The Worldwide Flood
The third mountain peak event in the unfolding drama of God’s dealings with humanity was the universal flood, more commonly known as “Noah’s Flood.” As God recounts the event for us through His prophet Moses, after hundreds of years of persevering with humanity’s violence, disobedience, and evil, God, who made life in the first place, was grieved at the mess humanity made of it. So He decided to end all life which was dependent on breath, except for Noah and his family who found favor in His eyes. For Noah’s survival, He instructed him to build a very large ship (some 500 ft. long, three decks in height). Then He flooded the entire world and covered all the high mountains with water. God eliminate life and changed the landscape of the world in the space of one eventful year.
Most educated people today have a very hard time believing that a good and loving God would perform a mass extinction of humanity. These biblical naysayers stridently object to the whole account of the flood, for it seems to them to present God as a genocidal maniac – an evil tyrant of proportions never beheld even in annals of warring humanity. However such objections are hardly logical or defensible. They wrongly imagine God as just another person like themselves, with no more rights to act than the rest of us, or at most like an earthly king who has no moral authority to end human life. They conceive of a God subject to some moral law outside of Himself which demands He obey. Such thinking is a monumental error!
The correct way to understand the massive judgment of the flood is to begin with God as absolute Creator of life with all the rights which come with being Creator. One must understanding that all human life is dependent upon God for existence. Then with that understanding remember the fateful decision when man chose to disobey God’s revealed will in spite of the warning of the judgment of death. Sin is the reason for human death, and God’s judgment on sinful humans is merely what man deserves. God is just in all His judgments. So the flood was not evil genocide but righteous judgment. It was called for.
Another important feature to the narrative is God’s incredible patience. Throughout that very long interval between the fall and the flood God proved Himself long-suffering. He was not quickly aroused to angry judgment despite the accumulating violence and atrocities committed in His sight through the centuries. The Lord of Heaven much preferred to keep giving man the opportunity to cease from evil and learn to do good. Humanity, though, kept deteriorating morally and spiritually. Man became attached to his sinful lifestyle. The sons of Adam loved their sin rather than God. So God determined He had seen enough. It was time to end man who had irreversibly corrupted his way.
To accomplish this holy judgment, God set in motion some physical processes which are not in operation today. Scientists who treat present natural processes as the key to understanding earth’s past make an erroneous presumption. Whatever processes were in play to bring about such a universal cataclysm, they are not operative now and cannot be studied by science. God initiated some atmospheric and geologic processes which led to an unparalleled worldwide flood. The flood’s express purpose was to take away the breath of all living beings, men and animals (who were under the rule of men), and start over with eight people – one faithful man named Noah, his wife, his three sons (Ham, Shem, and Japheth) their three wives, and animal kinds preserved in the Ark. From this believing and righteous family, and the animals who walked off the boat, the whole world would be repopulated following the flood.
This was such a tragic event but necessary for the future benefit of humanity and God’s purposes. Children continuing to be born in such a violent, lawless surrounding would only lead to increased evil. Though God already proved himself merciful, He now also proved himself just. Wrongs must be righted. Evil was tolerated for a long time, but then just judgment fell, and fell with a holy fury.
The idea of a worldwide flood and Noah’s ark is the butt of many a modern joke. The story of Noah is often treated as a fairy tale on par with The Lion King or Aesop’s Fables. It is considered fine for moral instruction but not world history. Moderns laugh at the thought of one boat housing animals two-by-two, rain falling for 40 days and 40 nights, an ark surviving a cataclysm, and a boat landing near the top of Mt. Ararat in modern day Turkey. They particularly scoff at the entire planet being covered with water. Where did all the water come from and where did it go? Did it just disappear? To them the story smacks of myth and legend.
This is unfortunate, for the evidence for a worldwide flood, both inside the Bible and outside, is more extensive than the majority of educated people realize. It is fairly amazing how few people are even aware of the flood of evidence (pardon the pun) for the universal flood! Inside Scripture it is very clear the flood covered all the earth for it is described as covering “all the high mountains.” Genesis 7:19-20 “The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered.” It should be obvious that if even one high mountain was covered for months that would require every mountain on earth that height and below to be covered. Furthermore the whole point of the flood was to kill off all the humans and animals not inside the Ark. If it were merely a large local flood, the animals should have been sent far away from the ark to survive, not toward it. In fact, why create an ark at all? God could have instructed the righteous family simply to flee to a higher mountain outside the region. So the biblical narrative is clear. It was a universal flood.
Evidence outside the Bible is also much stronger than many people realize. For example, societies all over the globe have similar stories, passed down through the centuries, of an ancient worldwide flood, sometimes with many of the details matching the Biblical account. This is long before they had any contact with the Bible. Add to this the undeniable evidence that on the tops of every mountain range in the world is evidence of marine animals encased in fossils. Added to that also is that these sedimentary rock layers do not show the erosion or meteorite activity one would expect from millions of years of small floods. Creation scientists have much more evidence to provide. We could go on … The cradle of civilization is right near where the Bible says humanity climbed out of the Ark – in the fertile crescent. Population growth statistics fit the model of three families being the genesis of all the nations of the earth a few thousand years ago. All the languages of the world are related, providing further evidence they all came from one civilization. It is now a proven fact from the genome project that all humanity descended from one human couple. All of this fits perfectly with literal interpretation of the biblical account of the flood.
As we wrote, one of the giant mistakes modern geologists make is to assume that the present processes are the key to the past. This is a pure assumption which cannot be proven by science and contradicts God’s revelation of the past. That is why geologic theories presently do not account for these unique processes set in motion at that time. Creation scientists have offered theories to account for the water. From the time of creation there was a water canopy set in the atmosphere (Genesis 1:6-7) which was likely unleashed at the time of the flood. There was also a great amount of water set underground on which the continental plates gently rested. These are what the Bible refers to as the fountains of the great deep. (Genesis 7:11 “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.”)
Obviously one’s view of the past geological record will color one’s perception of the evidence laid down in rock. Were all these marine animals entrapped in multiple floods over millions of years, or were they entrapped mostly in one giant flood not as far back in earth’s history? Even the dating methods employed to answer the question scientifically are not as scientific as is often assumed. There often contains circular reasoning and leaps of thought in deriving dates from these dating methods. Also one’s view of how fast the tectonic plates moved, and thus how fast the mountains formed, will color one’s approach to the issue of a global flood. If the plates moved in the past at the same or similar speed they do in the present, then the idea of a global flood over the high mountains would have to be considered legendary. But if the plates had some other cause to move them quickly, the account remains valid. Some have theorized that the plates had water beneath them in the past, and that water breaking out is part of what caused the global flood. Those plates, some scientists propose, could have moved much, much faster thus quickly forming the mountain ranges and the deep ocean trenches only a few thousand years ago. If that is the case then the amount of water in our vast oceans is more than adequate to have covered all the land at that time (since the mountains would have been much shorter and the ocean trenches more shallow) only abating as the landscape emerged and the ocean trenches were formed. There is plenty of water on the earth (remember earth is some 70% water), and with a different understanding of the geological past this account is by no means farfetched.
Let’s continue with the account …. humanity lived on, along with the animal world, by climbing off a giant ship with 1.4 million cubic feet of space. There was plenty of room for the land animals and the food to feed them. Once off the boat, they made sacrifices to the one true God and began to multiply and refill the earth. It was at this time all the nations were formed, the clans were forced to drift away from each other, and the world’s languages commenced. As they moved from the middle-east outward in all directions, they filled Asia, Africa, Europe, and eventually Australia and the Americas.
Time passed. Lots of time passed. Men again corrupted their way, but their corruption was held better in check due to the formation of nations and governments to punish wrongdoers. The national governments suppressed violence but they did not preserve the worship of the one true and living God. They also chose to go their own way, invented the worship of various aspects of nature or powers thought to be behind nature. Thus polytheism, astrology, paganism, and other aspects of nature worship were born. This also displeased God very much.
God’s plan though continued. God was never surprised by the events on earth. In step with His eternal plan God chose a man named Abraham to unfold the next phase of his plan for the ages.
The Covenants & The Promises
God did not leave the human race alone and without hope. His love for mankind led him to promise a Savior to come from the womb of the woman one day to pay for humanity’s sins and redeem man back from evil. However the timing of that Savior would have to wait. History would first have to be unravelled.
The purpose of history was to show the utter inability of humanity to solve its own problems. As people spread across the globe, kingdoms would rise and fall. Exploits would be accomplished and forgotten. Great men would make great promises only to fail and be relegated to the dust heap of the ages. Man would grow in his understanding of the world and his ability to advance technology, yet these things would also fail him. Schools would start, yet education would not deliver the souls of men. Philosophers would ponder, debate, and write, yet their understanding would be weighed in the balances of history and found wanting. Singers would sing, but their songs would fade and their joy vanish in death. Cities would be constructed only one day to crumble. Crops would be planted only to face pestilence, drought, and plague. Generals would go off to war and conquer only to be reconquered when their civilizations grew careless. Empires would swallow new territory and eventually stall, then be humbled by another superpower. Life was to continue in the world in all aspects to demonstrate time and time again that man could not solve his own problems and needed a divine Savior.
With this awareness of their weaknesses, men and women were to worship and serve God asking for His redemption and forgiveness. Men were to seek for God who was always nearby, but their tainted hearts did not let them. Instead they made for themselves idols to worship and false gods before which to bow down. Foolishly they worshiped the creation rather than the Creator. Because they forgot God they abandoned practicing what was noble and righteous and turned to selfish perversion.
Even though they had abandoned the true God and His ethical demands, God would not abandon the world. He remained loyal and steadfast. He sent prophets who foretold of the One who would come and be the Savior. He reinforced these prophecies with signs and miracles. He guaranteed they would come to pass in their right time. Many clung to these promises; most abandoned them seeking fulfillment in the present passing world.
Millenia would pass before the coming of this One to save mankind. In the meantime God continued to reveal His moral will to man through prophets. He spoke through the ancient patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Because of Abraham’s faithfulness to God, God chose one nation from his descendants to serve as a blessing to all the other nations of the world. Then when this nation, Israel, was formed, He spoke at length though his chosen instrument Moses. Though his moral law had always been stamped in the very mind of each human, because of sin each human resisted the high standards of that moral code. So God used Moses to write His Law down for the people of Israel. This nation was set apart from all others and given holy requirements. As a holy nation with a holy purpose, Israel became a beacon of light to proclaim God’s person and law. God continued to speak through the prophets of that nation; men like Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel. They spoke to the needs of their day but also of things to come, sometimes long into the future. Proverbs were recorded to show how the wise man keeps God’s law. Psalms were written to extol the virtues of the God of Israel. More accounts of women and men of faith were recorded along with their faith accomplishments.
Though some generations of Israelites were believing in God’s promises and became more obedient to God, even the nation of Israel eventually became corrupt and abandoned the written Law. So God let them be driven off their promised land by other nations. After a severe time of chastisement as captives in foreign lands, they were allowed to return to their promised land. Yet their glory and strength would never be the same. Instead, they would finally see the coming of the long awaited Savior.
Approximately 400 more years would pass. Eventually the time had arrived for the Savior to be born and enter the world. Jesus’s birth was not an accident. It was not unplanned. He was born to fulfill prophecy as God’s revelation had foretold. There was a long line of prophecies which accurately predicted much about His arrival. These prophesies included information about which tribe of Israel the Savior-King would come from, which household (that of David), the location of his birth, the date in history, the manner he would present himself to the nation as king, his personal character, the message he preached, how he would die, who would be present at his death, why he would have to suffer, how he would be buried, and how he would be raised from the dead. These are all prophesied and fulfilled in one life – Jesus of Nazareth. Due to the specificity of the prophecies, they could be fulfilled in no one else’s life. Only Jesus fulfilled these promises. Only Jesus could be the long awaited Savior of mankind.
Jesus’ entrance into the world was also different from that of any other human. In fact, his beginnings had to be supernatural for he was not to be contaminated with the sin of the original man and woman. He had to be born from a woman but not a man in order to fulfill the promises. Since Adam’s descendants were cursed with death due to his sin, the Savior could not be a biological descendent of Adam through the male. He had to be born of the female to avoid the tainting of Adam’s sin. A birth of a woman but not a man required a virgin birth. And for the Savior to be able to actually save all of humanity, this person also had to have a divine nature. Thus the woman needed a supernatural act in her womb from the Holy Spirit to impregnate her. Jesus was the conjoining of eternal deity with true humanity. He was born as a true human with a true mother, but because He was God’s eternal Son, he had both a human and a divine nature. The two historical accounts of his virgin birth in the New Testament gospels are not mythological or borrowed from pagan religion. The prophesies preceded those myths and go back to the beginning of time. This was all part of God’s amazing plan!
Not only His entrance into the world but also Jesus’ life was different from all others. He did not sin like other men. His complete obedience to God the Father’s will is unlike any other person – religious leader or common man. No one comes close to Jesus in lifestyle, wisdom, and morality. His love was without hypocrisy. His generosity was immense. His humility was beyond anything seen in another person. His ardent defense of God and His Law was unparalleled. His wisdom in all practical situations left people amazed. His miracles were plentiful, matchless, and public. Not even His enemies could deny His miracles took place. Yet His control of His powers led Him to heal and minister not selfishly show off. Through this He also revealed His kindness and utter selflessness. This is further evidence He was sent directly by God and bore God’s nature. The evidence we read about His life from the eyewitnesses is very strong. No man ever talked like Jesus or lived like Jesus. Each human using his common sense can read how Jesus lived, and perceive He was categorically different and superior to all other men and women. He proved by the way he lived that he was the only begotten Son of God.
There is more that distinguished Jesus. As to the purpose of his life, it transcends his teaching and healing. He came on a mission to offer his life as a sacrifice to rescue those condemned to death due to sin. God had warned from ancient times that the penalty for sin was death – physical death and then permanent spiritual death beyond this life. Jesus came to pay that penalty in full. God wanted Him to pay that penalty to redeem man. So His death was planned down to the details. When Jesus went to the cruel Roman cross He was fulfilling the mission of redemption. He came to pay for the sins of those who would believe in Him. His death was confirmed publicly in front of thousands of eyewitnesses.
Because his death was not for his own sins, but as a substitute for others, it was impossible for death to keep him down. After being laid in a rock solid tomb, Jesus was permenantly raised to life. His bodily resurrection was no myth but witnessed by hundreds of sober people as He appeared to them on many occasions. The tomb was empty. No body was ever found. Even the disciples were astonished that Jesus could defeat death. Now risen from the dead, man could see he had no more fear of death, but could live for God unafraid of physical and eternal death. The bodily resurrection of Jesus was the final sign to the world that He alone was the Savior. It was the proof He was the Son of God, the second Adam, the originator of a new humanity to populate the coming Kingdom.
Now we come to that blessed commodity I have been writing to you about from the beginning – faith. The point of the revelation of God and the coming of Jesus into the world was that each of us would hear of Him and His work and firmly believe in Jesus. That is the essence of faith – believing in something we have good evidence for but cannot completely prove. It is taking God at His word. Enough evidence has been provided for each person to realize their own personal sin and the need to believe in the Savior. Enough evidence has been provided to see the difference between Jesus and all others. Yet God left somethings untold and unseen so we would have to exercise faith in HIs trustworthy character. When you hear this message of the Bible and believe in Jesus you will be instantly forgiven of all your sins and promised a resurrection from the dead unto eternal life on the last day. As a believer in Jesus you become part of a new humanity for the future.
Jesus commissioned his followers to proclaim all that they had heard from him and witnessed him accomplish. His followers were gathered into local assemblies we now call churches. The church of Jesus was to live out those teachings on earth and proclaim the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth. All men and women were to be invited to believe and gain this glorious salvation and true education about life. All the families of the world are welcome and offered forgiveness of sins. As people hear the message and believe they are saved, forgiven, washed of their sins, and given more precious and magnificent promises.
This outreach of the church continues to this day. The offer of salvation is yours for the taking. Just believe in Jesus Christ today!
The record of the Bible is not complete until Jesus returns in full power, destroys all his enemies, and raises believers from the dead. He also comes to reign over all the world. He was given that right by God the Father. Jesus is the perfect man sent to rule over the whole world where the first man and woman failed to follow God’s will. So history will be brought to an end with the reign of the Savior-King. In His kingdom will be fullness of joy, life everlasting, harmony of the nations, righteousness from shore to shore, and the right worship of the true and living God. Thus everyone will actually live joyfully ever after! This is God’s promise sealed in the blood of His Son Jesus! This is mankind’s only sure and abiding hope.