Lesson 9

Creation and the Flood

(Genesis 6 & 7)
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Introduction: The world theorizes disasters of various kinds to explain the present contours of the earth and the fossil records. The Bible account records a world-wide water disaster. Let's dive into the details of the water catastrophe!

  1. WAS IT REAL?


    1. Many Christians believe that the story of the flood is simply a fable meant to teach us a helpful lesson. This arises in part because of their unwillingness to believe that God could be the author of such destruction. What general lesson these individuals might find in the Flood account, is less than clear.


    2. Read Genesis 6:5-7. Does this sound like a hypothetical problem?


      1. Has God made a mistake?


      2. What is He thinking about His creation?


      3. Was God inclined to "reverse" or "take back" His creation?


        1. We have discussed in the past God's reason for allowing free choice, allowing sin and the continuing conflict between God and Satan. Is Satan winning at this point? Is God's plan to kill those who have rejected Him unfair? Is it contrary to the rules of the "engagement?"


      4. We have the "neutron bomb" that simply kills man without destroying buildings. The idea is to deal narrowly with the problem. Why is God proposing to destroy animals along with man?


      5. What is your reaction to these verses? Do they make you worried about the fairness of your God? Or are they cause for hope? (This clearly reveals that we are not the only ones looking for Jesus' Second Coming and the earth made new. Sin pains God and He wants to bring it to an end. God told Adam and Eve at the very beginning that sin resulted in death. That was the rule of engagement. They were warned and we are warned. ( Genesis 2:17) God is not being unfair, He is simply showing us that the judgment side of His character will not tolerate evil forever.)


      6. What about mankind does the Bible say was particularly bothersome to God? ( Genesis 6:5, "Every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.")


        1. How concerned is God about our thoughts, as opposed to our actions?


    3. Read Genesis 6:8-9,11-14. When it says in verse 11 that the world was full of violence, does that suggest a reason for destroying the animals too? (When you put that verse together with Genesis 9:2 (which speaks of instilling the fear of man in animals) the inference is that men and animals were involved in violent conflicts.)


      1. Do these verses make the account sound more like a fable or more like a historical account? (This is clearly a real problem with a physical solution. God even specifies how Noah is to be saved and gives detailed directions down to the type of wood to use in the boat!)


      2. What does verse 13 suggest is going to happen to the earth?


        1. Since the earth is still here, what do you think God meant? (We cannot comprehend how great a place God originally created for us to live. Remember, that when sin entered, God cursed the ground ( Genesis 3:17), thus indicating that the earth was going to become a lot less hospitable. Now, God says He is going to "destroy" the earth. This reveals that the earth is now going to get much less pleasant. It is fair to believe that substantial damage was done to the earth at this point.)


        2. Why did God destroy the earth? How does this have anything to do with sin? (Two informal observations. Too much leisure time encourages sin. A very favorable land and climate gives more leisure time. Ever notice that more industrialized nations exist in harsher climates? This pattern historically existed even in the United States.)


      3. Contrast what these verses say about Noah versus the rest of mankind?


        1. What does it mean to "walk with God?"


    4. Read Genesis 6:17-21. Some commentators say that the flood was a local event. What does the Bible say about this?


      1. If it were a local event, why would God bring along the animals?


      2. Does the fact that the Bible says that every kind of animal got in a boat of limited size show that this is just a fable or a metaphor?


        1. How would elephants or dinosaurs fit? (Who said any of these animals had to be full-grown?)


  2. DETAILS OF THE DISASTER


    1. One of the best arguments against the Flood account being meant as a fable or metaphor are the details of the disaster found in the story. Let's look at a few of these.


    2. Read Genesis 7:11-12. Is this the kind of rain we see all the time?


      1. What do you see that strikes you as unusual about this deluge? (It looks like it came from above and below. Notice "the springs of the deep burst forth.")


      2. Read Genesis 2:6. Does this, together with Genesis 7:11 suggest that God created a watering system for the earth that is different than what we have now? ( Genesis 2:5 talks about God sending rain in connection with the appearance of shrubs and man, thus suggesting that rain was a method of watering before the flood. However, the statement in verse 6 that streams came up from below the surface of the earth and "watered the whole surface of the earth" certainly indicates a fundamentally different way of providing water to the earth. Note Unger's Bible Dictionary asserts that prior to the Flood "atmospheric rain is not recorded" and cites this text. Instead, Unger posits "a huge vapor mist covered the earth instead of clouds." E.G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 96-97 agrees with Unger.)


    3. Read Genesis 7:17-20. Is this the story of a local flood? What detail in these verses sounds like an actual account and not a metaphor? (It tells us the water was more than 20 feet over the top of the highest mountain.)


      1. What is the significance of 20 feet? (Twenty feet would do the trick if you were out to destroy everything. Read Genesis 7:22.)


    4. Did Jesus believe in a literal Flood? (Yes. Read Matthew 24:36-40.)


  3. LESSONS FOR US


    1. Why did God save Noah and his family? (Read Genesis 6:8-9, 22. The Bible tells us that Noah walked with God and followed God's directions.)


      1. Would God say this about you?


      2. This chapter makes no comment upon the character of Noah's wife, his sons or his daughters-in-law? Why were they saved from the flood? (It appears their relationship to Noah.)


        1. Is this a fluke, or can you think of any other examples where a family was spared disaster because of a righteous father? (Lot - 2 Peter 2:5-8. I would guess that Lot strains the definition of "righteous man.")


        2. Does this provide a motive to be righteous - that your life can save your family from hardship here?


      3. Let's look at the Matthew 24:36-40 text again. What lesson does Jesus say we can learn from the Flood?


        1. Notice that Matthew 24:39 says that the wicked knew nothing about what would happen. What does Jesus mean?


          1. How do you reconcile this with Hebrews 11:7 which says that Noah "condemned the world" and with 2 Peter 2:5 which calls Noah a "preacher of righteousness?" (Nelson's Bible Dictionary tells us that Noah preached for 120 years, warning about the Flood, without any converts. (This 120 year idea is derived from Genesis 6:3.) Jesus is telling us that we can close our ears to His messengers and be destroyed or open our ears, obey and live.)


      4. What comfort do you get from Genesis 7:4 and similar statements in the Flood account? (That God warned His people step by step what would happen.)


    2. Friends, God loves those who walk with Him. He is pained by evil thoughts and evil actions and is determined to destroy them. If we purpose to walk with Him, He will reveal His judgment to us and He will save us.


  4. NEXT WEEK: THE MASTER DESIGNER

Discussion

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