The number of humans on the earth grew rapidly. Not only did sin spread from Adam and Eve to their sons, but it spread to their son’s children and their children’s children and on and on. Even though humans were created in God’s image, everyone chose to disobey God. They constantly hurt each other with their words, their actions,
and their bodies. God saw that people’s thoughts were completely evil— all of the time. This broke His heart and made Him wish He had never created humans.
God decided to start over. He said, “I will completely wipe out this human race I created. I am sorry I ever made them.”
But there was one man, named Noah, who had a close relationship with God. Noah was the only man living on earth at that time who had this kind of relationship with God. God said to Noah, “I have decided to cover the earth with a flood, destroying everything alive! However, I will give you a plan to keep you safe.”
God then told Noah to build a large boat called an ark, giving him specific instructions about how big to make it and what this boat should be like. God said to him, “Make a boat from wood and seal it with tar, inside and out. Then build many decks and stalls for animals inside of it. I promise to keep you safe in this ark! Bring seven pairs of animals I have approved for sacrifices and one pair of each of the others. These animals will come to you to be kept alive. Remember: Take enough food for your family and for all the animals.”
Noah did everything exactly as God told him to do. Just as God said, the floods came; water burst out from the earth, and rain poured from the sky. When the waters came, Noah, his family, and all the animals came on board the ark. As the waters rose, the boat floated safely on the surface. The flood covered even the tallest mountains, and all living creatures on the earth were destroyed, except for those on the ark.
After forty days the rains stopped. Many months passed as the waters slowly began to dry up. For weeks, Noah sent out a dove to see if it could find dry land. Finally the dove returned with an olive leaf in its mouth. So Noah sent the dove out again, and when it didn’t come back, he knew it was safe to return to land.
As soon as Noah came off of the ark, he built an altar, chose pure animals from every species, and sacrificed them to God as a symbol of thankfulness and worship. God was pleased with Noah’s sacrifice and said, “I will never again curse the earth, destroying all living things with a flood, even though people’s thoughts and actions are bent toward evil from childhood. As a symbol of my promise I will hang a rainbow in the clouds. When you see a rainbow, this will remind you of my promise to you.”
Then God told Noah and his sons, “I have put all animals under your control. You can use them for food, but you must never eat animals that still have their lifeblood in them. Those who murder must be punished by death. Life is in the blood, and all life belongs to me!”
God blessed Noah and his sons, telling them to have many children and once again fill the earth with people.