122 Time to Stop Blaming God for Evil Gen. 6b
Updated: Mar 26
As we continue with the story of Noah we discover the principle of Prediction does not mean Causation which becomes critical to understanding this story and the Bible. Join us as we endeavour to make sense of the story of Noah and the flood in light of the life and teachings of Jesus.
6 Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them.
Prior to this there is no record of women being born. The lineage is male only.
2 The sons of God saw the beautiful women (daughters of men)and took any they wanted as their wives.
1. "sons of God" is used to designate the Israelite king (Ps. 2:7; 2 Sam. 7:14); angels (Job 38:7); and heavenly beings, members of the divine council (Job 1:6; 2:1). In a very special way the Israelitesare called sons/children of God (Psalm 29:1; 89:6). Israel is the firstborn son of God (Ex. 4:22, 23).
Some ancient sources suggest this appellation refers to fallen angels (1 Enoch 6:1-7:6; Justin Martyr, Apology 2.5). This idea is supposedly supported by 1 Peter 3:19; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6-7. The scriptural evidence is weak when read carefully. Jesus implied that angels are not sexual beings (Matthew 22:30; Luke 20:35-36).
Sons of God may refer to the descendants of Seth and the women refer to the descendants of Cain’s line (6:2, 4). The beautiful women are designated “daughters of men” in some translations. The language used does not support this dichotomy but that does not make the idea false. In Genesis 4 and 5 the human race is divided into two main groups: the descendants of Cain (Gen. 4: 17-24) and those of Seth ( verses 25, 26).In Genesis 6:1,2 this division is clearly recognized by referring to those who followed the Lord as "sons of God" and to the rest of humanity as "men." There is nothing in the immediate context to suggest that the "sons of God" are kings, angels, or heavenly beings.
Sons of God (god) might refer to tyrannical leaders who took what they wanted by violence, compounding the polygamy of Lamech (4:19). The repetition of “saw, took, and ate/sex,” mirrors what happened to Eve (3:19) and reminds the reader this is rebellion against God. This behaviour causes the flood in the mind of Moses and humans are destroyed not angelic beings thus confirming that the problem is not with non-human beings.
3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.” Compare CEB bible which says my breathe will not always remain in men!
Why does the statement “not putting up” follow verse 2?
This statement of “not putting up” does not fit with forgiving 70x7 times (Matthew 18:22).
Older translations because of the ambiguity of the Hebrew concluded that Noah preached for 120 years. Modern translations are clear that it is human lifespan which was reduced to 120 years. This reduction inlife-span was not instant. It took time for this consequence to occur. Shem (1556-2156), for instance, out lived Abraham (1949-2124) by 32 years. Moses lived for 120 years and Joshua lived for 110 years. The psalmist records that the life-span of humans had been reduced to 70 years (Psalm 90:10) when he wrote his psalm.
4 In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of Godhad intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times.
The author is explaining the origin of the giants referred to here and in Numbers 13:31-33 and Deuteronomy 2:10-11. We still have giants on earth. Seldom physically but often in terms of artistic skill and scientific prowess. How shall we explain these gifted people? The genetic code can produce these extremes from time to time. In Numbers 13 the Israelites reported that they felt like mere grasshoppers in the sight of the nephilim, which the KJV translates "giants." There is reason to believe that this Hebrew word may come from the root naphal, and that the nephilim were Aviolent@ ones, or terrorists, rather than physical "giants."
Notice the violence implied by using the term “famous warriors.” These were not just large people but perpetrators of violence.
5 The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. 6 So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. 7 And the LORD said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.”
The author is attempting to describe the causation for the flood. He sees the flood as a supernatural event, thus it must be caused by God and God alone since Old Testament writers had no knowledge of a supernatural evil being, whom we call the devil.
Methuselah’s life was, in effect, a symbol of God’s mercy in forestalling the coming flood. God held back the flood as long as possible, compare Revelation 7:1-3.
Using a violent flood to destroy violence or evil on the earth was a futile solution since we know in hindsight that violence soon affected all the earth after the flood. We insult God when we believe that he would use such an ineffective solution to the problem of evil or violence. It is suggested by some that the function of the flood was to prevent the destruction of mankind because Jesus had not yet arrived. Jesus could have come before the flood if this was the situation. The prophecies could have indicated this.
The flood is a reversal of the order created on the second day of the creation story where water on the earth was separated from the water above the sky (1:7). God does not create order to destroy it later. This descent into chaos is the result of evil at work in the same way that the chaos of death is the result of evil or sin (Genesis 2:17). God is constantly at work creating order out of chaos with his energy and love. It is interesting that Moses thought God did work this way (Deuteronomy 32:39-42).
We are now in a position to destroy the earth with pollution, global warming or nuclear weapons. It is believable that the highly intelligent people before the flood had affected God’s creation and the water was about to return to the pre-creation chaos because of their meddling with the balance of nature. God predicted this event to Noah and Noah or Moses, the author of Genesis, attributed the cause to God.
6. If God was wanting to destroy all human beings, he could have used less destructive means. The idea that God is capable of destroying part of his creation means he could have used a virus or bacteria or changed the composition of the atmosphere slightly. That God had to use a mega destructive method is to insult God’s intelligence. He could have used a neutrino bomb which only destroys living organisms.
Prediction does not mean causation.
The attribution of the cause of a prediction to God was common in the Old Testament culture. Moses believes the LORD is a despot, like Pharaoh, who kills and gives life as he wishes (Deuteronomy 32:39-41). Job’s eloquent statement, “the LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away” (Job 1:21) has been quoted innumerable times even though it was the Satan who afflicted Job in the story. 1 Samuel 16:14 attributes the cause of king Saul’s demonic possession to the LORD, and 2 Samuel 24:1 attributes the cause of the plague which killed 70,000 in Israel to the LORD who caused David to take a census. 1 Chronicles 21:1 attributes the same census to Satan. Naomi attributed her husband and sons deaths to the LORD (Ruth 1:21). Hannah had no children because the LORD had not given her any (1 Samuel 1:5). Jesus, who is God, claimed he is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25) which makes it impossible for him to cause death. Jesus revealed the source of death to be the devil (John 10:10; Hebrews 2:14).
8 But Noah found favor with the LORD.
One may well ask why he found favour with the LORD? Was it because he believed the prediction of the coming flood when no one else did. He was a believer in the word of the LORD. The implication, although not stated, is that Noah was not an evil or violent man.
The Story of Noah
9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. 10 Noah was the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Righteous means to do right, to think right, and to have right feelings. Blameless, a Hebrew concept, is not to be confused with perfection which is a Greek concept. Blameless meant two things. You have no blame for others and you repent of your own failures. David was blameless (2 Samuel 22:24), but certainly not perfect. 144,000 are blameless (Revelation 14:5).
11 Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. 12 God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt. 13 So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!”
Corruption is equated with violence in the pre-flood world. It is also true today. Evil or corruption are synonymous with violence. There are no gentle, evil people. This passage seems to indict not only people but also animals since it does not qualify the violence with human violence. Jesus wants us to love our enemies, does this mean we are to love the devil? Our purpose is to love and serve those around us (Matthew 20:28). We can hate the sin and love the sinner. There are many statements in this account of the flood which indicate that the whole human race is to be destroyed. This is to be a universal flood.
14 “Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. 15 Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.
Where did the pitch come from since this is pre-flood? The pitch might be referring to resin obtainedfrom plants.
This “ark” (Hb. tebah used again for the basket Moses floated in) had a ratio of length to width of 450 feet to 75 feet which is the ratio used for tankers and freight boats today (6:1). This means it would have carried 450 automobiles on one level. It could carry at least 20,000 tons and the animals probably weighed 10,000 tons. The rest would have been used for food (NLT Study Bible). The logistics of how the food was preserved and the dealing with waste are not given. This is half the size of the titanic
16 Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.
Thus, light and air were admitted and circulated in this rectangular barge designed for survival not for navigation. The most serious structural objection to the ark is that there were no trees that were over 450 feet long toensure the strength of the structure. The tallest living tree that we have on record at present is Hyperion, a coastal Redwood, at 380 feet. There is no reason to believe that the trees before the flood could not have reached over 450 feet in height.
17 “Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die.
Three categorical statements that this is going to be a universal flood.
18 But I will confirm my covenant with you. So, enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives.
“Covenant” is used here for the first time. It means God’s promise to take care of Noah, his family and the animals. There are no stipulations for this promise coming true. It is a covenant of grace. Good parents make such a covenant with a child when it is born. This is a communal salvation. Noah is saved with his family because of Noah’s relationship with God. According to 7:1, he alone is righteous.
19 Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. 20 Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive.
“scurry along the ground” are these reptiles? Additional information is given in the next chapter where seven pairs of clean animals and seven pairs of birds are specified (7:2-3). Clean animals implies that they were being eaten. Does this mean that humans were already eating animals or is this a retrospective viewpoint?
21 And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.”
22 So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.
Compare with verse 8—Noah found favour with the LORD.