In this second part of a two-part series, pastors Derek and Cliff continue their conversation on how Scripture speaks to the issue of climate change.
Derek: Welcome to the With All Wisdom podcast. My name is Derek Brown. I’m here today with Cliff McManis. We are both pastors and elders at Creekside Bible Church in Cupertino, California, professors of theology at the Cornerstone Bible College and Seminary in Vallejo, California. And today we are talking about part two of the Noahic Covenant and climate change.
And if you haven’t listened to part one, we encourage you to go and do that at WithAllWisdom.org. You’ll find not only that podcast, but you’ll also find a lot of written resources all rooted in God’s Word designed to help you grow in your relationship with Christ and to discern between truth and error out in the world, out in your society, out in the culture so that you might be able to discern what is right, embrace what is right and good, and reject what is false. And that really is for your spiritual health. And so that’s why we’re concerned about these issues, because falsehood in any form harms people. It harms you. It harms others. And so we want to expose what is false, proclaim what is true, and help you to discern those things in your daily life. So last episode, we talked a little bit about how the mainstream media is presenting this issue of climate change. We discussed some of those things and offered a few contrarian thoughts from God’s Word and from others who have studied these things. And so now we want to actually go back to God’s Word a little more in depth and go back to Genesis 8 as one area we want to look at. But we want to talk about the Noahic covenant and what scripture says specifically about this area of climate change. And so let me just turn it back over to you, Cliff, and you can take it away.
Cliff: Yeah, thanks, Derek. It was, what, 2006? So that’d be 16 years ago. I remember I was preaching through Ephesians, and I got to that section where Paul’s saying exhorting Christians to not be immature children, otherwise you’re going to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine or every crazy idea coming down the pike. So you need stability in your life so you don’t fall for everything. And so I preached the passage, and then at the end of the sermon, in my sermon, I listed current crazy ideas, either false ideologies, false beliefs, that were popular in the day back in 2006, that are deceiving a lot of people. And I referred to, at the time it was called global warming, it wasn’t called climate change.
Derek: Terminology has changed.
Cliff: The terminology has changed. And I referred to global warming as a farce, and I called it “junk science” from the pulpit.
Derek: I’m sure you didn’t get any discussion afterwards. No feedback, I’m sure.
Cliff: I got feedback. I got pushback by several people in our church, educated people, smart people, and just said, you can’t say that. I can’t say what. You can’t call global warming junk science. I was surprised. So I was totally blindsided. I did not see that coming. I just thought everybody believed that. This is so ridiculous. This is so fundamentally flawed. How could you possibly believe in this? This whole idea that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and dangerous when, no, God made it. It’s what we exhale, and it’s food for plants. Hello? Anyway, so I got into these heavy duty discussions from people in my church, telling me, I cannot say that anymore. I cannot knock or diss or question global warming. It is true science. It is a fact.
Cliff: Yes. So 2006. So I was quite alarmed by that. Like I said, I was blindsided. So the next day and in the next several weeks, I began to do research and look around. Is anybody else preaching on this? Has anybody written a book on this from a biblical point of view? Back in 2006, I couldn’t find anything. Am I the only one? And I emailed some pastors, and that is not a topic they were aware of or familiar with or even cared about.
Cliff: Or there wasn’t an issue. I was just like, wow, this is really surprising. Anyway, so fast forward 16 years later, and it is such a major issue now for everybody that if you’re a politician, you want to get elected, you’ve got to have a definitive position on now not global warming, but climate change if you want to get elected, and you have to be an advocate of it. And you have to say the scientists say this is the consensus of science. This is a fact. This is true. It’s undeniable. You can’t be a climate denier. So that’s what we’re told. By the way, Derek, do you know why they changed the terminology from Al Gore’s original terminology of global warming to all of a sudden at some point it became climate change?
Derek: As far as I understand, it’s because there wasn’t a consistent pattern of warming. There were dips in the overall average temperature of the Earth, and there were areas of planet Earth that were under deep freezes, and there were areas where that typically didn’t get cold weather that were getting cold weather. And so there wasn’t this uniform idea of global warming. Now you had to say that there was this climate change so you could account for all these other kind of anomalies, you might say. That’s how I understand. I don’t know.
Cliff: No, you’re right. So the trends started to change. So when Al Gore did his book in 1994, 92, 94, the trends at the time were that everything was getting warmer, and it’s just going to continue to do that. But as 10 years go by, 10 to 15 years, then all of a sudden the trends in some of the weather patterns begin to change and tick up. And if the trajectory was right, then it looked like actually things are going to start getting cooler, which would go against his original thesis. So it was a political decision basically, is we’ve got to keep our theme going here to scare everybody about the weather and that we’re causing the problem, but we just can’t use the terminology global warming anymore because the trend is actually going in the other direction. I think some areas might start to get cooler. So let’s call it climate change instead, and that way we can always use that phrase no matter what the weather is like, because the weather always changes, by the way. As a matter of fact, in the 1970s Time magazine, on the front cover of a Time magazine, may have been 1977, and it had a big old quote on the front, are you ready for the next freeze over of planet Earth or whatever it was, because at that time scientists were saying the consensus was that we are headed into a global freezing at the time, and it was imminent. It could come in the 80s, and it even attributed it to man-made factors, so that was man-made global cooling. That was in the 70s, and most people don’t even know about that, front page of Time magazine.
Fast forward two decades later and now they’re talking about global warming in the other direction, and the reason that happens is because what we know from science and even the Bible that we’re going to look at today in the Noahic Covenant is that the weather changes and the weather goes in cycles, and that’s been true throughout history.
Derek: Sounds reasonable.
Cliff: It ebbs and it flows, so it’ll be warm here for a while and then it’ll get cool at night. We even see that from day to day, like the other day I think it was about 89 degrees at three o’clock in the afternoon, and to my surprise the same day at nighttime it got down to 59, and I’m like, whoa, it’s a little brisk out here.
Derek: I was there.
Cliff: And just today I was hot. So here we are to be alarmed because the weather might change one degree in the next 100 years, and yet where we live in Cupertino the weather changed 40 degrees in one day.
Derek: Which is why you have to layer.
Cliff: Yes, and it happens every day. 30 to 40 degree fluctuation. It’s called the weather, Derek. The weather changes.
Derek: It does change.
Cliff: So there is change in the weather, but there’s also this regularity and constancy in weather. And that is not a result of evolution or by chance. That’s from God’s plan. And we can see that in the Noahic Covenant. So I’m just going to read a couple of passages from Genesis chapter 6, chapter 8, and chapter 9 answering the question some people might ask. So Pastor Cliff, are you saying, does the Bible talk about global warming? Or Derek, what if you’re a pastor, what if somebody came up to you and said, Pastor Derek, does the Bible talk about climate change? What would you say?
Derek: I would say I would first ask, what do you mean by that? Because I think that’s always a question. What do you mean by that? Are the words climate change and global warming in the Bible? Well, no. But does the Bible contain truths that have direct bearing on that question? Yes, it does. So I would say, yes, Scripture does talk about it.
Cliff: That is exactly how I would answer. The Bible has very clear and very specific truths that inform, play into, and really define this whole conversation about what we call climate change.
Derek: That’s an important point. I think we want our listeners to, when you think about the question, does Scripture say, or is the Scripture sufficient, you have to be able to discern between where the Scripture speaks explicitly and use specific words like climate change or global warming? It doesn’t. But you have to back up and say, okay, what truths pertain to this issue? And you will always find truths that pertain to whatever issue it is. And you have to take those truths from Scripture into account as you think about these things from a biblical worldview. So it’s just an important thing for our listeners to understand when we talk about the sufficiency of Scripture. Don’t just set the Scripture aside because it doesn’t seem to explicitly address the issue. You write the issue down and then start thinking of all the various truths in the Bible that pertain to that issue. And you will be amazed in all the cases of all the issues that you can list how much the Scripture speaks to that particular issue. So just an important reminder.
Cliff: It is a good reminder. The Bible addresses every issue that we will have to contend with in this life. The Bible addresses every issue that we will have to contend with in this life. That’s what we mean by biblical sufficiency. So anyway, I would say that the promise that God made to Noah in the Noahic covenant, the promise that He made there directly addresses issues like climate change and global warming. So let’s just go and I want to, you know, I think about my seminary education. I look back at my seminary education and I realize that I covered a lot of stuff and learned a lot of stuff. But one of the things that I didn’t learn very well or it wasn’t taught or brought up much in my three years of seminary was the covenants of the Bible. I mean, I was, they were vaguely mentioned, I mean, the Mosaic and the Abrahamic, kind of, but some of these other ones, I just like, wow, I don’t remember a class where I really studied that.
Cliff: But it’s so vitally important. I think the covenants of the Bible are fundamental to a biblical worldview and this is just going to be one of those examples. So if you’re not familiar with the Noahic covenant, the covenant that God gave to Noah, just let me give you some basic outlines here, passages you’ll want to follow along in your Bible, primarily three of them. The story of Noah is in Genesis 6 to 9, and then in three different passages, God mentions His covenant specifically to Noah, and that’s chapter 6, verse 17 to 22, and then again in Genesis 8, 20 to 22, and then finally in Genesis 9, 8 through 17, so we’ll read a couple of verses out of each of those passages. But starting in Genesis 6, where are we in history? God created Adam and Eve, they were real people, we would say 6,000 years ago, so 4,000 BC. Then they sinned and then they’re living in a cursed world, in a fallen world, and people are dying, and actually God curses the earth, and sin is compounding since the time of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, and more and more people are being born on the earth, and the world population is growing, and yet because everybody’s a sinner, sin is compounding. We’ve got an exponential rate on the world.
So you fast-forward 1,500 years from Adam to Noah. Noah lived about 2,500 BC, and that’s where Genesis 6 picks up, and it says that now it came about when men began to multiply on the face of the land, so there were all kinds of people, and then God is frustrated as He looks down on earth, because the world is so wicked and sinful, and He says in Genesis 6, 3, My spirit shall not strive with man forever. I’m going to do something about it, because He also is flesh, nevertheless His days shall be 120 years. I think that was God was giving a warning of 120 years before He would destroy the world in a flood. Verse 5, The Lord saw that the wickedness of humanity was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of His heart was only evil continually. So sin is out of control on a corporate level, but also on the inner heart of every individual and the Lord was sorry that He had made humanity on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. All that means is just anthropopathic language attributing human emotion to God, that He was disgusted with sin, so He’s going to do something about it, and so in Genesis 6, 7, God says this really shocking statement. The Lord said, I will blot out man or humanity from what I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals creeping things into birds of the sky, for I am very sorry that I have made them, but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, Noah loved God, Noah knew God, he walked by faith, God saved him by grace through faith, that’s what this means. So Noah knew the Lord, and God’s going to show grace to Noah, but God’s going to wipe out everybody else on planet earth, including the animals, except Noah and his family, that would be Noah’s wife, his three sons and their wives, so eight people would be spared by God.
Verse 11, now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, it was filled with violence, so He’s going to wipe it out, verse 13, God said to Noah, the end of all flesh has come before me, for the earth is filled with violence, and because of them, and behold, I am about to destroy them along with the earth, therefore, verse 14, Noah, make for yourself an ark of gopher, like a boat, and put rooms in it, and I’ll tell you how big to make it, and put a window in it, and then here’s the promise of the Noahic covenant, verse 17 and 18, God says to Noah, behold, I, God says, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the whole earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven, everything that is on the earth is going to die, but, verse 18, God says to Noah, I will establish my covenant with you, there it is, I will establish my covenant with you, Genesis 6:18, so just a couple of comments here, this is the first time the word covenant is used in the Bible, so I would say this is the first biblical covenant, the word covenant is used over 250 times in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word, depending upon the context, it’s used in a few different ways, there’s some common denominators to all of those ways it’s being used, but basically a covenant is a promise, it’s a compact, it’s sometimes like a treaty, it’s always between two parties, in the Bible, in the Old Testament, a covenant is either between two humans or it can be between God and humanity, or God and a man, so we want to emphasize the covenants, there are five covenants in the Bible that are between God and humanity, and the word for covenant is used for that kind of a covenant, and when God makes a covenant with humanity, the unique thing about it is he’s the one that initiates the covenant, so we would say that’s unilaterally given, it wasn’t a mutual, Noah didn’t come up with this idea, hey God, can we make a covenant, no, this is strictly all by God, so this is a unilateral covenant issued by God, all five covenants of the Bible given by God to humanity are gracious covenants, it was an act of his grace, his intention was to bless humanity, so they’re unilateral in that he gives them, some of them have conditions, some don’t, actually most of the covenants that God does issue humanity do have conditions or stipulations to a certain degree, Noah’s covenant is unique in that it doesn’t have, it’s not conditional, in other words, Noah is never told by God he has to do anything or obey to get the blessings of the covenant, like Abraham had to get circumcised, but God never says that about Noah, another unique thing about the covenant that we’re going to see that’s made to Noah, it’s a universal covenant, it’s made to all of humanity, the whole human race, it’s not just believers, some of the covenants God made in the Bible are conditioned upon belief in him, obedience to him, like the Mosaic covenant you had to obey to enjoy the blessings of that covenant, the new covenant was conditioned upon a person believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and being saved, so that it’s limited in terms of its application and who receives the blessing, not so with the Noahic covenant, it applies to everybody, another unique thing about the Noahic covenant we’re going to see is that when God gave this covenant to Noah, it was a perpetual covenant, it would go on basically as long as planet Earth existed, which would mean to the end of the age, so the Noahic covenant is going to be in play until Jesus Christ comes again at the end of the age, and then even beyond that, that is not true of all of God’s covenants to man, like the Mosaic covenant, it ended up being temporary and displaced by a better covenant, so there’s a lot of unique things about the Noahic covenant, but just wanted to point out here that in Genesis 6, 18 is when God promises before the flood, he lets him know, Noah, I’m going to make a covenant with you, well, you might be asking, well, when did he make that covenant?
Well, I’m glad you asked, it was after the flood, so God makes a promise to make the covenant, Noah gets on that ark, Noah, the rain starts coming down, Noah and his seven family members are in the ark, God floods the earth, Noah brings two animals of each kind, male and female, onto the ark, and they are in that ark, do you remember from your Bible study days, Derek, how long they were in the ark in its entirety?
Derek: Well, they were, the waters prevailed for 150 days.
Cliff: Yes, I want to stop there, prevailed, what do you mean, in Genesis 7, 24, because if you ask the average person on the street, you ever heard of Noah’s ark story? Yeah, do you remember how many days it rained? The average person is going to say 40, but actually Genesis 7, 24, and then in Genesis 8, 3, tells us that the rain actually prevailed during the flood for 150 days, which in Hebrew, literally, it means that water was coming down for 150 days, which means it rained for 150 days, not 40. Now, I believed it was 40 for quite some time, until Dr. Bill Baric, professor of Hebrew, straightened me out, he said, no, Cliff, and I’m like, really? And he said, yeah, it was 150 days, and I looked at the Hebrew, and sure enough, he knows what he’s talking about. Something happened after 40 days of rain, well, that was after 40 days of rain, there was enough rain that it lifted the ark off the ground. That’s actually what happened after 40 days, the beginning of Genesis 7.
Derek: Oh, yeah, the waters increased and bore up the ark, yeah.
Cliff: Yeah, so Genesis 7, 12, it rained for 40 days, and then the ark was raised off of the ground, Genesis 7 verse 17. So it rains for 40 days, and then the ark starts to float, but then the water keeps coming, and it rains for a total of 150 days, and then finally, after 150 days, it stopped raining. And then Noah is actually in that ark for another several months until all the water is completely gone from earth, and it dries out. And it’s actually after one year and 10 days, 370 days that Noah was in the ark, one year and 10 days. And then they come out of the ark, and then God tells, this is Genesis chapter 8, Noah, you can go ahead and get out of the ark now, verse 16 of chapter 8, go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives with you, bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you there in the ark, the birds and the animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed and repopulate abundantly on the earth, because God’s going to replenish the earth and be fruitful and multiply on the earth and start all over again, like he did in the days of Adam and Eve. So Noah went out, he obeyed with his family, every beast was let out of the ark as well.
And then here’s more information regarding the promise of the Noahic covenant, the covenant of blessing that God is going to make with Noah. Verse 21, the Lord’s, verse 20, Noah built an altar immediately when he got off the ark to Yahweh as an act of worship, built an altar and he took of every clean animal and a very clean bird and offered burnt offering on the altar. So he killed some animals. So he sacrificed animals as substitutes for sin, burned them on the altar, the smoke rises up in the air and symbolically, verse 21 says, the Lord or Yahweh smelled the soothing aroma from the slaughtered animals and the Lord Yahweh said to himself, I will never again curse the ground on account of man. So this is part of the Noahic covenant, the promise that God is making, the Noahic covenant where God says, I will never again curse the ground the way that I did with the flood on account of man and sin, even though for the intent of his man’s heart is evil from his youth, even though he’s sinful and wicked, I’m going to preserve the earth. I’m not going to do this again. Then he gets more specific and I will never again destroy every living thing as I just did in the flood. And here’s the key verse that actually intersects directly with this idea of global warming, climate change. Is the world going to end in nine years due to polar caps melting and flood the whole world? And God says to Noah and his family in the Noahic covenant with this promise, Genesis 8 22, while the earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. So if you’re listening and you’re not familiar with that verse, I would encourage you open up your Bible, look at it, write this verse down, get to know it and become very familiar with it. Memorize it. This needs to be a part of your worldview. This is a promise that God made to Noah and to everyone. And it is the heart of the Noahic covenant. What is God promising in the Noahic covenant? He’s promising he’s never going to destroy the world in a flood again. In Al Gore’s book in 1994, In the Earth and the Balance, it was called, he predicted that the world was going to be destroyed in a flood by 2015. So the first time I heard that, I said, oh, that’s not true. Because God said in Genesis 8 21, I will never again destroy the world in a flood. So that’s the sufficiency of the Bible, God’s truth. And then added to that, verse 22, while the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. So this is just loaded, what God is saying here. What he’s saying, he’s talking about the weather. Seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter. So he’s definitely talking directly about the weather. So that’s why this plays directly into climate change and global warming. Does the Bible say anything about weather? Did God ever make any promises about the weather and the regularity of the weather and the constancy of the weather and the preservation of the weather on behalf of humanity and our survival? Absolutely. He did it in Genesis 8:22, while the earth remains, seed time and harvest. Another thing that you see in this statement, seed time and harvest, these are statements that balance one another. They’re ebbs and flows, seed time, harvest. Those are seasons. You’ve got cold and heat. You’ve got summer and winter. You’ve got day and night. These are fluctuations. These are balancing one another. And God is telling us that weather is cyclical. That’s basically what he’s saying here. That’s the way I designed it. Part of that has to do with the fact that the earth is round and it spins. And not only that, the earth is round and it spins and it spins around a sun. So that’s why there’s seasonal weather based on these patterns of how God created earth and the moon and planets. And then God is guaranteeing that he’s going to keep that constant. The earth is going to remain. It will not cease as long as I am in charge as the creator of the universe. And not only is the earth going to stay intact, but the weathers are going to stay intact. You will always have cold and heat. See that beautiful balance? Cold and heat will not cease. There isn’t just going to be a trajectory of only global cooling to freeze the planet and we’re going to lose all heat. Or cold and heat will not cease. That beautiful, perfect balance by God. Or summer and winter, the beautiful balance that God is giving there. Summer and winter will always be in tandem going together. On one side of the earth, when it’s winter, the other side of the earth will be summer. And then as the earth spins and rotates around the sun, then that will change and we’ll go through these seasons with constancy and regularity. And God promises this will remain as long as earth remains and it will not cease. So this is the heart of the Noahic promise. So the weather had a lot to do with what the Noahic covenant was all about.
Derek: Isn’t that interesting? And it ties directly to the question of climate change. And there is going to be a rhythm of weather and it shouldn’t be surprising that we see ebbs and flows even in a large-scale 150-year data plotting that you’ll see ups and downs because of this rhythm. And so there’s nothing to be alarmed about and to go back to your statement from Alexandria Cortez, the idea that earth is going to end in 12 years based on what we’re doing or not doing. Well, it’s simply not true because we’ve already established God will decide when it’s going to end and until that time, this rhythm will stay in place. And it’s just so practical, so helpful, viewing all these things through a biblical worldview.
Cliff: Yeah, and some presuppositions that I didn’t even mention about this is that we assume Noah was a real person. We believe this is true history. This actually happened. There was a flood, it was universal. Sadly, Derek, you and I have talked about this. There are even Christians, evangelical Christians, scholarly, well-known, high-profile evangelical, so-called conservative Christians who don’t believe in the literal historicity of the story about Noah. And they’re teaching this in churches and at Christian seminaries. Some of them are saying, well, it was only a local flood. Now, some like William Lane Craig is just basically saying the story actually never happened. It’s teaching a spiritual truth like a parable, but you can’t believe the details of it.
Derek: So in that case, then, it removes the power and the weightiness of Genesis 8:22 from this conversation.
Derek: So it’s no wonder that a lot of Christians don’t have a robust view of the sufficiency of scripture when you start saying things like, well, this story likely didn’t happen. It’s not historical. That takes the weight away from that statement about the rhythm of the weather. And then, now, you can’t really apply it to climate change. And you’ve robbed Christians of their ability to discern things in their society, discern lies in their society and their culture that they need to be aware of. And so, it’s just discouraging to hear that that’s coming from other professing Christians when you have a treasure trove of truth in the Bible to help you discern these issues.
Cliff: Yeah. It just categorically dismisses the promise of the Noahic covenant.
Cliff: Devastating consequences that you just actually enumerated right there. Another well-known evangelical that you and I have both read his book, Dennis Lamoureux, who claims to be an evangelical, claims to be a Bible teacher, claims to say that God’s Word is inspired or authoritative anyway, not inerrancy, but just says he believes in the Bible. And he says, and I’ve talked to him personally, he says Noah didn’t even exist. Noah was not even a real person. And then I said, well, Jesus believed Noah was a real person. He paused. He never thought of that until I brought it up to him. So his initial response was silence. But then he thought about it and came back and had an answer for me. Jesus was just accommodating because the Jews he was talking to, they thought Noah was real and he didn’t want to hurt their feelings. So he accommodated them and bought into what they were saying.
Derek: You know, we just talked about this in our class at seminary, bibliology class, this doctrine of accommodation that gets thrown around by evangelicals. Dennis Lamoureux’s view of accommodation is actually a heretical view.
Cliff: It is a heretical view.
Derek: We’ve already dealt with this in church history. It was a Sosinian view of accommodation where you said that the biblical authors accommodated to the errant viewpoints of the time.
Derek: And this was written off by the church as being a heresy.
Derek: So this is not what we mean by accommodation. We mean that God used human language, he condescended to use human language that we could understand, but he never condescended or accommodated to errant viewpoints of the biblical authors. What they said was true.
Cliff: So John Calvin mentioned accommodation, but he said it the right way. He meant the same thing that you just articulated. But just another good point. So here’s, so you got part one, part two, and then just, God says one more word here that’s important about the Noahic covenant and its implications for us. And that’s in chapter nine, verse eight. And following God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him. And verse nine, he says, now behold, I myself do establish my covenant with you. And he mentions you several times, like in verse 11, I established my covenant with you. Now, if you had your Hebrew Bible in front of you, it kind of jumps out that Genesis 9, 9, he says, I myself do establish my covenant with you. The you there is plural, but the first time he said it in Genesis 6, 18, it was singular. He was talking only to Noah.
Derek: Right, right, right, right.
Cliff: Now he’s including the family. It’s not just you, Noah. I’m not just making this personal covenant with you. It’s beyond you. It includes more people. Verse nine, now behold, I myself, God, do establish and making my covenant that I promised before the flood. Now I’m making it with you, my covenant with you, plural, meaning your family, your wife, your three sons and their wives, and not only them, but also with your descendants after you, those who are born after you, your grandchildren who haven’t been born yet. This covenant is with them too. Verse 10. And then he tells us who else is a recipient of this Noahic covenant and its promise. I’m also making this covenant with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, every beast of the earth with you of all that comes out of the ark, every beast on the earth. So who did God make a covenant with? It includes the animals. Verse 11, I will establish my covenant with you and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood. There will never be a universal flood again, Al Gore. Neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, this is the sign of the covenant which I’m making between me and you and every living creature that is with you for all, here it is, successive generations. So this is a perpetual covenant. He even calls it an eternal everlasting covenant in verse 16. It goes on for successive generations. It will apply to Pastor Cliff and Pastor Derek when they are born in the 20th century. Here’s the sign of that covenant, verse 20, I will set my bow in the sky, that’s a rainbow, and it will be for a sign of a covenant between me and the earth. So very important there at the end of verse 13, God says he’s even making this covenant with the earth. So it’s Noah, Noah’s immediate family, Noah’s descendants, all flesh, successive generations, all animals of all time, and even the earth itself. There it is. What’s the earth? The earth that God created, which would include the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, our weather. That’s the extent of the Noahic covenant and the stability that God promises with that. And I will remember my covenant every time I see the rainbow. So God’s covenant is in play as long as we have rainbows. Do we still have rainbows today, Derek?
Derek: We do.
Cliff: I see them all the time. And every time I see them, I am reminded. God made a promise to Noah to keep the weather constant. This world is not going to end in nine years from global warming or climate change, because God said so. And then finally, in verse 16, when the rainbow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. God says when he sees, it’s kind of interesting, sometimes when God gives a sign for a covenant like circumcision, that was the sign of the Abrahamic covenant. Circumcision was supposed to be a reminder for the man, for Abraham, about the covenant. Here, God puts the rainbow in the sky to remind himself, because he made the promise. So he made the promise, he initiated it, and then he’s making a reminder for himself. Not that God needs reminding, but he is proud of his covenant, and he can point to the sky, there it is, humanity, continue to believe and trust in me. So, just some of the practical benefits that we enjoy today from the promises God made in the Noahic covenant are the constancy of weather and the seasons, basically the stability of earth and nature. And it’s perpetual, it’s ongoing, we don’t need to have fear. Derek, do we know how the world is going to end?
Derek: We do. We absolutely know how it’s going to end. Jesus is going to come back, he’s going to establish his kingdom. For those who don’t know the Lord Jesus, he’ll pour out judgment, a very harsh judgment, and in order to bring about repentance, unfortunately a lot of people will not repent. And then Christ will establish his kingdom, and then there will be the final judgment, and he will then establish the eternal state, and all of his people will enjoy eternity with him, and a new heavens and a new earth, but those who have rejected Jesus Christ as their Savior and as their righteousness will be consigned to an eternal judgment.
Cliff: Yes, and we actually know this current earth, we know what’s going to happen to it, and it has a destiny, this planet earth, right? And actually it is global warming, isn’t it? Very intense global warming. Can you explain that? The global warming, there is global warming, so we have, there is a caveat.
Derek: Yes, there is a caveat.
Cliff: We agree there is global warming.
Derek: It’s going to be, it’s going to come at a moment in time, it’s going to be very intense when God will, this is 2 Peter 3, God will burn up the elements, and then he will remake and reestablish a new heavens and a new earth.
Cliff: Yes, so the real biblical global warming is not, probably not going to happen in nine years. At least it’s not going to happen in nine years because you drive a car that has gasoline in it. Or man-made climate change. There is global warming, it’s coming at the end of the age, it will be the culmination of world history, and Jesus, the triune God, will literally burn up and incinerate this current planet into nothingness, even the molecules will melt, and then God will create a new heavens and a new earth. So God is the one who’s going to initiate global warming, not man.
Derek: It will be intense, it will be, it won’t last for years and years, it will be probably very quick, it sounds, seems like the scripture is teaching.
Cliff: Just last two comments I want to make, Derek, I want to get some thought on you about how does common grace play into this promise of Noahic covenant in just a second. We’ll circle back around on that. But what a lot of people don’t think about is we have these other covenants in the Bible, like the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12 through 17 that God gave to Abraham, that is a perpetual everlasting covenant that actually kind of merges or unfolds into the new covenant of the coming of the Messiah. Right. And God was never going to break that covenant he made with Abraham regarding the coming of the Messiah. It was guaranteed. God made a covenant with David in the Davidic covenant, that a Messiah would come and sit on the throne, and we’re still looking forward to that, Jesus will come. And then he gave that glorious new covenant in 550 BC to Jeremiah, Jeremiah 31-31, I will make with you a new covenant, not like the previous mosaic covenant, but this one will be glorious and have so many wonderful blessings. And that comes, and that’s fulfilled through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But it’s interesting, in Jeremiah 31, he gives the promise of the new covenant that you and I were beneficiaries of. By salvation in Christ. We celebrated every communion. And Jeremiah says, I’m going to give you my word, I am going to fulfill this new covenant. And what he does is he says, as long as basically the sun, moon and stars and planet earth are constant and fixed, then you can count on it that I will fulfill the new covenant. So basically what he’s saying is the new covenant and the guarantee of it flows out of the stability of the promise God made in the Noahic covenant. Because the Noahic covenant, God, he guaranteed there’s going to be constancy in all of creation until the end of the age. And so the Abrahamic covenant, the new covenant, could not be fulfilled unless God guaranteed the stability of planet earth, all of creation, just as he predicted and prophesied.
Derek: That’s amazing. That’s a great connection. The question about common grace.
Cliff: Yeah. What is common grace and how is this related to the Noahic covenant?
Derek: Yeah. So common grace is the biblical teaching, I would argue, that God bestows blessings upon all human creatures that everyone enjoys that are short of saving grace. So you may be an unbeliever, you don’t know Jesus, and yet you enjoy various things of life. You enjoy food, relationships, nice weather, and those are the blessings of God’s common grace. And we say it’s grace because you don’t deserve it. We don’t deserve any of these good, pleasant things that we enjoy. But we also refer to it as common grace because these are blessings that all people enjoy, but only those who are in Christ enjoy saving grace. And it ties to the Noahic covenant because God is saying there’s going to be stability. I’m not going to wipe out everything with a flood. There’s going to be stability and rhythm in your environment so that you can build and live and work. You can conduct science. You can do these various kinds of things. You can live and you can enjoy this good earth back in Genesis 1.
Cliff: Going back to science, that’s a good point.
Derek: Oh, yeah.
Cliff: Because isn’t our earth like on a certain axis, a tilt, a percentage of, what is it, 23 degrees? I can’t remember.
Derek: I can’t remember either.
Cliff: But it doesn’t deviate from that. If it did deviate from that, we couldn’t do science because science is contingent upon predictability, right?
Derek: Right, exactly.
Cliff: Going forward. A constancy moving forward. That’s exactly what God promised in the Noahic covenant.
Derek: Exactly. So in that constancy and rhythm and stability and predictability, we can enjoy, whether you believe or not, you can enjoy this good earth that God has given. He said, behold, it is very good. And even though sin has marred it, though the fall has happened and the curse has happened, the creation is still good. And through common grace, all people get to enjoy God’s goodness, even if they’re unbelieving.
Cliff: The most evil, heinous, wicked atheist on planet earth today can enjoy a good steak.
Derek: That’s right.
Cliff: Or beautiful weather at the beach.
Derek: That’s right.
Cliff: Or climbing on top of a mountain and just seeing the beauty of creation.
Derek: That’s right. That’s common grace. That is common grace. God loves—it says in Matthew 5 that that is God loving his enemies, and the rain falls on the just and the unjust.
Cliff: And the unjust.
Derek: So that is common grace rooted in the mosaic or in the Noahic covenant. Just a wonderful reminder. And I love that connection between the Noahic covenant establishing the foundation for the new covenant, as you said, the stability of our weather and our environment. Well, thank you, Cliff, for that excellent study. And we want to thank you for listening to the With All Wisdom podcast. Please check out WithAllWisdom.org. More podcasts there, more articles there. We hope you find plenty of things to feed you, to help you spiritually. And until next time, keep seeking the Lord in his word.
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