A Biblical Worldview: Judgement & Salvation
David gave this talk at Woodside Church (Bedford) in 2011, as part of their "A Biblical Worldview" series. Click here to download it.
We're currently in a series on Biblical worldview, and will be looking at Genesis to establish a Biblical worldview on issues including:
- Blessings and Curses
- Marriage and Family
- Individual and Community
- Honour Guilt Shame Anxiety etc
Worldview is the deepest level of culture, it's our deepest beliefs about life. If you haven't already, do listen and catch up with the first part in the series, A Biblical Worldview: Culture & Worldview.
God had created man and woman in his image so that they could fill the earth with life on God’s behalf according to his standards for his glory. As we have seen, things went tragically wrong:
- Adam and Eve
- Cain and Abel
- Lamech – creativity (music) yet violence.
Enoch had been one godly man who “walked with God” amidst general unrighteousness. He had a son call Methuselah who lived 969 years. Methuselah can be translated “at his death, he will send it”. God had given a warning, extending for almost 1000 years, that he would have to act to deal with the terrible situation on earth.
Instead of earth being filled with life, it became filled with violence, injustice, the word includes both concepts. An evil corrupt world ruined by those who were intended to take care of it. One man still walked with him, Noah – who found grace from God – or “grace found him”. He lived justly, because of God’s grace and favour upon him.
God warned Noah that he was going to send a flood. Now there are flood stories in many ancient civilisations all over the world, in Mesopotamia (Babylon), the Greeks, the Aztecs, in India, among the Aborigines of Australia – all have stories of a great flood. “Only 21st Century arrogance could deny this consensus”. Phil Moore.
God told Noah to build an ark – a large chest, a boat twice as long as HMS Victory, three stories high. It probably took about 70 years to build it – all that time Noah was preaching righteousness – plenty of warning that God was going to judge the world. Imagine the mockery, the persistence of Noah.
God summoned the animals from all over the world (animals can make long treks, plenty of time), 2 of most. 7 of those used for sacrifice.
Then the flood came in the year Methuselah died (a prophetic name from a man who walked with God). Noah and the animals entered the ark. It rained for 40 days and nights; waters below the earth gushed forth, all the water covered the earth, like before God’s detailed creation of a beautiful earth. All of life on dry land perished.
Water flooded earth for 150 days. It then started receding and the ark came to rest on Ararat mountain range – first the mountain tops, then after 40 days, Noah sent a raven (kept flying), a dove came back, 7 more days, dove came back with an olive leaf – (still used as a symbol of peace) – olive trees don’t grow at high altitudes. Noah and his family and animals then went out of the ark.
This is quite a contrast to the Babylonian flood story – God fed up with man’s noise – decided to send a flood – one of the gods warned the Babylonian equivalent of Noah, who built an ark. ‘Gods’ could not control flood but themselves became scared of it. Capricious, not justice or sovereignty.
“The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
Noah did everything just as God commanded him. (Genesis 6:5-22)
“Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, 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. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark”. (Genesis 7:6-17)
“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. Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible”. (Genesis 8:1-5)
Imagine a world without judgement or penalty or restraint for wrong. God has built in accountability of man to him. We don’t often teach about it, yet even in today’s humanistic era, penalty is accepted. The problem today is we all want to act like God and judge God about who and what he can judge. So people that killed millions e.g. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, but not my uncle Fred who was quite a nice guy really – didn’t do much harm (though he did leave his wife and left his children without a live-in dad but that’s not very serious, right?). But where is the line to be drawn – who draws it? If people are sincere – sincerely wrong, sincerely believe your tribe is better and needs to right historic wrongs when another tribe took the land? Only God can draw the line.
God had already been judging. If you eat of the fruit of the wrong tree, you will die. Genesis 5 is an account of this, people lived for a very long time, but they died! God does not hurry judgement – 969 years. 70 years of preaching by Noah. Opportunity for repentance. God is judging today – we all die. He judges by giving people over to what they want to do. There will be a final judgement:
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matt 24:37-39)
Destruction of Jerusalem, too, prefigures the end of the age:
“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:3-9)
Overall, judgement is a necessary protection against evil.
The ark was the means of salvation for those who trusted in God. If they wanted to be saved, could be saved in the ark. It was big – Noah, his family, the animals. The ark is a picture of Jesus. Now salvation is in him. Then go to the ark, now go to Jesus. Only one way then, only one way now. But available to all. God wants not to perish, but all to come to repentance. The flood is a symbol of baptism which is a symbol of Jesus Christ’s salvation:
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” (1 Peter 3:18-22)
Christ went through the “waters of death” – died for sins – the only truly righteous man – not even Noah attained to that. He announced his victory to the spirits of those who had heard in Noah’s time of his victory that was prefigured through Noah. Water symbolises baptism – saves you – not because of holy water or washing away original sin but because Christ died – in baptism, we die with Him. Christ rose, we rise with Him, Christ has all authority in the spiritual world. We are in Him. Safe from judgement, from accusation, from the power of sin.
A Renewed World
When Noah and his family and the animals stepped out of the ark, they stepped out onto a cleansed earth – a symbol or foreshadowing of when we who are in Christ pass safely through God’s judgement into the new heaven and new earth. Christ has put everything right that was lost through Adam’s sin, and we get to look forward to:
- A place greater than Eden
- A place that's all over the earth
- New resurrection bodies
- Experiencing the fullness of the glory of God