Let’s open our Bibles to the sixth chapter of Genesis. Now, I have a lot to say to you before I begin. Most people are not interested in the Bible as history. They do not view the Bible as the single source of divine truth. They do not view the Bible as the truth about the condition of man and his universe. At best, the Bible is considered by most people a piece of religious literature, an ancient curiosity, irrelevant to the life of man in a modern world - particularly the Old Testament and more particularly the book of Genesis.
The truth is, however, that in spite of what most people believe, the Bible is, in fact, the most relevant book and the only accurate source to understand why the world is the way it is and why human life is the way it is. In fact, it is impossible to understand the modern world, the world in the year 2001, without understanding not only the Bible but the book of Genesis. If we do not understand Genesis, we do not understand origins. And if we don’t understand origins, then we don’t understand why we’re the way we are.
To put it as simply as possible, the world is the way it is and human life is the way it is because of sin. Sin. Everything from storms, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions to wars, crime, divorce, immorality. All human suffering at all levels, whether it is cataclysmic on a global scale or a national scale or an individual life, all of it, all environmental problems, all natural disasters, all conflict, all pain, all suffering, all disappointment, all unfulfillment, all dissatisfaction is due to sin.
And there’s only one place to go in all literature existing in the world to find the inspired record of how sin entered the world, and that is Genesis chapters 1 through 3. It was the sin of Adam and Eve under the temptation of Satan that brought the curse on the universe and affected everything. And everything that is wrong in the universe, which affects everyone who lives in this material realm, is the result of sin.
To say that the Old Testament is irrelevant, to say that Genesis is irrelevant is exactly opposite the truth. In fact, if you do not believe the book of Genesis, you cannot understand why things are the way they are. The benchmark, the essential reality existing in the universe is sin. Disobedience and rebellion is in the very fabric of life. Man voluntarily in the garden put himself in harm’s way, willingly brought himself under the dominion of the devil and remains in that bondage. And no matter how he tries, he cannot change his nature, nor can he change by his own will power and effort the sovereign power of Satan being exercised over him.
He cannot stop tragedy on an environmental level, on a global level, on a national level, or even on an individual level. He cannot mitigate its tragic and deadly consequences. All the work of all the environmentalists, all the work of all the peace organizations, all the work of all the arbitrators, all the work of all the people all the time trying to make life better, don’t do it. In fact, we’re killing people off now, today, faster than ever, even though we have quote/unquote progressed this far. What we have gotten good at is developing more ways to slaughter each other.
Human history, then, is all about sin. And the Bible is the record of sin entering into the world and its effect and its impact. In fact, the Bible is, frankly, the history of sin. In fact, you could just take the front of your Bible where it says Holy Bible, cross that out, and write The History of Sin. That’s what it is. It starts in Genesis and it culminates in Revelation, and what you have is the record of sin. It goes from the entrance of sin, its initial entrance into the world, to its final judgment. It comes into the world in Genesis and then in the end, God creates a new heaven and a new earth, and there is no sin forever there. The Bible is the history of sin.
Now, as you study the Bible - I’m going to give you a big picture here. As you study the Bible, this becomes very identifiable to you. And there are a number of ways in which you can understand it. Let me give you a little series of principles to remember. The Bible teaches that all calamity is due to sin. Everything that is wrong is wrong because of sin. Everything that is wrong is wrong because we are sinful people living in a sin-cursed world. In verse 5 of Genesis 6, it says, “The wickedness of man is great on the earth, every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Verse 11 says, “The earth is corrupt in the sight of God. The earth is filled with violence.” Verse 12, “God looked on the earth. Behold, it was corrupt. All flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.” And all of this that comes after this, all the calamities from the flood on through all of human history at every level, whether they’re personal calamities or global calamities, all of them are due to sin. And if you don’t understand the role that sin plays, then you can’t understand why things are the way they are. All calamity is due to sin. It is the effect of the cause, which is sin.
But there’s a second principle. God sometimes brings special calamity on man as divine judgment. Now, the distinction there is that there are problems in the world, there are calamities in the world, there are disasters in the world, there is illness and suffering and pain and sorrow and death, and all of that is just in the fabric of a fallen creature in a fallen environment. But add to that, not only is there that sequential calamity that is just born out of the fallenness in which we exist, but God sometimes bring special calamity on top of just the normal calamity because He intervenes with judgment.
We have found that here as well. Verse 6 says, “The Lord saw the wickedness of man.” He saw it. In verse 7, He said, “I’ll blot out man.” Now it’s not just a question of cause and effect, now it’s just not a question of natural consequences in a fallen universe, it’s not just the law of entropy that matter is breaking down, everything tends toward disintegration, now you have divine calamity being injected. In verse 13, God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh is come before me.” God sometimes steps in and adds to the natural course of things supernatural judgment.
The third principle to add - and this is what we learn in the history of sin and we see it here in Genesis 6 - is that God always warns before He does that. God always warns before He does that. Verse 3 says, “The Lord said, ‘My spirit shall not strive with man forever.’” Then He goes on to say, “Nevertheless, his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” And what did God do during those hundred and twenty years? He had Noah doing what? Preaching righteousness. God said, “I’m going to destroy the world,” but He gave a hundred and twenty years of warning.
All calamity is due to sin, but on top of the natural calamity in a fallen world, there is supernatural calamity, which God sometimes brings as judgment. But before He brings it, He always warns.
Fourthly, God is patient before He brings that judgment. So patient. So patient that sometimes it appears as if He isn’t even there. Sometimes it appears as if He doesn’t seem to mind our sinfulness. All calamity is due to sin, the natural course of life. God sometimes brings supernatural calamity in addition to that, He always warns first, and He’s patient. A fifth principle: God brings that judgment on His own initiative when, in His mind, iniquity is full. That’s a phrase God uses in Genesis 15:16.
When the iniquity is full in His mind, when He has had enough, He will step in. He did it with the flood. He did it in chapter 19 with Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain. If you follow history, you will find it repeated. He did it with Israel. He did it with the northern kingdom of Israel. He sent the Assyrians when the iniquity was full and they had spurned His warnings and He had run out of His patience, and added to all of the normal calamities of life came the Assyrian slaughter and the captivity of the northern kingdom.
He did it to the nation of Judah in the south when the iniquity was full. He had warned and warned and warned prophet after prophet after prophet. Finally, His patience was exhausted and when iniquity is full, in came the Babylonians for the slaughter. He made such promises to Nineveh as well, to come in and preach warning about His judgment.
What you have in the Bible is that kind of emphasis, and you see it even in the New Testament as He warns Jerusalem. And the patience ran out and iniquity was full in 70 A.D. and destruction came. Even before that, it came to Chorazin, it came to Bethsaida, it came to Capernaum.
Let me add one more principle to that little list, number six. All that historic calamity from the flood on, recorded in the Bible, and there’s calamity in the Bible on Egypt, and there’s calamity in the Bible on Moab, and there’s calamity in the Bible on nations around Israel. All that calamity is a preview of the ultimate calamity when God sends Jesus to destroy sinners at the end of human history. Now, that really is the first major message of the Bible.
The first major message of the Bible is not God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. The first major message of the Bible is that God will - God must - punish sin. His holy nature requires it. And He will, on top of natural calamity and disaster and suffering and death, bring supernatural judgment, but He will always warn first. He will extend patience, but He will act sovereignly when in His mind iniquity is full, and that is but previews of coming attractions.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones once wrote that God and sin are eternal incompatibilities. He will punish individuals, He will punish groups, He will punish cities, He will punish nations, and He will punish the globe when in His mind iniquity is full.
Now, in Genesis 6, we have the divine record of the severest judgment that has ever fallen on the world, a calamity like no other. And there have been calamities throughout human history. There have been calamities by volcanoes. I’ve visited several times, even a few months ago, in the city of Pompeii, where Vesuvius buried that population of upwards to forty thousand people. There have been floods, and there have been tidal waves, and there have been all kinds of natural disasters, as we well know, going on even today.
There have been plagues and diseases that wipe out thousands upon thousands of people. But there has never been - never been - anything like the flood. A calamity like no other calamity. And God’s patience was exhausted, God’s warnings were ignored, and this massive devastation fell upon the world. And as I’ve been telling you, it came about sixteen hundred and fifty years after the creation, in about sixteen hundred and fifty years, God drowned the entire earth with the exception of eight people, Noah and his wife and three sons and their wives.
And I’m sure that after people had lived through those years, they got comfortable with their sin and life was going on and they were progressing and they were developing societies and civilization and they were learning how to build and they were learning how to raise livestock and they w\ere learning how to do metallurgy, as we learned, and they were learning how to write poetry and they were learning how to develop music.
Life was going on, and they must have thought that it would just always go on like that, and they became comfortable with their sin, comfortable with their indifference toward God, and God one day determined that their iniquity was full and drowned them all.
Well, it’s been forty-five hundred years since then, or more, and I would say that we could be due. If it only took sixteen hundred and fifty years for the first destruction of humanity, how is it that we’ve survived for forty-five hundred years? At any time the Lord desired, He could bring the next great calamity. The next great calamity is described to us in the book of Revelation and as well in a very important passage in 2 Peter chapter 3 where it tells us (as we learned last time) that as the Lord destroyed the world by water, the next time He’ll destroy it by fire at the coming of Jesus Christ.
The elements will melt with fervent heat. The whole creation, as we know it, will be uncreated. It’ll be disintegrated. That is the major first message of the Bible, that man is sinful, that he is hopelessly sinful, that he is incurably sinful, that he is (because of his sin) living from one disaster to another, one calamity to another, which is the natural effect of sin. And injected on top of that, to compound his problems, there is the supernatural judgment of God, which can fall at any time on the world or on nations or on cities or on communities or on families or on individuals. That’s the first great message of the Bible.
But there’s a second message. The second message is equally critical, and it is this: When, during the time of God’s patience and warning, sinners repent, He will forgive their sin. That is the second and necessary corollary to the first. Because when God is patiently warning, He is calling sinners to repentance. In the midst of this, we read in verse 8, “Noah found favor in the eyes of God” or “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” We read in verse 9 that he was a righteous man, blameless in his time, and he walked with God.
In the midst of the worst of times, in the midst of the warnings of God, in the time of His patience before His decision to bring judgment because iniquity is full, He is calling sinners to repent. And even in the midst of judgment, there is grace. Back in chapter 3 when God was pronouncing a curse on the participants in the fall in the garden in Genesis chapter 3 and verse 15, God says, “I’ll put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.”
What is that? That is God telling the serpent that there’s going to be a seed of a woman who is going to come and crush the serpent’s head. And there is God’s grace. There is God’s promise that though He is going to pronounce a curse on man and a curse on woman, He also is going to bring one out of woman, born of woman, who will crush the serpent’s head. And so there will be a deliverer, that is the introduction really to the Savior, to the Messiah, the One who destroys the work of Satan and overturns sin.
And so even there, you have the promise of the seed of the woman who would bruise the serpent’s head, and later on (in verse 21) you have God offering a sacrifice and taking garments of skin to cover the nakedness of Adam and his wife, and there was a picture of substitutionary death and atonement and covering. So here in the very midst of the curse, God is saying, “But I will crush Satan’s head, I will conquer Satan, and I will cover the sinner’s shame.”
Those two truths, then, really are the story of the Bible. It is the history of sin. But you have to give it a second title, it is also the history of grace. Two truths flow through Bible history, sin and salvation, blessing and cursing, judgment and mercy. This is the only way to understand the Bible, and it’s the only way to understand human history.
Things go wrong because of a sinful universe. It is the natural outworking of fallenness. But you add to that that things go wrong because God supernaturally determines at certain intervals to judge sinners. We can’t always tell which is the natural course of sin and which is the divine judgment. But at the same time, God always warns through His Word, through those who speak for Him, and He is patient until iniquity is full.
That’s the Bible. And we see those two themes right from Genesis on through, judgment and grace, blessing and cursing, sin and salvation. And as we study the Bible, we want to get something very foundational established. What the Bible tells us is historical fact. The creation is fact. The fall is fact. The flood is fact. It is exactly the way the Bible says it happened. This is history.
There are a lot of reasons why I believe that. The most compelling one for me, among many, the most compelling reason I believe that Genesis, along with the rest of the Bible, is fact is because Jesus said so. Listen to Luke 17:26, the words of Jesus, “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also in the days of the of Son of man. They were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark and the flood came and destroyed t hem all.” Jesus believed in Noah, a real man. Jesus believed in a real ark, and Jesus believed in a real flood that destroyed everybody.
You cannot hold onto Jesus - listen. You cannot hold onto Jesus, you cannot hold onto the gospel, you cannot hold onto the New Testament and reject Genesis because Jesus believed the historical record of Genesis. So did all of the apostles. So when we’re studying Genesis, we’re studying facts. Noah was a real person, had a real family, lived in a real time, built a real boat and floated during a real flood that destroyed the world.
Now listen to this. All we know about God - I’m not saying you can’t know there is God, you can know there is God without the Bible, but all you know about God personally is because of Scripture. What you know about man in his fallenness, in his nature, is because of Scripture. What you know about sin is because of Scripture. What you know about judgment is because of Scripture. What you know about grace is because of Scripture. What you know about salvation comes from the Bible. Let me say it this way. Natural revelation will lead you to an unknown God, the Bible will make Him known.
The Athenians, the Greeks, could reason to a God that they called the unknown god, and that’s where natural revelation will get you. Only the Bible makes Him known. So when we’re studying the book of Genesis - and I just wanted to lay this out because I want you to understand this. When we’re studying the book of Genesis, we’re studying real history, and you get weary of these liberals who come along and want to turn it into a bunch of fantasy stories and allegories and all of this and not accept it for what it really is. This is the record of God’s judgment on the entire planet.
Now let’s go back to the text. I told you I had a lot to say before I begin.
Now - we look at the record here in Genesis chapter 6, and we’re looking at verses 8 on down in particular tonight, but we’ll pick up what we saw last time. As we look at the record starting in verse 5, this is the section in which the Lord says why He destroys the world. And it’s the same reasons that He’ll do it next time. And what it says in verse 5 is that God saw or the Lord saw the wickedness of man was great on the earth. And we said the first point is it all started with what the Lord saw - it all started with what the Lord saw.
He saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, that every intent - or every imagination - every device, every design, every plan of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And down in verse 11, the corruption is mentioned again. The earth was corrupt collectively, totally. The earth is filled with violence, which is the product of corruption. Verse 12, again, the Lord looks, it’s corrupt. All flesh have corrupted their way upon the earth.
Humanity is wicked to the core and the wickedness has continued to manifest itself in a continually degraded society. And society has gotten worse and worse and worse, and we can understand that. Our society is worse than it was a hundred years ago in terms of its blatant immorality. It is worse than it was seventy-five years ago. It’s worse than it was fifty years ago. It’s worse than it was twenty-five years ago.
Literature is worse, it’s more base, it’s more gross, it’s more filthy than it was in the past. Music is far worse than it was in the past. Public discourse is more evil. Language is more vile, raunchy, sordid, and perverted, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We have lived long enough, some of us, to see this happening. And what happens is, give man time, and his degraded and depraved heart will give him greater and greater collective license to degrade society. And the Lord saw that.
Of course, it was even aggravated by the activity of demons (as indicated in verses 1 and 2) who were coming down and seducing men and women to follow them and to be followers of Satan on the promise that they would escape the judgment of God and they would become like God, the same old lie that he told in the garden, and people got involved with demons, which compounded their wickedness. And that’s what the Lord saw.
Secondly, we noted what the Lord felt. Verse 6, “The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth and He was grieved in His heart.” This is what He felt. He felt sadness. He felt grief over what man had become. And the Lord expressed that sorrow in human terms. It was as if He was sorry He made them. Obviously, God isn’t sorry in the sense that He was getting information He didn’t expect. He wasn’t sorry in the sense that it hadn’t turned out the way He thought it would. He knew exactly how it would turn out, but that didn’t make Him any less sorrowful and it didn’t make man any less guilty.
And His sadness is not tied to some surprise, but His sadness is tied to the fact that He has no choice. His holiness demands destruction. It is necessary, it is inevitable, it is consistent with who He is. His holy nature has no choice but to punish him, and that brings Him grief. So we saw what the Lord saw and we read what the Lord felt.
Thirdly, we come to what the Lord said, and this brings us to verse 7. “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 am sorry that I have made them.” He had no choice, as I said. His holy natured demanded that He have a righteous reaction to sin. This is the second speech, by the way, the first one noted back in verse 3, “Then the Lord said, ‘My spirit will not always strive with man.’”
God speaks to reveal what He wants to say. God spoke, perhaps even through Noah. But He spoke, and this is what He said: “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land” or “the face of the earth.”
You know, back in chapter 5, verse 29, Lamech, a man named Lamech (different than the one in chapter 4) lived a hundred and eighty-two years and became the father of a son, and that son was Noah. Called his name Noah, saying, “This one shall give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord had cursed.” You know, he believed that he was going to have a child that would bring peace to the world, that would bring rest from labor.
Remember, I told you people were living to be nine hundred years old. I mean we can’t even work for fifty-five years without thinking we deserve retirement and Social Security, imagine living to be nine hundred and sixty-nine years and working your whole life.
And so this man was saying, “I’m going to have a son who will bring rest,” but I don’t think the rest that Noah brought was the rest that he was planning. He brought rest to the troubled world, all right, by drowning the entire civilization. He brought rest from the toil. He brought rest from the wickedness for a while. And God has been patient in this time. God has been warning.
But He says, “Soon” - actually a hundred twenty years, according to verse 3 - “and I will blot out” - I want to talk about that word because that is very, very important. Machah in the Hebrew, very precise word, very graphic language. This word has the intent of erasing something; in fact, of erasing something written in a book. The literal meaning of the word is to remove something off of something else. It’s been there on something and I’m removing it off of that.
I need to give you some illustrations of it. It’s very important - you’ll know why in a moment. In Numbers chapter 5, verse 23, “The priest shall then write these curses on a scroll and wash them off into the water of bitterness.” Same term, same idea, it’s washing something off, literally removing it off something upon which it has been placed. In that case, it’s words put on a scroll and washed off.
You have a similar usage in the thirty-second chapter of Exodus, in verse 32, “But now if thou wilt forgive their sin and if not, please blot me out from thy book which thou hast written.” Again, it’s the idea of erasing words out of a book. Wiping them off. “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book.’” Wipe his name off the book, remove it. You have the same thing in Psalm 69 and verse 28.
There are other uses of this word, and I’m not going to take the time to give them all to you, for erasing names, same kind of idea, Isaiah 43:25, Isaiah 44:22, Jeremiah 18:23, Psalm - I think it’s 109, about verse 14 or so. There is also a reference in 2 Kings chapter 2, the same idea of removing something off of something else, most easily understood as an erasing of something. And that is the commonest use of that term.
So the idea is that God is literally going to wipe man off the earth. And that’s what it says. Back to Genesis 6. “I will wipe man, whom I have created, from the face of the land,” very precise term. Literally, the face of the earth. This is not a local flood, as some have suggested, a little rain around the Mesopotamia Valley. This is a worldwide holocaust. In 2 Peter 3:16, it says, “The world perished.” In Genesis 7, verse 23, “He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the earth.”
In the eighth chapter of Genesis and verse 21, “The Lord smelled the soothing aroma, the Lord said to Himself, ‘I will never again curse the ground on account of man for the intent of man’s heart is evil form his youth. I will never again destroy every living thing as I have done.’” All the language indicates the complete removal of every living thing on the land, erasing them off the planet.
Now let’s go back. He says from man to animals to creeping things. And to birds of the sky, who can’t fly permanently, they had to come down and even the rain threw them down, and they would all be destroyed. Everything that lives on land. That might be a hendiadys, which is a way of saying all creatures, just naming those, but He is specific. The creeping things, everything that creeps and crawls on the earth from insects to snakes, the flying things, everything that flies in the air, the animals, the mammal family and man, they will all be drowned. That’s what the Lord said.
Now I want to digress for a moment to explain something to you. As I was studying this a week or so ago, it struck me that the enormity of this kind of destruction of billions of people - remember, some have calculated seven billion or up - brought about the question of bones, skeletal remains. Shouldn’t there be billions of bones discovered by paleontologists in the strata? Well, first of all, you need to understand that when they look at the strata and they say, you know, “This age was this piece, and the next piece was this next age, and the next piece was this age,” and you have this timeline. That’s not true - that’s not true.
That strata is put down by a force going this way, not layered like that through time. And by the sheer force of that, certain things in that sediment are crushed into that force. Actually the strata geology is a great argument for the flood because that’s the only way you can get that strata is by a force like this, not layer after layer after layer laid down over trillions of years.
But shouldn’t there be, then, in that massive amounts of bones in the sediment? (Which was the mud that was flowing rapidly when, during the flood, the heavens broke up, and we’ll say more about that when we get there, the fountains of the deep opened up. I believe the earth had fissures in which water came out. The continents as we know them today are formed, and the mountains as we know them around the world were formed by the cataclysm of the flood as well. The earth was not the same earth as it is now.
It is called by Peter “the earth that perished.” We have a different one. And shouldn’t we look into the fossil record and find human bones and the bones of these mammals and so forth? Well, the earth, it says in 2 Peter 3:6, that then was overflowed with water and it perished. That earth literally was destroyed. That earth itself was changed, mountains were changed, continents were changed. In that destruction and upheaval of water, that forming of mountains and forming of continents, organisms were trapped and buried in that deep mud which hardened in the sedimentary rock, fossilizing quickly the organic remains that were trapped there.
I was reading a little article from December 13th in the L.A. Times just this last December, and it said, “Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley were once under water and excavations for the subway that they’ve been doing have yielded two thousand two hundred fossils of fish along with the tusk, a few bones, and some teeth.” They find a little handful of remains of mammals which could really be a product of the Ice Age, which came after the flood.
But they find lots of fish, and let me tell you why. When we study fossils, when scientists go into that, they don’t find many mammal bones. You might be surprised to know there are, latest count that I could find, about twelve hundred remains of dinosaur skeletons in the world. That’s not very many because even dinosaurs have a low fossilization potential. All land creatures have a very low fossilization potential. When land animals drown, they bloat and float, is what they do, and then they come apart. Sea water, bacteria, scavengers shred them.
Whatever is left of land animals and birds drowned by the intense rain and lack of food, whatever remains of them when the waters subside, are lying on the surface and they disintegrate rapidly. If their bones are caught in the rising mountains and the shaping of the continents in the massive movement of earth and mud flows, they would grind like a glacier does and grind their bones to powder. So scientists tell us we shouldn’t expect to find fossils of land animals and man in any large amount, particularly of man.
Why? Because man is the most intelligent. And what’s he going to do when it starts to flood? He’s going to make a boat or a raft and move up higher and he’s going to move up higher, and when he can’t get any higher, he’ll figure out how to float. There was water in the earth that perished and they had boats and there was fish so they knew what a boat was. And so, typically, humans would be rising all the time to the top and their corpses, when they finally succumbed to the flood, would bloat and float, end up on the surface, and any ones that were caught in the massive mudslides, as I said, would be ground to powder. So you don’t find very many human bones deep in the sediment.
Marvin Lubenow has written a book, Bones of Contention, it’s called. I’m quoting him. “A very common myth today is that not many hominoid fossils have been discovered. The reality is that by 1975 or ’76, approximately four thousand hominoid fossil individuals had been unearthed.” It’s not very many. “The period since that time has seen more intense and successful research of hominoid fossils. No one knows how many have been found to date. However, by my own reckoning, a conservative estimate is that a total of hominoid fossil individuals discovered could exceed six thousand.” Which sort of makes the point, doesn’t it? There aren’t very many. There aren’t very many. There are some; there are not many.
Now you say, “Well, I mean, you’re sure this is an accurate understanding?” Well, let me support it a little bit, okay? Now, just follow this little scientific analysis here, and this comes out of scientific sources. Ninety-five percent of all fossils that have been discovered are marine fossils - water - invertebrates, especially shell fish like clams, corals, and trilobites because they have a hard shell that can survive. Ninety-five percent of all fossils are marine. They were in the water, and when they were down in the water, they got buried by the sediment, trapped in it.
Listen to this: “Of the remaining five percent of all fossils” - ninety-five percent are marine - “of the remaining five percent, ninety-five percent are algae and plant fossils.” And now we’re at 99.75 percent of all fossils. We have .25 percent left; 95 percent of those are other invertebrates, insects. Now we have .0125 percent left, and that includes all vertebrates and most of them are fish. That makes sense, doesn’t it? And the little tiny amount that are mammals consist of less than one bone as the source of reconstructing that mammal.
So what the flood did is very clear. If you had a flood, if you had a worldwide flood, you would expect to find down in the sediment those creatures that lived in the water, those plants that sunk into the water, that algae. And you would expect the float-and-bloat principle to push the animals to the top, and you would expect to find least of all humans because they had enough intelligence to ride as high as they could go. When God said, “I’m going to erase all of those off the planet,” here we are, and when we go to look for the fossils, we find .0125 are vertebrates and most of those are fish. And you know what? He did blot them out, off the face of the earth.
Now, that’s what the Lord saw, what the Lord felt, and what the Lord said. We’ll see more about the flood.
Now let’s look lastly at what the Lord gave because this is the other thread that runs through the Bible - what the Lord gave. Verse 8. “But” - you might want to circle that, that’s really an important word, isn’t it? Really important. “But Noah” - I like the old translation - “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” You know the tune, don’t you? That was an old song and rightly sung. What did the Lord give? He gave grace. He gave favor. The Lord looked down on Noah and He gave him grace, that’s what it says.
You say, “Well, Noah was probably unaffected by sin.” No, he was a sinful guy. We’re going to find out how sinful at the end of chapter 9. You don’t need to look ahead. It’ll be there when we get there. It’s pretty ugly - pretty ugly. He was a sinner. He was even a sinner after the flood. He was a sinner before the flood, but he escaped wrath and he escaped judgment.
Why? Turn to Hebrews 11. When you come to the New Testament, you have in that great eleventh chapter of Hebrews the heroes of faith. This is so - I mean you can’t miss this one. Hebrews 11:7 doesn’t say by works, does it? It says by what? By faith, Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen. What hadn’t been seen? A flood, the breaking up of the earth, rain. God said it’s going to rain and “What is that?” Never had rained. But he was warned by God about things not yet seen. I love this: “In reverence, he prepared an ark for the deliverance” - or salvation - “of his household.”
He was living in the middle of the desert, there wasn’t an ocean there, and there never had been any rain. God said it’s going to rain, it’s going to rain, you’re going to have to have a boat to float above the water or you’ll drown. And he believed God, acknowledged the warning, and you can be sure that God told him that he was going to drown the whole world because of what? Sin. “He believed God. In reverence” - I love that - in worship - “he prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which He condemned the world.”
His faith stood as a stark condemnation of everyone else, while they mocked and laughed and ridiculed this stupid man for a hundred and twenty years building a boat. But because of his faith, because he stood against a condemned and sinful world, he became an heir of the righteousness which is according to what? Faith. People say, “How were people saved in the Old Testament?” By faith. He believed what God said. He didn’t yet know about the Messiah and the cross and the resurrection, but he believed what God said. And God counted his faith as sufficient and gave him grace and righteousness.
So God told Noah about sin. He told him that He saw the wickedness of man on the earth and everything about him was only evil continually. He told him that he was going to punish him for his corruption and violence. He told him in verse 13, “The end of all flesh is come before me” and “I’m going to destroy them all. You need to build a boat to protect yourself if you believe me.” And he believed God, and God forgave his sin, and God granted him the righteousness which is according to faith. God literally clothed him with His own righteousness because of his faith. He is a clear illustration of salvation.
He entered into a covenant with God. Look at verse 18. “I will establish my covenant with you.” He entered into a relationship with God by faith. He was saved, if you will. He believed God. You know what? He said, “God, don’t destroy me. Don’t punish me. Don’t drown me with the rest of the world. Forgive me. I want to escape your judgment.” And he demonstrated his faith by doing what God told him to do, building an ark, and because he received grace through faith, verse 9 says, “Noah was a righteous man.”
The word here for righteous in Hebrew is tsadiq. It means wholly righteousness, W-H-O-L-L-Y, totally. It cannot refer to an occasional righteousness, doesn’t mean now and then he was righteous. He was completely righteous. He was blameless. Now, there’s only one way you can become that way. You can’t be perfect, none of us can. He couldn’t, you can’t, I can’t. It must mean that God viewed him as righteous, and the only way that God could ever view you as righteous is if He covered you with His righteousness, right? Is if He granted you His righteousness. And that is what that is saying.
God granted to Noah the garments of salvation, to borrow the language of Isaiah, the garment of righteousness. And He covered that man so that he was viewed by God as righteous. Why? Because God placed all of Noah’s sins on Christ who one day on Calvary bore them and took the full punishment for Noah. He was justified. And He says he was blameless in his time. That was something. Everybody else was blameworthy, but God didn’t blame him.
In his time, what does that mean? That means at the time of his life, in the time when everybody else was wicked, he was blameless. How do you get blameless and righteous? Only one way: God has to impute that righteousness to you.
So here was a man who believed God when no one else did - and his wife and his sons and their wives also - and God counted his faith as sufficient and graciously forgave his sin, covered him with righteousness, and put his sins on Christ who in the mind of God, of course, was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. Chapter 7 verse 1, “The Lord said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household; for you, I have seen to be righteous before me in this time.’” His family was righteous. They had come in faith and been graced with righteousness.
For that hundred and twenty years, 2 Peter 2:5 says, “He was a preacher of righteousness.” He had been made righteous. He preached that God would grant you righteousness not your own but His own righteousness if you’ll put your faith in Him, confess your sin, and repent. Sad to say, he couldn’t convince anybody but his wife and family. So Noah was justified.
You want to know something about justified people? You never get justified without getting sanctified. And look what it says, end of verse 9. “Noah” - did what? What did he do? He “walked with God.” There’s no justification without sanctification. He walked with God. Reminds you of Enoch in chapter 5, verse 22. Speaks of conduct, speaks of sanctification. He was a justified man, he was a sanctified man.
You know what’s encouraging? God knew the heart of Noah, He knew the heart of his wife and the heart of his sons and the heart of their wives. And God always knows who belongs to Him in the midst of any judgment. The end of the Old Testament, Malachi talks about the day of the Lord, and Malachi says those that belong to God were speaking to one another, they were afraid of the judgment. God revealed to Malachi, “The Lord knows those that are His.” He knows. And there were eight in the world that were His.
Then verse 9: “These are the generations of Noah.” That’s simply a signature, the toledoth of Noah. This is the story of Noah. Back in chapter 2, verse 4, “This is the generation of the heavens and the earth.” Chapter 5, verse 1, “This is the generation of Adam.” Chapter 10, verse 1, “This is the generation of Shem, Ham, Japheth.” Chapter 11, verse 10, “This is the generation of Shem.” Verse 27, “This is the generation of Terah.” And you can kind of flow through the book of Genesis, moving from one record of family to the next record of family. First is the record of the creation of the heavens and the earth, then Adam and - progresses along.
This is the generation of Noah, and it goes from chapter 6, verse 9, over to chapter 9, verse 29, and then chapter 10, verse 1, picks up the generation or the toledoth of his sons. Verse 10 says, “He became the father of three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth,” and we’ll say more about them later. All three believers with their wives and their mother, they were part of the eight souls 1 Peter 3 talks about being saved.
The point of this passage, writes Alan Ross, is that the wickedness of pagan idolatry and fornication brings pain to God and judgment to the world, a judgment that can be escaped only by God’s grace. That is the point. But isn’t that the point of the whole Bible? Isn’t that what the whole Bible is about, that idolatry and sin brings pain to God and He warns and He waits and then He acts?
Now, we started looking at this section by considering 2 Peter and the scoffers who say, “Where is the sign of His coming? All things continue as they have from the beginning. He’s not going to come, He never has. We don’t believe that. Everything’s always been the same.” And you remember Peter says, “Have you forgotten the flood? Are you going to be willfully ignorant that God destroyed the entire world?”
You see, the flood is really history’s most powerful evidence of the final destruction of this earth. And why did it happen? Preoccupation with physical appetites, materialistic attitudes and interests, devotion to pleasure, rebellion against God and unbelief, corruption, violence - all of these things. Communing with Satan, even blasphemy as they mocked God in the face of the preaching of Noah - all these things. God judged them once after sixteen hundred and fifty years. Here we are, over forty-five hundred years later. Why do we think that we will escape? Standards haven’t changed.
I want to close by having you turn in your Bible to Matthew 24. This is an important place to close. Matthew 24 is the great sermon of Jesus on His second coming. Verse 37. For the coming of the Son of man, it’ll be just like the days of Noah. See, this is a very important parallel. The coming of the Son of man will be just like the days of Noah, whereas in those days they were - which were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. Just life as usual. Until the day that Noah entered the ark. They didn’t understand until the flood came and took them all away. So shall the coming of the Son of man be.
You see, here is the great, historic testimony to the second coming judgment. It happened once in the days of Noah and it’ll happen again. Verse 44 adds, “For this reason you be ready, too.” Noah was, and his family. You be ready, too, “For the Son of man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” We don’t have a boat to get into, but Christ is the ark, isn’t He? Christ is the ark. And in Christ, we rise above that final judgment.
Lord, thank you again for the richness, the treasure of your truth. We bless you for placing us in that ark of safety, to rise above not only the floods of life that take their natural course in this world but to rise above that supernatural judgment. We thank you that we will be lifted above the coming devastation, not by any virtue of our own, but by faith in the ark, the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank you for granting us that grace to believe, for justifying us, covering us with your righteousness, and sanctifying us, that we might walk with you. Amen.
This article is also available and sold as a booklet.