God’s Covenant with Noah

After God exercised his justice-wrath-judgment, he made a covenant with Noah. Is it relevant to us today?

Thankfully, he sends his specially called people to warn the general populace to get right with God. And so it happened in the days of Noah.

As noted in every article about biblical covenants, here is a working definition of covenant:

Out of his great love for his highest creation, people, God unilaterally reaches out to them and initiates an unalterable legal agreement, in which he stipulates the terms that reveal how he relates to people, and they to him.

More simply: a covenant is an unalterable legal agreement, in which God stipulates the terms that reveal how he relates to people, and they to him.

The main points are that he takes the initiative and spells out the terms of the agreement. We cannot strut up to God and demand that he relates to us in our way. That’s arrogant and presumptuous because our strutting and demanding fail to understand that he is the one in charge of his creation. He imposes the agreement on his highest creation, humankind, who can accept or reject the covenant, out of their own free will.

The second covenant we study is called the Noahic Covenant or the Covenant of Noah. Since all covenants have component parts, so does this one, as follows:

1.. God’s initiative

God saw that humankind was acting like violent mammals, even though they were made in his image (Gen. 1:26-27). They were violating God’s universal covenant of life with Adam (Humankind), because they were not following moral law or the knowledge of the tree of good and evil. Long ago through Humankind, they lost intimacy with God. Now they were wandering sheep—but more than sheep. They had turned violent.

God had to take action to rid the planet of these covenant violators. So he told Noah that he was about to send the flood of judgment on them.

2.. Type of covenant

It is the Royal Grant: Noah had found favor in the sight of the Lord (Gen. 9:8) and was blameless and righteous, relative to the people of his times (Gen. 6:9). For his faithful service, the Lord gave him salvation and the land to care for. The grant applied to his descendants, if they walked loyally and obediently before the Lord.

3.. Parties involved

They were God and Noah and his descendants (Gen. 9:6) and every living thing on earth that was subject to human jurisdiction. So Noah and his family stood in for the animals, as their representative head.

4.. Stipulations and obligations and promises

This aspect of the covenant could also be called requirements or conditions, if the covenant is like that.

If Noah built the ark and entered it (Gen. 6:13; 7:15), God would spare him of the flood of judgment. After the flood came and went, God made a covenant with Noah and his family and all living beings with the breath of life in them: “Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never gain will there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Gen. 9:11).

This is unconditional. God made it for humanity and he would maintain it.

However, this does not mean that God won’t judge humanity again. Instead, it means that he would not destroy the earth by a flood. He will destroy it to a certain degree by fire, however (2 Pet. 3:10-12).

5.. Ratification

This means officially approving, sanctioning, and confirming the agreement.

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life” (Gen. 9:12-15).

So the ratification was the rainbow.

6.. Fulfillment of the covenant

Humanity does not have to do anything, because God made it unconditionally, and he will fulfill it to the end of this age—and even during the age after the Second Coming—also known as the kingdom of God on a refurbished and cleansed earth. Whenever clouds and rain come, God will not allow floods to destroy the whole earth.

So how does this post help me grow in my knowledge of God?

God is patient and kind. He does not want to destroy earth or anyone’s life.

However, he is the God of Ultimate Justice. He cannot by his nature allow degradation and injustice and violence and sin to go on forever without judgment and recompense. To deny God’s justice-wrath-judgment is simply misguided on humanity’s part.

Maybe the person on social media has not thought it through. Maybe he is so filled with excessive compassion that he cannot see things clearly. Yes, it really is possible to be so filled with compassion that it becomes excessive. For example, Buddhism teaches that a divine guide or bodhisattva has “infinite compassion.” At first glance, it sounds nice, but on further reflection, it is unrealistic. Justice demands payment for continual wrongdoing. The day of judgment is coming.

However, please realize that God is pleading with humankind and calling him to be reconciled to him. He wants a personal relationship with people, through surrendering to his Son Jesus Christ. He is so patient and kind that he is willing to wait for all people to hear his message of love, so they will receive his Son Jesus Christ through the power of the Spirit.


Bible Basics about Covenants

The Sinai Covenant

God’s New Covenant

One Decisive Difference Between Sinai Covenant and New Covenant

What Is Grace?

What Does the New Covenant Retain from the Old?

Do Christians Have to ‘Keep’ the Ten Commandments?

Ten Commandments: God’s Great Compromise with Humanity’s Big Failure

How Jesus Christ Fulfills the Law: Matthew 5:17-19


Works Cited

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