The Lord God told Noah that He was going to bring floodwaters on the earth (Genesis 6:17). Just as God had said it would, the flood came (Genesis 7:10). The flood eventually came to an end, but it was a destructive deluge like none other in history.
When the great flood came, it was an act of divine justice. The flood was not “a natural disaster.” No, it was not “Mother Nature” at work. The waters of the flood came from the fountains of the great deep, as well as the rain which fell (Genesis 7:12).
Mankind’s corruption was the reason for the flood (Genesis 6:5,13), and God is the one who sent it. Jehovah said, “And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh . . .” (Genesis 6:17). The Bible says that the righteous God “did not spare the ancient world . . . bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5). The flood was a punishment from God for man’s wicked behavior.
What happened to the world during the flood? The world was condemned (Hebrews 11:7), the world was destroyed (Genesis 6:13,17), and the world’s humans drowned (Genesis 7:21-23). How unforgettable!
The scope of the flood: was it limited/local or universal? When the great flood came, the whole world was affected by it. “Who cares?” Well, if the Bible gives proof one way or the other, we need to accept it, support it, and defend it.
The evidence clearly shows that it was a world- wide deluge. The Bible declares that the floodwaters covered “all the high hills under the whole heaven” (Genesis 7:18,19). It also is written that outside the ark, “all” breathing things died (Genesis 7:21-23).
The fact that there was even a need for the ark would indicate it was not a local disaster. Had it been a flood which was limited in its geographic scope, Noah and his family simply could have walked to higher ground to “wait out the storm.” The ark was needed because there was no place to go to escape the waters of the flood. Remember this as well: God said the rainbow serves as a sign of His covenant with mankind that “the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” (Genesis 9:15). Rainbows seen throughout the planet remind mankind of God’s promise, but also of the universal flood that was.
The flood affected the earth’s population, reducing it to eight (1 Peter 3:20). It affected the earth’s terrain, as different layers of fossils are topsy-turvy. It affected the climate. After the flood ended and Noah’s family exited the ark, it was like a new beginning for the human race.
When the great flood came, God’s grace/mercy was on display. Noah himself found grace in the Lord’s eyes as he walked with Him (Genesis 6:8,9). Noah’s family received God’s mercy, being spared inside the ark from the death brought about by the floodwaters (Genesis 6:18; 7:1,7). Noah’s offspring also were the recipients of God’s favor. The main purpose of the ark was to preserve the seed of the coming Redeemer (1 Peter 1:18-20). In order for Jehovah to fulfill His promise, He had to keep mankind in existence. The ark accomplished that.
Prior to the flood, Noah was serving as a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). While the ark was being built, God’s longsuffering was manifested (1 Peter 3:20). The Lord provided provisions for man’s safety inside an ark (Genesis 7:23). Yes, the flood showed God’s justice and severity, but do not miss the truth that His kindness was demonstrated during that general time period, too.
To whom were grace and physical deliverance demonstrated in the days of Noah? To the righteous, those located in the God-appointed place of safety (Genesis 7:1). In the same way, under the new covenant, God’s grace and spiritual salvation are extended to mankind in the place which He has appointed: in the Christ (Ephesians 1:3,7).
When the great flood came, the majority of people were not in the only place of safety. Salvation from physical death was available inside the ark (Genesis 7:23; 1 Peter 3:20). How many other God-arranged places of safety existed during the flood? Zero. Does that sound narrow-minded? It was God’s plan, period, and it was not open to negotiation. What about today? God has a singular location for mankind’s spiritual safety: in His Son’s Kingdom (Colossians 1:13,14). Men might dislike it, discount it, and debate it, but that will never change God’s plan.
The fact that the overwhelming majority of the earth’s inhabitants lost their lives during the flood reminds us that the behavior of the majority does not always please God. Rather than making our choices based on what we see “everybody else” doing, we need to find out what God desires for our lives. Here is another reminder: God wants everyone to come into His place of safety, but He does not want the righteous to compromise with the ungodly and try to “learn from them how they get so many people.”
When the great flood came, folks were carrying on their normal activities, apparently oblivious to the coming danger (Matthew 24:37-39). When it comes to the world’s end and judgment, a lot of folks will be like that, too. We need to be ready at all times!
— Roger D. Campbell