Seth’s family and Cain’s family lived very different lives. Seth’s offspring were raised to have a heart toward God, like Abel, while Cain’s offspring lived outside of the influence of God and, as a result, lived reckless and evil lives.
But these separate lines were not to last forever. One ancient writer poetically said, “When the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were attractive, they took as their wives any they chose.” In other words, Seth’s sons and grandsons were attracted to the lifestyle being lived by Cain’s daughters and granddaughters and they wanted it for themselves. Like Eve, they ignored what they’d been taught about God and rather than trust in him, they placed a high value on what appealed to their senses and drives.
So Seth’s sons “took as their wives any they chose,” and the result was an expansion of evil in the Earth. In fact, things got so bad, that the heroes of human society were the users, the haters, the ruthless, the self-focused, the independent, the callous, the uncaring and the hardened. The most respected men and women were those who were most treacherous. Evil embedded itself deep in the heart of humanity.
Satan had promised Eve that their disobedience to God would allow them to manage good and evil for themselves. As it turned out, they and their descendents were reaping only more and more destruction. As God had made clear in his warnings, the human betrayal of God brought a downward spiral toward death. The Earth had become a very dreadful and dangerous place.
This broke God’s heart and as he considered the state of humanity, he was profoundly saddened that the one-time perfect creation he had made was now in all out war against itself, bent on its own destruction. He decided to step in. God said,
Humanity will only exist as they have for another 120 years and no more. Like a loving mother wiping dirt from her child’s face, I will wipe humanity off the face of the Earth. What should not be here will be removed. I am sorry humanity has become what it has become. Corruption will be met with my righteous response.
God visited a man named Noah. Noah was a man who had a special relationship with God. He was said to be “blameless.” Despite all the evil around Noah, he continued to walk with God. Noah was married and had three sons. Each of his sons also had a wife.
God came to Noah and said, “I have decided to bring this awful violence that you are experiencing in the Earth to a halt. In 120 years I will bring my wrath against all humanity and wipe their evil from the face of the Earth. But I herby establish a covenant with you, Noah, to keep you safe in a vessel that you and your family will build. Into your care I will give your wife, your three sons, and your sons’ three wives. All other humans I will destroy after 120 years.”
God gave specific instructions of how to build a seafaring vessel. He said,
I’m going to bring a flood on the Earth that will destroy every creature – every man, every woman, every child, every beast and every bird – every creature I have made that breathes air. But I will give into your care seven pairs – one male and one female – of all the animal species I have approved for sacrifices and one pair – one male and one female – of each of the other species. You are to take them all on the vessel with you to keep them alive. And remember; take enough food for your family — and for the animals.
Noah believed God would bring flooding rains. Though he was virtually alone in his belief, he patiently – painstakingly – built the vessel according to God’s instructions, along with his sons. During that time God held back his wrath as the rest of humanity continued to do evil. No doubt, many men and women watched Noah, asking questions, poking fun and hurling insults. Nonetheless, day after day, year after year, Noah and his son’s faithfully continued their work. Every day their actions demonstrated their faith in God. Every day their actions preached to their neighbors. The message was clear. Disaster is coming and the vessel we build will be the only way of escape.
But the world did not listen. They went about their business eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, being sexually active and producing more children who actively rebelled against God and his goodness.
After 120 years, Noah’s vessel was finished. The promised flood was just seven days away, so God warned Noah to make his final preparations. He got his family and all the animals on board the vessel. Once inside God shut them in and the rains began. As torrential rain fell, water also burst out from inside the Earth.
The people of the Earth were astonished. Suddenly they believed Noah. But, for them it was too late. The vessel began to rise on the water and floated out of site and with it went humanity’s only hope of salvation. Men, women and beasts all ran for higher ground as the waters rose, but eventually all the highest mountain tops were covered with water. All vegetation was wiped clean and all the animals, men, women and children left outside the vessel perished.
The rain ended after 40 days. But the Earth remained covered in water for 150 days. Eventually, Noah began sending birds to see if they could fly to dry land but the birds kept coming back. But eventually one of the birds, a dove, returned with an olive leaf. Noah gave it a few little more time and sent the dove again. When the dove didn’t return he knew it had found dry ground.
The day Noah came off of the ark, he celebrated by building an altar with sacrifices of worship to God. God had rescued humanity from destruction and he was pleased with Noah’s sacrifice. He said, “I will never again curse the Earth, destroying all living things with a flood. As a symbol of my promise I will hang a rainbow in the clouds.”
Then God told Noah and his sons, “The life of humanity is in the blood. All human life belongs to me and must be kept sacred! The blood of man must not be taken without cause.” God gave Noah and his offspring authority to bring justice against evil. So human was to rule over human on God’s behalf, bringing justice and righteousness, law and order.
And God instructed Noah and his family, just as he had Adam and Eve, to freely reproduce and fill the earth. And so they did.
This Story is a paraphrase. Details & references found in Genesis 6-9; Isaiah 54:7-10; Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27; 1 Peter 3:30; 2 Peter 2:5