Genesis – Part 2b: Justice and Mercy – The Flood

floodThe next big event in Genesis is the story of Noah and the great flood. This story is probably one of the best known in the whole Bible. It is frequently referenced within the Bible and outside in folklore from multiple cultures. So well known is this story that I’m not going to focus too much on what happened with Noah and the flood. Instead I’m going to be taking look at three aspects of the flood story; it’s cause, it’s foretelling and how it foreshadows Christ.

“The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled” (Genesis 6:6)

This is a pretty concerning passage, if not one of the most horrific in the whole Bible. So far in our journey through Genesis we have been constantly reminded of God’s love for man, shown initially by his creation and later through God’s mercy at our rebellion. However, now we are confronted with an angry God who wants to wipe us out – why?

nephilimWell, the passage goes that there were a number of angels (somewhere between two and three hundred) who had come down to earth to care for God’s people, but they fell in love with women and impregnated them. The result was a hellish offspring – the Nephilim that brought occultism and witchcraft to the world. Whether they were angels or not is a topic that has been disputed; some have argued that the texts should be taken literally – they were fallen angels in league with Lucifer. However, others argue, including St Augustine, that the ‘angels’ who fathered the Nephilim were humans from the line of Seth, who were called sons of God due to their covenant with Yahweh. And the daughters of men refers to women who were the descended from the rebellious line of Cain. Both arguments have merits, and either would have deeply upset God, as it once again his creation choosing a path separate to that of a relationship with him.

Therefore, God decides to wipe us all out, however, it is intriguing to note that God did not bring the flood straight away, no he waited, almost a millennia. During that time he called Enoch to be a prophet to warn mankind that God was coming to judge the wicked. Enoch was Noah’s Great-Grandfather. Why do this? The answer is simple, God loves his creation and like a parent, he might be disappointed in what he has created but he still wants to save us. So he gives us a chance to repent in the hope that we will turn towards him and seek a relationship with God once again. This is seen throughout the Old Testament – paving the way for Christ.

So how does this all relate to Jesus? Well first of all there are similarities between Enoch the prophet, warning of the coming of the Lord, and John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness and preparing the way for Christ. Jesus himself speaks of the final judgement comparing it the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-41).john the baptist

Moreover, Noah and the Ark can been as fore-tellers of Christ and his salvation:

  • The ark has “rooms” for the animals (Genesis 6:14); Jesus says that his father’s house has “many rooms” (John 14:2)

  • The ark had one door (Genesis 6:16); Jesus claimed to be “the door” to salvation (John 10:9)

  • God invited Noah to come into the ark (Genesis 7:1); Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary” (Matthew 11:28)

  • The ark was made of wood (Genesis 6:14) just as the cross was

  • Because God saved him, Noah “remained alive” (Genesis 7:23); Jesus gives us eternal life (John 10:28)

Furthermore, 1 Peter 3:20-22, connects the flood to the sacrament of baptism – death and redemption through water. In summary, the story of Noah, in addition to being a great tale of God’s Justice and Mercy, can also be seen as a foretelling of Christ’s salvation. While researching the flood and Noah I came across this quote which I will finish on and I feel perfectly sums up the connection between Noah and Jesus.

noah

“As the Flood of God’s judgement on sin came upon the earth in Noah’s day, so the flood of God’s judgement against sin came upon Christ at the cross. As the ark was battered by the awesome storms of the Flood, and then rested on Mount Ararat, so the Lord Jesus bore the terrible penalty for our sins and now rests from His finished work. As Noah and his family believed God and were saved from physical death solely through the ark, so we who trust in Christ are saved from sin’s penalty of spiritual death through Christ alone”

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