For Challies' Reformation Day Symposium, continuing reflections on the book of Genesis.
As we move into Genesis 6-9 we have high expectations. Though in chapter 4 the seed of the serpent seem to dominate (Cain, 1 John 3v12), now there is a growing line of people who call on the name of the Lord (Gen 4v26), including the prophet Enoch (Jude 14) and Lamech who prophesies (5v29) that his son will bring relief from curse. How will it happen?
Just as we turn the corner into chapter 6v1-4 we run into the origins of the Nephilim. A bit slippery but it doesn't look good. The Nephilim and their fellow Giants always smell trouble for the Seed of the Woman (Gen 3v15). It's not immediately obvious why they're mentioned here other than to highlight the terrible state of the world. The Nephilim will be taken by the floods though they will recur generation upon generation (Numbers 13v33).
The world should be being filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord (Hab 2v14), namely the gospel (2 Cor 4v6), and yet it is instead filled with violence and evil (6v5-13). Though people call on God and prophesy, still the serpent slithers and spreads his influence.
Amidst this is Noah. The one prophesied to bring relief from curse. The Lord finds him righteous. A justified man! One acceptable to God. Rightly clothed. Noah is to build a boat in which he will be saved when the judgement Enoch prophesied comes. After many years of building in which Noah is a Preacher (herald - Hebrews 11v7) for God there is no repentance and he goes into the boat with his family, and the Lord closes the door (7v16). The righteous are saved, the rest are taken by the flood-waters.
The world is deluged in water by the word of God, once more formless. Then the LORD remembers Noah and the waters begin to receed (8v1). We find the man on his mountain (8v4 - like Adam on Mt Eden in Gen 2) - a dove (like the Spirit) hovering over the water confirms that life begins again. A new creation! A new 'first family' to begin to fill the earth once more with the LORD.
And yet, man remains as evil post-flood as before. The clock has been re-wound back to the beginining. Yet the human heart is still corrupted (8v21). The LORD knew this. There is salvation through judgement, relief from curse and yet this flood isn't the ultimate relief. This has not reached the heart of the human problem. Another Curse-Relieving Son will be required (See Lamech's prophecy about his son Noah in Gen 4). Further judgement will surely come, though not by flood waters (9v15).
A final reformation in which men and women are clothed in righteousness and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. A final reformation in which salvation will come through judgement, not just for one family but for many. One that will result in a final re-making of creation beginning as The Son (Jesus) emerges from the waters, with a dove hovering over him (Mark 1v10-11), leading to his bearing of the curse for his people (Mark 15v33), and then gathering his people back to his Mountain where they will live with God forever (Rev 21v3). Noah's story paints the picture vividly, the gospel gives a more glorious story. The ultimate reformation that doesn't just sweep away evil but brings glorious new life into God's world.