God is a very big God. Sometimes we forget that. I do. I was reminded of this reality in a not-so-subtle way during a recent trip to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. The model ship and museum were very impressive, and I recommend going if you get the chance, but my reflections after leaving were not on the tour. Rather, my thoughts, a few of which are shared here, were on Noah’s experience and on the God who controlled the events recorded in Genesis 6-9.
God is mighty. He can do anything. He is all powerful and what He determines to do cannot be replicated by any creature. This catastrophic event left a world-wide impression, generating continental shifts, creating mountains and valleys, and leaving fossil evidence that baffles scientists unwilling to acknowledge God or His global intervention. We may not understand what He’s doing at the time. We may not even be able to understand what He has done as we look back on it, but He sees and knows and controls all things. We don’t have to understand it all – He does.
God revealed Himself. God reveals Himself through His creation and His Word. We do not discover Him; He reveals Himself to us. If He did not reveal Himself, we would not know Him. As such, the story of the flood, a story of judgment and grace, is provided in great detail. There were months spent on the ship. There were animals of every kind (not every species) that all needed care and sanitation and provisions. All of this done without modern machinery and through only one door. And, while the details about materials and methods are sufficient, the real detail in this story is in what God was doing to reveal Himself as a Holy God.
The great flood was real. The account of Noah’s ark was not a cute fairy tale as depicted in story-book images. This was years, perhaps 55-75 years, of extraordinary labor and personal, financial, and social sacrifice spent building the 510 foot long, three floors tall, ark. These years were likely filled with constant public mockery. Mockery by real people who stood outside the door when it was closed. The travesty was not that they ridiculed Noah, but that they turned their backs in wickedness against the Lord. God’s drastic and final judgment on all living creatures was real.
It was personal. When God shut the door, Noah and his family knew what they left outside. When it started to rain, they knew what would happen to those on the other side of those walls. Life would end for everyone they knew. All life, their life, would never be the same. Noah and his family took a huge step of faith. It was very personal. Faith always is.
It was divisive. We should not be, but the gospel is. The story of Noah’s ark – God’s ark – is a story of judgment. But it is also a story of mercy and grace. The walls of the ark had two sides: inside and outside. That’s the way it is with God: you are either inside His grace and mercy as a child of God, or you are outside in His judgment. With the flood, God pronounced judgment. He “observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil” (Gen 6:5) and declared He had had enough. Yet, even in His judgment, He saved a people to honor and glorify Him.
It was a promise of hope for the future. Long before Noah started building the ark, in fact, before time began, God knew about the sin of mankind. He knew about the flood. He knew what was needed and knew what He would do. He had a rescue plan. He marked the occasion and His promises so that all could see with the beauty of a rainbow.
God knew that man would continue to sin. And, while He kept His promise to never destroy the world again with a flood, He will pronounce a final judgment on sin. Judgment is coming. Once again, He has a rescue plan. And, once again, there is only one door. Jesus Christ is the gate … the only door to God’s salvation and rescue and mercy and grace.
God is a very big God.
For more information about the events associated with the flood, visit: answersingenesis.org.