Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
God is shown to be merciful here. He has given them opportunities to repent, most of these people could have gone to Adam and had a conversation with him. They knew He existed and chose to disobey Him to the point of every thought. This next verse makes sense because God does not exist within time or make mistakes. It is inconsistent with His nature to say that He wishes something does not happen because He has the power to change it, and even more than that He has the power to know how things would unfold and course correct before the event even comes to be. Why would He be sorry? Well the Hebrew word here being used does not mean repentance. It does not mean that He regrets His decision or wishes He could go back and change it, because He could. The word “Niham” means to feel pain. To experience and intense emotional unpleasantness as a result of the events that have come to pass. God still loves you and me, and Noah and His family, and even these wicked people who were going to die. Let me relate this emotion to something that we experience as people here at camp. We have to exercise. This is not a fun experience, and not something that we naturally enjoy. Now i recognize that there are smart alecs in the room who will say that they enjoy exercise but you misunderstand me. You do not. The process of exercise involves you breaking down muscle tissue by damaging it so that it can grow back stronger. Some of you may see where I’m going with this. When I exercise, I experience Niham because my muscles feel pain in that moment. I desire to not be in pain. although, i know that after I finish exercising, the result of being healthier is worth it so i persevere.
Also, here is an issue that always bothered me. How can God be sorry? He is God, He can just go back and change things to be not that way. He is outside of time, so He already knows that this thing will happen before it does and could have just course corrected
The part where He is sorry is not for Himself. He is still glorified when we sin because that sin is punished. He was sorry for the sake of mankind. Because all of those people were going to have to go through punishment for their actions and the stubbornness of their hearts that would hold them to it.
God felt pain because the people that He made, and the people He loved wanted to hurt themselves. They wanted to be separated from Him. He knew that there would be many more that would come later, people like you and me who will choose to accept salvation and that means that His creation was still worth it. He knows that one day, people from every single nation will worship in every single language and that we will get to experience Him. Humanity is still worth it.
So why the flood? If He is God, couldn’t He have found a way to not kill all those people? to show them mercy? Well here’s the problem with that logic. Life does not equal mercy. God chose to wipe the Earth clean because the people living there had chosen to ignore Him. Allowing them to live longer would have just let them become even more sold out to sin. People ask the question of how could God be love and good even when He killed so many people in a flood, and answering that question is hard. But I’m here to tell you that because God is love, we can know for certain that the flood was the most loving thing that could be done for everyone involved. God took them off the Earth where they would live to keep hating Him so that they didn’t have to follow that path.