Why did God destroy the world?
Or did you forget that God destroyed the world? For this they willfully
forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and
the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the
world that then existed perished, being flooded with water (2 Peter 3:5, 6).
Some willfully forget the flood to avoid thinking about the impending judgment: But
the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word,
are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly
men (2 Peter 3:7).
Why did God wipe out mankind?
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 (Genesis 6:5-7).
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with
violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for
all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 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 (Genesis 6:11-13).
What do we learn from the sinners who perished in the flood?
What was the condition of society? How did people become so wicked? Were
there exceptions? Was there a solution for their sins? Is our world any
better? Is there a solution for our sins?
What was the condition of society?
Technologically, society was quite advanced. The longevity of man allowed him to acquire
skills and pass them on for several generations. Cain built a city (Genesis
4:17); Jubal played the harp and flute (Genesis 4:21); Tubal-Cain was an instructor
of craftsmen in bronze and iron (Genesis 4:22). Noah built a boat with
three decks that held a large cargo (Genesis 6:14-16) and that stayed afloat
for five months (Genesis 7:11, 24; 8:4).
The lifespan of the antediluvians was about 900 years, thus physiologically they were
far superior to modern man. That these years were equivalent to ours is
indicated by the statement: 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 (Genesis 7:11). The ark rested on the mountains of Ararat
in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month (Genesis 8:4). This
period of exactly five months is also designated as one hundred and fifty
days (Genesis 7:24) making five months of thirty days.
In the antediluvian period there were people whose physical makeup was superior to
ours. There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward,
when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and
they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of
old, men of renown (Genesis 6:4).
The physician, Philippe Charles Schmerling (of Austrian descent but born in Holland), who
found the first human skull in 1829 at Engis, Belgium of the type
that would later be called Neanderthal, believed that he had found bones of
antediluvians (Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles découverts dans les cavernes de la province
de Liége, 1833-1834).
This is possible since the skeletons of Neanderthal man indicate that these people
were much stronger and more muscular than modern man.
Some artists like to depict Neanderthals as dumb-looking cave men, but here is
a scientific reconstruction from the skull of a Neanderthal girl made by Elisabeth
Thus, at the time of the flood, man had built up a society
that was quite advanced technically, and people were far superior physically to modern
man. So what was the problem? Why did God decide to destroy them?
Sin was the problem.
The wickedness of man was great. Every intent of the thoughts of his
heart was only evil continually and the earth was filled with violence through
them (Genesis 6:11).
How did people become so wicked?
We know very little about antediluvian society, but certain contributing factors are mentioned.
Mans longevity contributed to wickedness.
Solomon said: Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily,
therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them
to do evil (Ecclesiastes 8:11).
At the time of the flood, God reduced mans lifespan from 900 to
120 years. And the LORD said, My Spirit shall not strive with man
forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred
and twenty years (Genesis 6:3).
When Pharaoh asked Jacob How old are you? he replied: The days of
the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and
evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they
have not attained to the days of the years of the life of
my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage (Genesis 47:8, 9).
When the Psalms were written, mans lifespan had been reduced to 70 years:
The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of
strength, they are eighty years (Psalm 90:10).
The longevity of the antediluvians made it easier for them to forget that
God would punish them for their sins.
Man did not leave vengeance to God.
When Cain killed Abel, God did not execute Cain. A curse was placed
on him: the ground would not yield its fruit to him and he
would be a fugitive (Genesis 4:11-14). But God commanded that Cain not be
killed and warned: whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold
This was misapplied by Lamech, a fifth generation descendent of Cain, who was
proud of being a man of violence: I have killed a man for
wounding me, even a young man for hurting me. If Cain shall be
avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold" (Genesis 4:23, 24).
Gods warning to prevent violence was misapplied by Lamech to justify violence.
Vengeance is Gods prerogative, not mans: Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot
shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at
hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.' For the LORD will
judge His people and have compassion on His servants (Deuteronomy 32:35, 36). This
passage is quoted in the NT in Romans 12:17, 19, 21 and in
Hebrews 10:30. This truth is the basis of the command of Jesus in
Matthew 5:38, 39 that if someone hits you on one cheek you must
turn the other also. We must overcome evil with good.
The sons of God made bad marriage choices.
Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face
of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of
God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took
wives for themselves of all whom they chose (Genesis 6:1, 2).
Men chose wives, not on the basis of spiritual qualities, but on the
basis of physical beauty.
God gave Adam one wife (Genesis 2:23-25). Cains violent descendent, Lamech, had two
wives (Genesis 4:19). Social research in our time indicates that polygamy results in
more domestic violence and an increase in the number of unmarried men, who
then are more prone to violence.
Were there exceptions?
In the days of Enosh, the grandson of Adam and Eve via Seth,
men began to call on the name of the LORD (Genesis 4:26). There
were people who served God and asked Him for help. The number of
people serving God decreased, however, until at the time of Noah, he and
his family were the only ones who still served God.
Although there undoubtedly were others, the only two men in the prediluvian period
in addition to Abel who are mentioned as being righteous, were Enoch and
Enoch, in the seventh generation after Adam, walked with God; and he was
not, for God took him (Genesis 5:24). By faith Enoch was taken away
so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God
had taken him; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that
he pleased God (Hebrews 11:5).
Like Abel, Enoch was a prophet: Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied
about these men also, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of
His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly
among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an
ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken
against Him" (Jude 14, 15).
Adam and Enoch were contemporaries, since Adam did not die until Enoch was
308 years old. Those living on earth still had first-hand testimony about their
creation by God.
Enoch lived in about the same period as Cains descendent, Lamech, who was
so proud of being violent. Enoch warned sinners that God would execute judgment
Noah was also righteous. He was born 126 years after the death of
Adam, but his father, grandfather and three other ancestors, who were still living
when Noah was 100 years old, were contemporaries of Adam.
When Noah was born, his father called him Noah which means repose, rest
or consolation, saying, This one will comfort us concerning our work and the
toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed
Thus, at the time of the flood, mans creation by God, mans sin,
and sins consequences were common knowledge. The wickedness of man did not result
from ignorance. People knew God existed but they spoke against him. Enoch warned
that God would punish them for all their ungodly deeds and for all
the harsh things which ungodly sinners had spoken against Him (Jude 14, 15).
Noah was righteous in a world filled with wickedness and violence: Noah was
a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9).
In Ezekiel 14:14, 20 Noah is named, along with Daniel and Job, as
a righteous man. He was a man of faith: By faith Noah, being
divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an
ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world
and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith (Hebrews 11:7).
Was there a solution for their sins?
Noah condemned the world by demonstrating to them that it was possible to
be different. He was saved because of his faith and godly fear. Noah
found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Genesis 6:8).
For a hundred years, while the ark was being built, the world had
an opportunity to repent. Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5).
Through the Spirit, Christ had preached (no doubt through Noah) to those who
formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of
Noah, while the ark was being prepared (1 Peter 3:20).
God was patient. He gave them a hundred years to repent. If they
had repented, they would have been saved.
Consider the example of Nineveh in the days of Jonah. God decided to
destroy the city of Nineveh because of their wickedness. But they repented at
the preaching of Jonah and the city was saved: Then God saw their
works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the
disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did
not do it (Jonah 3:10).
But those to whom Noah preached were disobedient. They refused to repent.
Is our world any better?
Do you think God has not yet destroyed our world because it is
less wicked than the world at the time of Noah? Not necessarily. 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.
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer,
and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:21).
Thus, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth God
has promised to never again destroy the world by a flood while the
earth remains. Did you notice that while the earth remains?
Is there a solution for our sins?
The flood demonstrates for all time that God hates sin and will bring
sinners into judgment. But it also proves for all time that God can
and will save those who repent of their sins and lead faithful, god-fearing
lives. God did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of
eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world
of the ungodly (2 Peter 2:5).
Peter writes that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to
their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For
since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the
beginning of creation (2 Peter 3:3, 4). He goes on to explain that
these people willfully forget the flood and that God allows the world to
carry on only because He is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any
should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
As in the days of Noah, God is giving this sinful world an
opportunity to repent before it is too late. But the day of the
Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens
will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with
fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will
be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner
of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness (2 Peter
The Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world (1 John
4:14). Before He returned to the Father, after dying for our sins and
rising from the dead, He told His followers: Go into all the world
and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized
will be saved (Mark 16:15, 16).
Just as Noah prepared an ark for the saving of his household (Hebrews
11:7), Christ has established His church in which people now can be saved
from Gods judgment on a sinful world. As Peter proclaimed on the day
of Pentecost: Be saved from this perverse generation (Acts 2:40). Repent, and let
every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
Peter explains that just like Noah and his family were saved from the
wicked world by water, we are now saved by baptism. Just as there
was an ark in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved
through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us -- baptism
(not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of
a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter
God destroyed the world because of sin, and He will do so again.
When Christ comes, will we be inside the ark or outside the ark?
When He comes in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not
know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence
of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes,
in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired
among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed (2
Yes, there is a solution for our sins if we repent and are
baptized into the body of Christ, His church, Gods ark of salvation for
our time. Amen.
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive