Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight… (Genesis 6:11)
It seems pretty obvious that, in general, Christians don’t really buy into the legitimacy and authenticity of the biblical account of the Noahic deluge. And no, I’m not talking so much about doubting the reality of the worldwide flood (even though despite mounting evidence some still choose to believe it’s just a myth). Rather, the reason I believe most modern believers don’t accept the biblical account of the flood is because of the phrase above from Genesis chapter 6.
The key isn’t that the earth was corrupt. The key is that the earth was corrupt “in God’s sight.” That means that God (not mankind) is the absolute and final arbiter of morality. The wicked inhabitants of the Earth certainly didn’t share the same view of morality that God does . And guess what? It didn’t matter. God was right. The world (save eight souls) was wrong. End of discussion. It’s easier for some to ditch the objective reality of the entire claim that the Bible is right about a worldwide calamitous flood than to believe that the way God sees things takes precedence over the way I see things.
It seems as though a growing number of people who fashion themselves as “Christians” don’t really want God being the Alpha and Omega of morality. How many times have you had to endure a diatribe against Scripture (generally speaking or a particular passage) that begins with, “To me…” Isn’t that suggesting that “my” understanding or outlook necessarily supersedes God’s? I’ve never heard anyone follow “To me” with “the Bible’s infallibility and eternal nature reveal that I have an incredible lack of insight into the topic I’m about to suggest is archaic and irrelevant to people today.” No, “To me” implies that I am all that is really important when it comes to knowledge and discernment. Whatever the Bible says has to be filtered and adjudicated by my sense of morality. In other words, if what I read in the Bible doesn’t suit me, then I, not God, have the final say. The reality many live in is “Now the earth was just fine in my sight.”
All this is really only ancillary to the real problem. The reason why God destroyed life on Earth and the reason why judgment day is looming in the future is because when one denies God’s perfect holiness (which of course implies not only love but also righteousness) the cords of sovereignty are loosened and God becomes just another dignitary who despite His power is forced to compromise with His created creatures about anything they feel passionate about.
When the holiness of God no longer functions as both the source and standard of morality then everyone does what is right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6 and 21:9). Without holiness, God becomes a projection of one’s inner self. That’s called narcissism and it produces a false sense of personal sovereignty. And that means absolutely no accountability.
That’s why you have almost 2 billion Muslims in the world who remain virtually silent while the “extremists” continue to murder, rape, and pillage. The holiness of God is not a major selling point in the Islamic religion. Holiness isn’t a part of the 6 articles of faith or the 5 pillars of Islam. So as far as the non-terroristic Muslims are concerned, the terrorists are just practicing what they feel to be right. Most Muslims aren’t terrorists but most Muslims don’t speak out against the terrorists. When holiness drops out of the equation one interpretation of Scripture is as good as any other.
It’s also why the American church has no moral voice in culture anymore. The holiness of God has been booted out of the consciousness of the churchgoer much like prayer was booted out of public schools. If God isn’t holy then sexual immorality doesn’t really exist. So, you can have a practicing lesbian reach the pinnacle of church leadership in the United Methodist Church and nary a voice among her peers in the episcopacy defends the holiness of God. Because they don’t know God is holy. To them, He is just a warm puddle of affirmation and accommodation. Affirming their definitions of morality and accommodating their lifestyle choices.
Finally, when the church loses either the will or the nerve to call people to holiness then what you get is the current vomiting out into American living rooms of decades of sickening sexual behavior from Al Franken’s groping of women to Kevin Spacey’s sexual assault of a child. And everything in between. Hard-core pornography is no longer an obscenity, it’s been deemed a constitutional right. And what does it teach? That people are longing for the sexual innuendo, the groping, and the assaults. In other words, just the thing that has been leading off most newscasts for months now.
In Matthew 24:36-44 Jesus said the state of the world at the time of His second coming would be just like it was in Noah’s lifetime. Read the passage carefully. The key to understanding is not in deciphering conditions of society and events in the world. No, look carefully at this phrase:
and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away (Matthew 24:39).
“[T]hey were unaware. What were they “unaware” of? That “God’s sight” was more important than their own. They had no concept of His purity and goodness. Consequently, the way He saw things was completely immaterial and irrelevant. It was not something being contemplated by anyone on earth except for Noah. And when no one is thinking about something, they are all completely unaware of it. That is, until perfect justice demands that the assault on God’s holiness come to a swift and sudden end.
Read Isaiah chapter 6. Then turn over to Revelation 4 and read that. Of all the perspectives, qualities, and characteristics that Holy Scripture reveals about God from Genesis to Revelation, it is not coincidental or unremarkable that in both passages Isaiah and John heard the exact same refrain from the unique quartet of angels: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord…”
God is holy. Absolutely holy. Consequently, the only way to see things is the way God sees them. Jesus said a lot of people are going to try to convince Him on judgment day that He needs to see things the way they do. His response? “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:23).
I hope you’re seeing things the way God does.