The prevalence of the waters. The forty days are now completed. And at the end of this period the ark had been afloat for a long time. It was drifted on the waters in the direction in which they were flowing, and toward what was formerly the higher ground.
Upon the land. - The land is to be understood of the portion of the earth‘s surface known to man. This, with an unknown margin beyond it, was covered with the waters. But this is all that Scripture warrants us to assert. Concerning the distant parts of Europe, the continents of Africa, America, or Australia, we can say nothing. “All the high hills were covered.” Not a hill was above water within the horizon of the spectator or of man. There were ten generations from Adam to Noah inclusive. We cannot tell what the rate of increase was. But, supposing each couple to have ten children, and therefore the common ratio to be five, the whole number of births would be about five million, and the population in the time of Noah less than four million. It is probable that they did not scatter further than the necessities and conveniences of life demanded. In a fertile region, an area equal to that of the British Isles would be amply sufficient for four million men, women, and children.
Let us suppose, then, a circle of five hundred miles in diameter inhabited by man. Let this occupy the central region of a concentric circle of eight hundred miles in diameter. With a center a little southwest of Mosul, this larger circle would reach fifty miles into the Mediterranean, the Euxine, and the Caspian, and would probably have touched the Persian Gulf at the time of the deluge. If this region were covered with water, it is obvious that no land or mountain would be visible to a spectator within the inner circle of five hundred miles in diameter. “Fifteen cubits upward.” This was half the depth of the ark. It may have taken this draught of water to float it. If so, its grounding on a hill under water would indicate the depth of water on its summit. The gradual rise of the waters was accomplished by the depression of the land, aided, possibly, by a simultaneous elevation of the bed of the ocean. The water, by the mere necessity of finding its level, overflowed the former dry land. The extent of this oscillation of the solid crust of the earth is paralleled by the changes of level which geology indicates, the last of which took place at the time of the six days‘ creation. It is possible that most of the land that was then raised was now again temporarily submerged in the returning waters; while distant continents may have all along existed, which never came within the ken of antediluvian man. The sobriety and historical veracity of the narrative are strikingly exhibited in the moderate height to which the waters are said to have risen above the ancient hills.
There expired all flesh. - The resulting death of all by drowning is here recounted. “All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of live died.” This statement refers solely to man, whose higher life is exclusively expressed by the phrase חיים נשׁמת nı̂shmat chayı̂ym “breath of life” Genesis 2:7. It affirms the death of the whole of mankind. The sum total of animal and vegetable life, with the exception of those in the ark, is here declared to be extinguished.
Fifty and a hundred days. - These, and the forty days of rain, make one hundred and ninety days: about six lunar months and thirteen days. If to this we add the month and seventeen days before the commencement of the rain, we have eight months completed, and are therefore brought to the first day of the ninth month. The waters may be said to prevail as long as the ark had its full draught of water. It is probable they were still rising during the first half of the hundred and fifty days, and then gradually sinking during the other half.
The inhabitants of the Noachian world were destroyed because, after being granted a period of one hundred and twenty years in which to choose between the evil and the good, they deliberately chose to follow their own wicked ways. Because they did not avail themselves of the opportunity God gave them to repent and turn to Him, they were destroyed by the flood. UL 88.5Read in context »
There will be ... great destruction of human life. But as in the days of the great deluge Noah was preserved in the ark that God had prepared for him, so in these days of destruction and calamity, God will be the refuge of His believing ones. Through the psalmist He declares, “Because thou has made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion....” Then shall we not make the Lord our surety and our defense? Mar 283.6Read in context »
Those who think they must preach definite time in order to make an impression upon the people do not work from the right standpoint. The feelings of the people may be stirred and their fears aroused, but they do not move from principle. An excitement is created; but when the time passes, as it has done repeatedly, those who moved out upon time fall back into coldness, darkness, and sin, and it is almost impossible to arouse their consciences without some great excitement. 4T 308.1
In Noah's day the inhabitants of the old world laughed to scorn what they termed the superstitious fears and forebodings of the preacher of righteousness. He was denounced as a visionary character, a fanatic, an alarmist. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Men will reject the solemn message of warning in our day, as they did in Noah's time. They will refer to those false teachers who have predicted the event and set the definite time, and will say that they have no more faith in our warning than in theirs. This is the attitude of the world today. Unbelief is widespread, and the preaching of Christ's coming is mocked at and derided. This makes it all the more essential that those who believe present truth should show their faith by their works. They should be sanctified through the truth which they profess to believe; for they are a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. 4T 308.2
Noah preached to the people of his time that God would give them one hundred and twenty years in which to repent of their sins and find refuge in the ark, but they refused the gracious invitation. Abundant time was given them to turn from their sins, overcome their bad habits, and develop righteous characters. But inclination to sin, though weak at first with many, strengthened through repeated indulgence and hurried them on to irretrievable ruin. The merciful warning of God was rejected with sneers, with mockery and derision; and they were left in darkness to follow the course that their sinful hearts had chosen. But their unbelief did not hinder the predicted event. It came, and great was the wrath of God which was seen in the general ruin. 4T 308.3Read in context »
“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” “For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6, 9. The Bible recognizes no long ages in which the earth was slowly evolved from chaos. Of each successive day of creation, the sacred record declares that it consisted of the evening and the morning, like all other days that have followed. At the close of each day is given the result of the Creator's work. The statement is made at the close of the first week's record, “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created.” Genesis 2:4. But this does not convey the idea that the days of creation were other than literal days. Each day was called a generation, because that in it God generated, or produced, some new portion of His work. PP 112.1
Geologists claim to find evidence from the earth itself that it is very much older than the Mosaic record teaches. Bones of men and animals, as well as instruments of warfare, petrified trees, et cetera, much larger than any that now exist, or that have existed for thousands of years, have been discovered, and from this it is inferred that the earth was populated long before the time brought to view in the record of creation, and by a race of beings vastly superior in size to any men now living. Such reasoning has led many professed Bible believers to adopt the position that the days of creation were vast, indefinite periods. PP 112.2
But apart from Bible history, geology can prove nothing. Those who reason so confidently upon its discoveries have no adequate conception of the size of men, animals, and trees before the Flood, or of the great changes which then took place. Relics found in the earth do give evidence of conditions differing in many respects from the present, but the time when these conditions existed can be learned only from the Inspired Record. In the history of the Flood, inspiration has explained that which geology alone could never fathom. In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the Flood—the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them. PP 112.3Read in context »
I have a message for those standing at the head of our educational institutions. I am instructed to call the attention of every one occupying a position of responsibility, to the divine law as the basis of all right conduct. I am to begin by calling attention to the law given in Eden, and to the reward of obedience and the penalty of disobedience. FE 504.1
In consequence of Adam's transgression, sin was introduced into the fair world that God had created, and men and women became more and still more bold in disobeying His law. The Lord looked down upon the impenitent world, and decided that He must give transgressors an exhibition of His power. He caused Noah to know His purpose, and instructed him to warn the people while building an ark in which the obedient could find shelter until God's indignation was overpast. For one hundred and twenty years Noah proclaimed the message of warning to the antediluvian world; but only a few repented. Some of the carpenters he employed in building the ark, believed the message, but died before the flood; others of Noah's converts backslid. The righteous on the earth were but few, and only eight lived to enter the ark. These were Noah and his family. FE 504.2
The rebellious race was swept away by the flood. Death was their portion. By the fulfillment of the prophetic warning that all who would not keep the commandments of heaven should drink the waters of the flood, the truth of God's word was exemplified. FE 504.3
After the flood the people once more increased on the earth, and wickedness also increased. Idolatry became well-nigh universal, and the Lord finally left the hardened transgressors to follow their evil ways, while He chose Abraham, of the line of Shem, and made him the keeper of His law for future generations. To him the message came, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee.” And by faith Abraham obeyed. “He went out, not knowing whither he went.” FE 504.4Read in context »
Conduct Befitting the Bride of a King—The church is the bride, the Lamb's wife. She should keep herself pure, sanctified, holy. Never should she indulge in any foolishness; for she is the bride of a King. Yet she does not realize her exalted position. If she understood this, she would be all-glorious within (Letter 177, 1901). 7BC 986.1
11-16. See EGW on ch. 16:13-16. 7BC 986.3Read in context »