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37 Noah's Flood and God

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Join us a we take a careful look at the story of the Flood through new lenses that Jesus enables us to wear. 

37& 38 Noah's Flood & God
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Who caused the Flood?

The reason given for the flood in the Old Testament was that men had filled the earth with violence: Genesis 6:11 Now the earth was corrupt in God=s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, AI am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. It seems clear from this passage that God instigated the Flood to save the earth from the violence of the antediluvians. One NT writer also assumes God sent the Flood (2 Peter 3:5-7). BUT here are some other thoughts that are important to think when reading this account.

Two Hermaneutic Principles:

  1. Jesus is our touchstone for understanding God. He is the only eyewitness as to what God is like (John 1:18). He claims that if we have seen him we have seen God (John 14:9). Matthew 12:19 is definitive for the way God operates at all times.

  2. The OT writers did not know about the existence of a supernatural evil being who Jesus revealed.

Prediction does not imply Causation (In 2020).

Many stories are told about rascals who knew an eclipse was coming the predicted it to a group of people who did not have astronomical knowledge. This groups assumed the rascal caused the eclipse and worshiped the rascal. There are OT stories which indicate that the Israelite writers assumed prediction implied causation. The list of blessings and curses (Leviticus 26) are all caused by God and the idea of consequence seems unknown in Moses’ writings. Moses logic was if you get emphysema from smoking its because God is punishing you. He has cursed all smokers. God could have told Noah there was going to be a flood and Noah or Moses decided it was God who engineered the flood. In the NT we have the story of Paul and Barnabas mistaken for Zeus and Hermes at Lystra when they heal a cripple man (Acts 14:8-18). They make an incorrect conclusion. Here is the kind of tangle this foggy thinking can result in: 1 Samuel 16:14-15, 23 NLT 14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and the Lord sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear. 15 Some of Saul’s servants said to him, “A tormenting spirit from God is troubling you. 23 And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away. How can the writers of the Bible get the causation wrong if they are writing under inspiration. Here is one possibility. God told Noah there was going to be a flood. Since this was to be a supernatural event Noah understood the cause of this flood must be God. The account of the flood was written by Moses about 1000 years after the flood. He would have written from his understanding of the cause of supernatural events. For Moses, God was the uber Pharaoh and all supernatural events are regulated and controlled by God. So, Moses will write

“See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded, and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39 (NIV)). Jesus taught us the exact opposite about God. Jesus claimed that death and wounding is not of God but of the devil. (Matthew 5:38-39; 12:19; John 1:14-18; 8:44-47; 10:10; 11:25; 1 John 1:5) Inspiration does not affect our logic, our choice of words and our cultural understanding of the cosmos. As evidence of this claim consider the results of this investigation.

Acquired or Inspired by Don McMahon.

ENT specialist in Victoria, Australia Some claim the greatest longevity of any people group on earth are the vegetarian Adventists who live in California, so McMahon compared Ministry of Healing with Modern Medical Science. Modern MS agreed with M of H 66% of the time Kellogg with MMS - 36% Scientifically speaking that is as close to absolute proof she had access to information Kellogg didn’t. But this did not satisfy McMahon. He postulated that God meets people where they are in their time and place. He separated the What’s: i.e. what do you have to do to get healthy. For EGW this meant Less salt and less sugar, More fruit and vegetables. No meat and the Why’s: This is the motivation to do the “what’s” Do you motivate people with reasons they can believe or reasons they don’t understand? Min of Healing McMahon separated the “what’s” from the “why’s” in Ministry of Healing and found this correlation with modern medical science, What’s 87% of the time, Why’s 45% of the time. He did the same for Kellogg and found What’s 45% of the time, Why’s 27% of the time. One can see that she was not copying Kellogg as some have suggested. “I use some salt, and always have, because from the light given me by God, this article, in the place of being deleterious, is actually essential for the blood. The whys and wherefores of this I know not, but I give you the instruction as it is given me. Counsels on Diet and Foods. Pg. 344 1864 1 year after she had the health vision Spiritual Gifts 40 years before Ministry of Healing “What’s” with Modern Medical Science – 96% of the time

“Why’s” 27% EGW had very little knowledge of anatomy and physiology. God revealed knowledge about what to do to have good health – but she had to supply the reasons from her understanding. Implication for Inspiration: God shares the “What” with the prophet and the prophet has to explain the “Why” from their own understanding influenced by their culture and cosmology. Since all supernatural events in the Old Testament, good or evil, are attributed to God we have to dig a little deeper to understand the cause of the flood. First of all, some arguments against God having caused the flood. We consider the argument from philosophical, moral, creative, logical, anthropomorphic, theological and causation in nature perspectives.

The Philosophical Argument against God destroying the earth

Free choice means that God cannot punish when a choice is made against His will. If there is punishment for a particular choice then it is not free, it is skewed, and Afree@ is an illusion. We then have limited or forced choice but not free choice. There are consequences for all choices but there is a significant difference between punishment and consequence. Punishment is arbitrary and is linked to the power of the authority which inflicts it. A consequence is inherent in the choice. Lung cancer is not a punishment but a consequence of smoking. Some argue that God is a benevolent dictator but then we cannot claim we have free choice. We are pawns and God is the manipulator of the game of life. Free choice means that the basis of a choice is a perceived advantage and never the fear of punishment. For example, we have free choice in the supermarket as to which brand of shampoo to purchase. We would not be punished if we did not buy the brand of shampoo the manager recommended. Some brands are better choices than others, but these advantages are inherent in the nature of the shampoo. We try to buy the best shampoo for our hair. There are consequences for our choice but not punishment. The New Earth is described as the gentlest of places. The lion, leopard and lamb are comfortable together (Isaiah 11:6; 65:25). One of the most common words used in the New Testament to describe Jesus and his followers is Agentle@ (Matthew 11:29). If there is any consistency in God=s nature, then he cannot be described as gentle if He used great force and violence to destroy the antediluvians.

The Moral Argument against God destroying the earth

Part of the covenant God made with Noah after the flood was accountability for taking the life of another human. Genesis 9:6 AWhoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. How could God make this covenant with Noah if He had just killed most of the population of the earth with a flood! Some argue that God is above the laws He commands men to keep. This would mean that the law is not a transcript of His character but an administrative process for keeping order. Some argue that God can execute people, but He never murders them. God only executes people for the common good, is their argument, but Jesus knew nothing of this kind of

morality: Matthew 5:38 AYou have heard that it was said, >Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.= 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43 AYou have heard that it was said, >Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.= 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. If God plans to burn violent people the next time around we have a diabolically, evil god who promised that He would never again destroy them with a flood but all the time He was planning a funeral pyre for them. The promise that there will never again be a universal flood is a statement that the factors which created a universal flood no longer exist. In one sense the flood continues in that over 70% of the planet is covered by water.

The argument from Creativity against God destroying the earth

God is creativity personified. Today we have the technology in neutrino bombs to destroy people and leave buildings and machinery intact on a mass scale. If God wanted to get rid of violent men and women he could have removed them without hurting the animals and the plants, i.e. the creation He had pronounced Agood.

The Logical Argument against God destroying the earth.

The flood did not put an end to violence on the earth. To use violence to end violence did not work. God knew the results and would not have used a futile cataclysm. It is insulting to God to believe he caused the flood now that we know about the devil and the consequences of our actions on nature.

Anthropomorphisms in the flood account argue against God causing the flood

The flood account is filled with words and phrases which attribute to God the experiences of man and more specifically the experiences of sinful man. In a perfect world there is no need for grief and pain and remembering and smelling sacrifices. The Lord as grieved that he had made man on the earth and his heart was filled with pain. (Genesis 6:6) God remembered Noah and the all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark (Genesis 8:1) The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: >Never again will I curse the ground . . .= (Genesis 8:21) The story is clearly told from a human perspective with human motives and emotions attributed to God. Psalm 18:8, “Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth.” Psalm 18:15 “at the blast of your breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.” These are graphic anthropomorphisms and do not describe God at all. The writer is trying to explain, with hardly any knowledge of God, without any knowledge of the devil

or of the balance of nature which can be disturbed, how this cataclysm came upon the earth. It is in the context of anthropomorphism that we must understand "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever" (Genesis 6:3). If it was true that God had given up on man, none of us would be alive today. The testimony of scripture is that God never gives up on us (Hosea 11:8-9). It is us who give up on him.

The Theological argument against God causing the Flood

So in Genesis 6, when the text records God’s declaration that He will send a flood to destroy every living thing upon the earth, our first response should be shock and confusion. This is quite out of character for everything we have learned about God up to this point. And even if God decided it was necessary to destroy all humans, why does He also decide to destroy all the birds and animals? Doesn’t this seem like overkill? Stranger still, after declaring that He is disappointed with humanity because of the sin and violence that covers the whole earth, God sets out to engage in even greater violence by drowning every living person and animal upon the earth. So, in response to the all the violence, Genesis 6–8 portrays God as the most violent one. Yet if violence was such a problem for God, why did God then turn around and engage in the greatest act of violence possible? How are we to read this? Is worldwide genocide okay if it is performed by God? Such an idea seems contrary to everything Genesis has revealed about God up to this point. The solution is multi-faceted and depends in large part on what has already been revealed about God in Genesis 1–4. There are four basic truths about God that Genesis has revealed so far. First, God does not send storms, but calms them and rescues people from them (Gen 1: 2, 6). One strange thing about the flood account is that when the flood waters do in fact come upon the earth, God is neverspecifically stated as the one who sends them (Gen 7: 10-12, 17-20). The only specifically stated activities of God was when He shut the doors of the ark (Gen 7: 16) and sent the wind to blow back the waters (Gen 8: 1). The second truth about God which has been revealed in Genesis 1–4 is actually about humans. We humans tend to blame God for the bad things that happen in life, and for the bad things that we ourselves do (Gen 3: 12, 4: 9). This is also true for natural disasters like floods, famines, storms, and disease. When we blame God for causing natural disasters, we almost always use terminology and language that is identical to what we read in Genesis 6. The third truth is that just as God worked to deliver Adam, Eve, and Cain from the pain they had brought upon themselves (Gen 3: 24; 4: 15), God spent decades warning the people through Noahabout what was coming and trying to save as many as He could (Gen 5:32; 6:3, 14; 7:6). The fourth truth revealed about God in Genesis 1–4 is also critical for helping us understand the flood account. This fourth truth is that humans are the evil and violent ones, while God is not. And strangely enough, one of the final verses of the flood account states that humanity was just as evil andviolent as they were before (Gen 6:5; 8:21). Isn’t that shocking? Genesis 8:21 is a surprise ending to the flood story. It subverts and turns upside down the traditional reading of the flood account. The fact that the condition of humanity did not change one bit as a result of the flood means that if God

sent the flood to stop the violence and evil of mankind, then His own violence against humanity was a complete and utter failure. But was God so foolish as to not know that His violence against humanity would fail to reform and rectify our violent behavior? Of course not! We cannot accept that an omniscient God would be that foolish and short sighted. So instead, we must admit that Genesis 8:21 was written to help the reader see a truth about violence that few people ever recognize. The truth about violence which Genesis 6– 8 reveals is that violence solves nothing. The truth about violence is that violence always and only leads to more violence.But did God really kill everyone just to make this point? No! We see this by noting an even greater truth revealed in the flood account of Genesis 6–8. Unless we are ready to say that God is a violent mass murderer who drowns all men, women, children, and animals (except for those on the ark) just to prove that violence never solves anything, we must step back and reconsider the flood account from another perspective. What perspective is that? It is the perspective revealed through Noah’s sacrifice in Genesis 8:20-21 JDMyers, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

The Argument for the Flood as a Consequence of Wickedness

We understand the consequences of our poor choices. We almost destroyed the ozone layer. We have destroyed thousands if not millions of species on the earth. We are busy destroying the oceans with the accumulation of plastic in them. We have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the earth many times over. The circulation of water on the planet was different at creation to what it is now. Genesis 2:10 read "God said, 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' Thus, God made the firmament [where the birds fly, v. 20], and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so" (Genesis 1:6,7). This body of water which was above the firmament or sky is now largely gone. This water canopy would have been the cause of the mist which Airrigated@ the earth. Rain was unknown at this time. "A mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground" (Genesis 2:6). We know from the oil, gas and coal deposits that if we have a short earth chronology the plant life must have been profusely luxuriant compared to what we even had in the 18th century before the Industrial Revolution to be able to produce the amount of fossil fuel we have under the surface of the earth. Peter hints at the conditions which made the flood possible.

2Peter 3:5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God=s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. The covenant of never flooding the earth again (Genesis 9:11; Isaiah 54:9) means that the conditions for a universal flood no longer exist today! These conditions were unique to the ante- diluvian world, as the rainbow is unique to the post-diluvian world.

The fate of unfaithful Jerusalem is going to be worse than the flood

because although Noah was able to save his wife, their 3 sons and their wives from the flood, God will be unable to save Jerusalem and she will be stoned and hacked to pieces with the sword and burned with fire (Ezekiel 16:35-43). Here are additional hints as to the unique conditions that existed before the flood which made a flood possible. These conditions also serve to highlight the changed the conditions on post-diluvian earth.

The Sun and Moon

"The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord binds up the bruise of His people and heals the stroke of their wound" (Isaiah 30:26). The sun, it seems from this statement, was much brighter in the past and the moon was either reflecting this additional light or it could have been a light source in itself. The creation account seems to indicate the moon was luminous at creation, although this might be a figure of speech.. Genesis 1:16 God made two great lightsCthe greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. In any event, the water canopy would have sheltered the earth from harmful cosmic rays and the bright light also produced a greenhouse effect on the planet. The water canopy could have been held in suspension by this energy. The prophet Isaiah sees the flood as the abandoning of the earth by God. Isaiah 54:7 AFor a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,@ says the Lord your Redeemer. 9 ATo me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.

The Water circulation on the earth

Before the flood the circulation of water was arterial, the rivers all started in the garden of Eden and then flowed out to water the earth, becoming smaller and smaller. The water must then have returned to Eden via underground channels or aquifers. Genesis 2:10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the

east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. After the flood, the rivers start small and all empty into the seas, the water is evaporated and returns to the land in the form of rain, snow and hail. This venation system of circulation means the changes to the earth were immense and far reaching. We might say that the earth was turned inside out!

Grieving the Holy Spirit

Peter understands the flood was the baptism of the earth, by which he means that the first world died, and a new world was resurrected by God=s power. Baptism is symbolic of the death of Jesus by evil men, and the resurrection of Jesus, by God=s power. The analogy is that evil men destroyed the first world by their violence and wickedness. However, God in his grace and mercy delivered Noah, his family, and a sample of the animals to restart life on a vastly changed planet. 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you alsoCnot the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (NIV) Eliphaz, whose insight we might question as a result of reading Job 42:7, when speaking to Job asks: Will you keep to the old way which wicked men have trod, Who were cut down before their time, whose foundations were swept away by a flood? They said to God, "Depart from us! What can the Almighty do?" (Job 22:15-17, italics supplied) When God is forced away by wickedness then a community or a location becomes subject to the consequences of evil. There is no longer any protection against the Devil who is out, like a roaring lion, to devour and to destroy (1Peter 5:8). The canopy of water collapsed and great destruction came upon the earth, the earth was literally bent out of shape. We live in this misshapen world.


All sinful choices and behaviours have bad consequences. The end of our world seems more and more likely because of what we are doing to the planet. With our pollution we have created a hole in the ozone layer, we are warming the planet and melting the ice caps, we are polluting the oceans. We destroy more than one species of life every day of the year. Violence increases each year. It is glorified and fostered by the media for money. The antediluvian people were long lived and we have no reason to believe they were less intelligent than we are. They might have been a lot brighter. This means they would, in their wickedness, also have had a profoundly negative impact on the planet. It is conceivable that they were able to indirectly collapse the protective water canopy around the planet and this resulted in the destruction of the first world. Satan, of course, was also there inspiring and facilitating this destruction. Satan even managed to influence prophetic thinking and writing to the point that

God was blamed for the destruction caused by himself and evil men working together. Jesus verdict about such events is clear. Matthew 13:28 A>An enemy did this,= he replied.@ Ian Hartley, August 2020 AWith these words of light and truth before them, how dare men neglect so plain a duty? (Giving of tithes and offerings.) How dare they disobey God when obedience to His requirements means His blessing in both temporal and spiritual things, and disobedience means the curse of God? Satan is the destroyer. God cannot bless those who refuse to be faithful stewards. All He can do is to permit Satan to accomplish his destroying work. We see calamities of every kind and in every degree coming upon the earth, and why? The Lord's restraining power is not exercised. The world has disregarded the word of God. They live as though there were no God. Like the inhabitants of the Noachic world, they refuse to have any thought of God. Wickedness prevails to an alarming extent, and the earth is ripe for the harvest. (6T 388) "Your words have been stout against Me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against Thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered." Verses 13-15. Those who withhold from God His own make these complaints. The Lord asks them to prove Him by bringing their tithe into His storehouse to see whether He will not pour them out a blessing. But they cherish rebellion in their hearts and complain of God; at the same time they rob Him and embezzle His goods. When their sin is presented before them, they say: I have had adversity; my crops have been poor; but the wicked are prospered; it does not pay to keep the ordinance of the Lord. {6T 389.1} But God does not want any to walk mournfully before Him. Those who thus complain of God have brought their adversity on themselves. They have robbed God, and His cause has been hindered because the money that should have flowed into His treasury was used for selfish purposes. They showed their disloyalty to God by failing to carry out His prescribed plan. When God prospered them, and they were asked to give Him His portion, they shook their heads and could not see that it was their duty. They closed the eyes of their understanding, that they might not see. They

withheld the Lord's money and hindered the work which He designed to have done. God was not honored by the use made of His entrusted goods. Therefore He let the curse fall upon them, permitting the spoiler to destroy their fruits and to bring calamities upon them. (6T 389)

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