Tag: Noah

Salvation After Death

Trish S – Question regarding Judgement Day: In thinking about all the folks past/present/&to come…when folks die, don’t they still have an opportunity to profess Jesus as our Lord/Savior right up to that final judging moment? (like Herod… If he comes to claim Jesus @ the final judgement, wouldn’t his fate be overturned from Hell to Heaven?

Dave to Trish S – Hey Trish, good question. I don’t see Scripture supporting the chance of salvation after death, especially considering Hebrews 9:27 which says, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” The only one that some people have interpreted as a chance for a second chance is in 1 Peter 3:18-20:

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

However, I do not believe this means that departed souls from Noah’s time had Jesus literally in front of them preaching His Gospel and giving them a chance to get saved. I think it means that the “Spirit of Christ” (the Holy Spirit) was preaching through Noah while those folks were still alive. This continued perhaps for as long as 100 years since that is how long it took Noah to build that Ark. Furthermore, that Ark represented salvation (Jesus) for those people.

When people read “spirits in prison,” they conclude that Jesus descended into Hell or Hades and preached the Gospel there after He died and before He ascended into Heaven. But this is not what those verses are saying.

When one thinks about the chances people have to hear and accept the Gospel, heads start spinning. It is clear that not all have the same opportunities throughout history. The only thing I can say for sure is that the kind of judgment received does depend upon how much truth individuals were exposed to (Luke 10:12 & 14). To critics who raise this question, I always say that we do not know everything, but we do know that God is good, not ever fooled, just, and does not make mistakes. Finally, no matter where a person is born into in this life, they can always seek God and find Him if they are willing to obey Him (John 7:17).

But what happens to little babies or young children who die? When David’s son born from his illicit affair with Bathsheba died, David proclaimed that the boy would not return to him but that he (David) would go to him (after his death). This may reveal that little ones are spared the Lake of Fire, but the bottom line is that we do not know. The critic should be made aware that they have heard of Jesus and are therefore responsible to seek what He has said.

Feedback so far:

Nels F – (5/27/13) – Very interesting- learned a lot from this question and answer thanks!

Tom H – (5/27/13) – This was a tough one and I appreciate your willingness to tackle it. There is a resurgence of “universalism” ala the Rob Bell book “Love Wins,” which is saying that salvation is for all but it may take time after their death for them to finally decide to accept God’s salvation through Christ. I don’t believe this, but it is a big question among younger people (at least the generation after you and me) right now. Francis Chan has very caringly, effectively and biblically addressed this in his recent book entitled “Erasing Hell.” I suggest it as a must read. The point of ministering to spirits in prison, I think, is those who died awaiting the coming of the Holy One. I believe that Jesus’ death set them free as indicated in the gospel account that says that not only was the veil torn in two but that tombs opened up and dead rose and entered the Holy City. I don’t think this means they walked into the earthly Jerusalem, but likely the New Jerusalem.

GR – Excellent work.

Were the Nephilim in Genesis 6 Extraterrestrials?

According to the History Channel, yes. But I do not trust the spirit behind those programs. They are not at all interested in telling people what God was saying to mankind during those cited episodes in the Bible that seem to be describing ETs to them. The programs just want to divert from any notion that there is ONE GOD who is a Loving Boss. Their definition of ET would be a life form that is not spiritual but physical, and has evolved farther than humans and may have produced us as an experiment. There is never a message of love for us or intervening on our behalf as God has done through the centuries. The Bible-believing Christian could define ETs as angels or demons because they are not from this earth. Jesus defined God, who is the ultimate “ET,” as being a spirit, not a physical entity simply with superior DNA. If Satan can get people to believe that God is nothing more than a physical entity that’s more evolved than we are, then there is less desire to worship him….and this could be the bottom line of this deception. Who are we to trust, the History Channel along with its evolutionary bias, or the Word of God to humanity? From a biblical perspective, determining the actual identity of the nephilim is difficult. There are four theories:

Theory #1: Offspring of Seth—The sons of God were the godly line from Adam to Seth down to Noah, and the Nephilim were fallen children who sought after false gods. A portion of the Dead Sea Scrolls contains the earliest known reference to the phrase “children of Seth,” stating that God had condemned them for their rebellion. Other early references to the offspring of Seth rebelling from God and mingling with the daughters of Cain are found in Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, Augustine of Hippo, Julius Africanus, and the Letters attributed to St. Clement. It is also the view expressed in the modern canonical Amharic Ethiopian Orthodox Bible. Orthodox Judaism rejects the idea that angels could intermarry with men. Consequently, most Jewish commentaries describe the Nephilim as being from the offspring of “sons of nobles,” rather than from “sons of God” or “sons of angels.” Note: Jewish or Christian commentaries are not considered to be word-for-word God-breathed by Christians or Jews.

Likewise, a long-held view among some Christians is that the “sons of God” who fathered the Nephilim spoken of in the text, were in fact the formerly righteous descendants of Seth who rebelled, while the “daughters of men” were the unrighteous descendants of Cain, and the Nephilim the offspring of their union. Holders of this view have looked for support in Jesus’ statement that “in the days before the flood they (humans) were marrying and giving in marriage.”

Some individuals and groups, including St. Augustine and John Calvin, take the view of Genesis 6:2 that the “angels” who fathered the Nephilim referred to certain human males from the lineage of Seth, who were called sons of God probably in reference to their being formerly in a covenantal relationship with Yahweh (Deuteronomy 14:1; 32:5). These sources assert that men began to pursue bodily interests, and so took wives of the daughters of men, e.g., those who were descended from Cain or from any people who did not worship God.

Theory #2: Offspring of angels— Fallen angels bred with human women and had offspring that were called Nephilim. A number of early sources refer to the “sons of heaven” as “Angels.” The earliest such references seem to be in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Greek and Aramaic Enochic literature. Also some Christian apologists shared this opinion, such as Tertullian and especially Lactantius. However, “angels” in this context has sometimes been considered to be a sarcastic epithet for the offspring of Seth who rebelled. The earliest statement in a secondary commentary explicitly interpreting this to mean that angelic beings mated with humans can be traced to the rabbinical Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, and it has since become especially commonplace in modern-day Christian commentaries.

The New American Bible commentary draws a parallel to the Epistle of Jude and the statements set forth in Genesis, suggesting that the Epistle refers implicitly to the paternity of Nephilim as heavenly beings who came to earth and had sexual intercourse with women. Genesis 6:4 implies that the Nephilim have inhabited the Earth in at least two different time periods—before and after Noah’s Flood. If the Nephilim were supernatural beings themselves, there is a theory that the “giants of Canaan” in Numbers 13:33 were the direct descendants of the antediluvian Nephilim, or were fathered by the same supernatural parents.

Some Christian commentators have argued against this view, citing Jesus’ statement that angels do not marry. Others believe that Jesus was only referring to angels in heaven. Evidence in favor of the “fallen angels” interpretation includes the fact that the phrase “the sons of God” (the Hebrew words literally mean “sons of the gods”) is used just two times outside of Genesis chapter 6. In both instances (namely, Job 1:6 & 2:1) the phrase refers to angels.

The story of the Nephilim is further elaborated in the Book of Enoch. The Greek, Aramaic, and main Ge’ez manuscripts of 1 Enoch and Jubilees connect the origin of the Nephilim with the fallen angels. Although Christians do not believe these sources are “God-breathed” like the books of the Bible, they can contain historical facts.

According to these texts, the fallen angels who begat the Nephilim were cast into a place of total darkness. However, Jubilees also states that God granted ten percent of the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim to remain after the flood, as demons, to try to lead the human race astray until the Final Judgment. In addition to Enoch, the Book of Jubilees also states that ridding the Earth of these Nephilim was one of God’s purposes for flooding the Earth in Noah’s time. These works describe the Nephilim as being evil giants. There are also allusions to these descendants in the books of Judith, Sirach 16:7, Baruch 3:26–28, and Wisdom of Solomon 14:6, and 3 Maccabees 2:4.

Theory #3: Fallen angels overtook men—Fallen angels possessed men and caused them to breed with women; the offspring were not a mix but completely human. One question is, would such people who are
overtaken by demons and/or fallen angels warrant the title of “sons of God?” In all of Scripture, demons are never described as “sons of God.” This is similar to Theory Two.

Theory #4: Fallen men view—Godly men (sons of God) took ungodly wives, and their descendants (the Nephilim) followed after the false gods, rejected God, and fell far from God in wickedness. This is similar to Theory One.

Conclusion: Take your pick. I’m not sure if we can know for certain. I am not comfortable with fallen angels being the parents of the Nephilim because Jesus said that angels do not marry, therefore I assume they do not reproduce like humans. I also assume they lack sexual organs to perform such a task, unless they did exactly what the Holy Spirit did to Mary. If demons can do this, I assume that would mean they can create the necessary physical genetic code material, and I think only God can do that. There are no other Creators beside Him. This would make for a great sci-fi movie – evil angels steal genetic code from God in order to produce a human race against God! For an in-depth work on the Nephilim, go to Who Were the Nephilim – Answers in Genesis


CL – I have never studied this outside Scripture and really appreciated your commentary and extended references. This is something I searched myself (just Bible Commentaries) and came to my own conclusion which you have included here – but I have always still been unresolved and desirous of more information from knowledgeable resources. This was great and when I have time I will search more out.

Alona R – In all of my Bible studies I had never heard of most of your references, just Judith and the Maccabees. Thank you for all your research and references.

Noah’s Flood – Global or Local?

Some people have come to the conclusion that Noah’s Flood could not have covered the entire earth, but rather just a large portion of it around the Mesopotamian lands. Some of their reasons include: 1) there is not enough water in the earth to cover Mt. Everest by 15 cubits as the Bible states, 2) snails move too slowly to migrate throughout the earth in far lass than 4500 years, 3) kangaroos could not hop all the way to Noah from Australia and then migrate back over oceans, 5) fresh water fish would all die in the salt water from the oceans, and 6) Noah could not fit and care for about 2,500,000 animals on any boat.

If the Flood was just a local one, why didn’t God just tell Noah to move? Since the Bible says that God brought the animals to Noah, Noah could have led the critters to safe ground. If I were Noah and later found out there was plenty of dry, safe land somewhere, I’d be angry at God for making me spent much time (100 years!), energy, and skill making that big boat.

God promised to never flood the earth like this again. If it was just a local flood, then God has broken His “rainbow promise” several times throughout history. If the flood was local, how could it maintain its depth for a year? This is how long the Bible says it lasted before it was safe to go back onto land. If that whole area was a big depression so that water depth could be maintained, I don’t think all the people would live there because high places are generally safer for several reasons. If it was a local flood, then God must have sunk that whole area and then flooded it, then pushed the land back up. I don’t think so. In fact, if God did it this way, wouldn’t He simply tell us He did?

Another mistake skeptics make when judging the Scriptures is that they assume much. High mountains, including Everest, were not formed before the Flood, so water did not have to rise as high as many people suppose. Psalm 104:5-9 reveals that mountains and valleys (oceanic trenches would be included) formed after the Flood. So where did all that water go? It’s still here! If we were to level all the mountains on earth and raise up the oceanic trenches and land valleys, all land would be covered by water. The reason God pushed up and sank down land after the Flood was to ensure that a global flood would never again be possible (Ps.104:9). Boundaries were set. It is reasonable to assume the high mountains were not yet formed before the Flood. The Bible tells us the one source of the water was from under the crust of the earth – “all the foundations of the great deep burst open on the same day.” The word “burst” means that the water was under lots of pressure and that the crust of the earth split open in many areas. Hence, our current plate tectonics began and their movements would cause mountain ranges to arise and valleys to sink much like an accordion effect.

Another erroneous assumption is that the oceans were salt water. Over time, oceans slowly gain salinity. Scientists have measured the rate at which salt enters the seas per year. Currently, ocean water is about 3.6% salt (if we are billions of years old as a planet, this should be much higher). If we go back far enough in time, it is logical to assume there was no salt yet formed in the oceans. In fact, I think God made all of earth’s water fresh in the beginning. By the time of the Flood, erosion would have caused some salt content in the oceans but certainly not our current 3.6% yet. In addition, the water that burst through from the “fountains of the great deep” was also most likely fresh, and this would further dilute the low volume of salt in the seas so that the sea life would not die. There simply was not enough of a sudden, drastic change in salinity. As the years passed following the Flood, the oceans increased their salinity extremely slowly – slowly enough to allow the sea life to adapt without harm. This survival adaptation has been demonstrated by experimentation today.

Snails do indeed move slowly, and they could never spread over the earth quickly. Snails, however, along with most other life forms, did not have to get onto the Ark. Genesis identified only air and nostril-breathing animals that crawl on the land needed to be on the Ark (Gen. 6:17; 7:22). That eliminates 95% of the bio world. All life in the sea could stay there. Insects (except those that swarm), worms, snails, etc. were not on the Ark.

I have no idea where skeptics get that 2,500,000 figure for the animal total on the Ark. Creation scientists estimate it was only about 16,000. These would represent the major kinds God created. From these, all variations within each kind occurred. In other words, Noah did not need to get all 250 variations of dogs on the Ark – just two canines would suffice. John Woodmorappe has authored quite an in-depth book entitled, “Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study.” Among other things, he calculates all the necessary logistics of space and caring for all the animals by 8 people. He concludes that it could be done. He also looks into the Ark’s construction in great detail and how a ship of that size could withstand all the pressures of violent wave action. In 1993, a scientific study headed by Dr. Seon Hong at the world-class ship research center KRISO, based in Daejeon, South Korea confirmed the ark’s seaworthiness.

Though the Scriptures never say this, it is also possible that the animals went to full or partial hibernation. When animals are confined for lengths of time, they tend to fall into this mode. If so, the amount of food consumption and waste clean-up would decrease significantly. Baby, rather than adult, animals would also expedite space problems and care. Younger animals live longer to reproduce, so I would be surprised if God brought large adult ones to Noah.

Regarding animal migration to and from the Ark, we cannot assume, as skeptics do, that kangaroos and koala bears were located in Australia before the Flood. It is more logical to assume that all the basic species lived near the “cradle of civilization” where Noah was located since that’s where God made all the animals. Maybe God made all species for Adam to name, and then made more throughout the earth, but the Scriptures give no hint of this.

There still remains a problem, however. How could the ‘roos and those koalas make it all the way to Australia after getting off the Ark in the country of Turkey? (The mountains of Ararat are in this country today). First, immediately after the Flood, all the continents would most likely have been connected by land bridges as the continental shelves were the coastlines. Over the next 300 or so years, the giant ice masses at the poles, which were probably formed during the Flood, were melting. This raised the sea levels and covered the shelves which separated the continents. It is interesting that Genesis says that in the days of Peleg the earth was divided (Gen.10:25). Peleg lived about 300 years after the Flood. The Bible does not say exactly how the earth was divided, but this is a plausible theory. Second, of all animals that could make it that far the quickest would be marsupials because they can carry their young in sacs and keep traveling. Others stay put until their babies are grown. Once Australia was separated by the rising oceans, those animals that made the migration there were isolated and flourished. Another idea is that people later brought those animals to Australia and they flourished.

If Noah’s Flood was merely a local one, I’d bet that some humans, who lived far enough away, would have survived. I find this difficult to believe in light of God’s stated judgment against mankind.

There are over 290 legends of Noah’s Flood in other cultures and civilizations. Some details don’t match the Scriptural account, but that makes sense since I contend that Genesis is the original source. Amazingly, however, all these legends get the gist correct – a big deluge hit but 8 humans and many animals survived in a big boat. Furthermore, the Chinese language uses many symbols and a combination of those symbols form other words. For example, the combination of symbols for “eight, vessel, and people” actually means “boat.” Why would a mere myth concocted in ancient Israel have any effect upon a foreign language?

Finally, if the Flood was global, the geological evidence would show it. If the Genesis account is accurate and literal, a scientist would predict that we would later find millions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth as Answers in Genesis Director Ken Ham aptly points out. This is exactly what we find below earth’s surface – sedimentary rock layers containing millions of fossils. Some strata lines have been traced around the planet. The so-called “Geologic Column” pictured so nicely in textbooks today is actually a result of vast and sudden hydrologic sorting during the Flood rather than billions of years of evolutionary history. One problem, among others, with that column in textbooks is that fossils are not always found in that order.

In summation, there are well-meaning Christians on both sides of this issue. Few, however, have considered all the possibilities surrounding Noah’s situation. We should never feel pressure from scoffers, skeptics, or man’s scientific theories to bend from what the Word of God plainly says. There is always room for symbolism and the use of metaphors throughout Scripture, but there is a limit to this. While it may be difficult to answer all the questions about the Global Flood of Noah’s day, I tend to trust in what the Genesis account describes rather than seeing meaning in Scripture that was never intended, such as Gap and Day-Age Theorists do. I am ever mindful of Psalms 119:130: “The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” In other words, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what God wants us to know from His Word.

Feedback so far:

GR: Continued brilliant work and a BIG AMEN.

LW: A great study are the words “the deep” (KJV—can’t speak for other versions). Much is said in Job about “the deep.” Many scholars I have heard and studied believe that “the deep” is in outer space where God lives and that it’s frozen, that this is what was “broken up” and brought all the water for the flood. For us as humans living on the earth, we think of the deep as oceans, but we have to remember that God doesn’t dwell in our small, finite planet alone, but in all the universe and beyond. There is so much we can gain understanding and gain insight into if we would just dig in and study….as the Bible says, as a “workman”….it takes some work to gain understanding & wisdom, but it’s so worth it!! :-)) Great job of “digging in” here! Thanks for sending!

Dave Scheer: I’ve kind of pictured God living in a different dimension rather than “out there” somewhere. This dimension could also make Him omnipresent. It’s a dimension that we cannot grasp now, but will pass into at death. The idea of God living in “deep space” is an interesting one, however, I prefer to think that “the deep” in the Genesis account of the Flood refers to the oceans because it could explain the beginning of plate tectonics and the formation of mountains and trenches. It all just makes more scientific sense from what we observe today.

NF: Always learning something new–thanks for sharing!

PT: I think this is perhaps one of the best articles I’ve read about the flood in a long time and learned some things. Thanks Dave. I often cringe when I hear so many question the idea of a worldwide flood by both Christians and non-Christians alike. Do not Christians believe that “nothing is impossible with God” which is repeated throughout Scripture? If something seems impossible by human reasoning does that mean God can do it? Recently I heard about a replica of the “ark” being built today, do you know anything about it?

Dave Scheer: Thanks. Regarding the Ark – you can go on line and find some guy in Finland or Sweden I think that has built an ark replica. There was also a man near me that made on scaled down, but he recently died and I’m not sure what became of it. I think there have been a couple of people that have done this. The Internet should help you. Answers in Genesis in Kentucky is building one, too. Here’s a web site about a Dutch man: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/01/noahs-ark-replica-2012-olympics_n_869699.html

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