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The Covenant, Gods Relationship with Noah and the Barriers and Boundaries for Hunankind in Genesis Chapters 5-9

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The Covenant, Gods Relationship with Noah and the Barriers and Boundaries for Hunankind in Genesis Chapters 5-9


“The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the lord said, ‘I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created-people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.”(Genesis 6:5-8)

In this essay I will take an interpretive look at Genesis chapters 5-9. The main focuses will be: the relationship between God, Noah, and Noah’s generation of mankind; the barriers and boundaries for humankind that were present and created by God in these chapters, the characteristics of God throughout the text and the overall importance and message of this passage in the Bible.

In the days of old -when life could reach more than nine hundred years- “sons of god”(6:2), angels and warriors ruled the earth. One walked the righteous path in the land of the wicked; one saw the grace of the Lord. In these chapters of Genesis, God is seen as an active participant in the story. Through His words and interactions, we can see that His character and relationship towards man is ever-changing and evolving. God is a ruler with expectations. What He had sought out to create in mankind was not being represented, all He saw was evil all the time.(6:5) In Genesis 6:6 we see a God that feels pain from a broken heart. From the grief he has sustained, he demands judgment and justice. His decision and reaction is to destroy all that He has created.(6:7) The Lord’s character here is repentant, judgmental and a potential destroyer. In His grief He finds “favor” for one man: Noah.(6:8) Though it was only one man in an entire generation, we see the grace of God present here. Because of Noah, God finds himself modifying his plans, “the planned destruction becomes a reconstruction” of this earth.(Harper Collins, Study Bible, Notes pp.13)

In Genesis chapter 6, we begin to see a God that is forewarning. The lessening of life, to that of one hundred and twenty years, is a disciplinary measure taken due to His displeasure with humankind. This punishment was a warning in and of itself. In Genesis 6:13, God gives a direct warning to Noah about the future destruction of the earth. A covenant is then formed between God and Noah. God offers Noah and his family salvation, because what He sought in man was present in Noah, he met the expectations of God.

In Chapter 7, we see that God’s word is true. He upholds his judgment and the great flood begins.(7:6) Here the all-powerful destroyer is portrayed, for all earthly life is eliminated except that inside the Ark. God’s word is also true in His remembrance of the covenant formed with Noah, by stopping the flood.(8:1)

Finally we see that God is His own ruler. “And when the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done’...”(8:21) Here God is speaking to himself, laying down the rules that he will follow and abide by.

Throughout these chapters we see many portrayals of God’s character: The destroyer, the ever-judging, a God with expectations, a God that grieves, feels pain, repents, a God that demands justice; a self-evaluating, ruling and omnipotent God whom also passes on saving grace to the deserving.

Now that we have examined the character of God in these chapters, I would like to look at the barriers and the correct boundaries for humankind that were put in the world. As I have stated before, God possessed expectations for humankind. Only one man seemed to live up to these expectations. “Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation.’”(7:1) This is a major boundary God created for humankind. Why did Noah and no one else fall into this category? If you were to survive this “ending of all flesh”(6:13) you had to find grace in the eyes of the Lord.

My interpretation of why Noah found this grace was for three main reasons: 1. He came from the right lineage of decedents. 2. His bloodline and that of his decedents was pure. 3. Noah had always been faithful or righteous to his God. Genesis chapter 5 is the generational lineage from Adam to Noah. This is showing that Noah is from a long lived line of righteous followers, going back to first creation. What I mean by his blood line being pure is that, in a time when angles were marrying men and anyone

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