December 4, 2022

Genesis 8:1-10:32: A New World, But Not Really

Preacher: Josh Tancordo Series: Genesis: In the Beginning Topic: Default Scripture: Genesis 8:1– 10:32

Genesis 8:1-10:32: A New World, But Not Really

We’ve been working our way passage by passage through the book of Genesis, and today the next passage we come to is Genesis 8:1-10:32, so I’ll be reading a selection of verses from that passage. It says,

1 But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. 2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, 3 and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, 4 and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat….15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”…20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”…9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth….18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed. 20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” 26 He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. 27 May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.” 28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died. 

May God bless the reading of his Word.

Let’s pray: Father, we come to you with all kinds of needs this morning. But we believe that, by your Spirit and through your Word, you can minister to every need we have. So please do that and, above all, draw us into a deeper relationship with you. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray, amen. 

When I was a kid, I’d spend the month of December, like many kids, counting down the days until Christmas. And one of the most exciting parts of Christmas for me as a young child was, of course, opening presents. I’m not sure there’s anything more magical for a child than waking up on Christmas morning and seeing all those presents under the tree and opening them one by one to see what they’ve received. Will it be the video game they’ve been dying to get or perhaps the new doll house they’ve been asking for or maybe the Lego set they’ve had their heart set on for the past several months? And I’m sure there have been many kids who have received whatever gift they’ve been hoping for and felt as if it were the best day of their lives—almost as if their lives before this moment were just kind of mediocre, but now that they’ve received this gift, everything’s different. Their lives, from this moment on, are going to be amazing. Yet, we all know what happens a few weeks later, don’t we? Maybe it even takes a few months, but sooner or later that gift is on some shelf or in some closet collecting dust. It’s not life-changing any more—it’s just kind of boring. 

And that’s the way it is with everything in this world, isn’t it? Even the best things don’t satisfy us in any deep or enduring way. Yet, even as adults, we seem to have a hard time understanding that. We may not be looking to a video game or a Lego set to satisfy us, but we do often look to other earthly things. Perhaps it’s a material possession like a nice house or a new car. Or maybe it’s our spouse or kids that we look to as our source of ultimate satisfaction. Or maybe it’s advancing in our career and achieving a certain level of notoriety that we think will make us truly happy. And yet, the strangest thing always ends up happening. Even if we succeed in obtaining these things that we set our hearts on, there always seems to be something missing that we can’t quite put our finger on. The life we’ve always wanted somehow always eludes us. No matter what we obtain or what we achieve, true and lasting happiness always seems to be just out of reach in this present world. 

So what should we make of all this? Well, I find the words of C. S. Lewis very insightful here. He writes, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” In fact, let me read for you his full quotation, in its original context. Lewis writes, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water....If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthy pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find until after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.”

In other words, the fact that we have desires which never seem to be fully satisfied by anything in this world should lead us to the conclusion that we were made for another world—a world that’s similar to this one yet decidedly different at the same time. And I believe our main passage of Scripture today—Genesis 8-10—is likewise meant to turn our attention to that other world, as we’ll see before our time together this morning is over. 

But first, in chapters 6-7, we saw God causing a flood to cover the entire world. He did this because humans had become so evil that it was necessary. Sort of like an arm or a leg might become so badly infected that the only option is to amputate that arm or leg, the earth was now in a situation where wickedness had to be cut off in order for God’s redemptive purposes to be fulfilled. So God sent a flood that drowned almost the entire human race—except for a godly man named Noah and his family. God had told Noah to build an enormous boat, called an ark, and Noah obeyed what God told him. And so, when the flood waters came, Noah and his family were able to survive. So, all of that was recorded in chapters 6-7. 

Now, here in chapter 8, we read about the flood waters gradually subsiding and dry earth eventually appearing once again. And it’s fascinating to observe how this chapter is pretty much a mirror image of the previous chapter. As you can see on this graphic here, chapter 7 recorded two statements of a 7-day waiting period for the flood to begin, then 40 days of the flood waters rising, and 150 days of the waters prevailing on the earth. Now, in chapter 8, we find those same numbers in reverse order: a restatement of the 150-day period that the waters covered the earth but this time with an emphasis on their gradual receding, then 40 days of Noah waiting, and then two subsequent waiting periods lasting 7 days each. So, the point is that what was happening in chapter 7 is now being reversed in chapter 8. We might say that chapter 7 recorded de-creation, while chapter 8 is now recording re-creation. 

And, in fact, that’s more or less the thrust not just of chapter 8, but of chapters 8-10—that theme of re-creation. In these chapters, God rescues Noah from the flood, makes a covenant with him, and uses him to repopulate the world. That’s the main idea of this passage: God rescues Noah from the flood, makes a covenant with him, and uses him to repopulate the world.

Now, as we said, most of chapter 8 records the flood waters subsiding. And it’s striking to note the parallels between this passage and the original account of creation in Genesis 1. For example, in the second part of Genesis 8:1, we read that “God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.” The Hebrew word translated as “wind,” ruakh, is the same word that’s translated as “Spirit” in Genesis 1:2, where it says that “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” So, just as the ruakh of God was hovering over the waters in Genesis 1, God sends a ruakh to blow over the waters in Genesis 8. 

Also, verses 2-14 record the land emerging once again from the water—just as it had done when God had originally created the world. We’re told back in Genesis 1:9, And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. So that’s another parallel—dry land emerging from the waters. 

We then read about Noah and his family and all the birds and animals coming out of the ark and Noah building an altar to the Lord and offering burnt offerings on that altar as an expression of his gratitude toward God. In response, God blesses Noah. We read in Genesis 9:1, And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” That kind of sounds familiar, doesn’t it? In Genesis 1:28, right after God created Adam and Eve, it says, And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth….”  So God tells Noah in Genesis 8 the very same thing he had told Adam and Eve back in Genesis 1. 

God then makes a covenant, or a sacred agreement, with Noah in Genesis 9 never again to flood the earth and identifies the rainbow as the sign of that covenant. Then, in Genesis 10, we find a record of how Noah was indeed fruitful and did indeed follow God’s instructions to multiply and fill the earth. Chapter 10 is a record of the many generations and even entire nations that came from Noah and filled that region of the world. And, again, I believe the point of all of this is to show how God was using Noah to repopulate the world and was restoring the world to much of what it had been before the flood. If chapters 6-7 were a record of God de-creating the world, chapters 8-10 are, in a sense, a record of God re-creating the world. And we can see that theme of re-creation in all of the parallels between our main passage and the record of God’s original creation in Genesis 1. 

And all of this is well and good. However, there’s a big problem. And that problem is that the disease of sin still remains. You see, back in Genesis 6:5, before the flood, it says that “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Things were really bad—and that’s why God sent the flood. Yet what do we read after the flood in Genesis 8:21? And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma [of Noah’s sacrifice], the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” The NIV translates it, “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.” This verse in Genesis 8 is a deliberate parallel to the one back in Genesis 6. And it’s intended to emphasize the fact that people still have sinful hearts. They still have a nature that’s inclined toward sin and set in a state of perpetual rebellion against God. The external manifestations of that sinful nature aren’t quite as bad as they were before the flood, but the propensity to sin is still there. We might say that some of the symptoms of the disease have been addressed, but the underlying disease itself is just as present as it’s ever been. 

It reminds me of the way it works with weeds in your lawn. If you have a lawn that’s filled with weeds, you can try mowing that lawn all you want to. But what’s going to happen after you mow it? Within a week or possibly even a few days, the weeds are going to start growing back, and in no time at all you’ll have a lawn filled with weeds once again. And that’s pretty much what happens after the flood—because the seeds of sin are still present in the human heart. 

We can see this playing out in a rather peculiar episode recorded in Genesis 9:20-21. It says that 20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. Not exactly his best moment. The subsequent verses then tell us how one of his sons named Ham sees him there drunk and naked and passed out and decides to tell his brothers about it so that they can all laugh at him. However, his brothers are apparently a bit more mature and do everyone a favor by covering their dear old dad back up. I imagine they also established a policy of always knocking before entering their dad’s tent in the future. And, at first, this might seem like a bit of a random episode. Yet, I believe one of the reasons it’s recorded is to illustrate that the seeds of sin are still there in the human heart and that the weeds of sin are therefore beginning to spring up once again. The flood may have cleansed the world in a superficial manner, but it didn’t actually take care of the real problem. Again, it treated the symptoms but not the disease itself. 

So, where does that leave us? Well, it leaves us in need not just of the slightly refurbished creation that we see in this passage that’s only marginally better than the previous one but of a new creation. That’s what this passage cries out for. Genesis 8-9 is crying out for nothing less than a new creation—one that’s free from the presence of sin and where people actually have new hearts. 

And, friends, that’s what the rest of the Bible is all about. It’s all about God progressively taking steps to bring about a new creation. Beginning in Genesis 12, God makes a promise to a man named Abraham that, though him, all the families of the earth will be blessed. And that blessing is then progressively accomplished through Abraham’s descendants, with the nation of Israel taking center stage, until the long-awaited coming of Jesus the Messiah. And even though Jesus doesn’t immediately bring about God’s new creation in its fullness, he does lay the foundation for this new creation. 

You see, the new creation isn’t just about the absence of sin but about the presence of God. Without God’s presence, the new creation would be a lot like a diamond ring without the diamond. Just as the main feature of a diamond ring is the stone that it holds, the main feature of the new creation that makes it so unimaginably wonderful is that we get to be in the very presence of God and see his beauty and behold his glory. The closeness to God that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden and that they lost through their rebellion will be restored once again in the new creation. 

But in order for that to happen, the problem of sin would have to be dealt with once and for all. And that’s what Jesus accomplished when he came to this earth. Not only did Jesus live a perfectly sinless life, he died on the cross in order to atone for our sins. He endured the punishment we deserved. Normally, we’d be the ones to suffer God’s wrath. Yet, Jesus stood in our place and acted as our substitute and suffered God the Father’s wrath so that we wouldn’t have to. And it’s because of that that you and I can be reconciled to God. As 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God….” So, as soon as Jesus breathed his last breath on the cross, the path was now clear for sinful people to be reconciled a holy God and then to enjoy the fullness of that reconciled relationship in the new creation.

Then, after Jesus died, see the first glimmer of that coming dawn of the new creation three days later when Jesus resurrected from the dead. By his resurrection, Jesus functioned as what 1 Corinthians 15:23 calls “the firstfruits” of what’s coming in the future—the very first glimpse we get of God’s new creation breaking into this present world. 

We then see the new creation breaking into this present world even more after Jesus ascends into heaven and sends the Holy Spirit to take what was accomplished on the cross and start applying it to the people for whom he died. One by one, the Holy Spirit works within people and brings about a supernatural change of heart. He removes their old sinful heart and replaces it with a heart that loves Jesus and trusts Jesus and wants to follow Jesus. As the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Again, it’s as if the new creation is gradually breaking into this present world.

Then, at long last, we read about the new creation finally coming in its fullness in Revelation 21-22. Just to read an excerpt from those chapters, Revelation 21:1-5 says, 1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” 

So this is what the new creation will be like—a perfect paradise filled with the very presence of God himself that will last for all eternity. This is the final goal and the great climax toward which everything in the Bible is moving. Everything you read in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is all oriented around this new creation. This is God’s grand purpose for all of history. It might even be helpful to think of history as a massive chess game and God as the ultimate grandmaster of chess. Now, in a game of chess, the purpose, of course, is to win the game by capturing your opponent’s king. Every move that a chess player makes is carefully calculated to achieve that end. Likewise, every move that God makes both in the Bible and in all of history is designed to lead us to the new creation and to maximize the glories of the new creation. And it’s this new creation that’s foreshadowed back in our main passage of Genesis 8-10. The post-flood world that we find in Genesis 8-10 is but a dim reflection of what God ultimately has in store for his people—but that’s the point! The point is to stir up within us a longing for what’s to come.  

So the first order of business for you and me in our lives is to make sure we’re a part of this new creation. The Bible’s very clear that not everyone is going to be a part of this incredible paradise but only those who turn away from their sins and put their trust in Jesus to rescue them. It’s similar to what happened in Genesis. In Genesis, the only people who were rescued from the flood were those who entered that ark. Likewise, the only people who will be rescued from God’s judgment that’s still to come are those who put their trust in Jesus. There is no rescue apart from him. 

Not only that, but once we’ve put our faith in Jesus and have acquired this hope of being with him in the future, that should change everything about the way we approach the present. And there are three primary ways I’d like to briefly share with you in which I believe that’s the case—three ways in which hope for the future changes everything about the way we approach the present. 

First, it should give us encouragement in the midst of earthly frustrations. There are a lot of things in this world that can be incredibly frustrating. For example, maybe you feel frustrated by politics right now. Maybe it seems to you that, in many ways, things seem to be getting worse rather than better in our country. Maybe it seems as though every political victory is followed two political defeats. Maybe it seems as though most of your hopes for real political progress never seem to materialize in any meaningful way. That can be frustrating. 

However, unlike many of those who are secularly-minded, our joy as Christians isn’t dependent on who wins the presidency or who controls Congress or what court decisions are handed down. Instead, the Bible gives us a hope that transcends all of that—the hope of a new creation. What we can’t ever seem to do through our efforts, Jesus will eventually do in the new heavens and new earth. And I don’t know about you, but I find that tremendously encouraging. 

So you end up with a very interesting dynamic when you compare the biblical and secular worldviews. The biblical worldview is, at the same time, both a lot darker and a lot brighter than the secular worldview. It’s darker in the sense that it recognizes how thoroughly sinful and depraved the human race is. Yet, it’s brighter in the sense that it leads us to expect things to get not just marginally better or even much better but rather exponentially better eventually in the new creation. The hope of the secularist for eventual political victory is nothing compared to the hope of the Christian for a new heaven and the new earth. So, our present reality may be far darker than most people ever recognize, yet our future hope is far brighter than most people ever dream. And what an encouragement that is in the midst of earthly frustrations.

Then, second, not only does hope in the new creation give us encouragement in the midst of earthly frustrations, it also gives us confidence in the midst of earthly uncertainties. It seems that more people than ever right now are struggling with anxiety. And one contributing factor to that is undoubtedly that we just don’t know what the future’s going to bring. We don’t know what headlines we’ll read in the news tomorrow or what unexpected turns our own lives will take. There’s so much that’s uncertain in the world we live in today. Some would even say that our society is currently teetering on the verge of collapse. Yet, no matter what happens, we as Christians have confidence not just that things will turn out okay in the end but that they’ll be unimaginably glorious. In the midst of so much uncertainty when it comes to earthly matters, we have perfect certainty when it comes to what’s eternal. 

Even though American society is in the midst of a catastrophic moral breakdown that may indeed eventually lead to the collapse of society as we know it, we understand that we belong to another society—a heavenly one—and that that society will endure forever. As Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:1, “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Paul also reminds us in Philippians 3:20 that “our citizenship is in heaven.” And the hope of that eternal home is our anchor in the midst of the earthly uncertainties that are all around us. 

Then, finally, hope in the new creation also gives us comfort in the midst of earthly afflictions. You know, it’s not uncommon for Christians who are experiencing significant trials in their lives to struggle with the question of why God’s allowing them to experience such immense suffering and also how God could be loving while at the same time allowing his people to suffer as they do in this life. And, to be clear, there are numerous biblical truths that are very relevant in helping us understand the answers to these kinds of questions, but one of the most important truths to keep in mind is that this world is so temporary and that the things we experience in this world, difficult though they may be, will soon be eclipsed by the new creation. When God brings about the new creation, all the suffering we once faced in this life will be nothing more than a faint and distant memory. 

So even if we can’t understand all of the exact reasons why God allows us to experience suffering in this life, we know that he has wonderful plans for our future. Not only that, we also have the comfort of knowing that, eventually, everything will somehow be all the more glorious for once having been so broken. Isn’t that incredible to think about? In some way, God’s using our present brokenness to maximize the glories of the new creation. 

I love the way Paul compares it in Romans 8 to the pain of childbirth—not that I know anything personally about the pain of childbirth, but it’s in the Bible, alright? Paul says that we’re groaning as in the pains of childbirth as we anticipate this new creation. In other words, the suffering we experience in this life is contributing to the joys we’ll experience in the next. And when that day finally comes and we leave our temporary residence here and go to our eternal home in the new creation, I don’t have any doubt that we’ll say it was all worth it. Just as every new mother I’ve ever met would say that the pains of childbirth were absolutely worth it in order to have that precious infant, I believe we also will say that very same thing about all the earthly difficulties we’ve faced. 

So we may still be living in that same fallen and broken world that we see in our main passage of Genesis 8-10, but as Christians we’re looking forward with joyful anticipation to the dawn of a new age and the arrival of a new creation.

other sermons in this series

Oct 22


Genesis 50:15-26: God Meant It for Good

Preacher: Josh Tancordo Scripture: Genesis 50:15–26 Series: Genesis: In the Beginning

Oct 15


Genesis 48:1-50:14: Jacob’s Blessings

Preacher: Josh Tancordo Scripture: Genesis 48:1– 50:14 Series: Genesis: In the Beginning

Oct 8


Genesis 47:1-31: Prosperity in Egypt

Preacher: Josh Tancordo Scripture: Genesis 47:1–31 Series: Genesis: In the Beginning