Then Yahweh saw that great was the wickedness of man in the earth, and that every purpose of the devices of his heart was only wicked all the day;” (Genesis 6:5, EMPH)

A verse describing the state of the inhabitants of the earth just before God judged the earth with the flood.  In the Hebrew the bolded words are emphasized.  The wickedness of man wasn’t an ordinary wickedness it was great. So great was the wickedness that mankind was completely given over to evil: every purpose of the devices of his heart was thoroughly corrupt and wicked.

It was this situation that led to judgment and the destruction of all mankind on the earth, indeed of all animals also except those that were put upon the ark.  This was a very severe judgment indeed.  The reaction of some people is to say that God is unjust when he carries out punishment like this, thereby accusing the God of mercy of not being merciful at all.  What is really going on when we presume to judge God is that we do not fully understand the nature of sin and wickedness, even though we think we do.  We judge God by applying our faulty notions of sin and justice as if they were the correct standards.  This would be laughable if it weren’t so serious.

What we should do when we come to a passage like this is use it as a cautionary tale of how seriously God takes sin, evil, and wickedness, and how faithful he is to punish it if we do not repent of our sins and take the only way out of our dilemma of being sinners before a holy God: God’s own son died in our place.

Or as Paul put it:

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, ESV)

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