Whatever it may have looked like, it was clear something supernatural was happening, perhaps the first unmistakable indication Noah had been preaching truth.
Long after the rain had stopped, they were still in the ark, tending the animals, watching their supplies get lower and lower. God had never told Noah what was next after the flood. Chapter 7 concludes with an anxious sense of concern.
One truth the Epic of the Flood seems to be saying is God’s judgment of sin is permanent and universal—the Flood wiped out all that had the breath of life. The ark inhabitants basically started over on a new earth. The apostle Peter tied the Flood event from the ancient past to God’s coming judgment by fire.
Even though it seems like Noah building the ark is what saved his family, there’s a deeper truth embedded in what the writer of Hebrews was explaining, and what the writer of Genesis was describing. Noah believed in God, and he had a relationship with God. Noah was listening for God’s voice, and heard what God had to say.
In some way, God promises that when all the weeping is done, over both the agony of victimization, and sickening horror over the agency of evil, the Lord will wipe every tear away. With unimaginable power, God’s pure and perfect wrath, a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap, as Malachi put it, will cleanse the entire cosmos one day, so that all evil is no more.
Even for people who don’t know much about the Bible, this is a famous story. But for being so well-known, it raises a lot of questions and a lot of controversy: Did the Flood really happen? How widespread was it? Was it universal, or only regional? Was there really an ark, and was it large enough to hold all those animals? Where did the water come from? And who are the Nephilim?
Genesis chapter 5 contains a long list of interesting names, and each name holds meaning. In their day, a name meant more than simply a way to identify a person. A name said something about that person’s nature, and often held prophetic power in the course of their destiny.