Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.
The Bible is a compilation of histories, poetry, genealogies, songs, lawbooks, and other genres of literature that was written over centuries of Jewish conquest, bondage, and diaspora. Yet somehow all of these books tell one narrative of God’s desire for his people and his plan for one person to save the world. In fact, the thru-line of scripture is the saving or condemning actions of one man on an entire nation or community. Adam sinned and brought the curse of sin on all of humanity. When he disobeyed God, he replaced God with a desire for evil. Now the beautiful world that was created for our subsistence and care was filled with violence as men and women misused their bodies and obeyed their passions and were separated from their creator.
God only needed one truly righteous man to break the curse. The passage above sets up the first attempt to conquer sin: Noah.
Noah’s righteousness prevented God from completely destroying the world. Noah’s righteousness proved that the world could be redeemed, or given another chance.
Yesterday we learned that God does not separate our spirits from our bodies in the way we believe. He longs to be united with all of us, to walk in the garden as he did with Adam and Eve before sin drove a wedge between us. He longs to restore creation, which was made for our bodies as well as our spirits!
But God, who is perfect goodness, cannot be in union with evil, which is referred to as “the flesh.” The flesh is not merely the sin of our bodies, it is the passions we serve when we do not give ourselves fully to God. It rules our decisions and behaviors when God is not given control. It rules our spirits and our bodies because the two are inseparable. It rules our thoughts as well as our actions. Without God, we are slaves. When Adam decided to obey his own will rather than God’s, he cursed humanity to be ruled by the flesh.
Ultimately, Noah failed at establishing the new Eden. He was also corrupted by sin and the earth was still filled with violence. God did not destroy his creation, but it was still dominated by the flesh.