As I come to the story of Noah, I’m always amazed by the description of man that’s given to us. And we find that this is the reason for the judgment of God that fell upon the world of that day. We see this description in the fifth verse of Genesis 6, which says: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Think about this description for a minute, especially the last part. It tells us that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Each phrase in this statement is exhaustive. It rules out any other possibility. And what we find is that there was nothing at all good in man.
Every intention of the heart of man was evil. Not only were some of them evil. All of them were evil.
His intentions were only evil. Again, there were no good intentions present at all. His sole intent was to commit acts of wickedness.
And this was the case continually. It wasn’t true only some of the time. It was true all of the time.
After this statement is made, we’re told that God regretted that he’d made man on earth and his heart was filled with pain. This too is an intense statement. When we consider the greatness of God’s love for man, it’s hard to reconcile the fact that he regretted making us.
Just as a point of comparison, I can’t imagine having these feelings about my children. Yes, kids can make bad decisions. In fact, they can do things that cause their parents to grieve. But it’s hard to fathom getting to the point where you regret having them.
So, again, this says something to us about the greatness of man’s sin. It was so great that God regretted making man. It was something that caused him great pain.
There are many other statements about the sinful nature of man that we find throughout Scripture. For example, in Jeremiah 17:9, we read this: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
The heart is deceitful above all things. In other words, it’s more deceitful than everything else in creation. It’s desperately sick. It’s in a dreadful condition and in need of immediate help. It’s in such a condition that we can’t understand it.
In Romans 3, starting in verse 10, we find the following description of man. And this isn’t a new statement Paul is making. Each phrase is a direct quotation from the Old Testament. He says: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Once again, this is not a pretty statement. And it’s also exhaustive. There are no exceptions to the statements that are made.
When we consider the truth regarding man and his sinfulness, it becomes clear that God’s judgment is just. It was just in the days of Noah, when God sent the flood on the earth. And it will be just at the return of Christ, when the present age comes to an end.
However, it also highlights the greatness of the grace of God. It does so because, in spite of our condition, God loves us. In spite of our sin, he desires our salvation. And he’s done everything necessary, to the point of sacrificing his only Son, that we might have mercy.