth, he says, is kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. The flood, then, is very important because the flood signals to all of humanity that everything doesn’t go along from creation the same, it only went along for about sixteen hundred years, and then God literally drowned the billions of people that populated the earth, and they were catapulted into a godless eternity by His judgment. What God did in the past is essentially what He’s going to do in the future. The only difference is the medium won’t be water, it will be fire.
Now, because we want to understand what will bring the judgment in the future, it’s important for us to know what brought the judgment in the past, so let’s go back to Genesis chapter 6. Why did God destroy the world then? Doesn’t that give us some insight into why He will destroy it now? The answer, of course, is that it does. In fact, this is why God destroyed the world and why He will do so again. Genesis chapter 6. And we’ll at least start into verses 5 to 12 and probably finish up next time.
Genesis 6:5, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent” - or imagination - “of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And 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’m sorry that I have made them.’
“But Noah found favor” - or grace - “in the eyes of the Lord. These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time. Noah walked with God. And Noah became the father of three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked on the earth and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.”
The point in this passage is very clear, it’s unmistakable. The judgment of God falls on sinful humanity. Due to the horrible degeneracy of mankind, the judgment of God is going to come - so severe as to be described as blotting out man, in verse 7. God literally planned to wipe out the human race, to drown the race because it was so pervasively and irremediably, irretrievably wicked.
Now, the wickedness is noted here. It includes also what we already saw in verses 1 to 4. The people at that time were so wicked as to have engaged themselves in perverse unions with demons. Demons were coming down and possessing, dwelling in men, and welcomed as well by women who embraced the demons, we learned last time, probably because they believed Satan’s lie that if you follow him, you will not die and you will become like God. That’s what he started preaching in the garden.
Eve and Adam both fell victim to that lie. They did not escape the judgment of God; rather, they fell under it and they did not become like God. They became very much unlike Him, but that is always Satan’s lie. Somehow Satan convinced the people at that time that they could escape the judgment of God, which they were feeling because the curse was in effect since the fall. They could escape the threat of death, which they knew well about. They could become like God. They could ascend to another level of life. That is always the lie of Satan.
These people embraced those demons. The demons came into their marriages, came into their families, brought wretched wickedness and evil into their lives. Both the parents and the children, apparently, were under demon influence and demon control. They may have thought that they had escaped the judgment of God, but they hadn’t. They may have thought they would become gods, but they didn’t. All that happened to them was they were mighty men, some of them - the end of verse 4 - they were men of renown, they were men with a name, men with a reputation.
Satan was able to make fierce people out of them, warriors out of them, renowned leaders out of them, but in the end, they were men. They did not transcend human life; therefore, they did not escape the judgment of God. In fact, in verse 3 God says of them, “He is also flesh.” Humanity with all of its effort to transcend itself, to somehow commune with supernatural beings and be lifted above its humanity cannot succeed, and in the end it is just flesh - just flesh, just humanity. And God’s Spirit will not always strive with humanity. There is a limit to His patience.
And so one of the elements of their sinfulness was they had reached the point where they literally were communing with demons. This is a startling thing to think about because through most of this period, Adam and Eve - certainly Adam was alive. They wouldn’t have even had to have a secondhand testimony about the folly of listening to Satan, about the foolishness of engaging with fallen angels, with demons, who here are called the sons of God.
But in spite of the testimony of Adam, who well could have told them what paradise was like before they met the fallen angel, Satan, who told them what a horrible, horrible thing they sacrificed because of their sin, even the testimony of Adam was not enough to keep them from the demons. Same old satanic lies that they heard in the garden were told again, “You won’t die, and you will be like God,” and they bought the lies, and they engaged the demons.
By the way, this is the same - essentially the same temptation that Satan presented to Jesus. He really only has one angle. He said to Jesus, “Here you are suffering, here you are hungry, why don’t you just bow down to me? This isn’t right. You’ve been fasting for forty days. Why doesn’t the Father take care of you? You don’t have to live under this. You don’t have to live under this deprivation by God. Just bow down to me and I will give you the kingdoms of the world.” Same old lie. “I’ll remove you from the deprivation of God and I’ll exalt you to a level that is more than He is willing to do.” Same old lie.
Satan has always said, “Follow me, follow my false religion, and you will get eternal life. You’ll conquer divine judgment. You’ll overcome death, and you’ll become a god or godlike.” Eternal life and higher being, that’s what all the false religions of the world have always promised. Greek mythology, people cohabitating with the deities to produce superheroes like Hercules, all of these bizarre superheroes that are in our society from Superman to Batman to whoever, Power Rangers, whoever in the world they are, ninja turtles, I don’t know what they are.
Satan, always - always trying to get us to live in some fantasy world that we can transcend our humanness, but Satan can’t deliver eternal life and he can’t deliver godhood. All he can do is make our sin worse, our alienation from God more severe, our judgment greater.
Genesis, however, doesn’t say anything about the judgment on the fallen angels who communed with these people because Genesis, as I told you last time, is a story of man. The record of what happened to the angels, we studied last time in 2 Peter 2 and in Jude, verses 6 and 7, as well as 1 Peter chapter 3. But here we have the story of man. So man is so bad that he is, rather than pursuing God, pursuing demons. Rather than wanting to connect with God, he wants to connect with demons, that’s how far he has sunk.
We get a further description of his sinfulness in the terms that begin in verse 5. Here his wickedness is defined for us. Here his flesh is described for us. Here is human depravity. Here we really come to the first major description of the doctrine of human depravity, the depravity of man. This is the introduction to what it means to be depraved. And I might say, too, because it’s important to keep this in mind, that while the passage arraigns humanity, or indicts humanity, it also exalts God.
It becomes clear that God cannot tolerate sin. And the reason He cannot tolerate sin is because He is absolutely holy, just, consistently pure, and unchangingly so. He does not act capriciously. He does not act randomly. He does not act arbitrarily. He is not amoral. He will act in consistency with His holy nature. And so here in verses 5 to 12, He looks on the earth. The earth is mentioned, ha aretz, eight times in the verses that I read. Earth becomes the focus here.
As I said, His judgment on the holy angels is left for another place and another time. Earth becomes the focus. Earth is going to be purged by God of this wretched humanity. Corruption has gone beyond the point of recovery or tolerance, and God is going to drown the earth.
Now, the verses that I read unfold in a very simple way. First we see what the Lord saw. Then we see what the Lord felt. Then we see what the Lord said. And then we see what the Lord gave. This, says one commentator, puts it as a window into the heart of a troubled Creator. Let’s look, first of all, and see what the Lord saw. Verse 5, “Then the Lord saw” - and what did He see? - “that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Now, God is omniscient. Nothing escapes His knowledge. Everything that exists, He knows fully and completely. When it says “the Lord saw,” it has the idea of the fact that He was aware of, fully aware of, completely aware of at all times. It isn’t that as He was moving along one day or as His eyes were scanning the planet, He found something that He had not prior seen. That is not the idea. It is that everything was exposed to His omniscience. Hebrews 4:13 says, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him.”
There is nothing that escapes His gaze or His knowledge. This is not the seeing of sudden perception; this is the seeing of constant awareness. There never was a moment, there never was a split second that He was not fully, completely aware of everything. In fact, the word “saw” is used of a constant awareness. In the thirtieth chapter of Genesis, verse 1, “Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children.” That was not a sudden perception. That was a settled understanding. She saw, meaning that she was constantly aware that she bore Jacob no children.
That’s that same verb used in that same way. Later on in the chapter, verse 9 of Genesis 30, “Leah saw that she had stopped bearing.” Again, this is the idea of an awareness, and you find it used that way in chapter 50, verse 15, and other places in the book of Genesis. So the Lord was aware, is a better way to say it. The Lord knew. And what did He know? “That the wickedness of man was great on the earth.” Man, ha adam, humanity, that the wickedness of humanity was great on the earth.
This is a very great difference. Go back to chapter 1, verse 31. After the original creation, God saw then as well, God was aware and God saw all that He had made and behold, it was - what? - very good - very good. And just five chapters later, it’s very, very bad.
The people may have thought that their demon spirits had helped them produce renowned, gibborim, as the Hebrew word indicates, men of renown. But they weren’t super beings, they weren’t half-demon, half-man, they were just more evil flesh. Before they came along, there were other great men called Nephilim, other powerful men, and they were just more of them. And what God saw when He looked at these evil people was not just their behavior, but behind it, it was their thought.
It wasn’t that they were really good people. They were well-intentioned, just kind of fumbling and stumbling and being messed up by their environment. That’s a modern definition of sin, that man is basically good and he’s noble, he’s just crippled by the people who are around him and the debilitating circumstances. And if we can get him enough money and enough education and take off the pressure and those people who want to hold him to strict moral laws and free him up a bit, he’ll become noble all on his own.
But that’s not the Bible definition of man. The Bible definition of man is that what’s wrong with him is not really his behavior, that’s only a symptom. What’s wrong with him is his nature. And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth. And here He goes right to the core of the issue, “That every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” He goes right down to where the corruption really lies. It’s down in the depths of the nature of man.
He repeats the same thing in the eighth chapter. The Lord in the eighth chapter said, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Here He repeats it again. Even before the flood, after the flood, man is man, fallen man is fallen man. And everything in his natural heart is only evil continually. The best that he can do, Isaiah said, is filthy rags.
Now, let’s break down some of these thoughts here a little bit. You see the word “heart” there. We think of heart, we think of emotion in our culture, the heart is connected to emotion. But to the Hebrew, the term “heart” referred to the seat of thinking. Emotion was certainly part of it, but they would perhaps differentiate emotions, they were refer to (at least in the New Testament) as the bowels because you felt emotion sort of in your gut. And you know that’s true in human life. When you’re struck with a powerful emotion, your stomach churns, and so forth.
The heart was the seat of thinking, and so it became very clear to God that at the very seat of thought, the very root of all behavior, the very heart of man where all the thoughts were produced that generated all the behaviors, everything in there was profoundly wicked. This testimony is affirmed, as you well know, throughout all of Scripture. So the heart has to do with the seat of thought.
Look at the word “intent” for a moment. Some of your Bibles may say imagination, yetser in Hebrew, and it is a cognate word; that is, it’s a related word to a Greek verb found in chapter 2 and verse 7. Chapter 2, verse 7, “The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground.” This is the word “formed.” It’s the word formed. God looked into the heart of man and He saw that everything formed there, everything developed there, everything designed there, everything conceived there, every image, every idea, every ideology, every thought pattern, every philosophy, every self-styled religious view, all of it, everything that was formed in man was only evil continually, everything.
Boy. This is not to say that every man is equally as vicious, every man is equally as murderous, every man is equally as proud, every man is equally as angry, every man is equally as violent, every man is equally as vengeful to every other man. But it is to say that every human being, to some degree only relative within the framework of his depravity, every human being is, at heart, a sinner, unable to form or shape or conceive or design anything in himself that is not wicked. Even his philanthropy is conceived as a way to pacify his guilt or to demonstrate that he’s better than others for the purposes of pride.
This is the problem with man that is outlined in the seventh chapter of Mark. Jesus said to the multitude, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand,” Mark 7:14, “there’s nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him.” Your problem is not what’s outside of you, it’s not your environment, it’s not the way you were treated as a child, it’s not that you were abused, it’s not that you were misunderstood, it’s not that you weren’t loved, it’s not that you were deprived, it’s not that society is beating on you with all of its forceful temptations.
There isn’t anything outside of you coming into you that defiles you. It is that, He says, which proceeds out of the man that defiles the man. That, again, is another definition of human depravity given by Jesus Himself. It’s what comes out of the man that defiles the man. Later in verse 18, “Are you so lacking in understanding, do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him because it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach and it’s eliminated?”
He said, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man, for from within, out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” That is really just an extension of what God said in Genesis chapter 6, confirming what we understand about depravity.
In the epistle of James, chapter 1, it says in verse 14, “Each one is tempted when he’s carried away and enticed by his own lust, that when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, of course, brings forth death.” Lust working in the wicked heart of every human being conceives only what is sinful - only what is sinful. So the idea of the word “intent” is to form or shape or devise or design. Everything that man devises, everything that man designs, God said, everything was only evil continually.
And you say, “Well, why? Is that going to be true of everybody?” Yes, except the righteous whose hearts have been transformed. That’s why when God drowned the world, He only spared eight people. The rest had no capacity to alter on their own their wicked nature, and they refused to hear the Word of God, the message of God. They were left, then, in their depraved condition. Only evil, nonstop.
Frankly, I can’t imagine a more powerful statement on human depravity, can you? That’s it. And it’s chronic, not spasmodic, as Victor Hamilton writes. It’s chronic. This is the problem with man. And the flood didn’t change it. As I read you in chapter 8, verse 21. Coming out of the flood, God says the intent of his heart is still evil. The flood doesn’t change that. You read in the book of Deuteronomy later on in the history of God’s people, Israel, and you read the same kinds of things.
Verse 21 of Deuteronomy 31, “I know their intent which they are developing today.” He indicts the people of Israel because of many evils and He says, “I know their intent. I know what’s going on inside of them. I know what they form. I know what they devise.” And Jeremiah, the prophet, says in chapter 17, verse 9, familiar words, “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” And Romans chapter 3 says, “There’s none righteous, no not one.” Why did God destroy the whole world? Why did God drown the whole of the human race? Because of their depravity. They were wretched and wicked to the very core.
Down in verse 11 and 12, this is further stated. The earth was corrupt in the sight of God and the earth was filled with violence. What happens when the heart is wicked? What happens when all the designing, all the planning, all the shaping and forming and devising that goes on in the heart is only evil continually is that behavior becomes corrupt and violence breaks out everywhere. The earth was filled with violence, hamas. The violence - the word literally means the abuse of other people, general lawlessness that impacts other people.
It can mean just general lawlessness for you Old Testament scholars. The Septuagint uses the word adikia, which means lawlessness. It is the lawlessness that makes people hate each other, the lawlessness that makes people live in conflict with each other, injure each other. One lexical source says, “Cold-blooded and unscrupulous infringement of the personal rights of others, motivated by greed and hate and often making use of physical violence and brutality (The Dictionary of the Old Testament).
So that’s the kind of world you had. You had a world full of people who did nothing but form evil in their hearts, conduct themselves in an evil way, and all these sinners colliding in unending conflict. For emphasis, verse 12, God actually repeats and enhances what was said in verse 11, “And God looked on the earth,” there is what God saw, and what did He see? “It was corrupt, behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.”
The language here is really remarkable. All flesh - all flesh had corrupted their way, every intent of the thought of his heart was only evil continually. All the adjectives, all the adverbs speak of an absolutely inclusive depravity. Strong, emphatic words to demonstrate the extent of depravity. It’s not just the behavior of man that is depraved, it goes right down to the very thinking of man, right down to the very forming of all of his viewpoints. And it extends to every human being and it is in the heart of every human being all the time and only that, and then you can add that it’s aggravated by unions with demons.
That’s what the Lord saw. And guess what. It’s what He still sees. It’s what He still sees - isn’t any different today. The only people who aren’t like that are the people who have been transformed. And we can be thankful to God that by His grace there are more than eight today.
That’s what the Lord saw. Let me at least tell you what He felt seeing that. Verse 6, “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth and He was grieved in His heart.” God is not apathetic to the sin of man. He is not indifferent. In fact, Ezekiel said that God finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Jeremiah wept the tears of God over the judgment to come. Jesus wept the tears of God over the judgment to come on Jerusalem and Israel. The Lord was sorry, it says.
He was sorry. What does that mean? Well, it’s sadness. There’s a reality to the sadness of God. He was sad, so sad that He was sorry He made man on the earth. It’s a real thing. God can feel, and He felt the disappointment of the horrors that had occurred since He had made the glories of that pure, pristine Eden.
There are other places in the Bible where this is expressed. In 1 Samuel 15:11, God says, “I regret that I made Saul king, for he’s turned back from following me and has not carried out my commandments.” Why did He regret it? Because He was going to have to act in holy justice against Saul and that was a grief to God.
I don’t want you to get the idea that somehow there’s glee with God when He has to judge. There isn’t. He wept over the city of Jerusalem because He knew what was going to happen to them when judgment fell. He wept at the grave of Lazarus because He knew what death was going to do repeatedly throughout human history and the pain and sadness and sorrow that it would cause and the judgment that it would bring about. And He was sorry about what Saul had done, it made Him sad to have to judge that man.
And it was a sad thing to have to judge the world the way it would have to be judged. And part of that sorrow is not just over the condition of man but - listen to this - it is over the fact that God must do what He must do. There is no ambivalence. There is no indecision. There is no alternative. In that same chapter, 1 Samuel 15:11, where God said, “I regret that I made Saul king” and God expresses the sadness over that, that same chapter, verse 29, God calls Himself the glory of Israel and He says, “I will not lie or change my mind.” It says God is not a man that He should change His mind. Sorry, God can’t equivocate.
If you sin and if you’re depraved and if you reject His salvation and you reject His Word and you refuse Him and you make your league, as it were, with the forces of hell and you live out your sinful life in disregard to God, there can be no ambivalence, God has no choice. Judgment falls and that is a grief to God. You see, it is precisely because God does not change His mind that He is sad. So sad that He expresses it in the most extreme terms. And what are they? He was sorry He made man on the earth. That’s pretty extreme.
This is anthropomorphic in the sense that God is speaking in human terms, and that would be the ultimate note of human sorrow, to say, “I wish that the person never existed.” In those extreme terms, God speaks as if He were a man so that we can understand and says, “It’s as if I wish I’d never made him.” You see, God was truly grieved by sin and truly grieved by the immutable and necessary consequences that sinners bring upon themselves. Yes, God is sovereign. Yes, man is responsible.
God didn’t make him sin. God didn’t want him to sin. But God doesn’t accept excuses for his sin, nor does He blame his environment. And if he rejects God, then hell is God’s only option. And that’s why it says at the end of verse 6, “And He was grieved in His heart.” The heart of man was devising only evil. The heart of God was in grief.
God looks on our world, what does He see? Depravity everywhere - everywhere. What does He feel? Sadness - sadness. Were God a man and when He was a man, He wept. He finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked - never has, never will. But He has no choice. Imagine a world of billions of people and no one would acknowledge Him, no one would turn from sin and embrace the righteous God.
As we learned last time, in verse 3, God graciously gave a hundred and twenty years before the flood came. And for that hundred and twenty years, Noah preached, and he was a preacher of righteousness, and he preached how a sinner could become righteous by the same way any sinner in any age becomes righteous, the confession of sin and crying out to God for forgiveness and mercy. And for a hundred and twenty years, that dear preacher preached, and for a hundred and twenty years, nobody heard, only his wife, three sons, their three wives - eight people believed. For a hundred and twenty years, they rejected and rejected and rejected, and God had to do what He had to do.
All things haven’t always continued the same way. The world as we know it is not the world that once was. The world as we know it is the post-flood world, the world after God destroyed the first human family. And if He was patient then, what could we call this? If sixteen hundred and fifty years and a hundred and twenty years is patience, what is four thousand five hundred years? Beyond patience.
Is man any different today? No, this describes him. He was this way before the flood by virtue of his folly. He was this way after the flood, he’s still this way and as the years and centuries have gone on, he’s just become more clever in devising and forming and shaping the intent and the imagination of his heart into evil. God’s heart is still grieved. He still is sorry. But He must do what He must do. That’s why anybody is a fool who thinks that environmentalists or genetic engineers or social reconstructionists are going to guarantee a future for humanity, it’s not going to happen. There is no future for humanity.
We’ve extended God’s patience far longer than we ought to have, compared to the flood days. And the only escape today is to come to God as the true and living God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom He appointed to be judge and Savior of all who repent. Well, next time we’re going to see what God said and what God gave.
Well again, our Father, it’s such a wonderful thing to dig into the Word of God, and this ancient material in the five books of Moses, the Torah, the Pentateuch, this ancient book is so current, it speaks so directly to our time and to our world and to the responsibility that we have to live in the light of judgment and to do what Noah did for a hundred and twenty years, be preachers of righteousness and call sinners to repentance and to escape the coming holocaust.
This is a disposable planet. Because it is so sin stained, it must be destroyed and will be and with it, all those who in their depravity reject the only hope, Jesus Christ. But you have been so patient. And, Father, we ask that you would cause us to be faithful in whatever time is left to us, to proclaim the truth, that sinners may hear it and repent and be saved, rescued, delivered from judgment.
Oh, Father, how we thank you that before this judgment ever falls, we shall be taken into your presence, saved from the wrath to come. This is our hope and our joy, for which we thank you. Amen.
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