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.