In the last part of our study we looked at the beginning of sin. It began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned against God by disobeying His direct command not to eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God told Eve that He would “greatly multiply” her sorrow and conception and that she would bring forth her children “in pain.”
God told Adam that the ground that he would work to bring forth food for himself and his family would be “cursed” because of his sin. God also told Adam that he would die and “return to the ground.”
Both of these promises were evidenced in Adam and Eve’s first children. Cain, the firstborn, murdered his brother, Abel. Adam and Eve experienced pain and death because of sin.
We now turn to the growth of sin.
Adam and Eve lived long enough to see how their disobedience would impact their family – the human family. Cain moved away and built his own city (Genesis 4:17) where his descendants displayed arrogance and defiance toward God (Genesis 4:23-24). Adam and Eve had another son, Seth, and people soon began to “call on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26).
Even as the generations of Adam and Eve grew in size, so did sin grow in them. It wasn’t long before God spoke these words –
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
What did God mean by those words? Was He admitting to a ‘flaw’ in His eternal plan? Did things go terribly wrong so that He would have to scrap it and either start over or abandon what He wanted to accomplish? Not at all.
God’s pain and suffering, His grief and sorrow, are an important part of His eternal plan. As hard as that might be for us to understand, the message is clear. God created a world where He would share in the pain and suffering of His creatures. That’s why the very next words Moses wrote were –
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.Genesis 6:8
Did God know how wicked humanity would become “before time and space”? Yes, He did.
Did God know that every intent of the thoughts of people’s hearts would be evil continually? Yes, He did.
Did God know that the wickedness of humanity and their evil intent would grieve His heart? Yes, He did.
So then, why did God let things get so bad before doing something about it?
We have now entered into the BIG PURPOSE of God’s eternal plan –
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.2 Timothy 1:8-10
Notice the important points of what the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy –
- Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord
- Share in the sufferings for the Gospel
- Save and called
- Not according to our works
- According to His own purpose and grace
- Given to us in Christ Jesus
- Before time began
- Revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ
- Who abolished death
- Who brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel
This is one of the key verses that kicked off our series months ago and deserves repeating –
… according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
That is the power of what we read in Genesis 6. The wickedness of humanity grieved God’s heart. The sin that God addressed powerfully in the Garden of Eden caused Him so much pain and sorrow that almost any reasonable person could understand why He would have said He was sorry that He made man on the earth and why He was ready to destroy man on the earth. But that’s not what God did. Why not? Because His purpose was to demonstrate extreme grace in view of extreme sin – grace that would be brought to light through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
What beautiful words those were and still are. God did not forget the promise He made in the Garden of Eden. Jesus Christ, the Seed of the woman, would triumph over Satan. That’s what God saw – “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” God saw the eternal plan that would see the perfect Son of God die for the sins of wicked humanity. Nothing, not even the worst that sin could cause in human beings, would derail God’s eternal plan.
Noah and the Plan
Noah and the Ark was not an afterthought in God’s plan. God didn’t see the wickedness of the human race and wonder how in the world He was going to save His eternal plan from failure. God chose Noah.
This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 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 6:9-13
It’s interesting that Moses included a sentence about Noah’s lineage (his sons) before continuing with God’s plan to destroy the human race with the earth. It demonstrates God’s intention. Noah and his family would live. The rest of the human race would die. God was going to begin again.
Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.’ Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.Genesis 6:14-22
Notice the important “reveals” from what Moses wrote in the last half of Genesis 6:
- God directed Noah in detail about how to build the Ark
- God would “establish” His covenant with Noah by protecting Noah, his family and all the birds, animals and creeping things as He brought a devastating flood on the earth
When did God determine He would “bring floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life”?
When did He decide that “everything on the earth shall die”?
When did God come up with the idea for building an ark to save one family of eight people and a number of birds, animals and creeping things from the floodwaters?
When did He choose Noah to be the man who would lead the building of the ark?
Before the beginning of time. Before the foundation of the earth.
The Flood, the Ark, saving Noah and his family, saving birds, animals and creeping things, all of it – God decided before the beginning of time.
Nothing we see God do is an afterthought or an emergency response to things that go wrong for Him. God planned everything before the beginning of time and space. Everything.
We will take a look at how the new beginning worked when we continue our special series, The Great Reveal.
[Read the first seven chapters of The Great Reveal in this free eBook]
[Read chapters 8-12 of The Great Reveal in this free Ebook]
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.