What does it say?
The devastating effects of sin are obvious. The first humans experienced spiritual death as their bodies also began a painful return to the dust (Gen 3). Immediately, the previously happily married couple plays the mutual blame game – not a healthy relationship. Sin destroys relationships –with God, each other and all creation.
Here, is envy, pride, murder, fear and polygamy. Are there other effects of sin? Gen 5-6 describes how quickly and completely sin multiplies. The sure consequence of sin is the judgment of the flood.
This passage offers fascinating diversions that often blind me to the main point. How long did people really live before the flood? Was the flood really universal or regional? Who are these sons of God and daughters of men? Great questions, but do I REALLY think this is why God tells this story? Is this a riddle, or a missional story?
Even in the face of impending judgment, Noah found God’s grace (6:8). God’s story is one of grace, because God is love, even in judgment. Even when the human race is dead in sin, God never stops communicating his loving grace.
What does it mean?
Putting aside all curiosities, God tells a single story of mission, sin, redemption and restoration. Evil, injustice, war, arrogance, greed, murder, ecological disasters – all from sin. Hope, joy, love, beauty – all from God’s grace.
The humans God tasked to fill and rule over earth in his love chose sin. The earth was filled instead with the compounding effect of sin.
I also have a mission, the Great Commission (Mat 28:18-20) that we fulfill together by living the Great commandment (Mat 22:36-40), loving God, each other and the world. How much of the multiplication of evil in the world might be the result of Christians’ sin of complacency, selfishness and disobedience to the mission?
If God didn’t cut communication with the spiritually dead human race, why do many believers isolate themselves inside church buildings, programs, and activities, while stubbornly refusing to engage in meaningful and authentic communication with the world around us?
How will I respond?
Who is one person in my life desperately needing to know God’s love and follow Jesus? Will I pray right now for this person, asking God to use me to love this person? What action step will I take this week to reach out to the person? Example: Deepen the relationship with this person by serving him or her, an invitation to a meal or cup of coffee or to join me in some way on my spiritual journey? Does this person have a need I can pray for right now?