Genesis 9:8-17

Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying:

“And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you,

10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth.

11 Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.

14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud;

15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

16 The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”

17 And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

Man’s obedience to these commands (Genesis 9:1-7) was not a condition determining whether God would keep His part of the bargain. God promised unconditionally … that He would never again send a worldwide flood, or destroy all flesh, as long as the earth remained. — Morris, page 227

It is significant that the Noahic covenant was not only with Noah and his descendants, but also with the animals going out of the Ark and their descendants. Even though animals do not possess an eternal soul and spirit, as men do, they are God’s creatures; and He is concerned about them. — Morris, page 228

It is not only that man himself would see the rainbow. God also would “look upon it,” whenever He would “bring a cloud over the earth, ” and would “remember His covenant.” This was peculiarly “my bow,” according to the Lord, probably referring to the fact that it had just now been formed as a result of the great Flood which He had brought on the earth.

… His covenant was an everlasting covenant. It was valid for [those who had been on the Ark] and for their children to “perpetual generations,” until God’s great promised time of consummation and restoration of all things.

The rainbow appears only three more times in Scripture. Once, in Ezekiel 1:28, the rainbow is seen surrounding the throne of God as He prepares to visit judgment on His people Israel. Again, the rainbow is seen around His throne just before the coming Great Tribulation in Revelation 4:3. In both these cases, the picture is one of imminent judgment and suffering, bot only limited judgment and suffering, with God’s grace ruling over all.

Finally, when the mighty angel of Revelation 10:1, who can none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, comes to claim dominion over the world, which He had created but which had long been under the dominion of the wicked one. He is accompanied by the same “seven thunders” of judgment which apparently had once cried forth at the time of the Flood (Revelation 10:3-4, compared with Psalm 29:3-10). And instead of a crown of thorns, which once He wore as He bore the Curse for us, the Word says there will be “the rainbow upon His head.” The definite article is in the original: the rainbow. This can hardly refer to any other rainbow than to “My bow,” the token of the everlasting covenant between God and all flesh (Genesis 10:16, with Revelation 10:6). — Morris, pages 229-231

It is happy to bear in mind, that when the bow appears, the eye of God rests upon it; and man is cast not upon his own imperfect and most uncertain memory, but upon God’s. “I,” says God, “will remember.” How sweet to think of what God will, and what He will not, remember! He will remember His covenant, but He will not remember His people’s sins. The cross, which ratifies the former, puts away the latter. — Mackintosh, page 110

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Genesis 9:1-7

1 So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.

And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.”

These verses constitute essentially a renewal (with slight modifications) of the original divine mandate given to man by God in Genesis 1:26-28. Just as Adam and Eve had been told to “be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth,” so Noah and his three sons were now commanded once again to multiply rapidly and fill the earth. 

Actually, the specific command to “have dominion over the earth and subdue it,” as given to Adam (Genesis 1:28) is omitted here, possibly an intimation that Satan still retained at least proximate dominion on the earth (1 John 5:19). Thus, man no longer was to exercise direct authority over the animal creation, as had apparently once been his prerogative; rather, there was to be fear manifest by animals, rather than obedience and understanding. If it were otherwise, the animals, since they would be multiplying much more rapidly than man, might quickly have exterminated mankind. 

It is significant that the animals that were to be characterized by fear of man [did not include] the “cattle.” The domesticated animals, which apparently are those meant by this term, would not shun man’s presence and company. — Morris, page 221-222

Animals were for the first time authorized for use as food (although quite possibly this had been done before the Flood without authorization. …

Apparently no restrictions as to which animals man could eat were made at this point, though in the special economy of Israel only a few animals were later denominated by God as “clean” for this purpose. Mankind in general, both before the call of Israel and after the formation of the Church, incorporating believers of every nation, was free to partake as freely of “every moving thing that liveth” as he had been previously free to partake of every green herb (Genesis 1:29-30).

But with this permission, there was also the restriction: “flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” The flesh was given for meat, but the life of the flesh was given for sacrifice. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). The words “life” and “soul” in these verses are the same word. … The “life” of an animal, spilled on a sacrificial altar, was accepted by God in substitutionary death for the life of a guilty sinner, who deserved to die but who was permitted to live because of the sacrifice, whose blood “covered” his sins. — Morris, pages 222-223.

The blood of animals, representing their life, was sacred and not to be eaten, since it was accepted in sacrifice in substitution for the life of man. Also involved was the simple matter of reverence to the life principle, as a specially created entity by God (Genesis 1:21).

Man’s blood, representing his life, was even more sacred than that of animals, for “in the image of God made he man.”  Though animals shared the possession of a soul and body with man, it was only man who had an eternal spirit, the image of God. Neither beast nor man was therefore permitted to spill man’s blood. For any animal or any man who shed human blood, God would require satisfaction; and that would be nothing less than the very blood of their own lives.

The word “require” is a judicial term, God here appearing as a judge who exacts a strict and severe penalty for infraction of a sacred law. If a beast kills a man, the beast must be put to death (note also Exodus 21:28). If a man kills another man (willfully and culpably), then he also must be put to death by “every man’s brother.” At the time these words were first spoken, all men indeed were literal brothers; for only the three sons of Noah were living at the time, other than Noah himself. Since all future people would be descended from these three men and their wives, in a very real sense all men are brothers. … This is in essence a command to establish a formal system of human government, in order to assure that justice is carried out, especially in the case of murder.

The authority to execute this judgment of God on a murderer was thus delegated to man. … The anarchistic conditions that had developed before the Flood—men slaying whom they would and defending themselves as they could—were not to be permitted to recur. Before the Flood, there was evidently no formal arrangement of human government, save perhaps the patriarchal authority of the father. There was no formal mechanism for the punishment of crime, or of crime prevention, even for the capital crime of murder, as evident in the individual histories of Cain and Lamech.  Evidently each person was able to act quite independently of all restraints except those of his own conscience and self-interest. This eventually led to a universal state of violence and anarchy. 

It is clear, of course, that the authority for capital punishment implies also the authority to establish laws governing those human activities and personal relationships which if unregulated could soon lead to murder (e.g., robbery, adultery, usurpation of property boundaries). Thus, this simple instruction to Noah is the fundamental basis for all human legal and governmental institutions. 

The instruction here given in no way refers merely to vengeance; the emphasis is rather on justice and on careful recognition of the sacredness of the divine image in man, marred by sin though it be. Obviously some means of impartial verification of guilt prior to execution of the judgment is assumed, though no formal legal system is here outlined. Evidently the particular form of government might vary with time and place; but the fact of human government, exercised under God, is clearly established.

The modern “liberal” objections to capital punishment are insufficient to warrant setting aside this decree of God. The prohibition in the Ten Commandments against killing plainly applies only to murder, not to judicial executions. — Morris, pages 224-225.

The Mosaic covenant is most certainly superseded by the new covenant of Jesus. For this reason, the many death penalties describe in the Law for various sins are not to be translated into the law of current Gentile state governments. That these laws illustrate the seriousness of sin is undeniable. That the Mosaic laws define the various activities which are to be labeled as sins, is also the case. But the Mosaic death penalties are equivalent to loss of salvation rather than a blueprint for a 21st century penal system. Yet one death penalty is exceptional. It is the death penalty for murder. The fact that this death penalty alone is introduced under the Noahic covenant of common grace, rather than the Mosaic covenant for the Israelites, suggests that the death penalty is as much a part of the current natural order of things as the post-diluvian animals’ fear of human beings. — Taylor, pages 180-181.

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Genesis 8:13-22

13 And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. 

14 And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried.

15 Then God spoke to Noah, saying, 

16 “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 

17 Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 

18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 

21 And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.

22 “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”

I won’t include all the math, but Scofield calculates that the time Noah spent in the ark was  371 days and the time from the beginning of the flood until Noah left the ark was exactly a solar year—365 days.

When Noah and his family left the ark, they stepped onto a planet greatly changed from the way they knew it. For example: There was more water on the earth. Great mountain ranges had formed. Weather as we know it occurred for the first time, including the extremes of heat and cold. Radiation from space could reach the surface, lessening the lifespan of humans.

All the earth’s present dry-land animals … are descendants of those that were on the ark. … Lack of competition permitted animal populations to multiply very rapidly; so there was much incentive for the different groups to keep pressing forward until they found an ecological niche for which they were more suited than other groups. These conditions (rapid multiplication, small inbreeding populations, rapidly changing environments) were ideal to permit rapid variation to take place in each kind (not evolution, but rather opportunity for the originally created variational potential latent in the genetic system of each kind to become expressed openly in distinct varieties). Consequently, different varieties (or even species, and perhaps genera, in some cases, as arbitrarily defined by modern taxonomists) could rapidly develop and become established in appropriate environments.

Although God had implanted genetic factors for wide-ranging adjustment and variation in each created kind (especially was this true in the case of the “clean” kinds), permitting them to adjust to many different environments, nevertheless this potential variation was limited. Never could one kind change so much that it would become a different kind: “after its kind” was the divine principle. — Morris, pages 214-215.

altar (v.20) — the first mention of “altar” in the Bible.

When Noah left the ark, the world was barren and without life. The only animals, which he well knew, were those in the immediate vicinity that had been with him on the ark. It must have been an incredible step of faith for Noah to sacrifice to God individuals of all the clean animals and birds, especially since those animals were the ones most useful to him. But Noah did just that immediately and willingly.

God [promised] never again to destroy all life on the earth … The curse of Genesis 8:21 is not primarily the Flood, but the curse of Genesis 3:17, which will prevail until the new earth of Revelation 22:3 is created. God was not removing the Curse at this time, but rather promising that there would never again be a world-wide judgment on man’s dominion, such as the Edenic law of death or the Noahic visitation of death, both of which had effected the entire earth. God would neither curse the ground again with an additional curse to the one pronounced in Eden, nor again destroy everything living, as He had done with the Flood.

The reasons for this promise at first seems strange: “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” This would seem to be justification for smiting the earth, rather then for promising not to do so, except for the great paradox of the love and grace of God. Here is a testimony both to what theologians call original sin and universal depravity, and also to God’s redeeming mercy. Because man is helpless to save himself—his very thoughts born and nurtured in sin—he desperately needs the grace of God. … Thus, for the very reason that man is completely unable to save himself, therefore God saves Him! — Morris, page 217.

… Man is, even at this point, no fundamentally different than before the Flood, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth (parallel to the phraseology of Genesis 6:5). Thous this statement may, on the one hand, seem out-of-place at this point in light of Noah’s unblemished record of obedience as so far related, God is reminding the reader that what fundamentally defines a person is not what he does (or refrains from doing), but what he thinks—and not just what he thinks as expressed in fully formed (if never realized) thoughts, but even the very intent (lit., “impulse”) by which those thoughts are produced. The tense of this statement, moreover, is unmistakable: it is not an assessment of what will be, but a maxim concisely describing what is. In this light God’s following assertion that He will “never again destroy every living thing” in the same manner (for most of humanity will once again be destroyed in final judgment; cf. Zechariah 12:9, Revelation 19:20-21)  should be viewed as yet another expression of divine mercy—i.e., requiting “us less than our iniquities deserve” (Ezra 9:13). — Wechsler, pages 150-151.

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease. (v.22) — So much for climate change.

Scofield’s summary of the period of history that begins with this passage:

The dispensation of Human Government began when Noah and his family left the ark. As Noah went into a new situation God (in the Noahic Covenant) subjected humanity to a new test. Heretofore no man had the right to take another man’s life (cp. Genesis 4:10-11, 14-15, 23-24). In this new dispensation, although man’s direct moral responsibility to God continued (“Render … unto God the things that are God’s” – Matthew 22:21), God delegated to him certain areas of His authority, in which he was to obey God through submission to his fallow man (“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” – Matthew 22:21). So God instituted a corporate relationship of man to man in human government.

The highest function of government is the protection of human life, out of which arises the responsibility of capital punishment. Man is not individually to avenge murder but, as a corporate group, he is to safeguard the sanctity of human life as a gift of God which cannot rightly be disposed of except as God permits. “The powers that be are ordained of God,” and to resist the power is to resist God. Whereas in the preceding dispensation restraint upon men was internal (Genesis 6:3), God’s Spirit working through moral responsibility, now a new and external restraint was added, i.e. the power of civil government.

Man failed to rule righteously. That both Jew and Gentile have governed for self, not for God, is sadly apparent. This failure was seen racially in the confusion of Babel (Genesis 11:9); in the failings of Israel in the period of the theocracy, which closed with captivity in Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:15-21); and in the failure of the nations in the “times of the Gentiles” (Daniel 2:31-45). Man’s rule will finally be superseded by the glorious reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose right o reign is in contestable (Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:17; Ezekiel 21:27; Luke 1:30-33; Revelation 11:15-18; 19:16; 20:4-6). The dispensation of Human Government was followed as a specific test of obedience by that of Promise, when God called Abrahm as His instrument of blessing to mankind. However, man’s responsibility for government did not cease but will continue until Christ sets up His kingdom. — Scofield, pages 13-14.

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Genesis 8:1-12

1 Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.

The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained.

And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased.

Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.

And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.

So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made.

Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.

He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground.

But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself.

10 And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark.

11 Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth.

12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.

God remembered (v.1) — God had never forgotten, of course. This simply means that God began working specifically and deliberately on the behalf of man.

After the Flood had “prevailed” for 150 days, utterly destroying the “world that then was” (2 Peter 3:6) and leaving the remains of multitudes of dead organisms buried in its sediments or still floating on its waters, God began to bring it to a termination. He “remembered” Noah and the animals in the Ark (not, of course, that He had ever forgotten them; the term is a Hebraism for “began again to act on their behalf”) …

Three specific actions were taken by God: He caused a wind to pass over the earth, He stopped the fountains of the deep from further eruptions, and He closed the windows of heaven from further downpours. The nature and effect of the “wind” need discussion. This again is the word ruach and so could be translated either “wind” or “spirit,” depending on context. Its fundamental meaning (actually it is translated numerous different ways) is probably something like “invisible force.” It is possible that the energizing power of God’s Spirit is intended here. That is, in analogy to His work on the first day of Creation (Genesis 1:2), so now again, with waters covering the earth as in the beginning, He exerted His creative power once again to separate the lands and the waters (Genesis 1:9).

Most translators believe, however, that the context here suggests an actual wind, God using a natural force providentially to accomplish His purposes. The uniform temperatures of the antediluvian world would have precluded strong winds. With the vapor canopy gone, however, sharp temperature differentials would have been established between equator and poles, and great air movements begun. These would have been complicated by the earth’s rotation, so that the present complex system of atmospheric circulations would finally be initiated. 

Wind, waves, and evaporation, however, could hardly account in themselves for more than a minor lowering of the water level. Somehow there must also be a drastic rearrangement of terrestrial topography, with continental land masses rising from the waters, and ocean basins deepening and widening to receive the waters draining off the lands.

This is, in fact, exactly what happened according to Psalm 104:6-9: You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains; they went down into the valleys, to the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth. — Morris, pages, 205-206.

It also was considered significant that the Ark rested on the “seventeenth day of the seventh month.” In our discussion of Genesis 7:11, the reason why the exact day was given for the beginning of the Flood (“the seventeenth day of the second month”) was found to be uncertain. A possible reason appears here in connection with the typological inferences. The Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead on “the seventeenth day of the second month.” The seventh month of the Jewish civil year later was made the first month of the religious year, and the Passover was set for the fourteenth day of that month (Exodus 12:2). Christ, our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7), was slain on that day, but then rose three days later, on the seventeenth day of the seventh month of the civil calendar. — Morris, page 209.

It was seven months from when the Ark rested on Ararat to the time Noah and his family left the Ark. They were in the Ark for 371 days.

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Genesis 7:17-24

17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.

18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters.

19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered.

20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.

21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man.

22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.

23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.

24 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.

Noah illustrates the Scripture terms “lost” and “saved.” Standing without the door of the ark he was lost, that is, exposed to the coming judgment and sure to perish. Standing inside the door he was saved, that is, sheltered from the coming doom and sure not to perish. To pass from the one condition to the other he had but to take one step—a step into the ark—and he was in immediate safety.

Noah was saved through the baptism of the ark. The ark was sinless, Noah sinful, the ark suffered the fierceness of Divine anger—a baptism into death—but not one wave of that judgment reached Noah. He was absolutely safe. Noah could not perish because the ark could not perish. The ark could not perish because Jehovah was in the ark; that ark was Christ—God in Christ reconciling man unto Himself. He did not say “go into the ark” but “come into the Ark.” The apostle Peter in the third chapter of his first epistle points out that this is how sinners are saved—the baptism into death and the resurrection out of death of Jesus Christ. He says that the baptism and resurrection of the ark was a type of the death and resurrection of Christ; and declares that that antitype-baptism saves believers. — Williams, pages 13-14.

All the high hills under the whole heaven were covered  (v.19) — eliminating all arguments that the flood was local.

The word prevailed appears four times in this passage (vs. 18, 19, 20, and 24). It means literally “were overwhelmingly mighty.”

It is instructive to note what did not die. Animals that were not nephesh did not die. Nephesh animals are those with their life-blood in them — i.e., flesh. Animals that do not breath through nostrils into lungs did not die. This includes insects. The Bible is clear that they must have survived. We can only surmise how, though many have suggested that they could have lodged in vegetation mats.

Amphibians, also, though having lungs, could have survived the Flood, as they absorb oxygen through their skin. Certainly amphibian larvae would survive as easily as fish.

Finally, even nephesh life that breaths through its nostrils would survive if it was not included in “all that was on the dry land.” So whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals, and, possibly, marine reptiles … would survive. — Taylor, pages 162-163

The divinely superintended order within the Flood event—and the adept literary retention and enhancement of that order by the writer—is further borne out by the various periods of days that are mentioned throughout the course of this and the following sections—to wit: seven days of waiting (7:10), forty days of rain after the door of the ark is “closed” (7:12, 17), one hundred and fifty days of the water “prevailing” (7:24), one hundred and fifty days of the water “subsiding” (8:3), forty days before the window of the ark is “opened” (8:6), and seven days of waiting before the dove is sent out the second time (8:10). These periods thus mirror the overall structure of the Flood narrative by forming a “mini”-chiasm/inversion that serves to further reinforce the “movement” of the narrative, both  physically and theologically, as the waters of the Flood—and God’s judgment of man—rises, peaks, and subsides. — Wechsler, pages 145-146.

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Genesis 7:1-16

1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.

You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female;

also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.

For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.”

And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.

Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth.

So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood.

Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth,

two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.

10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth.

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.

13 On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark—

14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort.

15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life.

16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.

This first occurrence [v.1] of the word “come” in the Bible embraces the basic meanings of this gracious invitation occurring again and again in the Scriptures, even down to the last page (Revelation 22:17). This invitation (1) is extended by God to man; (2) urges him to avail himself of the perfect provision God has made for his preservation; and (3) is given in a time of overwhelming judgment and doom. — Scofield, page 12.

It is significant … that the Lord said “Come into the ark,” not “Go.” God would be in the ark with them, and although the Flood would soon be unleashed in devastating fury, they were all safe with Him. Though it was because of Noah’s faith and obedience that God gave the promise concerning his house, each member of that household also exercised saving faith as well. Each one chose voluntarily to enter the ark and renounce the world in which thy had lived so long. — Morris, page 190.

The New Testament refers to the flood under three aspects: (1) our Lord said that, as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the end of this age (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27); (2) Noah himself is used as an illustration of saving faith (Hebrews 11:7); and (3) the flood is used as a type of baptism (1 Peter 3:19-21). — Scofield, page 12.

No previous categorization of animals as “clean” or “unclean” is given in Genesis. … The three pairs were [perhaps?] to encourage the relatively greater numerical proliferation of the clean animals after the flood (on a par with man, with his three surviving families) and perhaps also to allow for a greater variety of genetic factors, so that more varieties could be developed later as needed. The seventh animal in each group clearly was intended for sacrificial purposes (Genesis 8:20). Much later, the Mosaic law plainly spelled out which animals were to be regarded as clean in the Israelite system (Leviticus 11, etc.), though all such distinctions were to be removed altogether in the Christian dispensation (Acts 10:9-15; 1 Timothy 4:4). — Morris, pages 190-191.

species (v.3) = seed, offspring — not referring to species as we use the word today, but to kinds. The same word is translated “seed” in Genesis 1:11.

When God had finished His instructions, Noah proceeded to do “all that God commanded him,” just as he had done for over a hundred years. Here was the final test, the final break with the world he had known, thrusting himself completely on God’s mercy. And so again, Noah obeyed without a shadow of hesitation. — Morris, page 192.

We can’t be sure at this point which calendar the author of this section of Genesis was using, but he gave the exact date of the flood — “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Based on the chronology given in Genesis, the flood was approximately 1,655 years after creation.

The antediluvian hydrologic cycle was sharply different from that of the present day. It seems to have been controlled by the two great reservoirs of water resulting from the primeval separation of the waters of the primordial “deep” (Genesis 1:2) on the second day of Creation into “waters above the firmament” and “waters below the firmament,” the firmament consisting of the atmospheric heavens.

The “waters above the firmament” (also called “waters above the heavens” in Psalm 148:4) constituted the vast vaporous canopy which maintained the earth as a beautiful greenhouse, preventing cold temperatures and therefore preventing wind and rain storms. Being in the vapor state, it was invisible and fully transparent, but nevertheless contained vast quantities of water extending far out into space.

The “waters below the firmament” became what is referred to as “the great deep” or “the great depths” of water. This was water in the liquid state, visible especially to the first man in the form of the antediluvian seas (Genesis 1:10) and rivers (Genesis 2:10-14). These rivers were not produced by run-off from rainfall (Genesis 2:5), but emerged through controlled fountains or springs, evidently from deep-seated sources in or below the earth’s crust. There is an interesting reference to the abundant supplies of water pouring forth from these fountains of the great depths in Proverbs 8:24, and probably another in Job 38:16. — Morris, page 194.

every bird of every sort (v.14) – lit. “every kind of little bird of every kind of wings.”

Once all were inside, Noah evidently being last, a remarkable thing took place. “The Lord shut him in.” How He did this is not recorded, but somehow the door to the ark was shut and sealed, without the help of any human hands. This provided the final assurance to the occupants that they were in the will of God and under His protection. — Morris, page 198.

A reason for God’s repeated reference to the animals in this section is to indicate their specific “place” in the order of events about to ensue, not that the Flood is at hand. This order, specifically< is as follows: 1) Noah and his family are to enter the ark, 2) the clean and unclean animals will then enter, 3) after seven more days—i.e., seven days after Noah, his family, and the animals enter the ark—God will begin to send rain on the earth, and 4) the rain will endure continuously for forty days and forty nights until every living thing on the face of the land is dead. 

Seven days … establishes the expectation of a seven-fold period during which special emphasis is placed on (the possibility of) repentance before final judgment. … In the same vein, God later grants the Israelites a period of 490 years (70 x 7) during which, through continual prophetic revelation and unmistakable miracles, God calls them to national repentance for their collective sin (epitomized by their failure to give the land its seventh-year—Sabbatical—rest) until He judges them by the Babylonian conquest and the 70-year exile that was intended to make up those missed rests (2 Chronicles 36:21). And so too do we find that the prophets speak of a seven-year period (otherwise known as “the Tribulation”) of intense supernatural activity during which  mankind—and especially the Jewish people—will be given a final chance to repent and be saved before Christ returns to destroy all of wicked humanity (cf. Daniel 9:27; Revelation 11:2; 12:6).

The second significant numerical paradigm is the period of forty days, which establishes the expectation of a forty-fold period of “spiritual preparation” (“judgment” or even “cleansing” would be too narrow) in transition from one stage or state of affairs to another. Thus we see that the Israelites sojourned in the wilderness for forty years, during which they were instructed in God’s Law and so prepared for entrance into and life in the Promised Land. And so too Christ, the ideal Israelite, sojourned for forty days in the wilderness, immediately following His baptism, in spiritual preparation for His ensuing ministry. — Wechsler, page 144.

The use of repetition/flashback would have been especially relevant in the religious culture of Israel, wherein Scripture was typically “experienced” through oral recitation. — Wechsler, page 145.

The significance of Noah and his household as a symbol of the remnant, with which the reader is to (ideally) identify, is such that it is not left to the interpretive discretion of the reader: this “connection” is explicitly made in 1 Peter 3:20-21. There Peter writes that the people in the ark “who were saved through the water” find their “antitype” in those who are saved through spiritual “baptism” into (i.e., union with) Christ (see also Romans 6:3-5; Ephesians 2:8-9). — Wechsler, page 145. 

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Genesis 6:18-22

18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

In Genesis 7:2, God commanded seven of each of the clean beasts that were suitable for sacrifice.

covenant (v.18) — first use of the word in Scripture. The details of covenant are given in Genesis 9:9-17 when Noah leaves the ark.

Morris makes the point that larger animals on the ark were probably young ones that hadn’t yet reached full growth. In addition, many (if not all) the animals may have hibernated while on the ark.

Noah was not only a man of strong faith in God’s word, but of thoroughgoing obedience to that word. the tasks God had given him to do were monumental—extremely difficult and discouraging—and yet Noah never questioned or complained. He simply obeyed!

This last verse of the sixth chapter succinctly summarizes a whole century of God’s “long-suffering” while Noah “preached righteousness” to those “who were disobedient while the ark was a preparing” (1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:6; Luke 17:26-27).

Not only in this verse, but three times more we are told that Noah did all God commanded him (Genesis 7:5, 9, 16). … Because Noah walked with God and was obedient in faith to His word, God had wonderful fellowship with Noah. There are seven recorded instances in which it is said that God spoke to Noah (Genesis 6:13; 7:1); 8:15; 9:1, 8, 12, 17), each time in fellowship and blessing to Noah and his family. — Morris, page 187.

It is clear from the perspective of the text itself that [the flood] is to be regarded as a world-wide event. In the present passage this is underscored by the three-fold occurrence of the expression “all flesh” (Genesis 6:13, 17, and 19), which occurs 33 times elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible and clearly refers to all living creatures, both human and animal (cf., e.g., Job 34:15; Jeremiah 25:31; Ezekiel 21:5). The universal scope of the Flood is further emphasized by the later reference to the water covering “all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens” (Genesis 7:19) as well as God’s promise to “never again destroy every living thing” with a Flood (Genesis 8:21).

God’s concern for animal life—though secondarily, as always, with respect to human life—is borne out by His statement to Noah in vs. 19-20 concerning their preservation by boarding the ark in representative pairs of male and female. This statement is intended to inform Noah of the content of the ark, not as a directive for him to find and assemble these pairs himself—which would be a quite impractical, if not impossible human feat, even assuming Noah had comprehensive knowledge of every class or genus of animal on land, Hence, quite consistently, God concludes by informing Noah that these animal pairs shalle come to him of their own accord (viz., by God’s leading). — Wechsler, pages 139-140

The especial significance of the statement that “Noah did according to all that God commanded him”—which is repeated again in 7:5—becomes evident when once considers that Noah in fact says nothing throughout the entire course of the Flood narrative proper (what he does say in 9:25-27 is many years after the Flood). Indeed, Noah is the only major figure involved in an extended biblical event to whom no words are attributed in the course of that event—the point being that his obedience was expressed by his action. In the New Testament this point is further driven home—and, even more so, applied to evangelism—by Peter’s reference to Noah as a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5)—and yet he never said a word! The writer of Hebrews likewise emphasizes the evangelistic ministry of Noah as extending from his actions when he writes that “in reverence [Noah] prepared the ark … by which he condemned the world” (Hebrews 11:7). … This emphasis on the evangelistic aspect of active obedience is likewise evident in the third and last epistolary reference to Noah in the New Testament, in 1 Peter 3:18-20, in which the Apostle points out that it was the “Spirit” of Christ in Noah—that is, the Holy Spirit—that enabled Noah (just as He enables every believer in any age) to obey God and build the ark, and in so doing to “preach (the need for repentance)” to the people of his time, who nonetheless rejected Noah’s message and remain in prison (i.e., hell) until the day of final judgment (cf. Revelation 20:13-14). — Wechsler, pages 141-142. 

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Genesis 6:14-17

14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.

15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.

To be very conservative, assume the cubit to have been only 17.5 inches, the shortest of all the cubits, so far as is known. In that case, the Ark would have been 438 feet long, 72.9 feet wide, and 43.8 feet high. It can be shown hydrodynamically that a gigantic box of such dimensions would be exceedingly stable, almost impossible to capsize. Even in a sea of gigantic waves, the ark could be tilted through any angle up to just short of 90° and would immediately thereafter right itself again. Furthermore, it would tend to align itself parallel with the direction of major wave advance and thus be subject to minimum pitching most of the time.

With the dimensions as calculated, the total volumetric capacity of the Ark was approximately 1,400,000 cubic feet, which is equal to the volumetric capacity of 522 standard livestock cars such as used on modern American railroads. Since it is known that about 240 sheep can be transported in one stock car, a total of over 125,000 sheep could have been carried in the Ark.

A few other details of the Ark’s construction are given. It was to have three stories, each ten cubits high; and each of these “decks” was to be divided into various “rooms” (literally “nests”—thus apparently each of appropriate size for the individual animals to rest in). The Ark was to be made of “gopher wood,” the exact nature of which is unknown today, though apparently some type of dense, hard wood; and it was to be made waterproof and resistant to decay by impregnation with “pitch,” inside and out.

The word for “pitch” (Hebrew kopher) is different from that used in other places in the Old Testament. it is equivalent to the Hebrew kaphar (“to cover”) and, in the noun form, means simply a “covering.” However, it is also the regular Hebrew word for “atonement,” as in Leviticus 17:11, for example. In essence, therefore, this is the first mention of “atonement” in the Bible. Whatever the exact nature of this”pitch may have been, it sufficed as a perfect covering for the Ark, to keep out the waters of judgment, just as the blood of the Lamb provides a perfect atonement for the soul.

The Ark also had a “window” (Hebrew tsohar), which probably means, literally, an “opening for daylight.” Although the phraseology is difficult, most authorities understand that this “window” was to consist of a one-cubit opening extending all around the Ark’s circumference, near the roof, as provision for light and ventilation. Presumably there was also a parapet provided to keep out the rain.

The word for “ark” (Hebrew tabhah) is not the word used later for the “ark of the covenant,” but it is the word used for the ark of bulrushes in which Moses was hidden as a baby (Exodus 2:3). it seems, therefore, to be a very ancient word for a box meant to float upon water. At the time Noah began building his Ark, it must have seemed ludicrous to his antedilulvian contemporaries. They had never seen any kind of flood, or even rain (Genesis 2:5), and Noah’s preaching and construction work no doubt gave them much occasion for ridicule. — Morris, pages 181-183

The word for “flood” (mabbul), used here [Genesis 6:17] for the first time, applies only to the Noahic Flood; other floods are denoted by various other words in the original. This was the “mabbul,” unique in all history. … Since mabbul is used only in Psalm 29:10, outside of Genesis 6–9, the cataclysmic activity poetically described in Psalm 29 must also refer to the Noachian Deluge. Similarly, when the Genesis Flood is referred to in the New Testament, the Greek term kataklusmos is uniquely employed (Matthew 24:39; Luke 17:27; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:6) instead of the usual Greek word for “flood.” 

The Flood would not only destroy mankind, but also “all flesh,” wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven.” This phrase indicates again that animals, like men, have the “breath” (rauch, “spirit”) of life. The phrase “under heaven” qualifies the destruction as applying to land animals only, as does also the statement “everything that is in the earth [or ‘land].” The Flood would not destroy all marine species. … Such language, of course, is utterly inconsistent with the idea of either a local flood or a tranquil flood. — Morris, pages 183-184.

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Genesis 6:8-13

 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

If Morris’s interpretation is correct—that generations means “records of the origins,” and that Moses edited Genesis from histories written by earlier men—than Noah’s history ends with verse 9.

Note the consistent Biblical order here. First, Noah “found grace.” Then Noah was “a just man” (that is, “justified” or “declared to be righteous”). Thus he was “perfect in his generations” (or “complete,” in so far as God’s records are concerned), and therefore he was able to “walk with God.” Salvation in any era is exactly in this way. by sovereign grace, received through faith, the believer is justified before God and declared to be complete in Him. Only as a result of, and on the basis of, this glorious gift of grace, can one then “walk” in fellowship with God …

It is noted that Noah was perfect “in his generations.” Among all his contemporaries, over the many generations of a long life, he was the only one, so far as the record goes, who had “walked with God” since Enoch. He was a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), though apparently no one responded to his preaching …

Noah was above all a man of great faith. Among the heroes of faith recorded in Hebrews 11, it is only Noah whose description both begins and ends with the phrase “by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

The new section of Genesis that begins at 6:9b is attributed to “the sons of Noah” (10:1). the “generation of Noah” ends at 6:9a. It is noteworth that Noah ends with his own testimony that he had simply “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” His sons, on the other hand, began their record with a testimony concerning their father, “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations.” — Morris, pages 177-178

As it was in the day of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man (Luke 17:26). … Strictly speaking the statement of our Lord is full of comfort, for we know that the fullness of the violence will make place for another fullness, and that a fullness of glory (Numbers 14:21), where the same word,  the verb maleh is used. Again in Isaiah 11:9 we have the same word: “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of His name.” “The earth is full of the goodness of God” (Psalm 33:5). “The earth is full of thy riches” (Psalm 104:24). The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy” (Psalm 119:64).

Christ in His coming shall make the earth full of His praise (Habakkuk 3:3) and then the earth shall also be filled with God’s glory (Habakkuk 2:14). However, before all this blessed fullness of knowledge, praise, and glory comes, the earth will be filled with the most terrible judgments. — Bultema, pages 33.

There is always a remnant of those who strive to remain faithful to the Lord—a principle that is here represented by Noah and his immediate family. It is thus through Noah that God seeks to give humanity their “second chance” at living the ideal—and indeed, the likelihood that man will succeed this time seems even more likely, seeing that Noah, unlike Adam, already had a proven record of living righteously (and thus overcoming temptation) during extended exposure (600 years!) to an extremely wicked world. No one, in fact, except for the Messiah Himself, is described in more glowingly positive terms in the Hebrew Bible than Noah, for any one of the three approbatory expressions applied to him in v.9 would suffice to identify him with that very select group of saints otherwise inclusive of Abraham, who like Noah is described as a righteous man (see Genesis 15:6), Job, who like Noah is described as blameless (see Job 1:1; 12:4), and Enoch, who like Noah walked with God (see Genesis 5:22). That depravity is not ultimately overcome through Noah, despite man’s “reset” environment, serves to make God’s essential point in this last “trial part”—to wit: that depravity, ever since Adam’s sin, is part of our very nature, and cannot be removed except through the sovereign act of God in washing and cleansing our hearts, not our environment (cf. Ezekiel 36:25-26; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:22).  — Wechsler, pages 137-138

It is, therefore, precisely to make the point that the problem of depravity and sin does not lie in our environment that the emphasis of the text is on the land—i.e., ha-ares (as in 1:10 to specifically designate not the planet, but the “dry ground” on which man lives)—which term is employed four times in the span of these two verses. In the same vein the term corrupt—various forms of which are employed three times in these two verses—should be specifically understood to denote “corruption” or “pollution” caused by sin … That the “corruption” of the land is the result of man’s wicked actions is further emphasized by the reference to the land being filled with violence—in which the word translated violence is employed throughout the Hebrew Bible to denote violence motivated by wicked intent, as opposed to violence which is intended as chastisement for sin or restraint/defense against wicked deeds … — Wechsler, page 138.

God informs Noah of His plan to destroy humanity in judgment for their sins, thus establishing the important paradigm of God informing those whom He “knows” (i.e., those who are justified by faith and regarded by God as His children) of His future plans—whether for the deliverance and/or chastisement of believers, or for the judgment of unbelievers. It is this same essential paradigm/principle that underlies the prophetic revelation of specific future events throughout all of Scripture, the knowledge of which is ultimately intended for the edification and encouragement of believers—i.e. those to whom “it has been granted” (Matthew 13:11)—not unbelievers, to whom the Word of God is “foolishness” and the knowledge of which “has not been granted” (1 Corinthians 1:18). — Wechsler, page 139.

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Genesis 6:5-7

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent 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.

So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

every intent (v.5) = everything thought, every purpose, every conception

sorry (vs. 6, 7) = lit. “to sigh”

It is this verse [v.5], indeed, that clearly establishes the principle of human depravity—i.e., the principle that we not only have the potential of sinning through the commission of deeds, but that we are already sinners due to our inevitable post-Fall “commission” of wicked thoughts. Quite to the contrary of our society’s “conventional wisdom,” verse 5 thus makes clear that God’s assessment of who we truly are is based fundamentally on what we think as opposed to only what we do. This principle, not surprisingly, is reiterated time and again throughout the Bible as the unchanging ideal both for the Israelite who would faithfully follow the Law of Moses (cf. Deuteronomy 30:6; Proverbs 23:7a; Jeremiah 31:31) as well as for the Christian who would faithfully follow “the Law of Christ” (cf. Matthew 5:22, 28; Mark 7:20-23; Galatians 6:2). — Wechsler, page 135.

The opening clause of verse 6 is often translated “the Lord God was sorry that He had made man on the earth,” in which the expression “was sorry” should not be understood in the sense of “regretted,” but rather—as is also within the semantic range of the English verb—in the sense of “was pained” or “was sorrowful, grieved, or sad.” God is not “second-guessing” His decision to create man—for His decisions and actions are always perfect and exactly as they should be (cf. Numbers 23:19; Romans 11:29)—but rather, and quite consistent with the tenor already established in the opening chapters of Genesis, God is demonstrating an abiding and undiminished concern with man. Incredibly, what we do—even what we think—has a real impact on the heart of the One who created us and continues to take and active, loving interest in our lives. It is from this perspective, moreover, that we must understand the content of vs. 7-8—to wit: that God determines to “blot out man … from the face of the land” not merely because he has offended God’s righteous standard, but because such action is necessary for the welfare of man himself, to preserve man from the full effects of his unmitigated depravity. — Wechlser, pages 135-136.

Verse 5 helps me understand the reason behind the sick and twisted behaviors that have become not only accepted but celebrated in our culture. Some of these behaviors are not only evil, but make no logical sense whatsoever. There can be no benefit whatsoever to those who practice and promote some of the stuff that’s going on. And yet it continues and progresses toward even sicker and more illogical behaviors.

Why? Because man’s thoughts, once God is cast aside, are only evil continually. Evil becomes an end in itself. It’s an active pursuit of anything that is in opposition to God’s nature. I believe it’s often not even a conscious choice on the part of the individual. It’s that when people remove themselves from God, evil results every time, and more further removed they are, the greater the evil.

This is exactly what Paul was getting at in Romans 1:18-32.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,

25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.

27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,

30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;

32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

That is an exact blueprint of what is happening in our culture. There is no limit to the amount or quality of God’s grace, but there is apparently a limit to how many times He will offer it to someone who deliberately and knowingly rejects it over and over. And once He withdraws His offer of grace, there is no limit to man’s depravity.

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