The human race began to multiply very rapidly from the
children of Adam and Eve. At that time people lived for a very long time, up to
nine hundred years or more.
From Seth there came forth pious and good people,
"sons of God," but from Cain, wicked and evil people, "sons of
men," At first, the offspring of Seth lived separately from the offspring
of Cain. They preserved faith in God and the coming Saviour. Later however,
they began to take for themselves wives from the daughters of the offspring of
Cain, and through them, began to adopt bad habits, to be corrupted, and to
forget the true God.
After a considerable time, the wickedness of men
was so great that, of all the people on earth, only one of the offspring of
Seth remained faithful to God, the righteous Noah and his family.
Beholding the great corruption of mankind, the
merciful Lord gave them 120 years for repentance and correction. But men not
only did not correct themselves, they became even worse.
Then the Lord decided to cleanse the earth of the
evil human race with water, but to preserve the righteous Noah and his family
on the earth to continue the human race.
God said to Noah, "The end has come for all
creatures, for the earth has been filled by them with evil works; and I shall
obliterate them from the face of the earth. I shall bring upon the earth a
flood of water to destroy all that is upon the earth" (Cf. Gen. 6:13-17).
He commanded Noah to build an ark, a huge, rectangular vessel like a
house, in which there would be room for his family and animals, and He gave him
the precise measurements and directions for this. Noah accepted Godís
commandment with faith and began to build the ark.
When the ark was ready, Noah, at the command of
God, entered into it with his wife, his three sons and their wives, and at
Godís direction, took with him all the animals and birds which could not live
in the water: of the clean ones, that is, the ones which could be offered in
sacrifice, seven pairs, and of the unclean ones, one pair, in order to preserve
their kind upon the earth. He also took a reserve of food for them all for an
On that day when Noah entered into the ark, the
waters of the flood gushed upon the earth, and "all the fountains of
the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened"
(Gen. 7:11). There came about a mighty flood from the seas and oceans and from
heaven rain poured down upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. The
water rose over the earth higher than the highest mountains; it prevailed for
150 days and drowned all men and animals except the ones that were on the ark.
After 150 days the water began slowly to recede.
In the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (in
present day Turkey). On the first day of the tenth month the tops of
the mountains appeared. After one year came to an end, the water receded
into its proper place.
Noah opened a window in the ark and released a
raven, in order to learn whether or not the water had receded from the earth,
but the raven flew out and returned to the protection of the ark.
Then Noah released a dove which, when it had flown
away, could not find a place to live, because the water was still over the
heights of the entire earth, and it returned to the ark. After seven days, Noah
again released the dove from the ark. This time the dove returned in the
evening and brought a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Noah understood that the
water had receded from the earth and that plants had appeared upon it. After
waiting another seven days, Noah again released the dove, and this time it did
not return to him. He opened the roof of the ark and beheld that the earth had
Then, at the command of God, Noah went forth from
the ark with all his family, and released all the animals that were with him.
Noah erected an altar, a place for offering
sacrifices, and he offered for his salvation a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God
from all the clean animals and birds. God mercifully accepted the sacrifice of
Noah, blessed him and his sons, and promised that there would never again be
such a flood to destroy all life on earth for the sins of men, that is, there
would never again be a world-wide flood. As a sign of this promise, the
Lord showed a rainbow in the clouds, which from that time has served as
a faithful reminder to men of this promise of God.
Genesis, chaps. -24; 5; 6:1-22; 7; 8; 9:1-17.
Discussion of the Flood.
There is an objection to the story of the flood
from those who do not believe. Some say that it would be impossible for the
entire earth to be under water at the same time, as is recounted in the Bible.
The flood may not have covered the entire earth. One must recall the purpose
for which God made the flood: "God saw that the wickedness of man was
great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was
only evil continually... So the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have
created from the face of the earth" (Gen. 6:5,7). Consequently, the
flood can be imagined as covering only that part of the earth populated
by sinful people, but how great an area this was at the time of the flood is
entirely unknown to us. Moreover, the fact that the Bible speaks in several
places of the flood extending over the entire earth need not disturb us. The
Bible, and all religious literature which has as its purpose care for human
souls, often calls an area of human habitation, or an isolated area of human
habitation, or even just an isolated area of human civilization that has
developed under the effect of Holy Scripture, "the earth," and even
"the universe." Byzantium, which was nurtured on the Bible, called
the Mediterranean basin "the universe;" and that is why she called
her emperors "rulers of the universe," and why the Constantinopolitan
Patriarch was given the title "ecumenical," or universal.
The widespread tradition of the flood testifies to
its being an event that gripped all mankind, and that it was preserved in the
memory of many branches of the human race. The same researcher, Arthur Hook,
reports that the Chaldees, Phoenicians, Babylonians, Phrygians, Syrians,
Persians, Greeks, and even the Armenians, all, to a greater or lesser degree,
have mutually compatible accounts of the flood. The account of the Phrygians,
for example, mentions Enoch as a prophet of the flood, and recounts that he
wept and prayed over the fate of the hardened, unrepentant peoples of the
antediluvian world. An ancient Phrygian coin was discovered with a wrought
picture of the ark and the letters "N-O" on one side, which,
undoubtedly refer to Noah. Further, we find that India and China have accounts
of the flood, and that a certain person with the seven members of his family
was saved from the flood. The Aztecs had a tradition about a man who made a
vessel in order to save himself from a catastrophe that was about to occur.
In addition we should mention that on the basis of
geological excavations, it is clear that there is in the earth a thick layer
of clay, of alluvial deposits, which has no remains of organic animal life
in it. This layer is sharply distinguished, and sharply divides
the layers of the Paleolithic Age (Stone) from the later layers: neolithic,
bronze and iron ages. The French scientist Mortilie called this layer
Hiatus, that is, a break. It is assumed that this alluvial deposit came about
from the depth of the sea with the action of a worldwide cataclysm; the land
sank beneath the level of the ocean whose waters flooded the entire earth.
Moses says of this, "and all the fountains of the great abyss were
opened" (Gen. 7:11), and then he also speaks of rain. Furthermore,
these alluvial deposits cover, in a thick layer, all Europe, North Africa
and Western Asia to the highest peaks. The scientist Couvier called this
sediment, this thick alluvial deposit, "Deluge."