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Sermon16 Gen6-9 Guide

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

Gen 6:1-3,5-10,13-14,17-20,8:20-9:13 recitation verse Gen 6:8

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

"From ancient times in Eastern philosophy, there has been a long-standing debate between the theories of human nature: the theory of good human nature, the theory of evil human nature, and the theory of neither good nor evil. The theory of good human nature, advocated by Mencius, asserts that human nature is essentially good. When people witness a young child falling into a well, they naturally feel compassion and pity. This feeling of compassion transcends individual thoughts and judgments and is a universal attribute of all humans. According to this theory, the reason why humans commit evil acts is that their inherently good nature becomes corrupted as they face the hardships of life. To preserve their innate goodness, people should cultivate their minds and bodies, seek truth, and never lose their original intentions. On the other hand, the theory of evil human nature, proposed by Xunzi, posits that humans are inherently inclined toward evil from birth. To avoid falling into this state of evil, individuals must engage in self-cultivation guided by proper and orderly norms, emphasizing the importance of laws and regulations. Lastly, the theory of neither good nor evil, advocated by Gaozi, suggests that human beings are born with desires, such as hunger and sexual desires, but are neither inherently good nor evil. However, when they encounter certain circumstances that trigger their sensual instincts, their behavior may manifest as either good or evil depending on the given conditions. The responsibility for good or evil lies not in the innate nature of humans but in the reasoning and will of individuals who make choices based on the situations and conditions that arise. Therefore, it is believed that individuals develop into good or evil beings depending on their upbringing, environment, society, and education. Today's text states that in the primeval era, every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen 6:5). It seems to me that this statement is very similar to the argument of the theory of evil human nature. I hope we would like to further explore today’s text together to have an insight on it.

1) Moving beyond the creation stories of Adam and Eve in chapter 1 and 2, chapter 3 tells the story of their first sin. Then, in chapter 4, it introduces the first murder committed by Cain, and the murders of Lamech, Cain's sixth descendent, while chapter 5 introduces the genealogy of Seth, the accountant of righteous children of God through Seth, who replaced Abel. Continuing with today's passage, chapter 6 delves into the existence of humanity after the fall. Human beings, who took God's judgement position after eating in the forbidden fruit and determining good and evil for themselves, ultimately descended into deep corruption. Even the sons of God began to follow the path of Cain's descendants, engaging in actions that displeased God, such as taking the daughters of man, the descendants of Cain, as wives according to their own desires. As a result, when it became apparent that they were merely mortal beings, God declared that the Holy Spirit would no longer dwell within humans and also proclaimed a grace period of 120 years before the impending judgment of the Flood.

2) However, even after that, the sons of God continued to marry the daughters of man and have children. Since not only they sought to make a name for themselves and pursue fame, but also the entire world became filled with the sins committed by humans beings, seeing that every intent of their thoughts was only evil continually, God regretted creating mankind on the earth and determined to wipe them out along with the creatures He had made.

3) Yet, Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD so that he lived a righteous life and was considered a blameless man of his time, walking with God. Here, we can discover the abundant grace of the great God shining beyond the deep sinfulness of humanity. Thus, the flood event serves as a testament to the total depravity and total inability of humans, while also revealing and making us realize the immense grace of God's salvation toward humanity. And also it teaches us that before God, all of us, human beings are destined to perish, but recognizing that through God's immense love and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, He elected and saved us, so that it enables us, as Christians, to align the meaning and purpose of our lives with God's plan and will.

4) Anyhow, when Noah was six hundred years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month, on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. Noah and his family, along with the clean and unclean animals, entered the ark in pairs, seven of each clean animal and two of each unclean animal. Then the Lord shut them in. For forty days and forty nights, the rain poured down on the earth, and the waters rose and covered the high mountains, submerging all living creatures on the earth. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days, and every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and He sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. The springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens were closed, and the rain stopped. After seventy-three days, the tops of the mountains became visible. After forty days, Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, which kept flying back and forth until the waters had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could not find any place to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. In the evening the dove returned to him with a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. By the first day of the first month of Noah's six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. After waiting forty days, Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then Noah and his family, along with all the animals, left the ark.

5) Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in His heart: 'Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease. God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood, I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind. And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."

6) Therefore, the Noahic covenant, also known as the Rainbow covenant, applies not only to Noah and his descendants but is a universal covenant given to all humanity. It carries the concept of God's mission for the restoration of nature, liberating creation from its bondage to decay (Romans 8:19-22), and ultimately bringing complete restoration in the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21). This covenant is also called as the Preservation covenant because a) it preserves the life of Noah and all living creatures (Genesis 6:19) and emphasizes the sanctity of life, commanding not to commit murder but to preserve life (Genesis 9:5); b) it promises the orderly cycles of seasons and fruitful harvests on the earth (Genesis 8:22) and blesses mankind with the command to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1); c) it reaffirms the maintenance of the divine image in humanity (Genesis 9:6); and d) it restores all living creatures under the dominion of humans (Genesis 9:2) and renews the mandate to exercise stewardship over the earth (as mentioned in the 70th verse in the Vaticanus manuscript). It contains the promise of the restoration of the order of creation.

7) Through today's passage, we would like to learn few things: First, it is the fact that after the flood judgment, God increased common grace to strengthen human moral life. In his book "Common Grace," Abraham Kuyper highlights the increase of common grace due to the departure of the Holy Spirit in Genesis 6:3, the increase of restraining power over sin in Genesis 8:21, and the maintenance of a new order in nature after the flood in Genesis 8:22. God greatly increased common grace to allow for the formation of a somewhat moral society and to enable living in a way that prevents the world from becoming as wicked as it was in the primeval era. Additionally, secondly, after the departure of the Holy Spirit, God gave the commandment, 'You shall not murder,' marking the beginning of new era of deontological ethics. Although these moral commandments were fully realized in the ten commandments of Moses, it opened the era of new deontological ethics. Finally, the fact that all humans, except Noah and his family, were destroyed in the flood judgment is very significant. This signifies that not only the descendants of Cain who lived in rebellion before God but even the descendants of Seth, excluding Noah and his family, became the subjects of the flood judgment. Yet, even Noah and his family were saved by grace. This fact clearly teaches us that no one can save themselves through their own efforts but can only be saved through the grace of God. Therefore, in Romans 3:10, it says, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” And also in today's passage, we can discover two more grace. I mean, Noah who found favor in the eyes of the LORD in Genesis 6:8 became a righteous and blameless man who walked with God as verse 9, and transformed into a person who 'did everything just as God commanded him' in verse 22. A person who receives God's grace cannot remain unchanged. However, secondly it is also the fact that his sons and daughters-in-law were saved. We cannot see whether they were transformed or not, but one clear fact is that they followed their father, Noah. This fact makes it difficult to find causality in grace apart from God's good pleasure. Therefore, we must be humble, knowing true God's grace leads to living for the glory of God. I pray that all of us, beloved ones, may know the great love and grace of our mighty God, put on the new life given by God within that grace, humble ourselves before God, and walk with God for His glory.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 Every person, regardless of their status, receives God's grace. Even unbelievers receive common grace (the ability to do good deeds, cooperate for the welfare and order of society, and strive for social progress, among other things). However, to God's children, He not only gives that common grace but also provides special grace, enabling them to live as righteous and blameless individuals in communion with God. I encourage you to take a moment to reflect and identify the specific grace and blessings that God has bestowed upon you in your life to share those with team members. What grace and gratitude do you have in your life?

(Through this question, I hope you can discover the abundant grace of God in our lives. However, discovering the gratitude also requires practice and training. I hope that we all can find God who is abundant in grace in our own lives and live within that grace. As team members share their diverse experiences and thoughts, please listen and empathize with them, occasionally asking why they have such thoughts. I hope it will be a time of active listening and empathetic conversation with team members.)

Q2 In today's passage, we see that not only the descendants of Cain but even the descendants of Seth were corrupted as when they saw the beauty of women and took any woman they desired as their wives, demonstrating the fallen nature of humanity. Furthermore, in Genesis 8:21, it is mentioned that the intentions of the human heart are evil from young, indicating total depravity or total inability in theological terms. If you have any experiences reflecting on the miserable existence of humanity, looking back on your own life, it would be beneficial to share them with one another.

(Through this question, I hope that all of us as human beings come to realize that before the absolute God, we are all sinners. And also we can know that acknowledging our own sins before the cross is the beginning of grace and also the ultimate destination of our journey. Through this process, we can humble ourselves and let go of our pride. As team members share their diverse experiences and thoughts, listen and empathize with them, occasionally asking why they have such thoughts. I hope it can be a time of active listening and empathetic conversation among team members.)

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon )

Please help me to live in that ( learned way of life )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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