© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 28 September 2016
3A6. God’s nature expressed as love:
In grace, God saved Noah and his family and breeding pairs of all land creatures and birds from the worldwide FLOOD, then declared His UNCONDITIONAL blessing upon Noah and his sons
3A6(title) God’s nature expressed as love
God’s love was expressed before, during and after the FLOOD.
3A6(sub-title) In grace, God saved Noah and his family and breeding pairs of all land creatures and birds from the worldwide FLOOD, then declared His UNCONDITIONAL blessing upon Noah and his sons
3A6(a) God’s love expressed before the FLOOD
Noah had “walked faithfully with God” Gen 6:9c in an ongoing relationship with Him, just as Enoch had done Gen 5:24a. In grace Noah “found” favour with God Gen 6:8 and God even “found” him to be “a righteous man”! Gen 7:1b [see 3A11(b)(ii.i), 4A4(c)(ii)]. So it can be assumed that prior to the FLOOD Noah was wholeheartedly committed to God, had kept His two basic requirements and had been accepted by God [2A11(a, b)].
God had communicated extensively TO Noah before the FLOOD Gen 6:13-21, 7:1-4. Noah fully obeyed all that God commanded him to do Gen 6:22, 7:5 so was fulfilling God’s intended roles for him [2A11]. It included building the large ship or “Ark” as specified by God Gen 6:14-16. This showed that Noah believed God’s declaration that the FLOOD was coming Gen 6:13,17.
3A6(b) God’s love expressed during the FLOOD
3A6(b)(i) God saved Noah and his family
God spared Noah and his family when carrying out His severe judgment by the FLOOD. God kept all those inside the Ark alive and safe until they emerged to resettle on the dry land Gen 8:15-16,18. This was simply a vast act of God’s grace, because like all people after the FLOOD Noah and his family were still sinful Gen 8:21c [see 3B28 and 3B29]. It was a profound expression of God’s unchanging love.
3A6(b)(ii) God expressed THROUGH Noah His love for all of His creation by saving the land creatures and birds from extinction
By acting totally in obedience to God, Noah himself was expressing God’s love. THROUGH Noah and the Ark, God expressed His ongoing commitment to all of His creation by saving the birds and land creatures from extinction. They survived in the Ark along with Noah and his family, for a year and ten days Gen 7:11, 8:13-14.
Noah actually saved seven pairs of “clean” animals and of all kinds of birds Gen 7:2a,3. Some of these were intended for later altar sacrifice in the worship of God Gen 8:20. So God had made provision for His love to be acknowledged and expressed THROUGH such acts of worship by Noah.1
3A6(c) God’s love expressed after the FLOOD
3A6(c)(i) God was pleased with Noah’s offering
Noah’s wholehearted commitment to God was seen immediately after the FLOOD. He built an altar to the LORD and sacrificed some of the “clean” animals and birds as burnt offerings on it Gen 8:20. God’s favorable response to this act of worship showed that in grace He accepted Noah and His offering Gen 8:21a just as He had for Abel Gen 4:4b [2B27(b)].
3A6(c)(ii) The hearts of God and people
God’s statement that followed Noah’s offering was a profound revelation of His love Gen 8:21b. It contains the second OT references to the “heart” of God and the “hearts” of all people. This was surely meant to be parallel to the first references to “heart” Gen 6:5-6 [2A8(b)].
The descriptions of God’s heart before and after the FLOOD were contrasted – deeply troubled, but then pleased Gen 6:6b, 8:21. Instead of further judgments and destruction, He would maintain the cycles of days, seasons and agriculture always! Gen 8:22 [see 3A9]. This contrast emphasized that God’s love towards all people was unchanged. He would provide for the continuing existence of the survivors.
But the descriptions of people’s hearts before and after the FLOOD were virtually identical. Their every inclination was still only evil! Gen 6:5b, 8:21c. This raises two core questions. Had the FLOOD really achieved anything concerning the people’s responses to God? If not, then what would it take to change their hearts if the FLOOD had not been enough?! All that can be said is that God was permanently committing Himself to persevere with them in order to accomplish His primary purpose, as follows.
3A6(c)(iii) In grace, God again declared His UNCONDITIONAL blessings upon all people
God’s unchanging love was further expressed after the FLOOD. He declared His UNCONDITIONAL threefold blessing upon Noah and his sons Gen 9:1 [see 3A11(a)]. These blessings had been part of God’s original six blessings as declared to Adam and Eve Gen 1:28a. So blessing continued to be central in His strategy to accomplish His primary purpose [1A6(sub-title)]. It represented the comprehensive expression of His own nature of love TO and THROUGH people.
3A6(d) All of God’s UNCONDITIONAL declarations and promises to people were “in grace”
God later made many UNCONDITIONAL declarations and promises to people. These did not even have any “IFs”. They were NOT dependent on people’s responses to Him! So they were even more extraordinary acts of God’s GRACE! For this reason their “box” titles and/or sub-titles also contain the phrase “in grace” [see 3A8, 3A9, 3A11, 4A4,5,6,7,8,9,11,13, etc!!].
3A6(e) God’s unchanging love showed that His primary purpose continued
God’s declared blessings upon the survivors of the FLOOD were expressions of His own nature of love. The continuing interactions between God and people were to be the focus of how He would accomplish His primary purpose. So 3A6 is placed centrally as the core link between 3A3 and 3A8.
Arrows 3A3 -> 3A4,
3A3 -> 3A5 and
3A3 -> 3A6
These arrows indicate that God continued to accomplish His primary purpose. Initially this was by His mighty act of judgment that demonstrated His infinite power. The FLOOD brought the evil outcomes of the first post-FALL Era to an end and demonstrated His perfection. Yet in grace God also kept alive the potential for accomplishing His primary purpose by sparing Noah and his family from the FLOOD and declaring His blessing upon them. This further demonstrated His unchanging love for them.