God’s Promises

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” —Genesis 8:22

THE downward course of fallen, sinful man is described by Jesus as a “broad” road that leads to destruction. (Matt. 7:13) Not only is it broad, but its downward grade is so steep that those who travel over it are unable to turn about and retrace their steps but are being drawn ever nearer to destruction—death. It is only by divine grace and help that man will escape lasting destruction. God has made provision that those who accept Christ, when they have the opportunity, shall “not perish” everlastingly but have “everlasting life.”—John 3:16

A millennium and a half after the original sin of Adam—which started the human race over the downgrade of the broad road—very little thought of God or of righteousness remained in the earth. The account reads, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that … his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5) Originally Adam knew God and understood his righteous requirements. Abel’s faith in offering an acceptable sacrifice to God indicates that he desired to serve the Creator and to glorify him as God. (Heb. 11:4) “Enoch walked with God.” (Gen. 5:22,24) “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. … And Noah walked with God.” (Gen. 6:8,9) And there were probably a few others who endeavored to resist the downward pull of fallen human passions.

But these were exceptions. The vast majority desired to forget God and were permitted to do so. Paul says that “God gave them up to uncleanness”; that is, he did not interfere with what they desired to do. (Rom. 1:24) When the Scriptures inform us that God does not interfere with the sinner, it does not mean that there is no penalty attached to wrongdoing. It simply means that God allows man to exercise his own choice; but God’s law, “The wages of sin is death,” never ceases to operate.—Rom. 6:23

In the days of Noah the wickedness of the human race was increased by an intermingling of those whom the Scriptures identify as the “sons of God.” These, we read, “saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” The children born as a result of these illicit unions became giants, “mighty men,” “men of renown,” who “filled the earth with violence.”—Gen. 6:1-4,11

In the New Testament the Apostles Peter and Jude furnish additional identification of those who intermarried with the daughters of men. They were “angels” who “kept not their first estate.” (Jude 6; I Pet. 3:18-20) The God-given “estate” of angels is on the spirit plane of existence. Jesus explains that they neither marry nor are given in marriage. (Mark 12:25) Hence, when these angels materialized as human beings and took the daughters of men as their wives, it was contrary to God’s arrangements and was therefore sin. (I John 3:4) That is why the apostle refers to them as the “angels that sinned.”—II Pet. 2:4,5

Surely the condition of the human race had become deplorable. Genesis 6:6 states that “it repented God that he had made man.” We are not to suppose from this that God had not foreseen the result of sin or that he was sorry he had made man. The thought is, rather, that the time had come in the outworking of the divine plan when a change was necessary. Man’s gross sin justified the destruction of a world order, for no useful purpose could be served by permitting it to continue.

As a result of the intermingling of the fallen angels with the daughters of men, much of the adamic stock had become corrupt—hybrid. Of Noah the Scriptures explain that he was “perfect in his generations.” His progenitors were not the offspring of the fallen “sons of God,” or angels; hence his sons were of pure adamic stock. This, together with their faith in God and obedience to his will, made them eligible to be carried over to the new world.

Following the Flood, God promised that he would never again destroy all flesh; that seedtime and harvest would thenceforth continue as long as the earth remained, which is eternally. (Gen. 8:21,22; 9:9-17; Eccles. 1:4) The “world,” or order of things, that began at the Flood is, however, to be destroyed. (II Pet. 3:6,7,10-13) While righteous Noah and his family were the first citizens of this new world, nevertheless it soon became what the Apostle Paul describes as “this present evil world.”—Gal. 1:4

The destruction of this world is even now in progress—not by a flood of literal water, but by symbolic storms, earthquakes, fire, etc. Wars, revolutions, anarchy, and general chaos in the affairs of men are the agencies used by God in bringing to an end “the heavens and the earth, which are now.” (II Pet. 3:7) But we thank God that “all flesh” will not be destroyed. The whole symbolic earth is to be destroyed by the “fire of God’s jealousy,” but not all of humanity will be destroyed; for after this great conflagration, God “will turn to the people a pure language.” (Zeph. 3:8,9) Even those who die in the trouble will be revived and be given an opportunity to live forever.—I Tim. 2:3, 4; John 5:25,28; Acts 3:19-22

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