A stowaway is a person who hides aboard a vehicle of some sort (boat, train, plain, etc.) in order to gain free passage. Images of immigrants hiding in ships traveling to the new world or of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn train-hopping come to mind. In most cases there is likely no ill intent predetermined, but occasionally the stowaway has nothing good planned. Welcome to Genesis 6-9.
Up to this point in Genesis, we’ve seen a number of different episodes in the story that Moses is telling for the benefit of the children of Israel coming out of Egypt. Creation. Genesis 1.26-28. Dominion. Imago dei. Work. Marriage. Fall. Judgment. Genesis 3.15. Hope. Curse. Fig leaves vs. animal skins. Cain vs. Abel. Seed of the serpent vs. seed of the woman. Sons of God and the daughters of men. [See previous posts]
And now we come to the second major judgment on mankind resulting from the disappearance of the seed of the woman (godly line of Seth, those who call on the name of the LORD) and the increased violence on the earth. Adam was told to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth (Gen. 1). The idea was that, as God’s representative, Adam would rule over the earth on God’s behalf as a benevolent governor. But instead of the imago dei and altruistic rule increasing, violence has filled the earth and only one man has found favor with God…Noah. Because of violence and the inclination of men’s hearts only toward evil continually, God finally says, “Enough!” And He determines to destroy the earth with the flood. But similar to His initial judgment, God’s mercy shines forth in saving Noah and his family and representatives of the creatures of the earth.
Why does the earth suffer for man’s sin? Both the curse on the ground in Genesis 3 and the flood account in Genesis 6-9 make it clear that all of creation is under punishment. But why? Because man, as God’s caretaker, is given dominion over creation, and creation is therefore tied to man somehow. When man fell, creation fell. When man is finally redeemed, creation will be redeemed as well. Paul says in Romans 8, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”
With the flood, the earth once again suffered the repercussions of man’s sin. In Genesis 7-8 we get a description of the de-creation of the earth and its re-creation after the flood. But curiously enough, although Noah will be physically delivered through the flood, spiritual deliverance is another story. There was a stowaway on the boat with the most wicked of intentions…sin! We see it in God’s pronouncement of the covenant after Noah leaves the ark when He says once again, “The intent of the hearts of men are only evil continually.” We see it in the sacrifices that Noah offers when he set up an altar – a reminder of Genesis 3.15 and the death of the innocent for the guilty. We see it in the echoes of the garden in Noah’s vineyard.
Sin cannot be defeated by physical judgment. It needs a spiritual remedy. Noah is our first candidate for the Genesis 3.15 Deliverer, and although he starts out with great promise (Lamech’s pronouncement over him and God’s assessment of him), in the end he’s not the guy. So we are left to look for another…One who will deliver like Moses; but this One will take the flood of God’s wrath on Himself and provide for the deliverance of all those who will believe in Him. He will provide the ultimate solution, final salvation – both physical and spiritual for those who are His kingdom citizens, and He will crush the head of the serpent once and for all destroying sin, death and the enemy.
So where are you? The story of the flood reminds us that God is serious about sin. And although He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness…He is also a God who will ultimately judge. Are you a kingdom citizen?
Until next time…stay salty.