“Why did God use a catastrophic flood to punish people in Noah’s time? Why use such a devastating method that requires so many miracles, instead of simply directly killing all the people while they are asleep at bed without impact animals and environments?”
Why send such a devastating judgment? God lays out His rationale in Genesis 6:5–7:
“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.’”
Humanity’s sin grieved Him that much.
But the Flood didn’t stop people being sinners. God even had to judge them not long after the Flood at Babel! Still, we don’t see any other historical judgments in the Bible that come close to being as broadly destructive as the Flood.
So why go so big first time around (aside from the Fall, anyway)? Here, I suspect the answer lies in God’s musings on man’s moral nature after the Flood in Genesis 8:21: “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.”
God knows the damage the Fall wrought on man’s moral nature. And did the Flood judgment fix it? No. But if the Flood couldn’t fix man’s corrupted heart, what sort of destructive judgment could? None. That’s the point. If God goes big first to prove such judgments don’t change us, He’s proven His point. He doesn’t have to go as big again.
(Except in the final judgment, of course. But the point of the final judgment is a little different from that of historical judgments like the Flood. The Flood served purposes within fallen history; the final judgment is the end of fallen history.)
But why not kill just the people? Why the animals too? Why did the land have to be inundated? Man was the problem, and the land is where he lived. And just as God had cursed the land when He judged Adam in the Fall (Genesis 3:17–19), so He did likewise in the Flood.
The land and every living thing on it would thus suffer the same fate as its steward. Plus, the bigger God goes, the more emphatically He can make the point that judgments like these don’t fix man’s corrupted heart.
Written by: Shaun Doyle
Article Source: creation.com