Reboot

I was reading an article put out by a professor at Harvard University about the science law that everyone should know. His answer? The Second Law of Thermodynamics. Though originally applicable to heat systems and energy transfer it has become a law that applies to all of life. The second law says, “All things go from order to disorder”.

In this professor’s view, the “good news” of this law is that it explains that bad things are expected to happen. He believes that there is no greater purpose or reason behind it: the law exists and that is enough for him. His suggestion is that instead of demonizing the bad stuff, expect it and look for ways to make things better.

However, the professor failed to consider WHY that law exists, how it came into being. It, like everything else, has a source.

We started our journey on the mission of God by looking at the original design; the divine blueprint for mankind and creation.

all of life exists to declare the supremacy of God

In the beginning God created…. and it was good. As a matter of fact, at the end of six days of creation this is the declaration:

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day. // Genesis 1:31 CSB

Creation was powerfully good. Very good. Extremely good. God is good, and his creation reflected Him. As a matter of fact, creation was created for what? Representation & Relationship. That is where we started.

Then we have the sin of Adam and Eve. Things start being not so good. After that Cain kills his brother and is banished from God’s presence. The goodness of mankind atrophies very quickly.

God promised a future restoration, though we have not seen it yet. We have no idea all that we will need to be redeemed from and how far we will be from God to understand how seemingly impossible restoration is – at least from the human perspective.

At the end of Genesis chapter 5 we are introduced to the line of Seth:

  • Adam 130
  • Seth 105
  • Enosh 90
  • Kenan 70
  • Mahalalel 65
  • Jared 162
  • Enoch 65 (walked with God and was no more)
  • Methuselah 187
  • Lamech:

28 Lamech was 182 years old when he fathered a son. 29 And he named him Noah, saying, “This one will bring us relief from the agonizing labor of our hands, caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.” // Genesis 5:28–29 CSB

  • Lamech never lived to see the fulfillment of that hope. He died about 15 years before the flood
  • Noah was around 500 years old when we reach this morning’s passage

5 When the Lord saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, 6 the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved. 7 Then the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I created, off the face of the earth, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky—for I regret that I made them.” 8 Noah, however, found favor with the Lord. // Genesis 6:5–8 CSB

10 generations and 1,556 years from the creation of Adam. Wickedness was widespread, so much so that God has gone from resting and feeling very good to being deeply grieved and regretful.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with wickedness. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth was, for every creature had corrupted its way on the earth. 13 Then God said to Noah, “I have decided to put an end to every creature, for the earth is filled with wickedness because of them; therefore I am going to destroy them along with the earth. // Genesis 6:11–13 CSB

It took only 10 generations to go from “very good” to corrupt, totally corrupt, evil, wicked, continually evil. Wow. That is the Second Law! The Second Law of Thermodynamics is the scientific proof of the first judgement of God on mankind – the earth being cursed and mankind dying.

I love new computers and new phones. They are clean, fast, uncorrupted. Over time with the introductions of more apps/programs, viruses and large amounts of data and downloads, they can get pretty mucked up. At least once a year I do a “factory reset” on my devices. It gets rid of all of the junk and let’s me start with a clean slate – I only reinstall the apps that I think will be helpful. This makes things run the way they should again.

God wipes out mankind, all except Noah. He does a total reboot of mankind. After seeing the corruption, and declaring it many times, he decides to start with a clean earth – washed with the flood. He would then just keep the few people that seem to follow His ways in an effort to keep the corruption to a minimum after the flood.

8 Noah, however, found favor with the Lord. // Genesis 6:8 CSB

God tells his plan to Noah and gives him specific instructions. This is the first recorded instance of God giving a human insight into what is going to happen before it happens. It is also the first recorded time such specific instructions are given to someone.

I do NOT want to get into all of the details of the flood, for the flood is NOT the main story here. Here is the highlight reel:

  • It takes Noah approx. 100 years building the ark
  • The ark, according to some calculations of a cubit, would have been approximately 1,518,750 cubic feet. Our building is about 32,000 – you could fit about 47 of our building INSIDE the ark!
    • NOTE: there is a life size version of the ark in the US and it is the largest wooden structure on the planet.
  • The flood happened when Noah was 600 years old, so that would be approx. 1,656 years after creation.
  • 40 days of rain (it had never rained before – see Gen 2:5)
  • The flood surge continued until the 150th day until the highest mountains were covered by 20 feet of water
  • 220 days in the ark waiting for things to recede
  • 370 days TOTAL from the initial rain until the day they can walk on dry ground again.

15 Then God spoke to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you, your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out all the living creatures that are with you—birds, livestock, those that crawl on the earth—and they will spread over the earth and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 18 So Noah, along with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, came out. 19 All the animals, all the creatures that crawl, and all the flying creatures—everything that moves on the earth—came out of the ark by their families. 20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord. He took some of every kind of clean animal and every kind of clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 When the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, he said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of human beings, even though the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth onward. And I will never again strike down every living thing as I have done. 22 As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.” // Genesis 8:15–22 CSB

God makes an unconditional covenant. This is a promise that does NOT depend on you and me in any way. God says, “even though the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth onward. And I will never again strike down every living thing as I have done.” There is nothing we can do to change that. It is a one-way promise with no conditions attached to it.

Can you think of a better demonstration of God’s grace?

If the promise was, “if you get wicked again, I will wipe you out again” that would have been rough! We probably would not be here! Instead, God says, “I know you will mess up again, but I am going to show mercy and NOT wipe you out the next time, or the next time…”

WHY? Because God’s wants us to have a relationship based upon his favor and his love, not fear of his destruction. God’s plan is redemption and restoration, not retribution and destruction.

End of the judgement, but not the end of the story. The flood is just the mechanism that God used for the reboot. Then, in chapter 9 we have the reset:

1 God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear and terror of you will be in every living creature on the earth, every bird of the sky, every creature that crawls on the ground, and all the fish of the sea. They are placed under your authority. 3 Every creature that lives and moves will be food for you; as I gave the green plants, I have given you everything. 4 However, you must not eat meat with its lifeblood in it. 5 And I will require a penalty for your lifeblood; I will require it from any animal and from any human; if someone murders a fellow human, I will require that person’s life. 6 Whoever sheds human blood, by humans his blood will be shed, for God made humans in his image. 7 But you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it.” // Genesis 9:1–7 CSB

Does this sound familiar?  God blesses. God gives the command to be fruitful. Man is given dominion and not may also eat meat as well as plants [sorry, vegans 😉].

ADDITIONAL: Animals will fear humans and capital punishment is instituted for any animal or human that takes the life of a human [made in the image of God].

Noah was a part of the first and only global reset. If God wiped out everyone that was evil and only kept the good people, that would make everyone after that good, right? Isn’t that why we reset things? For a clean start so things run well.

  • Reset our modems
  • Reset our phones
  • God reset mankind

It should be obvious at this point why God chose to spare Noah:

  • He was righteous (6:9)
  • He was blameless among his contemporaries (6:9)
  • He walked with God (6:9)
  • He did everything God commanded (6:22, 7:5)
  • He waited on God for instructions
    • Enter the ark (7:1) and he enters (7:7)
    • Exit the ark (8:16) and he exits (8:18)
  • After walking on dry ground, he offers a multitude of burnt offerings to God in an act of worship and thanksgiving (8:20)

It appears as though this reset worked! The earth is purged, the righteous survive, God is worshipped.

It is NO WONDER Noah found favor with God, right? (6:8) He could do no wrong!

And then… 9:20-29

A chip off the old block.

  • Noah gets drunk
  • Noah’s son (Ham) dishonors him by exposing his nakedness to his brothers
  • Shem and Japheth cover up Noah’s nakedness
  • Because of their actions, Shem and Japheth are blessed by God through Noah. Canaan, Ham’s son, is cursed.

Though this may seem like a totally random story after the totally purposeful flood, with God there is always a reason.

The encounter with Noah, all of it, is designed to take us back to the garden. In 6:7, God make sure to state that the animals and man were “whom I created”. It is designed to follow the divine pattern, to point to the divine mission:

Adam & Eve

 

Noah

1:27

Told we are made in the image of God

9:6

3:8

Walked with God

6:9

1:28

Blessed by God

9:1

1:28

Given dominion over creation by God

9:2

1:28

Commanded by God to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth

9:1, 7

1:29

Given food to eat

<- Plants  |  Plants & animals ->

9:3

3:6

Humans sin

9:20-21

3:7, 10

Nakedness is exposed

9:22

3:14-19

<- Curses given by God

Blessings & Curses given by Noah ->

9:24-27

3:21

<- Nakedness covered by God

Nakedness covered by sons ->

9:23

The content of these two events, the details that are spelled out, are very intentional. The author WANTS us to see the parallels. He wants us to go back to the original plan, the original design, the beginning of the story. Why? To show that God’s plan, his mission has not changed and mankind needs God’s intervention because we cannot do good on our own.

One step closer

This time, however, in spite of the sin we get a little more hope. We are made for what? Relationship and representation. Did you catch that in this post-flood passage?

Shem & Japheth actually “represent” God by covering the shame of Noah physically, just as God made clothes for Adam and Eve and covered them.

Then, we find the first time that a man, Noah, blesses someone. That was God’s job prior to this, but Noah actually “represents” God by cursing the guilty and blessing the righteous. This is a topic that is going to come up again next week.

The reality of disorder

Our culture wrestles with the idea that a loving God would allow evil or bad things to happen. Yet, if God were to do away with all that is evil, He would have to wipe all of us out. Even a reset with just good people is not enough.

The inclination of man’s heart is evil all the time.

18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 21 For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles. 24 Therefore God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen. // Romans 1:18–25 CSB

It is the effect of the choice of mankind to reject God that brought the curse. It was a righteous act of justice by a holy God in response to a selfish act of disobedience and self-representation on the part of Adam and Eve.

The atrophy of that original sin, the second law of thermodynamics, is still felt today. It is not that God causes evil, it is that he allows man to live out the consequences of his actions.

It is a loving God that continues to pursue a fallen, broken humanity in an effort to restore them to their original glory.

It is a loving God that has created a way for blessing and contentment. It is a wicked society that demands that it be accomplished our way instead of God’s way.

The animals are not the primary focus, though that is what most pictures and story books focus on. The flood is not the real focal point of these events. Noah is not the hero of the story.

The hero is God, who, in spite of the shortcomings of mankind continues to show mercy by giving mankind, you and me, chance after chance to embrace him and follow him.

God’s mission is still a rescue mission, a mission of restoration and re-creation.

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NCF was started in 1987 to minister to the growing population of Fort Drum and Jefferson County. Located in Carthage, just minutes away from Ft Drum, Lowville and Watertown, it is a blended congregation of local and military folks, single soldiers, young families and grandparents.

35206 Sayre Road
Carthage NY 13619
PO Box 823
Carthage, NY 13619
315-493-3958