- Was the whole earth covered with water during Noah’s flood or was it just where Noah was?
- Why did God make the tree of knowledge of good and evil?
- Is a marriage sealed with God’s approval on any occasion in which a man and a woman are wed? Would this be the case even if one party admits to have never meant their vows to begin with? Is there any instance other than adulterous remarriages (Matt. 19:9) where a marriage is not approved by God? For example, if one party does not mean their vows due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
- What would we need to do to be prepared for when Jesus comes?
Was the whole earth covered with water during Noah’s flood or was it just where Noah was?
The Scriptures teach that the flood during Noah’s day took place on a global scale and was not limited specifically to Noah’s location in the Middle East.
God had said He would “blot man whom I have created from the face of the land…” (Gen. 6:7), “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Gen. 6:13), and “…I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die” (Gen. 6:17). The flood would have to be global to accomplish this.
The waters of the flood “prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered” (Gen. 7:19), resulting in the death of “all flesh…that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animal sand creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark” (Gen. 7:21-22). The flood was definitely global.
There’s evidence to support the scriptural account of a global flood. For example, several aquatic fossils have been found preserved in rock high above sea level on Black Balsam Knob in the Appalachian Mountains. The fossilized remains of trilobites, an extinct aquatic creature, were found on the side of a mountain in Utah some 2,000 feet above sea level. Other examples could be given.
Thus, the flood of Noah’s day was definitely global and not limited to Noah’s area. Indeed, if it had been there would have been no need for the ark to be built as Noah and his family could have easily been directed to move out of the area.
(The information about fossils provided in the above answer was found in Brad Harrub’s book, Convicted: A Scientist Examines The Evidence For Christianity.)
Why did God make the tree of knowledge of good and evil?
We know that it was good that God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because God created everything (Ex. 20:11) and everything He created was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Thus, evil did not originate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Evil – sin – originates from choosing to disobey God’s commands out of self-centered desires (1 John 3:4; James 1:14-15). We see that process leading to sin in how Satan successfully tempted Eve to eat of the fruit and disobey God’s command (Gen. 3:4-6; cf. 1 John 2:16).
Yet in order for Eve to be able to make the choice to disobey God (or obey Him), God had to have given her the ability to choose (cf. Josh 24:15). The ability of us being able to choose whether to serve God – free will – is a sign of God’s love for us. He would not have truly loved us if He had made us mindless robots.
In like manner, our ability of being able to choose whether to serve God is also a sign of whether we love God.
True love requires the choice of serving others. The Greek word for the highest form of love – agape – has as its definition the concept of self-sacrifice, putting others before oneself. God wanted Adam and Eve – and wants us also – to truly love Him, to put Him before ourselves. Thus, He gave us free will, the ability to choose.
And He gave Adam and Eve a choice in the form of the knowledge of the tree of good and evil and His prohibition concerning it. Without that command to abstain from it, there would have been no choice and thus no true love given by Him to us or by us to Him.
Is a marriage sealed with God’s approval on any occasion in which a man and a woman are wed? Would this be the case even if one party admits to have never meant their vows to begin with? Is there any instance other than adulterous remarriages (Matt. 19:9) where a marriage is not approved by God? For example, if one party does not mean their vows due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
When the Pharisees had asked Jesus if it was lawful to divorce “for any cause,” Christ replied, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:3-6). He then told them, “…whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery” (Matt. 19:9).
Notice that when asked if divorce could happen “for any cause,” Christ brought out that marriage is a sacred institution created by God and each individual marital union is “joined together” by God.
Would this be the case even if the vows were given insincerely due to the influence of drugs and alcohol? Several factors must be considered.
Were the drugs and alcohol willingly taken ahead of time? Or would this be a situation involving kidnapping and rape in which, for example, a woman was unwillingly and/or unwittingly drugged and thereby coerced into a marriage with her kidnapper so he could rape her on the legal grounds that he is her husband (as is done throughout the world in places where women are treated as chattel)?
If one willingly put themselves under the influence of drugs and alcohol and thereby willingly weakened their inhibitions, then one must face the consequences of their actions. This would include vows which are taken rashly due to being under the influence of the drugs or alcohol one willingly ingested.
The account of Jephthah (Judg. 11:30-40), who made a rash vow which at best cost his daughter the ability to get married and at worst cost his daughter her life, is an example of how seriously God takes vows. Study Ecclesiastes 5:1-7 and Matthew 5:37 for more examples of how God feels about keeping our word once we have given it.
Marriage is a vow, a commitment, made before God between Him, one’s spouse, and oneself. God joins together the two who make this vow to commit themselves to each other for life, regardless of whether they mean the vow at the time due to lack of inhibitions out of the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This is why Jesus said, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6) and cited remarriage as adulterous for reasons other than death (Rom. 7:2-3) or your spouse’s fornication (Matt. 19:9).
What would we need to do to be prepared for when Jesus comes?
Know God and obey the gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-9).
This would first require believing the gospel of Christ and obeying its commands to repent of sins and be baptized into Christ’s body for forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 12:13; cf. Eph. 1:22-23).
It would then require standing in the gospel through obedient, holy, godly, penitent living as a Christian (1 Cor. 15:1-2; 2 Pet. 3:10-11, 14; 1 John 1:7-9). This is how one comes to know and love God and Christ even more (John 14:21, 23; 2 John 9b).