Notice that once Noah leaves the ark, his first action was to build an altar and pay homage to the Lord through sacrifices.
Again, here it is obvious why God had to have Noah bring 7 pairs of clean animals.
If there was only a single pair of each clean species, then each sacrifice would have been the extinction of each species of clean animal.
God was apparently pleased with and accepted Noah’s sacrifices.
The Scriptures tell us that the Lord “smelled” the fragrant odor.
Keep in mind that this is just an anthropomorphism. An anthropomorphism is the literary device of ascribing human attributes to God. It’s not like God had some huge nose with nostrils and was able to physically smell the scent of the smoke rising up from Noah’s sacrifices. Remember God is spirit. So when you come across phrases like “God remembered” or “God stretched out his hands” or “Incline your ear O Lord“, these statements are just metaphorical.
God then proclaims the following to Noah:
“I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, since the imagination of a person’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I ever again destroy all living things, as I have done. So long as the earth exists, sowing time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.”–Genesis 8:21
Notice the phrase “the imagination of a person’s heart is evil from his youth“.
“from his youth“ is “MINE ‘ ARAW“ in Hebrew.
Literally, this means “from his awakening“.
One of the ancient Jewish sages has explained that this means from the time a human has awareness. In rabbinic circles there has been some debate whether awareness takes place in the womb, immediately after birth or shortly after. Regardless, the point here is that ALL humans are born with hearts that “form evil”.
As explained in an earlier teaching, in accordance with the Principle of Opposites, this phrase goes hand in hand with the idea that mankind was created with both an inherent evil inclination and a good inclination. Remember, God holds man responsible for the evil that he commits. He does not blame Satan although Satan is very real and is capable of planting evil thoughts and suggestions into the mind of man. Satan’s strategy is to take advantage of the evil inclination that is in all of us.
So even after the flood, we can see that fundamentally man’s nature has not changed and that humans will still struggle to not sin and commit evil. (In fact, Noah is going to find himself in a a quite embarrassing situation in the next chapter)
Again, since it is contrary to traditional Christian teaching on the subject, I feel compelled to reiterate that this verse is NOT saying that the human heart is ONLY evil.
Little babies are NOT born 100% evil.
But neither are they born 100% innocent.
Don’t forget the principle of opposites I talked about in this post.
God is simply pointing out to us that all people are born with an evil inclination.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
NEXT TIME WE BEGIN GENESIS CHAPTER 9