God saw that the wickedness of the earth was great; the imaginations of man's heart were continuously evil. Men were involved in Satanism; unnatural sex; violence; and corruption, and so God decided to bring an end to that scene of iniquity. God destroyed the earth, at that time, with a flood of waters. God saw Noah, who was a righteous man, and commanded him to build an ark. The dimensions of the ark, 450 feet long and 75 feet wide, would equal those of the Titanic. Noah followed the instructions of the Lord: to bring into the ark the various animals, two of each species, with the exception of those animals that were considered clean; there were to be seven each of those. "And the LORD said unto Noah, come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation." (Gen.7:1). The LORD did not say, "go into the ark," but "come into the ark." It seems as though the Lord was in the ark, inviting Noah to come in. The Lord is with us and how glorious it is to have Him with us during the storms of life. He was inviting Noah into that place of protection from the great holocaust that was to come. God invites us to come on in to the ark (that place of safety or refuge that He has prepared in Jesus Christ) that we might survive the great flood of judgment that is going to come against evil.
God saw that Noah was righteous, even as God sees us as righteous. That doesn't mean that we don't do unrighteous deeds, because we do; we are sinners. We are not righteous in and of ourselves, but God sees us as righteous and that is what really counts. God sees us as righteous as we believe and trust in Jesus Christ. This is that righteousness that is imputed to us because of our faith. This same righteousness was imputed to Noah, because he believed God and obeyed Him. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (Heb.11:7). This doesn't mean that Noah was a perfect man, but, only that he believed God and obeyed Him. His faith in God was evidenced by his obedience and this is always true. If you say that you have faith in God but don't obey Him, then your words of faith are discounted. Noah was living in the midst of a corrupt generation, but the Lord saw him as "righteous."
"Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female; and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth." (Gen.7:2-3). God was preserving the species. The ark that Noah built had sufficient volume to hold two of each specie plus enough food that they could survive for the little over a year's time that they spent in the ark.
"For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth." (Gen.7:4). Here we find one of those many sevens that we find in scripture. Seven is a number that is symbolically meaningful in scripture. It is the number of completeness. Forty is a number of judgment, so, it will rain for forty days and forty nights as God's judgment coming upon the earth.
"And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, there went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights." (Gen.7:5-12). God describes how the flood came about and take note that it wasn't caused by just the rain. Before the flood came there were rivers that went forth from the Garden of Eden and yet, prior to the flood, there was no rain. How can you have rivers if there is no rain? Evidently there were tremendous underground reservoirs of water, which the scripture calls, "fountains of the deep." There could have been a whole series of underground caverns and it could be that the heat of the earth would even, if necessary, distill the waters of the sea as they would flow into these caverns. God could have had a whole vast irrigation system under the surface of the earth that sprung forth and flowed as rivers.
These fountains of the deep were broken up as well as that canopy of water that God had suspended in space in Genesis One. "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters, And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. (Gen.1:6-7). This canopy had protected the earth from the cosmic rays and had caused a "green garden" effect over all the earth. Without the poles being iced, with this water suspended in the atmosphere; there would not have been any violent storms or winds. There would have been only a slow movement of air and with the humidity and the warmth you would have had an ideal "plant" environment. Great charcoal beds have been discovered under the ice at the South Pole Region, which means there had to be vast forests there at one time. Mammoths, with vegetation in their digestive tracts, have been found in Siberia, which indicates a tropical paradise at one time. The emptying of the canopy of water seems to be the only answer to the forty days and nights of rain. Even if you had clouds, full of water, the most it would last would be two weeks; but, to rain forty days and the deluge to continue on a world-wide basis means there was that emptying of that vast canopy of water that God had suspended in space.
There is a great possibility of a dramatic polar axis shift at this time. It is possible that prior to the flood, there were no large mountain regions such as we have today. We don't know anything of the geology of the earth prior to the flood; they could have had rolling hills. It was indicated in the scripture, that the land mass was all together and that the seas were all together. There was just the one land mass and the one ocean of water. It could be that there were tremendous cataclysmic catastrophes that took place at the time of the flood, beside the breaking up of the deep and the emptying of the canopy of water that had been suspended in the atmosphere. The earth could have been moved slightly out of its orbit from around the sun at this time. There are indications that before the flood there was only a 360 day year. We know that after the flood there were 365 and one quarter days to a year. There are also possibilities that it was at this point that the earth became tilted on its axis. That tilt of twenty-three and one third degrees which gives us the seasons did not take place until the time of the flood. The combined polar axis shift, the tilt of the earth and the changing of its orbit could have been produced by the close paths of a huge asteroid upsetting the whole balance of the system.
The book, "Worlds In Collision" suggests that it was at this time that the planet Venus made its first path into the Solar System. It made a very close path to the earth, close enough to upset the whole balance of the earth. There was a gigantic electrical spark that stopped the earth on its axis and caused it to begin to spin in the other direction. A lot of evidence is presented to show that the earth, at one time, may have rotated in the opposite direction on its axis; but, this is all just interesting speculation. What we do know is that God emptied the canopy, above the earth, of that shield or water blanket and opened up the great fountains of the deep. As the waters began to cover the earth and the pressure of the water began to come over the land mass; the weight of the water, probably, broke through the earth's crust, in many areas, causing it to collapse. At this time great canyons were formed and the water, of course, would go into the canyons and through the downward pressure there might have come the upthrust of a coastal range of mountains such as, the high Sierras in California. There could have been tremendous geological upheavals as a result of the water changing its bed. There is evidence, all around the earth, such as fossils of sea life found in the Himalayas and this all could have been happening during this period of a year's time. Actually there were forty days when the rain was descending, but the activity continued long after the rain had descended.
"In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; they, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort." (Gen.7:13-14). There were a lot of problems, sanitary and otherwise, within the ark with all the animals that were there. It is quite possible (as we are dealing with a God who can do anything) and we do know that bears have the capacity of hibernating; it could be that God gave that same capacity to these animals for this special occasion. Maybe they all went into a hibernation process like the bear, sleeping the time away. It could be that the ark wasn't nearly as noisy as we would have imagined it to be.
"And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life." (Gen.7:15). I think, by this time, you get the idea that I believe this story actually happened and that this is a real event that God is chronicling for us here. I have no reason to doubt the veracity of God's word. I believe the universal flood is a far more plausible explanation of the geological column than is the evolutionary hypothesis.
"And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in." (Gen.7:16). I think that is significant too. God said, "Come on in," and they went in and then the Lord shut them in.
"And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth, and the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters, and the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered." (Gen.7:17-19). The hills probably weren't too high at that time. Actually if the earth were completely flat and if we didn't have these great canyons in the oceans it would be covered by 6,000 feet of water. The mountains didn't actually have to be that high. God just lifted up a land mass out of the waters on the first day of creation. It was only after the flood that we find these huge mountains and geological evidence points to the fact that these mountains are not very old.
"Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered." (Gen.7:20) This was probably fifteen cubits above the land mass at that time. "And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man; All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth; and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." (Gen.7:21-24). The earth was covered with water for that length of time. During this one hundred and fifty days geological changes were occurring, such as the upthrust of high mountains to get rid of the water off the face of the earth. It didn't just evaporate and run off into the ocean like it does now.
"And God remembered Noah,..." which doesn't mean that God forgot Noah and suddenly remembered He had a guy down on the earth floating around on the water, but that direct activity with God began again. One of the problems that we have with God is that we don't have divine terms with which to describe Him. There are probably terms that we will discover when we get to heaven, but we wouldn't even understand them now; because, they are terms that define the aspects of an infinite God. We are limited to our own vocabulary and therefore, we use human terms in talking about God. "And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark; and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually; and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated, And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat." (Gen.8:1-4). It is interesting to me that God would give us the exact days that this happened. There is probably a significance to these dates as God just doesn't throw in dates. God gives us the very day that the flood began and that it lasted one hundred and fifty days. It began on the seventeenth day of the second month and now on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, five months or one hundred and fifty days, the waters prevailed on the earth. So, it is a year that was calculated on a 360 day year. In the Old Testament, up until the time of Daniel, years were still calculated by the Babylonian Calendar; which was a 360 day year calendar.
Now, the interesting thing is that on the seventh month, the seventeenth day, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. Do you know what day Jesus rose from the dead? It was on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, which was the month of April on the Jewish Calendar. The Passover takes place on the fourteenth day of the seventh month and Jesus was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, making it the seventeenth day that He arose from the dead. It was the very same day that the ark rested. Another interesting note is that Noah's name means "rest."
There have been a lot of stories as to the location of Ararat. A lot of different countries have laid claim to having Ararat within their country; however, it would seem that the location in Armenia is probably the correct location. There have been reported sightings of the ark on Mt. Ararat, which is now in Turkey, throughout history. Marco Polo has recorded in his writings, of the ark being a curiosity piece; visited many times by the people living in the area of Mt. Ararat. There are those that believe that the ark exists there today. There is a book written by a French explorer, Navarro, "The Ark, I Touched It." He brought down certain pieces of wood from Mt. Ararat which he said he broke off from the ark. There have been expeditions, every summer, going to Turkey attempting to locate the ark again. Jim Irwin, the astronaut, has put together expeditions for two summers and Heritage College in San Diego has sent expeditions for the last three or four years searching for the ark. These men, with their scientific equipment and gear, hoping to find the ark and to bring back the actual evidence that the ark still exists; but, as yet, there is still no solid confirmation that the ark does exist, encased in ice, about the fifteen thousand foot level of Mt. Ararat. If they do discover the ark, it would be the greatest archaeological find in the world; but, would it make you more of a believer in God? Would that cement your faith? Wow! I guess so. No. Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus and the rich man wanted Father Abraham to send someone back to earth to testify to his brothers so that they wouldn't come to Hell. "Abraham saith unto him, they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham; but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." (Luke 16:29-31). Your faith in God is a matter of choice and there is sufficient evidence already to cause us to believe in Him.
"And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen." (Gen.8:5) That is probably some of the lower hills.
"And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; but the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth; then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off; so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth." (Gen.8:6-11). That is where we get the picture of the dove with the olive leaf and it has become a symbol of peace.
"And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more. And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry, and in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried. And God spake unto Noah, saying, go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth." (Gen.8:13-17). So Noah and his family came forth after 371 days or so, there in the ark, and God commands them to be fruitful and multiply.
"And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him; every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark. And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar, and the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done." (Gen.8:18-21). The first thing that Noah did was to build an altar to the Lord and offer a sacrifice. It was a burnt-offering sacrifice, which is the sacrifice of consecration. This all happened long before the Mosaic law (Levitical Law); before God instituted or codified the various types of sacrifices; before God had ever codified the clean and unclean animals. Yet, here was something that preexisted the Mosaic Law in that Noah offered the sacrifice of consecration.
Noah, having descended from Adam, had a sinful nature. God recognizes and acknowledges now the sinful nature of man. Even though man does have the sinful nature, God is going to make a way of redemption for sinful man. God recognizes that man has this tendency towards evil, yet declares that He will never again destroy every living thing. There is an indication, in scripture, that during the Judgment of God that only two-thirds of the earth's population will be destroyed and one-third will live. So, it won't be a total extermination as it was in Noah's day. There will be that possibility that a person could survive the Great Tribulation Period, although it's not a possibility that I would want to gamble on.
God made his covenant with Noah, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Gen.8:22). It is quite possible that they didn't have winter and summer prior to the flood, but just a uniform temperature around the earth annually. A beautiful, tropical climate everywhere all year long. The earth is now tilted which gives us summer and winter and also causes the polar ice caps. The polar ice caps account for the winds, storms, and the violent air currents which make much of the earth uninhabitable. The vast areas of the Arctic Circle are for the most part uninhabitable by man. These began to exist only after the flood. This is one of those subtle indications of more than just the fountains of the deep being broken up and more than just the emptying of the canopy of water. There were probably other great catastrophes that were associated with this time of the flood of Noah creating the elongated year of 365 days and creating the various seasons of winter and summer, cold and heat, etc.
This was God's covenant with Noah and up to the present day, God has kept His promise. I know it is going to get dark this evening and light tomorrow morning, because I have God's promise. As long as the earth remains we will have our seasons, our orbit around the sun, and seedtime and harvest. I believe that when Jesus comes again to establish His kingdom, His judgment will have a two fold purpose. One to judge the people and the other to bring the earth back into the position it was in before the flood. I believe that in the Kingdom Age, there will be conditions existing, as before the flood, with an ideal climate which will be universal here on the earth. The earth's present tilt will probably be corrected and made straight and God will probably restore the earth to what it was before the flood. An earth restored to the beauty of Eden. If you're interested in a scientific treatment of the flood you might want to read Henry Morrison's "The Genesis Flood."