The narrative of the flood of Noah in the Old Testament takes up roughly 44,7% of Genesis 1-11, which is the general introduction to the Bible. So it shows that God regards the flood and its message as very important.
The flood is controversial. Apparently some famous atheist said, ‘God cannot tell me how to raise my kids when He drowned His.’ Is that a valid accusation? Did the flood generation know about God and His standards of living?
- Yes, they did. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, all people after them received this innate knowledge (conscience). They knew what was good and what was evil, but chose to do only evil all the time.1
- Before the flood there were people who walked with God. Enoch and Noah each had a close relationship with Him.2 So what God perceives as good conduct was not a mystery. It was general knowledge.
4 Aspects to consider when God is accused that He drowned His children:
- The people had enough time to mend their ways. It took Noah about 70-120 years to build the ark. During that time he must have been the butt of many jokes. People had plenty of time to think about what he explained to them. That is why Noah is described as a preacher of righteousness.3
- God held people corporately responsible at that time. The Bible does not mention that Noah’s three sons were righteous. Noah was righteous and, as head of the family, his wife, sons and their wives were included in the ark. So if children under the age of accountability were drowned in the flood, the fathers were responsible.
- People who accuse God of murder condone criminals. ‘The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.’ 4 It was no doubt a society filled with cheats, murderers, liars, the immoral, addicted, perverse, et cetera.
- God was grieved that He made man. It fills God’s heart with pain when people are abused, defrauded, mutilated, murdered, et cetera. He wants societies to love Him, their families and their neighbours, because then they will live in peace. Yet God never forces His will on people. He created them with a free will. So God leaves it to them to choose to reject Him or obey Him, but their choices have implications of rewards or punishment.
People who want to judge God for the flood, should speak from experience. If they live in countries with good law enforcement, they should rather not talk.They should go and live in a lawless country where fathers rape their helpless children and women are treated like dirt.Then they can decide if abuse in society should be condoned. Until then, it would help to carefully study God’s revelation in the 66 books to get to know His character.
- Genesis 6:5
- Genesis 5:24 & 6:9
- 2 Peter 2:5
- Genesis 6:5