In the days before the flood, the world was full of violence, evil, and corruption (Gen. 6:1-13). Many years after the flood, when Peter looked back on the world that then was, he referred to it as “the world of the ungodly” (2 Pet. 2:5). It’s not an exaggeration to say that almost everyone in the world back then was terribly evil all the time.
It’s important to remember that during those days the seed of the Serpent was still at enmity with the seed of the woman. Peter hints at this in 1 Peter 3:18-20 and 2 Peter 2:4-5. In other words, the wickedness before the flood wasn’t just general wickedness, but a demonic type of wickedness aimed at eradicating God’s people. It’s not like Satan took a break in his war against the City of God during Noah’s day. I appreciate how Meredith Kline highlighted this fact – and God’s sovereign response – in one section of Kingdom Prologue:
When therefore the remnant people of Noah’s household were on the verge of being driven from the face of the earth, their covenant Protector could delay no longer to respond to their appeal (cf. Ps 94). God’s name was identified with those eight souls (1 Pet 3:20). They represented the possibility of the continuance of the hope of mankind’s salvation on into the future to its final messianic accomplishment. It was time for the Judge of all the earth to come quickly. The day of the Lord was at hand, the day for him to render a verdict and settle the case of the rival claimants for the world inheritance, the day when the Lord takes action and his people rejoice in him (Ps 118:24). The precise hour of the last great day is known to the Father alone (Matt 24:36), but the logic of the eschatological times which the Father has put within his own authority (Acts 1:7) is exhibited in the prefigurative pattern of the days of Noah (Matt 24:37ff.).
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