Judgment and Deliverance
the ark was key to escaping destruction
So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground:
both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air.
They were destroyed from the earth.
Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark
God rejoiced over mankind at the time of creation, giving them dominion over all other living creatures and blessing them with fruitfulness (see Creation). As time passed, people embraced wickedness and God’s rejoicing turned to sorrow, even to where He repented from blessing mankind and purposed to destroy all of them (see God’s Repentance), including all living creatures. But some living creatures escaped the destruction of the floodwaters, and it wasn’t because they were more righteous than others.
The waters of the flood would not be discriminatory in their destruction. They would destroy every creature exposed to them, regardless of that creature’s lifestyle. So it was the imminent coming of floodwaters that motivated Noah to board the ark, for not even he would have been spared.
So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. Genesis 7:7
There simply was no escaping the floodwaters. They would eliminate every living creature upon the earth, whether clean or unclean, wicked or righteous, because the flood was universal in its destruction.
This was, in fact, God’s purpose with the floodwaters – to destroy all living creatures. Knowing this, Noah and his family sought to escape the impending destruction by boarding the ark. Yet, in doing so, they were not thwarting God’s purposes for God Himself ensured the ark was secure by shutting the door.
So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in. Genesis 7:16
Clearly, it was God’s intent to deliver those on the ark from destruction, whether clean or unclean, wicked or righteous. We could say that although it was God’s purpose to destroy all living creatures, it was His will that every living creature on the ark would be saved alive.
The Key for Escape
So when the floodwaters came, the ark became the key to whether a living creature was destroyed or preserved. The waters buried everything on the earth except the ark.
Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. Genesis 7:17-19
Although the flood impacted everything on earth, it affected the ark differently than everything else. The flood did not bury the ark, as it did the rest of the earth; it lifted the ark, and everything in it, off the face of the earth.
Thus, God used the ark to make a distinction among all the living creatures. There were those creatures who were on the face of the earth, and there were those who were on the ark. All living creatures that were on the face of the earth were destroyed. But all living creatures that were on the ark were delivered from destruction.
So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. Genesis 7:23
So a living creature’s destiny was not dependent upon its wickedness or righteousness, but upon its position regarding the ark. Its deliverance from destruction depended entirely upon being with Noah in the ark. This was God’s will.
God’s purpose was to destroy all living creatures because of the acute wickedness in the earth. But it was not His desire to eradicate life, so He kept some of every species alive. He didn’t preserve the lives of certain living creatures based on their decreased level of wickedness or violences. He preserved their lives based on whether they were with Noah on the ark.
God’s approach in judgment and deliverance in the flood set a precedence in His approach with the judgment and deliverance of mankind for all time. The second death (Revelation 20:12-15) is a universal judgment established because of rebellion and wickedness. But He will not condemn people to this judgment based on their level of rebellion and wickedness. They will be condemned based on whether they are with Christ in the salvation He established through His righteous obedience in fulfilling the will of God.