Speaking the Truth in Love
Flood of Noah
Many today teach that the flood of Noah did not really happen or that it was a local flood. Let us look at the facts as recorded in the Bible about the flood and then examine the lessons we can learn from it.
I. FACTS ABOUT THE FLOOD
1. The Ark Itself - Genesis 6:11-16
a. The Ark was built with dimensions (ratios) that are perfect for floating, are very seaworthy, and almost impossible to capsize. The stability of such a barge increases as it sinks deeper in the water.
b. The Ark had a deck area of about 101,250 sq ft (18 inch cubic) or 124,500 sq ft (20 inch cubic). This is equal to 24 to 32 college basketball courts.
c. The Ark weighed abound 13,960 tons; about the same as large ocean-going vessels today.
d. The Ark had a carrying capacity of over 500 standard railroad stock cars.
e. The size of the Ark rules out a local flood. Why so big if a local flood? Less animals needed.
2. Local or Universal Flood?
The requirement for Noah to build a gigantic barge to "keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth" (Gen. 7:3) was unnecessary if it was only a local flood. All that went into the ark, it's construction, out-fitting, and stocking would be a waste of time and energy if the flood were only a local event. Migration would have been a better and easier solution to the problem, for both Noah and the animals. Noah was commanded to take birds in the ark (Gen. 6:20). Birds can escape a local flood, in fact, some birds can migrate for thousands of miles, but none of the birds outside the ark were able to escape this flood (Gen. 6:7)!
3. Enough Room In The Ark For All The Animals?
a. Of the bigger species, smaller and younger animals could be taken.
b. There was no need to take any marine life.
c. Every variety in a kind did not have to be taken [Ex: Over 200 varieties of dogs, as different as the dachshund and collie, have developed from a few wild dogs.]
d. The majority of all animals are smaller than sheep and the Ark could have carried over 125,000 sheep-sized animals.
4. The Flood Itself - Gen. 7:11-12, 17-24
It rained for 40 days and nights. The waters prevailed on the earth 150 days, covering the mountains. The water continued to prevail for five months and took considerable time to recede (Gen. 8:3-4,14). Noah and his family left the Ark, one year and 10 days after the flood started (Compare Gen. 7:11 with 8:13-14). Do local floods keep one off the land for an entire year? Would it take 7 months to run aground if this had been a local flood? It is stated that all things that breath on dry land died (Gen. 7:21-23). A local flood could not have done that.
5. Other Flood Accounts
Since the entire human race is descended from the three sons of Noah and their wives, it is only logical that every culture has a flood story. Various stories of a great worldwide flood have been found in ancient cultures from Hawaii, Greece, North America (Native Americans), Babylon, China, etc.
6. Historical Fact
II. LESSONS WE CAN LEARN FROM NOAH AND THE FLOOD
1. God Takes Sin Seriously - Gen. 6:5-13
Widespread and firmly rooted sin. Man had committed every sin imaginable. Gen. 6:7 "I will destroy man": (NASV "blot out"), lit., to blot or wipe out by washing. Gen. 6:11 "The earth was corrupt before God": Openly, publicly, and flagrantly. The flood is one example in the Bible of the severity of God. Man may choose to reject God, but man never gets away with it. When evil reaches a certain point, judgment must fall. Therefore we cannot afford to think that God will not punish us, if we continue to remain in sin. Irony - Gen. 6:13 "I will destroy them with the earth". The same earth they loved would destroy them.
2. God Is Longsuffering
There was up to 100 years (Gen. 5:32, 9:28-29) prior to judgement. During this time Noah was preaching (2 Peter 2:4-6, 1 Peter 3:19-20). But only his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law responded to the preaching.Today God still warns people by preaching!
3. God Keeps His Word - 2 Peter 3:9-10
No matter how long, God's threat of a judgment day will happen. God's judgment has come to pass with the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the fall of Jericho, and cities like Jerusalem, Babylon, and Nineveh. The time lapse between promise and fulfillment should not be viewed as an opportunity to sin but rather as a chance to repent [Ro. 2:2-11 (verse 4)]!
God's promise to Noah and His descendants - (Gen. 8:21, 9:8-17). God's promise never to send a worldwide flood again has been broken repeatedly if the flood of Noah was just a regional or local flood. God's promise is demonstrated by His bow in the sky. Have you ever seen God's rainbow? It is a sign of God keeping His promise!
4. God's Way is Narrow - 2 Peter 2:4-6
God has executed judgment in the past where only a few were saved, while the majority were lost forever. God did not lower His standards, even though that meant "the world" was condemned. The way is still narrow (Matt. 7:13-14).
5. God wants a personal relationship with each one of us.
6. God grants grace to those who are Faithful and Obedient - Genesis 6:9
The Hebrew word translated "perfect" or "blameless" NASV involves the idea of completeness of parts, hence, a well-rounded character. Note that the word "generations" is plural. Over Noah's 500-year life so far, his character stood out from his contemporaries. We need to be impressed that Noah overcame the sinful environment that surrounded him. He refused to be conformed to the sinful world (Romans 12:2). We need to be the same way!
Noah's obedience was quick and motivated by a great respect for God (Hebrews 11:7). If we have a hard time obeying God's will, it is probably because we are not taking Him seriously. Noah did not have to see something in order to believe it. He did not complain, but rather did exactly as God has commanded (Genesis 6:22). Noah understood that when God gives instructions, man is not permitted to add, subtract, edit, or change (Proverbs 30:6; 2 John 9). The family of Noah depended on the Ark and that is a very good reason to build it exactly the way God commanded. Just think, our salvation and very existence depended upon a man building an ark by God's precise specifications! If that Ark was not built correctly, Noah and his family would have perished.
Saved by Grace - Genesis 6:8
Saved by his Faith - Hebrews 11:7
Saved by Water - 1 Peter 3:20
Water was required for salvation of Noah. Our Baptist friends tell us that water baptism is not required for salvation. That was not true for Noah and that is not true for us today (Acts 22:16, Matthew 28:18-20). If someone has been baptized after "they were saved"; all that has happened is they have gotten wet. Forgiveness comes when one is baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). When you are baptized, your sins are washed away, and you come up out of the waters a new creature, a Christian, to live your life for Him (Romans 6:4)!
7. People Were Too Busy
Like today, in Noah's time people had similar excuses for not obeying God. Being absorbed in the cares, worries, and things of this life, and too busy to listen to the message (Matthew 24:37-39, 2 Peter 3:1-6). The preference for sinful pleasures rather than doing what is right. It is so easy to simply be lulled into a false sense of security. The world trade center disaster and hurricane Katrina should help us not think this way. Did some deny the possibility of a universal flood? Did some deny that God would do such a thing? Did some even then argue that God was too merciful to punish anyone? Life up to the flood was normal. In like manner, everything will continue as normal until the Second Coming (1 Thess. 5:1-3, 6). Noah found grace, because he was trying to do what was right (Gen. 6:9, Acts 10:34-35).
It is impressive that Noah did not complain that God was going to execute His judgement. Noah certainly had friends/relatives who did not come in the ark, yet Noah never complained that God was being cruel or unfair. In addition, building the ark was a huge task that required a tremendous dedication and hard work. Yet we have no record of any complaints from Noah.
For Noah, grace and obedience worked together for his deliverance (Hebrews 11:7). When we obey God gives us access to His grace (Romans 5:1-2, Ephesians 2:4-9). The people of Noah's time rejected the grace of God. Noah's family were the only ones who responded favorably to God's grace (1 Peter 3:18-22).
Noah also had to have courage. Noah had courage to believe God when the world rejected Him! Would we be that courageous? Work for a 100 years on a barge waiting for a flood that you have never seen. People making fun, ridiculing you, probably treating you as a castoff of society, and losing all your friends. We would probably be filled with the thought of "What if the flood is not going to come?" But Noah had faith and courage to stand up to the people of the world and to even try to save them through preaching because he knew the flood was coming because God said it was coming.
Maybe you are a Christian who has lost your courage or lost your faith in Jesus. Why not come back to Him and find it?
Maybe you are one who has never had the courage to become a Christian. Maybe you have thought about becoming one, but something is holding you back. Have the courage to believe God. You must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Creator of the Universe. True, you will need to give up practicing a life of sin. You may have to give up certain friends. You may be made fun of like Noah probably was. The question is, Do you want to be saved like Noah was or do you want to be like those who were lost in the flood? Noah had the courage to obey so he could be saved. I wonder if you could ask those lost in the flood now if they thought that their worldly life without God was worth losing their souls?
These are some good things to think about. We hope that you do and we also hope to see you next time on"Speaking the Truth in Love".