It is only in union with God that mankind is able to relate to him properly and please him. The generations after the fall proved that the depravity and disunity of mankind could only get worse, not better. The story of the flood and babel encapsulates the state of disunity that mankind exists in after the fall. Showing that as long as the flesh of Adam remains it is impossible to restore true unity (relationship) with God.

Mankind is unable to maintain a continuous and consistent relationship with God, because every inclination of the hearts of all humans stands in opposition to the “goodness” God. This makes a consistent view of God impossible to pass on from person to person or generation to generation.

Generations have passed since the fall and instead of the humanity growing in strength (complexity of relationship, love) all who share in the corrupt flesh of Adam (all humans) multiply evil (disunity). With each new generation being born into a state of disunity humanity only shows solidarity in their desire and capacity for evil. The heart of man is evil to the core and God who created all things is grieved at what he sees. This is not merely a statement of fact but of broken relationship. If it were merely fact there would be no reason to reveal that God was personally hurt by the continual betrayal perpetrated by humanity.

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD.
(Genesis 6:5-8 ESV)

On the sixth day of creation God judged the unity of the parts of creation to be “very good” (more consistent with who God is). Now by the same authority God exercises his right as creator to judge the world again, declaring it to be “evil”. Stating that the motivation behind every thought any human has is evil. Nothing that mankind thinks or does comes from a desire to do “good” (be like God), making everything they do “evil” (not like God). The children of Adam have inherited this contrary nature from their father embracing it as truth (normal), forgetting that man was created to be in union (relationship) with God reflecting his goodness.

God’s grief is so strong that “…it grieved him to his heart.”(vs6) and he expresses his regret at ever creating mankind. So once again (with a heavy heart) God, creator and master of all with all power and authority, justly decides to blot out all living things from the face of the earth. However God’s judgement of mankind (creation) is not complete (final). Exercising mercy he spares Noah and his family, along with a boat full of animals. By doing this he reduces humanity to a single family once again (since Adam and Eve). Making the Arc a life boat launched from the sinking ship that is creation.

The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark.
(Genesis 7:20-23 ESV)

It almost seems as if God has reset creation, re-establishing the covenant he had with Adam only now with Noah as head (Genesis 9:1-17). Mankind is once again united as one family, with Noah at its head. Furthermore Noah has faithfully cared for all the animals in creation that God placed under his care.

Unfortunately the reality of the situation is less than perfect. The flood has not fixed the fundamental break in relationship (disunity) between God and Adam, the flesh of Adam persists in Noah and his family. While this has all the appearances of restored unity it isn’t. Looking more closely at what is happening it becomes clear that the requiements of this new covenant are actually emphasising the fact that the broken relationships still exist. Showing that disunity still exists between:
• God and man,
• Members of humanity, and
• Man and creation.

Mankind has seen God’s judgement first hand and instead of unity there is an uneasy peace between God and man. The covenant that God establishes with Noah is a promise of mercy not restored unity, as God says:

I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
(Genesis 9:11, ESV)

Firstly, to assure humanity that they need not live in fear each time it rains God promises he will not destroy man with a flood again. As the sign of this promise God puts the rainbow in the sky for all to see (Genesis 9:8-17). Therefore instead of being a symbol of restored unity between God and man it is a reminder of the broken unity and uneasy peace that exists between God and man.

Secondly, as part of his covenant with mankind God requires that they multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1 & 7). While at first this command sounds like the same covenant God made with Adam (unity), it is in fact a reminder of the disunity that exists within humanity. As already stated this covenant is marked by God withholding judgment not re-establishing unity. Without restored relationship (unity) with God humanity will only be multiplying evil, as it did before the flood. Furthermore the further the human race spreads across the planet the more apparent the disunity within humanity will become (more on this in my next post). Therefore the command to multiply and spread would only be a good thing for humanity if unity between God and man still existed. Instead it is an ever-present reminder of the disunity that exists between the families of mankind (the nations, war, etc).

Note: To say that the command to multiply and fill the earth is a bad thing is only looking at it from the perspective of humanity united in Adam. God does eventually use the formation of the nations (Genesis 10) to bring about his plan for salvation (calling Israel, etc.). Making the command to multiply and fill the earth “good” from God’s perspective. More on this in my next post.

Finally, instead of peace between animals and man there is fear and contention for survival, as God gives them as food for mankind (Genesis 9:2-6). Therefore every time a human eats meat from a dead animal they are to be reminded of the disunity that exists between mankind and creation.

This is far from the perfect union described in Genesis 1-2.


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