Why Did God Send The Flood?

"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5)

"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5)

Genesis 6 lays gives the background of the world at the time leading up to Noah and the Great Flood. In order to understand why God sent the Flood, it is important to consider the circumstances that preceded it – including the actions of mankind and the actions of God.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5, emphasis added)

Mankind’s depravity had reached a level that evil entirely permeated every part of his being. His wickedness was great- that is, his actions were wicked. Every imagination was evil –  his mind was wholly corrupted. Every thought of his heart – his will, his desires, his emotions, his passions, had all become so sin stained that there remained nothing within them that was  not evil. These people upon whom God poured out the Flood were not merely dabbling in sin here and there, everything that they were doing was an horrific abomination!

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6:11-13, emphasis added)

Lest we have any doubts, let me say that the Earth was corrupted and filled with violence! There is a linguistic device employed in Hebrew that we see throughout the Old Testament, and that is emphasis through repetition. Whenever a word or phrased is used repetitively, it indicates a stronger or greater degree of the expression. The evil depths that the people who lived before the Flood had sunk to is strongly emphasized and amplified here in verses 5, and 11-13.

In considering why God sent the Flood, we must first realize that those living upon the Earth were completely and utterly wicked beyond the hope of changing. There were no innocent bystanders caught up in the Flood; everyone was guilty of the most deplorable sinfulness. The rebellion against God that we saw taking root in Cain and his descendants had now reached a fruition that God could not overlook.

33 responses

  1. Can a one day old baby sin? Did all the one day old babies sin the day of the flood, the day they were born? What was the sin? (please no original sin answers – since we were all were supposedly born with that, and god allowed Noah and his family to survive with that sin, what other sin required their death? Was that sin so terrible that the baby deserved to be drowned in a flood? DROWNED!!! Do you have children? Should they have been drowned on their first day? If someone tried to drown your one day old baby for commiting that same sin, what would be your response to that?

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  2. Hi, thanks for reading this and taking the time to share your thoughts.

    In the movie “The Dead Zone”, Christopher Walken plays the role of a man who suffers a coma following an accident. After awakening from the coma, he discovers that he has the ability to see into the future of any person with whom he makes physical contact. One such person is a politician (played by Martin Sheen) who shakes hands with the man while campaigning for office. Upon contact, Walken’s character has a horrific vision of this politician and the terrible death and destruction that results from a war he will cause after he is elected President of the United States. Haunted by the vision and unable to shake the feeling that he must do something to pre-empt the tragedy to come, he consults a medical doctor friend for advice as to what he should do.

    “If you had the opportunity to go back in time and kill Adolph Hitler before he became Chancellor of Germany, would you do it?”, he asks. “I am a man of medicine who has dedicated his life to relieving human suffering”, the doctor responds, ” in light of that, I would have no choice but to kill the [explitive].” This is a fictional story, but it does raise an interesting prospect: If a person had knowledge of what would happen in the future, would he be justified in preventing a tragedy such as the one in the movie? Would he be irresponsible if he chose to do nothing? Now, let us say that the person with such knowledge was in a particular position of authority (a judge or police officer, for example), would he be justified to act in the prevention of a particular crime? If a police officer could see into the future and knew beyond any doubt that a person was about to go on a murderous rampage, would he be justified in stopping that person; even with deadly force?

    All of these examples are, as we know, imperfect because no human being is privy to such knowledge. None of us really knows the future, but God does. God has the ability to know what will happen, as well as what might or could happen if certain variables were changed. God knows exactly what the world would have been like in 1940 if Hitler had not survived to become Chancellor of Germany. If we knew what God knows, if we had all of the facts as He does, would we find fault with God if He had chosen to end the life of Adolph Hitler in 1920? I don’t think anyone would dispute that. Would it, however, become more objectionable if God chose to end His life, say, when he was 20? 15? 10? Remember, we KNOW beyond any doubt the terrible evil that Hitler will commit if he is permitted to survive until he takes control of Germany, so when exactly would be an acceptable time in his life for judgment to come?

    Two problems exist with your argument: 1.) You pre-suppose that God is only justified in judging sin which has actually occured already. You are suggesting that God must wait idly by for a person to carry out a sin before He is justified in judging it. Even the Laws of man are not so binding. If it can be proven in a court of law that a criminal was conspiring to commit a crime, he is convicted. A police officer is perfectly justified in using deadly force on a criminal pointing a gun at another person, it would be a gross dereliction of duty for him to wait to act until the trigger was pulled. As I mentioned in this post, EVERYONE in the world at the time of the Flood was involved in sin of the most severe nature. What do you suppose those “innocent” babies would have done had they reached adulthood? 2.) You pre-suppose that the babies killed in the Flood might have not done as everyone else in the world; that there was a chance that they would not follow in the footsteps of every other living person besides Noah and his family. Again, with man’s limited knowledge, we are morally inclined to presume that every individual is innocent until they behave otherwise, but is an omniscient God? God knew exactly how each and every one of those babies would behave if they reached adulthood, and that was exactly as their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents had been for generations.

    Thanks again for reading and sharing your comments.

    In Christ,

    Loren

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  3. I wouldn’t lean so heavily on explaining away God or making excuses for Him. The fact is, God doesn’t always operate in ways that we think are just or right, but that doesn’t mean He is lesser or more of God. He is God. He does and judges and acts and says what He wants to say and when He wants to say it, even if that means a 1-day old baby must die. God is the author of creation and He also can destroy. He .. is .. God. He may not be the God that we want – we want a God that will always make us happy, but, God is not our servant, He is our master who has spared us from the misery of the flood and send His only Son to serve and die for us so that we no longer know suffering.

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  4. Hi, thanks for visiting and taking the time to share your thoughts and comments :)

    I am not really sure how you interpreted this post as “explaining away God or making excuses for Him”, that certainly wasn’t my intention. The purpose of this website is to reflect on the Word of God and find His Message for us from it. Obviously, for those of us who trust in Jesus Christ, no explanation of God’s actions are ever necessary; we trust Him and know that everything He does is right. Although a great percentage of what I write on “Answers From The Book” is intended for Christians, it is not exclusively addressed to those who already believe.

    God certainly owes no explanation, He is not obligated to justify His actions to man. But we live in an age where the Bible is heavily scrutinized by skeptics and attacked by hardened atheists with their own “evangelizing” agenda. These people thoroughly enjoy calling God’s character into question and love to present Him as a cosmic tyrant who is both vindictive and capricious. They seek to sow seeds of doubt by drawing a false disparity between the caricatures they draw of the “cruel” and “opressive despot” of the Old Testament and the “peace-loving”, “milk-toast”, “pacifist” of the New. While I recognize that many people simply want to believe that these parodies are accurate so that they will feel justified in rejecting Jesus Christ, there are also those who are not as adamant, yet they have been heavily influenced by these erroneous portraits of God.

    If the idea that God is an illogical, uncompassionate, sadistic dictator who is all too eager to annihilate the human race for no reason is preventing someone from seriously looking into the claims of the Gospel, are we wrong to want to dispel such confusion? I readily admit that I do not understand all of God’s motives for everything He does, nobody has such perfect insight. None of us are able to explain everything, and I think that there is a good reason for this. The time must come for each of us to decide whether we are going to trust God or not. But I believe that God’s purposes for destroying the world by the Flood are given to us in Scripture and they are worthy of our consideration.

    For us, no explanation is really necessary. For some, no explanation is adequate because they choose to reject God. But for others, seeing the bigger picture might be the breakthrough needed for them to reconsider the Gospel Message. My mission is to offer answers from the Book for all who will listen.

    Thanks again for reading this and taking the time to share your comments. God bless you,

    Loren

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  5. Great article. You answered a lot of questions I had running through my mind. Thank you. God bless.

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  6. Thank you so much for stopping by. May the Lord bless you :)

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  7. The human blood line had become totally contaminated and corrupt except for Noah and his family through experiments with nonsexual genetic engineering that produced creatures that were half human. The evidence is found in drawings on cave walls and even in the sphinx. These unions were not sexual but a combination of human-animal DNA. People don’t cohabit with fish and crocodiles. God wiped them all out, even children and babies, to protect the blood line of the promised Messiah. God is righteous in all His ways whether we understand or not. In the beginning the human race, being pure, was highly intelligent and able to do amazing things. Genetic engineering is a fact again today. Jesus said, “as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Paul said women mustd have power on their heads (Christ) because of the (evil) angels (protection). They’re coming back again. History repeats itself. There is nothing new under the sun. This knowledge sheds new light on Romans Chapter 1 where the Holy Spirit speaks through Paul, who may not have known the meaning of what he was saying.

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  8. “The human blood line had become totally contaminated and corrupt except for Noah and his family through experiments with nonsexual genetic engineering that produced creatures that were half human.”

    Upon what evidence is this theory based? Seems to me that it is much easier to believe what the Bible says about the matter:

    “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7)

    I admit that I do not know all of the sordid details of the depravity of which man was guilty in the days leading up to the Flood, but it seems highly speculative to conclude that it was the “experiments” which you have suggested that led God to judge the Earth. Throughout the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation, man is judged for rejecting God and living in abject sin according to his own lusts and wicked desires. There is no reason to suggest that it was one particular behavior which “overstepped the limit” for the Antediluvians; the Word says that their every thought and action was in complete rebellion against God!

    You are absolutely correct in saying that history repeats itself, for the End Times will be much as it was “in the days of Noah.” Seems mankind hasn’t learned a whole lot in the last few thousand years.

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  9. What a bunch of holy crap, first of all if god (little g) could create a great flood, he could also create circumstances in which people could see his greatness, and convert the many (most, some) into obedient souls.
    Come on great thinkers, it takes no more than two sentences to cut your
    logic to threads. God is in your mind as a punishing super being, most likely a lot like yourself. Try a little pondering, what you would do if your son or daughter was in your eyes evil (gay or lesbian). Would you destroy them because of your definition of evil. I think not, please don’t create your god with a mind of as your own.

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  10. Are you a robot?

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  11. Also, the Hitler example above makes no sense! You’re arguing that we all would consider killing Hitler when he was, say, 30 years old but not at 15 or 10 or a baby? Well, why the heck not?! And why did God NOT kill him? Because God knowing the genocide of 12 million people would do what? (Oh, that’s right. We can never understand the true meaning of God. Wait. We can UNDERSTAND Him, mostly, but not always. Ummm, God is great and we should not even try to understand. Because we can’t anyway. Cause who would be for the murder of 12 million Jews, Gypies, Children, Blacks, Catholics and Political RIvals??? Not us. But apparently God. Go, God, Go!

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  12. Thanks for reading this and taking the time to share your thoughts.

    Unfortunately, I believe you misunderstood my illustration. My response was to the objection made that God is unjust for ending the lives of children and babies in the Great Flood. My contention is that God, Who alone possesses perfect knowledge, is NOT unjust for judging sin simply because He did not wait around for the person to actually commit the sin.

    My analogy was that any one of us, if we also possessed perfect knowledge, would hardly be unjust for ending the life of someone who would carry out such horrific atrocities as Adolph Hitler, regardless of what point in that individual’s life we did so. So my argument was, actually, that we would be acting in the best interest of humanity whether we killed him at 30, 15, 10, OR as a baby. I recognize that it can be difficult to follow complicated, abstract illustrations, particularly when they appear in writing rather than being verbally communicated. Perhaps I am guilty of poorly expressing myself.

    As to why God allowed Hitler (and many other evil tyrants) to live and commit such evil, you’re right, I don’t know. Neither does anyone else. I do concede, however, that the God of the Universe is a lot smarter and a lot wiser than I am, and that He has reasons for doing things that He has decided not to consult me about. Perhaps you have not arrived at that realization yet?

    I do find it most interesting that a previous commenter took issue with the fact that God would kill any “innocent” child, and you are taking issue with the fact that He hasn’t killed more. The earlier objection was made that God is apparently immoral for killing any baby, regardless of how they would certainly turn out, and your objection is that God is immoral for NOT slaying men like Hitler when he was a baby. It’s a good thing that God is not obliged to explain Himself to us or He would certainly be facing a no win situation here!

    Thanks again for stopping by and expressing your opinions.

    Loren

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  13. Candidly, I suspect my objection was to illustrate that, if God was willing to kill the babies in the flood because of their future foreseen sin, why wouldn’t God just make that a policy. Its not a matter of God killing less or more, its a matter of if God chooses to make this an Act to cleanse the world, why doesn’t He continue that act to rid “Bad Sperm” – for lack of better terms – to rid His world of evil on a on-going basis. And while God doesn’t have to explain Himself to us, I don’t understand why his answers are something we need to continally search for. Like UFOs, you’d think God would make it obvious. Peace.

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  14. God decided to withold another worldwide judgment until the end of the age. Until the events described in the Book of Revelation come to pass, the world will not know another cataclysmic universal judgment upon mankind. God does not delight in judging sinful man nor does He enjoy annihilating miscreants. If He did, we would all be in trouble because we all violate His Commandments! 2 Peter 3:9 tells us:

    “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

    In other words, God is not in the business of snuffing out bad people because He would rather they turn from their evil and come to Him; and He is patiently waiting for them to do so. God delights in mercy, not judgment. The conditions on the Earth prior to the Flood had simply gotten so bad that God was left with no other alternative than to destroy all but a small remnant, a single family, that would carry on the human family. Did that eradicate evil from the human mind? No. Even after the Flood God declared that “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21); pretty accurate diagnosis, unfortunately. Even so, the Flood did accomplish the purpose that God had for it and such a radical judgment has apparently not been warranted again…yet.

    It would be nice if God’s answers were as obvious and plain as UFO evidence is (that was a funny comment :) ), but again, He has decided to only reveal Himself to those who will come to Him in faith. Hebrews 11:6 says,

    “But without faith it is impossible to please [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is [that is, exists], and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

    Mankind practices the axiom that “Seeing is believing” but, with regards to God, it is the other way around. Until we come to God in faith, we just aren’t going to find answers to many of our questions.

    I do sincerely hope that your own quest for answers brings you closer to Him. Thanks a lot, again, for this dialogue. I look forward to hearing from you again.

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  15. Just wanted to let you know I thoroughly enjoyed your post and the discussions following. I’m current taking an online Old Testament class and came across this. Very well stated and great arguments. May God continue to bless you with knowledge.

    Regards

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  16. Thank you so much, Tarin, for the encouraging feedback :)

    May the Lord richly bless you in the study of His Word!

    Loren

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  17. Good stuff….

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  18. I know I’m replying to Loren, but this is really intended for Robert because I couldn’t figure out how to reply to him.
    First off, God gave us free will because He wanted us to choose him willingly, not so that He would have a bunch of robots following Him around.
    Second, “Create circumstances in which people could see His greatness”… He sort of created the world, you know? And it’s not like these people couldn’t have seen it. There were several people alive at the time who had had contact with Adam and Eve, some were even their sons and daughters. I don’t think anyone didn’t know who had created the world.

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  19. This is still all very hard for me to understand. If god decided that killing the 1 day old babies was the right thing because they were going to be sinners, then why couldnt he kill Hitler when he was a baby? So is killing a baby because they are 100% going to become horrific sinners ok? or are we just not supposed to understand that because its beyond our understanding?

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  20. Thanks, Neal, for reading this and taking the time to share your thoughts.

    If I may, I would like to just get back to the original point of my illustrations. I used Hitler as an example because he was a well-known example of evil personified and someone, for the sake of argument, that most people would agree was a destructive force whom God or anyone else would have certainly been morally justified in exterminating. The point wasn’t really whether or not God should or should not have killed Hitler before he came to power. God would not have been unjust to kill Hitler at any point in his life, nor is God negligent because He decided not to end his life before 1945. Honestly, I believe that God intervened in the affairs of WWII and that the repercussions could have been far more devastating even than they were. I do not wish to go into great detail, but one need look no further than the many miraculous turns-of-events which could have easily gone the other way.

    One obvious example that stands out in my mind is the inexplicable decision that Hitler made to invade the Soviet Union when he did, leaving even his closest advisors and military tacticians perplexed. Why did Hitler decide to divide his forces, opening up an unnecessary second front by betraying his alliance with Stalin? Had he been patient and completed his campaign against Great Britain and secured Western Europe before turning the full force of the Third Reich against Russia he very well may have realized his dream of world domination. But God indeed intervenes in the affairs of men and, just as He did with the Pharaoh of Exodus, I believe the Lord hardened the heart of Hitler and moved him to make the blunder which set into motion the downfall of his empire.

    At any rate, my purpose for using the analogy that I did was to demonstrate that an omniscient, omnipotent God is not unjust for judging sinners — even those who have not yet grown up and committed the sins that they otherwise would have. It is my hope that this post and the subsequent commentary on it helps to clarify and illustrate this point. I do recognize that not everyone will be satisfied with my attempts.

    To answer your last question, yes, God’s ways are beyond our understanding. The Book of Isaiah records the Words of the Lord saying:

    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

    There are two types of people: those who accept that God is righteous and just, regardless of whether or not we are aware of all of His reasons; and those who will not accept that God is just and righteous and demand an explanantion for everything He does. God is not on trial before man, despite what many people think, and He really owes us no explanation whatsoever. The truth is that God will eventually judge all sinners when this life is over, both those whom He has and has not judged in this life. Nobody will ultimately get away with anything. The question, Neal, for us is not really what God decided to do with the people killed in the Great Flood or what He did with Adolph Hitler, but what He will do with you and me. Because we can be certain that He will judge all sinners, even us, apart from the Salvation available through faith in Jesus Christ.

    The people living before the Flood are all gone, Hitler is gone. One day we, too, will be gone. We will all stand before the Throne of God and, on that day, we will not be standing in judgment of Him, interrogating the Creator of the Universe as to why He did this and didn’t do that. No, we will give Him an account of the things we did and did not do and, unless we stand before Him covered by the righteousness of Christ, we are doomed.

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  21. Thank you very much for your reply. It’s still very difficult to understand the ways of god. It’s very frustrating to me because I do want answers. But that’s just the kind of person I am. I need to learn to accept that I cannot search for these answers and trust in god all the way. I do trust him and his decisions. I need to get over my own curiosity and frustration that Ill never know exactly why god does some of the things he does. I enjoyed reading all of these conversations :)

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  22. […] it appears i cannot reproduce the effects that led to this, this or this.. so the scientific method may not apply as it seems God is touchy about when he […]

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  23. Martin Stoffers

    So let me get this straight: God created humanity with a free will, and now he is mad that humanity is exerting their free will? Why didn’t he create the humans like robots, so he could control them?

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  24. So, god destroyed the earth with a flod because every last person on the planet was corrupt beyond saving? Not to s***
    on anyone’s parade or anything but I’m just going to leave this here.
    Genesis 7:13 states, “On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark.”
    What about those guys? Seems like a major plot whole to me.

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  25. Good stuff

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  26. God must be a cynical being or crazy because knowing that after Noah’s great flood, man would become corrupted again, but he still goes through with it. So He replays this episode again and again and laugh at himself like I like watching reruns of Married w/ Children episodes. If not, the He is not the God you people said He is because obviously He does not know what the Hell he is doing.

    Another thing is God is merciful, but he would also love to destroy too???? WTF?

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  27. Love it when you gave credit to God when Hitler decided to invade Russia, but not when God allowed WWI & II to happen. Love it when the Christians always take credits for good and blame man for things that they could not explain and label it evil.

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  28. God creates all things including the 1 day old babies that he will kill the same day too. Nice God, good job.

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  29. God knows everything, for seen everything, creates everything but He allows evil in his world?

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  30. Where was He during the Inquisitions? people were killing in his names? Where was He when the Christians wronged Galileo? May I remind you the Roman based it on the scriptures. if God is so wise and just, why didn’t Jesus say in his days that the Sun is the center of the universe? I like to read your explanation on this.

    Another thing is, there are billions of galaxies out there, thanks to science and Buddhism texts, not God. How do the C decide that we are the chosen ones? I am sure there are millions of suns out there and habitable planets that have similar creatures as the earth’s. I hope they don’t have to deal with all this bs.

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  31. I’m curious to why everyone commenting about the babies assume that they were days old when the flood happened. Considering the people were so wicked there were probably a lot of homosexual relationships. Which we all know can’t produce offspring. There’s also a good chance a lot were into bestiality which once again does not produce offspring, also for all we know these wicked people could have been killing their children at birth. I mean after all the u.s. kills thousands every year through abortion. There’s several things we do not know about the people on earth at this time. But if they were as evil as the bible says, there are a infinite number of things they could have been practicing

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  32. […] Why Did God Send The Flood ? | Answers From The Book – Genesis 6 lays gives the background of the world at the time leading up to Noah and the Great Flood. In order to understand why God sent the Flood, it is important to …… […]

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