Day 5Genesis 7 ... Under Water

The downward cycle of sin and rebellion continued until, finally, God reached a fateful decision.  Genesis 6 records it in what is surely the most poignant   sentence ever written, “The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.”  It seemed clear that the human experiment had failed.  God, who had taken such pride in his creation, was now ready to destroy it.  He could no longer tolerate the violence that had spread across his world.

Legends of a great flood exist in the records of cultures in the Middle East, in Asia, and in South America.  One Babylonian document in particular (“The Epic of Gilgamesh”) has many parallels to the account in this chapter.  But Genesis presents the flood not merely as an accident of geography or climate; it was an act of God.  The churning water described in this chapter stand as a symbol of how far humankind had fallen.  Torrents of water swept through towns and cities, forests and deserts, destroying every living or man-made thing.

But Noah’s ark-a huge, ungainly boat riding out the storm-stands as a symbol, too: a symbol of mercy.  God had resolved to give earth a second chance, which explains why he ordered Noah to meticulously preserve representatives from every species.  Genesis underscores one message above all: The first human beings on earth made a mess of things.  Beginning with the rebellion of Genesis 3, the humans had brought on the downfall of all creation.  And when the time of judgment came, only eight survived: Noah and his wife and their sons and wives.

Point to Ponder: Many people have the idea that human nature is basically good.  Do you agree?