Troublesome Topic: God’s Covenant with Noah

Lesson 11 of 11

In the chapters immediately following the Genesis account of Adam’s sin there is ample evidence that human beings as a race have inherited a sinful character. By the time of Noah (over 1,000 years after creation), people could be described as simply godless, not caring about the things of God, and having no intention of apologizing for their attitudes. It might fit to say there was all out, no-holds-barred wickedness, like a semi-truck careening down a mountain with no brakes. 

We are not told how God was working in human hearts at that time to draw them back to a relationship with Him. God was not inactive during that time; we just don’t have record of those details. But no one responded to God’s overtures, except Noah and his sons.

Finally, the wickedness of man had become so extreme that God decided to purge the earth with a world-wide flood, sparing only Noah and his family. So God destroyed the vast majority of His own creation. What a sad, sad day.

However, after that flood God made a covenant with Noah, and with all creation. Several of the same injunctions which were spoken to Adam and Eve are here repeated. Noah was told to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 9:1); and was given the responsibility of being the administrator of the earth.

It is interesting to note that the first mention of clean animals is in Genesis 7:2, long before the law was introduced. From this we can deduce that Noah already had a concept of clean and unclean animals, even though they did not eat animals before the flood. It is my opinion that God taught Adam about clean and unclean animals so he and his descendants would know which animals were accepted by God as sacrifices.

There were some new details added; for example, from now on man could eat meat but only meat that did not include blood. The fact that God now added new material in the covenant relationship indicates a further step in the process of fulfilling His desired goal—closeness. 

The next lesson in all three series on Covenants is: God Cut a Covenant with Abram.