Chapter 12 Later: The Great Plague and The Great Cataclysm
God is Holy! He Brings Judgment on Rebellion and Sin!
The Great Creator had made a world of wonders, and year after year that world had flourished as a bountiful paradise. The animals and fish and birds had grown phenomenally in numbers, relishing every moment of their idyllic existence. The First Man and his First Woman had enjoyed the greatest privilege of all, daily, unbroken fellowship with the Great God of Heaven Himself.
Enter the Master of Deception, the embodiment of evil himself! At one time in the heavenly regions, he had been The Shining One, holding in the world of angelic beings a place of high honor. But he had revolted. He was now the Opponent, standing in revolt against the God of Heaven.
He looked on the Man and the Woman whom God had so lovingly made, and he was determined to recruit them as followers to his black cause. He knew they were fiercely loyal to the One who had given them life. But he waited, with wicked patience, for that opportunity that would come when his temptations might succeed,
Finally, after some years, he sensed a potential weakness on Eve’s part and began exploring it. His cunning suggestion: “Just a little bit! The Almighty One has forbidden you to eat fruit from that one tree. But just try it! It looks so good! It will make you like God Himself. Take a little bit! Try it!”
No explanations as to what might happen as a result. Just the subtle suggestion that the Holy God was not really telling the truth! He was hiding something. He could not be trusted!
Day after day, Adam and Eve resisted valiantly. After all, they had tasted the exquisite delights of the Fellowship for which they had been made. Day after day, the tempting voice continued. “Just try it!”
After a while, the sweet, subtle suggestion of the Deceiver found an entrance with his beguiling ways. It was just a tiny crack at first, mind you. Eve pondered the thought, “If I can be like God, that will be good.” I would like to try it. Just a little bit! Never mind that the Holy One in love had warned, “Don't eat it.”
“He has given freely in everything else. Surely in this He will make allowance for a little bit of indulgence.” So ran the temptation.
Until one day, the Fateful Step was taken. The Great Deceiver watched and gloated and goaded further, until both the Man nd the Woman had fallen into his dreadful trap. He looked with wicked satisfaction as his intended prey stepped across the line, on to the slippery downward slope. Just as he himself had done one day!
“Oh, we knew God would say No. We knew that our place of privilege would be lost on the other side of the line. But.....” The Man’s voice trailed away into awful disappointment and silence as he later looked back on what he had done.
Adam and Eve had turned their backs on the God of All the Universe, the very One who had lavished such tokens of His love on them. They had elbowed Him aside. They had refused His love. exercised their freedom. But in a direction filled with dark dangers. A breach had been made. The Great God Himself had been rejected!
The Great God of Justice
Just how would God react? He was, after all, the Great God of Even-handed Justice, and had laid down laws that carried severe penalties upon the
breaking of those laws. As Judge of All the Earth, what action would He take in the light of this open rebellion?
By his very nature, God could not simply “wink” and turn away. The law had been established, and called for stern action.
The exquisite Creation of a Righteous Creator had been deeply stained! A dark curtain had descended, and beginning with the bodies of Adam and Eve, death and disease made their unhappy entrance. God allowed the built-in penalty for sin to run its course. The inevitable consequences were now being seen, as the awful plague spread. Sickness and death began to take hold.
Even the animal world shared in the awful plague. The fields too were not exempt, as weeds of all types began making their appearance. It was as though a pall had descended on every living thing. The paradise-like Creation which God had so meticulously brought into being began to suffer under the weight of the Great Plague. The results? Suffering and pain on a grand scale, making the whole creation groan, like the groaning of a mother in labor pains!
The God of love and holiness was also the God of perfect, even-handed justice. And when the fury of His displeasure with sin became evident, it was a frightening thing to behold! In addition to the physical effects, there crept in insidious, unseen effects. The minds of men were affected. People who had been gentle and kind, over time would become hostile and suspicious. Others who had been patient and considerate, now would show themselves suspicious and even malicious.
And above all, people became deceptive and cunning! After all, this plague found its source in none other than the Great Deceiver. God’s beautiful, crystal clear Creation had indeed been deeply stained!
“The purposes of the Holy One have been defeated,” gloated the Great Deceiver. “The Man and his Woman have come over to my side. Now I have them!”
And so it seemed. A Great Black Cloud had descended.
But just at that moment, a shaft of light appeared! In the Mind of the Exalted One lay another part of His Great Master Plan. In time it would blossom into an even greater victory than the First Man had represented in his best moments.
That part of the Plan was called, “Mercy and Grace.” It would not only restore Man to what he had been. It would restore him with an added element of Heavenly Glory.
For now, however, all looked dark. Bleak! The Deceiver had won the day. Man had fallen from his place of high privilege.
The First Man had yielded to the siren call of The Enemy. He was now Man in Revolt. In revolt against the Eternal One! Inevitably, the death factor found its way into his being, and quickly spread to every form of life around him. Weeds grew in the fields, diseases developed in bodies, a pall fell over all of nature. The Great Plague had taken hold!
In some mysterious way, the Master Design suffered impairment. Sickness and suffering and death were introduced into Man’s experience, and would be passed on from one generation to another.
Marred but not Destroyed
The Great Creator’s work had been marred. Deeply damaged. But not destroyed! The first Man, and his first Woman, lived on physically, now carrying in their bodies the time clock effects of the dying process. The animal world, too, in some mysterious way was made to suffer the same fate. They too began to carry in their bodies the death factor.
Even the world of plants and trees shared in the harsh penalty. But while the glorious plan of the Great Creator had been marred, it had not been destroyed. Earth continued to flourish, physically. Plant life of every kind grew in grand profusion throughout the world. The mantle of green was now a lush, verdant carpet covering the land areas of the earth.
A later earthling would have wondered at the absence of rain. But he would quickly have recognized that an even better supply of life giving moisture was carried to the land by the daily breezes depositing their morning dews. Those winds had swept across the lakes and rivers and the vast expanse of warm ocean waters. They had picked up the ascending water vapors and had carried them to the thirsty land areas. As a result, the fields and valleys were left each morning with soft, abundant, life sustaining dews.
What profusion and abundance were seen on every hand as the handiwork of the Great Gardener continued to unfold, even in its marred condition. Over the ensuing centuries, forests of massive dimensions developed. Millions upon millions of animals, small and large, roamed these vast forests. Shrubs and grasses too covered hill and valley like a deep carpet.
Giants in the Land
Among this myriad of living creatures were the giant denizens of that world, the dinosaurs. Some of these amazing creatures were terrifying in size, as much as eighty tons! They moved in large herds and at astonishing speeds.
They congregated along the rivers and lakes which marked the landscape. Nearby, the well watered plains and valleys provided ample food. Even the ton a day appetite of some of them was fully satisfied. What a sight they would have been, their massive bodies submerged in relaxed comfort with only their heads, at the end of a long neck, protruding from the water!
The dinosaurs came in amazing variety and rapidly grew in numbers. Some were small, no larger then a rabbit. Some could fly, with wingspread as much as three meters! Some could swim, dominating parts of the ocean.
Some lived as predators, preying on smaller animals and dinosaurs. Some flew with graceful speed along the ground, their huge tails held high as they fled from their fierce predators. Some moved, elephant like, at a more plodding pace.
The dinosaurs flourished, year after year. The long years passed, and after twenty centuries, their numbers had grown phenomenally, almost to the straining point it seemed.
Siberia and Alaska of that day were home to great herds of Mammoths, large fur coated animals, like overgrown elephants. Their numbers were counted in the millions, as evidenced by the frozen remains still remaining today. Yet when they grew and flourished, it was not in a barren frozen northland such as Siberia is today, but in the luxuriance of a well watered, tropic like land.
Their ivory tusks were of such unusual quality as to provide a base for living for people in those areas, thousands of years later!
As the centuries passed and their numbers grew in the warm, hospitable climate, it seemed that the earth all but overflowed with animal life. By the time twenty centuries had passed, even with disease and natural calamities that struck many of them, they kept growing greatly in number.
Even the Ocean was Overflowing
Meanwhile, in the vast oceans the waters were teeming literally teeming with marine life.
By the time twenty centuries had passed, one generation had passed into another time after time, and their numbers were truly colossal. Marine life flourished everywhere in the warm and hospitable waters that marked the world of that day, until it seemed that even the ocean could not contain it all.
Men Multiplied Greatly
Then, especially around the shores of the Mediterranean, Man began to multiply. Though banished from the Great Garden, they nevertheless were blessed with all the essential elements for a thriving agrarian life. The land was fertile. The weather brought favorable temperatures throughout the year.
They had everything they needed.
As they worked their land and tended their flocks and gathered in their harvests, they grew and flourished. And as the years rolled on, by the time twenty centuries had passed, the world had grown phenomenally, to more than 200,000,000! Not until the seventeenth century of the modern era was the world to see so large a population!
Though largely agrarian, the peoples of this age also developed large cities and thriving industries. Their fields and orchards produced bountiful crops. They developed the arts of pottery and metal work along with their tending of flocks and herds. Their learning grew to a high level, with outstanding developments in astronomy and in mathematics. And their level of governmental organization grew to a very proficient stage.
Also, they excelled in entertainment and in the arts. Morning and night, their towns and cities, their family centers and community centers, were marked increasingly by revelry and by entertainment that was increasingly marked by violence and with lurid sex laden scenes.
Twenty centuries had passed from the time of the appearance of the First Man from the hands of the Great Creator. And his descendants had forgotten their Creator. They were concerned only with materials things and with sensual pleasures.
But a huge, black cloud was lurking on the horizon!
A worst case scenario was unfolding that would soon engulf them all. The Great Cataclysm was about to burst upon their world!
The Great Cataclysm
The Great Creator looked beyond the well tended flocks, the fruitful fields, the highly organized governmental bodies of the day. What He saw and heard struck at His very heart. Man, on whom He had lavished every good thing, had turned his back on the Eternal One! It seemed a small thing at first, just one act of disobedience. But it grew over the years, and it ripened, to the point where men’s hours were filled with evil thoughts and wicked acts continually.
What the Great God then announced through the corridors of Heaven struck fear and amazement even in the hearts of the holy angels. The final, awful verdict: Man, and everything associated with him, would have to be destroyed!
God looked away in utter sadness. The centerpiece of His work of Creation had been deeply tarnished. It had been dragged to the lowest depths. Only evil! All the time! His Great Heart was grieved. Deeply grieved!
To the eternally Holy One, inward looking grief could not be the last word. The evil, the rebellion He saw cried out for a response. The eternally Compassionate One was also the Judge of All the Earth. Judgment was called for.
The Lord saw that the wickedness of the people of the earth was great and that every imagination and every thought of their hearts was only evil continually. It grieved the Lord that He had made man and placed him on the earth. His heart was pained.
And the Lord said, “I will blot out man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth. Not only man, but the animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air. For it grieves Me that I have made them” (Genesis 6:5 7).
And God said to Noah, “I indeed will bring a flood of waters on the earth and will destroy every living thing that breathes. Every living creature on the earth will die” (Genesis 6:17).
After seven days, the waters of the flood came upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month, on that very day all the fountains of the great deep were broken open. The windows of heaven also were opened, and the rain fell on the earth for forty days and forty nights (Genesis 7:10,17).
The waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth until even the mountains were covered to a depth of more than seven meters. And every living creature that moved on the earth perished, both birds and cattle and animals and creatures that move along the earth, died. And every man. And the waters prevailed on the land for 150 days. (Genesis 7:18-24)
After 150 days, the waters decreased so that the great boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:3-4).
Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. He was a righteous man, upright in an evil generation. And God said to Noah,...“Make a great boat of cypress wood. Come with all your family into the great boat.” (Genesis 7:1).
...and they went into the great boat to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. (Genesis 7:15)
After seven days, the waters of the flood came upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month, on that very day all the fountains of the great deep were broken open. The windows of heaven also were opened, and the rain fell on the earth for forty days and forty nights (Gen. 7:10,17).
What followed was no mere phenomenon of nature! It was the Hand of an Almighty God Himself at work. It was the full unleashing of the wrath of a Holy God against sin and rebellion!
Even the angels of Heaven must have shuddered at the awful decree that came from the Almighty One: “I will destroy every living thing that breathes.” “I will blot out Man whom I have created from the face of the earth.”
From the record it is clear that the Great Creator had four specific objectives in mind when He sent the destruction of the Flood on the earth:
- To execute the just penalty against sin and rebellion, and righteously show His indignation in the face of outright rebellion.
- To obliterate, not only the effects of the wickedness, but to blot out even its memory.
- To demonstrate His mercy and grace and to prepare the way for a fresh beginning for the human race.
- To provide, as a further display of His mercy and grace, such things as petroleum, coal, natural gas and potash fertilizer in huge quantities for future generations of Man.
What was the Great Boat, the Ark, really like?
The first thing God did was to command Noah to build a large vessel. It would provide safety during the days of the flood for Noah and his family and for a selection of animals and birds which God would choose.
Knowing the nature and character of the Creator, and what He had done in creating the world, we can assume that this vessel would have been not only safe but pleasant. It would be, during the time of the flood, a fully adequate refuge, providing both food and water and careful consideration to the needs and comforts of all who came into it. God designed it, and gave the precise measurements:
- It would be a colossal size—135 meters in length (450 feet); 22 meters in width (75 feet); and 13.5 meters (45l feet) in height.
- It would have three decks and one door, with probably a center aisle and a ramp running from the lower to the upper decks;
- We can easily imagine an efficient waterworks facility (Noah was a highly experienced agrarian worker), with rainwater being brought from the roof with v-shaped rails into wooden channels that would carry fresh water to troughs strategically placed on either side of the ark. The overflow from these troughs would become waste disposal areas, from which waste would then flow to the outside.
- There would have been large food bin areas, especially in the mid-ship area, holding grains and hard fruits and vegetables, with openings that automatically allowed for a flow of freely available food. Large bins for storage of hay and edible grasses would have been at the front of the vessel and in bins hanging from the roof in the areas where needed, so that daily food supply could be easily drawn from these bins.
- Noah and his family located themselves on the upper deck, readily accessible to all of the animals and birds by way of the staircase from the front of the vessel down through the center to the lower decks.
The dimensions of the Ark are given in Genesis 6:14 in cubits -- the length, 300 cubits; the
width, 50 cubits; and the height, 30 cubits. To compare these dimensions with approximate modern day measurements, we have used the generally accepted standard for the so-called, “royal cubit”, which is 524 mm for one cubit (or 20.62 inches).
The royal cubit was the official standard of measurement in Egypt under the Pharaohs. It was
adopted about 2700 to 3000 BC, and would have been in use when Moses was trained in the schools of Egypt. We conclude therefore that this standard of measurement would have been used by Moses, the writer of the book of Genesis.
The royal cubit is also apparently alluded to in Ezekiel 40:5, “a measuring rod six cubits long,
each being a cubit and a handbreadth,” in connection with the measurements of Ezekiel's Temple. Since the royal cubit was usually considered to be about 4 inches longer than the cubit which later came into general use, the reference is thought to be to the royal cubit.
The Beginning of the Cataclysm
It was February the seventeenth.
For the past week, surprising things had been happening. Great numbers of animals and birds crowded the plain where the well-known Noah had built his Great Boat. On dry land!
Day by day they had docilely wended their way into the Great Boat. There were sheep and goats, lions and tigers, moving side by side, seemingly unaware the one of the other. They represented the great variety of life that filled the earth.
As they trudged along, it seemed as a great Unseen Hand directed them. Which indeed it did! The Great Creator Himself had selected pairs from all His great variety of created beings. They would be needed to once again populate the earth.
This majestic column of animals and birds of every description moved methodically into the Great Boat. And many of them promptly fell asleep! Their bodily functions had been slowed, in a sleep of hibernation, by the Hand of the same Creator Who had fashioned them in the first place.
Noah and his wife, and their family of three sons and three daughters in law made their way to the living quarters on the upper deck. Meanwhile the animals filled the three tiers in the Great Boat. Those on board were only vaguely aware of the catastrophic events unfolding around them.
The Rains Came
Then it began to rain! Lightly at first. But ominously. After all, though people had scoffed at the warning, the well known Noah had confidently predicted “rain.” Enough of it to float his Great Boat!
But the people had never seen rain. What a quaint curiosity it was that morning!
Through the sounds of falling rain, the sound of great thunderous explosions came rolling in. Furious volcanic activity had begun erupting in various parts of the planet. Great rivers of red hot flowing lava had begun spewing forth from long breaches in the earth’s crust, as “the fountains of the great deep”—the underground magma--began flowing out. Towering clouds of volcanic dust were billowing high into the atmosphere. From the inner recesses of the globe, great volumes of volcanic gases had begun pouring out, and bit by bit, the sky darkened.
Animals and birds were terrified at the awesome sight!
As the black clouds moved into the area where men lived, and the rains intensified, the earth shook and trembled beneath their feet. There was no longer the feeling that they were viewing some soon to pass quaint curiosity. Fear gripped their hearts. Cold, stark terror took over!
Earth was being wracked by the Great Cataclysm! The sky was darkened. And then, the rains came in earnest! Torrential, violent downpours drenched the ground. For six weeks, day after day, this torrential rainfall continued.
Yesterday, everything was normal. Men and women had been working in their fields. They were carrying on with their trade and their reveling and entertainments.
Today, all was changed. Drastically!
The Great God in the fury of His displeasure, after long waiting in mercy, was executing His rightful judgment on a world in revolt.
Great Walls of Water
Suddenly, there came the monumentally awesome and terrifying final stoke!
Like a giant engine of destruction, a great wall of water, ten times the height of the tallest man, swept in from the ocean and rolled across the land!
As though a giant beast had suddenly been awakened from a long slumber, the Great Ocean 1,300 million cubic kilometers of water began to heave and to roll. Already covering more than seventy per cent of the planet’s surface, the water rose in great suddenly created tsunami waves, visibly speeding like a vast tidal wave across the surface of the ocean and rolling in over the land.
Joining the waters that had descended from the atmosphere, these giant waves carried everything destructively before them. Nothing was spared!
Trees fell like toothpicks as the great waters picked them up and violently tossed them about, like so many children’s toys! Great forests, built up over hundreds of years, toppled in hours as the force of millions of tons of water moved in violently.
The Great Creator, from whose hand had come all the marvels of life on earth, was fulfilling His word. He would destroy everything that had breath in it. And in terrifying, full measure His powers as the Great Creator were being shown once again. But this time in destructive justice.
The earth was swept clean!
Only Noah and his family, along with their marvelous menagerie of animals and birds of every description, were spared from the violence. They rode serenely above the waters that swirled around the world, only vaguely aware of the terrible destruction that had so suddenly erupted around them.
A New World Begins to Take Shape
The awful destruction by millions of tons of violently moving water continued to wreak havoc. But in every part of the earth, the beginnings of the future world began to take shape.
First, the seas settled back and began moving in a tidal pattern, first one way and then another. Then too there was the accumulated loam, the loose earth from the world of past centuries. There were the rocks that broke loose and were ground down further in the violent waters. All of this was thrown together from one day to the next as the waters flowed backward and forward.
In this violent flow of water were also to be seen tens of thousands of dinosaurs, picked up in the violent waters and carried hither and yon, some escaping the crevasses and lodging instead in the river valleys formed as the waters retreated.. There was marine life, large and small, in such profusion as to almost choke the waters of the Great Ocean. There were myriads of animals and birds, their variety begging description and their quantities beyond measure. And there were the remains of human beings.
But all of these were not just thrown about in haphazard fashion! Even at this time, the controlling Hand of the Creator could be seen! Into some of the deep crevasses around the globe were deposited trees and foliage (to become coal), in some dinosaur and animal remains (to become crude oil), in some marine life (to become potash fertilizer, as seen in Saskatchewan today), other “debris” (to become natural gas)! The Great Creator then caused the ground-down rocks to cover the debris, allowed the pressure and heat to build up to the right level and, marvel of marvels, huge volumes of crude oil, natural gas, coal and potash were formed—within hours!
The procedures required for converting fossil materials (corn, palm kernels, sugarcane, etc.) into oil are well known today and are commonly used. A large percentage of Brazil's automobiles, for example, are powered by ethanol. Raw crude oil, following similar procedures, is refined into high-grade gasoline and diesel fuel, in what is known as the “cracking process.” These procedures involve applying heat
to the fossil materials – and all three of these elements were clearly available in abundance at the time of the worldwide flood, along with vast quantities of fossil materials of every kind. As well, the widespread breaking open of the earth’s crust provided the cavernous underground repositories for the oil and gas that were created in this way.
What a display of Wisdom and Power!
And in the midst of Judgment, what a display of Love and Mercy! How God-like!
If Noah and those with him could have looked out from the safety of their craft, utter devastation would have met their eyes. Utter, complete, awesome desolation! But they rode on!
The Earth’s Crust Heaved and Buckled
Then, while Noah’s animals slept on, came another great upheaval. With a mighty, rumbling roar, the crust of the earth seemed to heave and buckle! It was as though the leather covering of the huge ball was about to break apart.
In far separated places of earth in the Rocky Mountain and Himalaya and Alps areas it was as though a mighty force from within the globe had suddenly begun thrusting upward from below. But instead of great flows of lava pouring forth, the surface of the earth itself began to rise and buckle. Whole new mountains and mountain ranges were formed. And what had not been seen before came into view high mountains!
The Retreating Waters
Now, as the mountains rose and the ocean trenches were deepened, the waters of the world began their flow into the ocean basins. The colossal volumes of water still standing over the land areas began to recede. And as they made their way to their ocean repositories, they cut out river valleys and mountain gorges as they went.
If only observers today could have viewed with their own eyes those events, some 4,600 years ago! They would have seen these retreating waters sculpturing the surface of the earth, and leaving behind the distinctive features of valleys and gorges being formed not by icy glaciers, but by the waters of the Great Cataclysm!
The earth had been stripped bare! At the same time, a Great God in great mercy, had laid the foundations for new life, for new weather patterns, and for new landscapes. All in order that Man might make a new start on the earth.
When Noah finally stepped out of his Great Boat after 371 days, life was very different to what he had known before the Great Cataclysm!
God poured His blessings on Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth (Gen. 9:1-3).
I make My solemn pledge to you. Never again will all living things be cut off by the waters of a flood” (Genesis 9:11).
By the word of God, the world that then was was deluged with water and perished. But the heavens and the earth that now are, by the same word, have been stored up for fire and are being reserved until the day of judgment and the destruction of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:5-7).
As were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, right up to the day that Noah entered the great boat, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:37-39).