The Post-Diluvian Age
May 19th, 1957 @ 8:15 AM
THE POST DILUVIAN AGE:
THE CALL OF ABRAHAM
Dr. W.A. Criswell
5-19-57 8:15 a.m.
You are sharing with us the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. This is the pastor bringing the early morning message from the ninth chapter of Genesis through the first part of the twelfth chapter of Genesis. And it includes The Post -Diluvian Age and the Call Of Abraham.
Now, let us turn in our Bibles to the ninth chapter of the Book of Genesis. And we begin there the story of a new age, a new government, a new dispensation. I suppose anyone who studies the Bible could group the development of the revelation of God and the dealings of God with man in many different ways, but here is one. There was a way that God dealt with man in the garden of Eden [Genesis 2:8-3:24], and we call that the Age of Innocence. Then there was another way that God dealt with man after the garden and to the judgment of the Flood [Genesis 4:1-8:22]. And that was an age when everybody did according as he pleased, and we call that the Age of Conscience.
Then there was another day, another age, and this age follows the Flood and lasts until the day, the call of Abraham [Genesis 9:1-11:32]. And we could call that the Day and the Age of Human Government. This is the day, this is the age, when nations first began to be organized and when social and civil law and order became regnant in the earth. Then you have an Age of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the twelve sons of Israel [Genesis 12:1-50:26]. And you could call that the Age of Promise or the Age of the Patriarchs. Then you have a long day and story from Moses until the coming of the Christ. So you could call that the Age of the Dispensation of Law.
Then you have the story of the coming of Christ and His crucifixion, and that’s the age in which we now live, and you could call that the “Age of the Church,” or the “Age of Grace,” or the “Age of the Holy Spirit,” or the “Age of the Preaching of the Gospel of the Son of God.” And that’s the day, the dispensation, the government, the age under which we live. Then there is one other, there is a coming age, a coming day, a coming kingdom, and that will be beginning with the glorious appearing of our Lord into the forever of the forevers [Matthew 25:31]. And you could call that the “Kingdom Age.” So I say as you take the Bible as a whole, as God reveals Himself and as He deals with the man that He made, it sort of falls into those ages.
Now this morning, we’re going to take the third one, this age after the Flood, after the Deluge [Genesis 9:1]. And we’re going to see how men do under a new government and directive from the Lord. Now look at it: here in the ninth chapter, in the second verse, the Lord says that we are going to have dominion over the beasts of the field, and the fowl of the air, and “over everything that moveth upon the earth” [Genesis 9:2]. And how is it going to be? Is it going to be in loving submission such as you had in the garden of Eden? Or is it going to be because we are smart and ingenious with powers to kill and to destroy? What is it going to be in this new age? Well, it says here:
The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and every fowl of the air, and upon all that moveth upon the earth, and even the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered.
Now that’s a mandate of God. That’s a decree of the Almighty. And it comes out just like God has decreed it.
A man is about the weakest and most helpless of all the animals that the Lord has made. You pit a single, lone man against a leopard or a tiger or a lion or an elephant, he is nothing. He is weak and puny, and yet the Lord says, “Into your hands I have delivered all of these beasts and everything that moveth in the air or through the sea” [Genesis 9:2]. And the reason for it is in the ingenuity of the man that God has made. We have atomic bombs, and hydrogen bombs, and missiles, and guns, and I don’t know what all we have. And the animal kingdom is subject to us because of fear and dread. Not as it was in the days of the Edenic innocence, when the lion lay down with the lamb, and the calf and the fatling and the wolf, all of them together [Isaiah 11:6-7]. No, this world in which we live is a world of the tooth and the tiger and the mailed fist [Isaiah 57:21]. And it’s going to be that way until the Lord comes and fills this earth with love and peace and righteousness [Isaiah 2:4, 11:9].
I don’t care how many United Nations, or how many League of Nations, or how many Concord Acts, or how many Kellogg peace pacts. The ape and the tiger and the lion are in the human heart, and they are in this earth. And it is that kind of a world in which we live. The day of the Edenic quiet and peace is gone. Sin destroyed it [Genesis 3:1-6], and we live in an age, the Bible says, of fear and of dread [Genesis 9:2]. And when you get rid of Napoleon, you’ve got Bismarck to face. And when you get rid of Bismarck, you have Kaiser Wilhelm II to face. And when you get rid of Kaiser Wilhelm II, you have Hitler to face. And when you get rid of Hitler, you have Stalin to face. And when you get rid of Stalin, you have those unspeakable gangsters in China and in the Kremlin to face. And if we were to be able to vanquish communism overnight, we’d have some other low-down, sorry, good-for-nothing critter of a devil to face still! You don’t get rid of them. That’s what the Book says, and that’s all I’m doing is just telling you, Sunday by Sunday, what the Book says. It’s a world of fear and of dread, not of peace and of righteousness.
All right, let’s look again at this. God does another thing. Heretofore, all of this world was herbivorous. God never intended this world to be carnivorous. God never made His animals to eat one another. God never made the man to eat flesh [Genesis 1:29-30]. In the days of the millennium, it will go back to that Edenic way that God created this earth. “The lion will eat straw like an ox” [Isaiah 11:7]. But, after sin destroyed God’s beautiful world [Genesis 3:1-6], animals ate one another. And here in the third verse of the ninth chapter of Genesis, God gives to the man for the first time, a decree that he is privileged to eat meat, “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things” [Genesis 9:3], only, says God, “you are not to drink the blood” [Genesis 9:4]. You are not to eat the flesh with the blood. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood… and He has given it to us for an atonement on an altar for our souls” [Leviticus 17:11].
So we can eat meat [Genesis 9:3]. That’s the first time God gives that order to the man. It’s that kind of a world. It’s a world of blood, and it’s a world of murder, and it’s a world of death, and it’s a carnivorous world, where dog eats dog. And even the man that God made eats flesh. You know, sometimes when I think about those things, it’s hard for me to realize what kind of a world we live in, that we should eat one of God’s creatures. In fact, sometimes eat each other! Man, if not by digestion, then eat us up by words and spirit and I don’t know what all, but it’s that kind of a world. In fact, a lot of people live in that kind of a home, just eat them up. Well, it’s not an easy thing, this thing that’s coming, is it?
All right, look at another thing that God has done. In the sixth verse of the ninth chapter of the Book of Genesis is the pronouncement of a decree from God concerning capital punishment. Genesis 9:6: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He him.” That decree has never been annulled, nor has it ever been changed. The magistrate’s sword is now placed in the man’s hand. And this is the beginning of law and government and an ordered society.
In a moment, when we turn the page to the tenth chapter, we’re going to see a new word, a new classification, a new social order. You’re going to find government and nations, and the magistrate’s sword, I say, is placed now in the man’s hand. And capital punishment, the power to take a man’s life, is the very sign and aegis of that power. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” [Genesis 9:6]. A man can now be tried for his life, and if he is guilty of vast wrong doing and the court feels that for that wrong he ought to forfeit his own life, that power is given into the hands of the court.
You have here in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Romans a New Testament writing concerning human government. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” [Romans 13:1]. Government is an ordination of God, not anarchy, but government:
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is a minster of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid: for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for constancy. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom, taxes to whom taxes are due; fear to whom fear is due; and honor to whom honor is due.
You live in an age of government and of established social order. “And a good Christian is a good citizen,” as Doctor James says [1 Timothy 2:1-2; 1 Peter 2:17]. We are not to live in violation of the spirit and the laws of our country, but we are to be civilly obedient. And if there are laws that we think are unjust, then we ought to work in every way possible by peaceable means to change those laws. But a Christian is always a good citizen of his country.
All right, now may I say something in passing? I cannot for the life of me understand why it is that I’m not a good Christian because I am a nationalist. I am an American and a patriotic American. Some of these new theologians and some of these new philosophers are beginning to teach one great government and that for a man to be loyal to his own country and his own constitution is to be disloyal to the great vision of the future hopes of humanity, and that we ought to work for one great, super world government.
Now, I can be a good loyal American citizen, and my neighbor to the north can be a good loyal Canadian, and my neighbor to the south can be a good loyal Mexican. And my neighbor across the sea can be a good loyal Filipino. And my neighbor on the other side can be a good loyal Frenchman. And we all, in the peace and love of God, get along beautifully if we will. Patriotism, nationalism, love of country is I think, one of the things that God has put in the human heart. And for you to love America and love the nation and love your people is of God. The Lord made us that way. This is the age in which we live. And the thing for us to do is not to believe that the laws of our nation are contrary to the will and Spirit of God and we must do away with nationalism and do away with love of our country in order to work toward some great, super world government, not at all. We all can be good citizens of our own native lands and by the grace of God love one another. That’s what God would like. That’s what the Lord is pleased with. The only thing is we don’t love one another very much.
Now turn the page, and we’re coming to the tenth chapter of the Book of Genesis. And you’re going to find there a word that has never been used before. In the fifth verse of the tenth chapter of Genesis, there is a word go-yim, goyim, and that word is translated “nations” [Genesis 10:5]. It’s translated “Gentiles” first there in the fifth verse of the tenth chapter of Genesis. That word “nations” is used twice there in the fifth verse of the tenth of Genesis. It’s used again in the twentieth verse of the tenth of Genesis [Genesis 10:20]. It’s used again in the thirty-first verse of the tenth of Genesis [Genesis 10:31]. And it is used again twice in the last verse of the tenth of Genesis, “These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the Flood” [Genesis 10:32].
So we have come to the day and the age of human government, and the division of the family of Noah into nations which, I say, pleases God. God made it that way, for us to be Americans, and other people to be other nations and other nationalities. It pleased the Lord to do it that way, and that’s the way it’s done.
Now as I read through the beginnings of these nations there in the tenth chapter, I come across Nimrod in the eighth verse; Nimrod, who was the first great conqueror, mighty man and hunter before God [Genesis 10: 8-9]. Then in the tenth verse I come across Babel which is Babylonia [Genesis 10:10], and in the eleventh verse I come across Nineveh [Genesis 10:11], and in the fifteenth verse I see Sidon [Genesis 10:15]. All of these, the descendants of Noah, began to divide up into nations and build cities and administer government. That’s the kind of world the Lord is making.
Now we come to the eleventh chapter, and let’s see how the man fared in this new day and in this new age after the Flood. You would think, wouldn’t you? Now tell me honestly, you would think, wouldn’t you, that after the Flood we would have a world of righteousness? What a golden opportunity to serve God, to administer justice, to have peace and good will and the love of God wherever men are, wouldn’t you think that?
Look at this. After the Flood, Noah was a man of six hundred years experience [Genesis 7:6, 11, 13]. And he was a righteous man and a good man, the only good man with his family in this earth [Genesis 7:13, 23], and he found grace in God’s sight [Genesis 6:8]. After the Deluge, there was Noah, with six hundred years experience. There was his youngest son Shem, who was ninety-eight years old. Of the three boys, Japheth and Ham and Shem [Genesis 7:13], even the youngest, Shem, was ninety-eight years old. And he was prepared, fully mature, for the task that lay ahead. Just back of them was the most terrible warning of the judgment and wrath of God this world ever saw [Genesis 7:17-24]. There wasn’t anything like that and won’t be until the great final tribulation that’s yet to come [Luke 17:26]. The judgment and wrath of God that destroyed the entire human race, all except righteous Noah and his family [Genesis 7:23].
Now that was in the immediate past. And there in front of them, the earth filled with all of it’s marvelous possibilities and Noah and his family going out to replenish and to subdue the earth [Genesis 9:1]. Now wouldn’t you think, if ever there was a time when men had a golden opportunity to bring in peace and righteousness and judgment and justice, this is the time? All right, what did they do with it?
Well, it came to pass that as they journeyed from the east that they found a plain in the land of Shinar [Genesis 11:2], which is between the Tigris and the Euphrates River, and there did they dwell and multiply. And while they were there, they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly, make them hard, real hard, burn them in a fire,” just like these bricks piled up in these multi-storey buildings in Dallas, “Let us make us brick and burn them in a fire.” And so they had brick for stone, and they had slime for mortar [Genesis 11:3].
There’s oil over there in that country, the Bible says, here in the eleventh chapter of Genesis [Genesis 11:3]; slime comes from oil, petroleum, and they said, “Let us build us a city and a tower, clear up to heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” [Genesis 11:4]. Now that’s the family of Noah, the descendants of Noah. What is it they’re trying to do here? Someone will say, “Well, they’re trying to build a tower in order to escape another flood.” Well, there is nothing of that in the Bible, and my common sense would tell me if I were going to build a tower to escape the flood, I wouldn’t build it in a river bottom, I wouldn’t build it on a plain, I’d get me a high mountain, and I’d build that tower on a high mountain if I were going to try to escape another world flood. But there is nothing like that in the Bible; that is just some fellow’s imagination. Some fellow came along and said that, and the other fellow heard him and he said it, and he just comes on down, and then you say it. Well, it’s not in the Bible, and there’s nothing of that in it.
Now this is why the Bible says they built that city and that tower. First: “lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” [Genesis 11:4]. They were purposely countermanding a decree of God. The Lord said to those descendants of Noah to replenish the earth and to subdue it [Genesis 9:1], and they said, “No, it’s hard work out there away from all the conveniences of being huddled together, and we’re not going to scatter, and we’re not going out to the frontier, and we’re not going to subdue and to replenish this earth. But we are going to stay together where everything is soft and easy and convenient for us.” And so they built this city and that great tower in it as a rallying point. That was a hub around which they met to congregate like bees to swarm. All right, that’s the first thing.
The second thing is they said, “Let us do it and make us a great name” [Genesis 11:4]. All right, if you had about an hour here, we’d talk about that trait in human nature, “let us make us a great name.” Many of you have seen the pyramids. You sure think lots of thoughts I tell you when you look at those great pyramids in the land of Egypt. Well, there they are, and you stand there, and you look at them, and your mind goes back, why were they built?
Did you know for centuries men said that those pyramids were built, some of them said, for astronomical purposes, for observations of the heavens? Some of them said they were built to withstand the encroachment of the sands of the desert. Some of them said they were built because they needed great granaries and they were used for granaries somehow, in which to store food and wheat. When actually we discovered why they were built, it was that same old trait of human nature. They were built to perpetuate the name and the memory of the great Pharaoh who conscripted human slaves to erect them for the perpetuation of a name. In order that they might be remembered, they built those great mausoleums and piled up those stones to high heaven, in which they could be buried and in which their memories could be enshrined forever. That’s human nature and that’s what these people were doing. They were trying to make them a great, great name and to be famous in the earth.
So the Lord came down to see what the descendants of Noah were doing [Genesis 11:5]. And lo and behold, they were down there countermanding the decrees of God with no purpose or consent at all to replenish this earth and subdue it. And they were down there in this selfish thing of trying to make them a great name for themselves [Genesis 11:4].
Did you know the Lord is the most ingenious somebody in this earth? How would you think the Lord would have stopped that? Well, you would have said, “I know how the Lord will stop that. He will create dissension among them, and they’ll all get to quarreling and falling out with each other.” No, He didn’t do it that way. Well, you say, “The Lord will send another great flood [Genesis 7:17-24], and He will wash them away.” He didn’t do it that way. Well, somebody else would say, “I know how the Lord is going to stop them, He is going to send fire down from heaven like brimstone and burn them up like He did Sodom and Gomorrah” [Genesis 19:24-29]. And He didn’t do it that way. He did it the most unusual way you would ever have imagined.
Who would ever, ever have thought that the Lord would have done this thing the way that He did it. The Lord said, “You go out and subdue this world and replenish it” [Genesis 9:1]. And they didn’t propose to obey God. And they said, “We are going to build us a great tower as a monument to our powers, and ingenuity, and architectural genius, and mechanical skill. We are going to do this in our name” [Genesis 9:4]. And the Lord has more ways to confound the ungodly than you can imagine. The things that God does! Who would ever, ever, ever have imagined that the way the Lord God did that thing was to confound their languages [Genesis 11:7-9].
The whole earth, it says, was of one language and of one speech [Genesis 11:6]. Now, I want to show you something here. Wouldn’t you suppose that would be true, the whole earth was of one language and of one speech? There was just one man, one father in it, and his name was Noah, and he spoke a language. And he had three sons, and wouldn’t you suppose that they spoke the same language their father did? And they had each his wife, that’s three women. And however they talked, don’t you suppose they talked in that same language? Don’t you suppose? Well, they had children. Don’t you suppose they spoke that same language? And then they had grandchildren, and don’t you suppose they spoke that same language? Now wouldn’t you suppose that all of the language of the world would be pretty much one language, no matter how the centuries and generations passed?
Oh, it might shade a little into dialects. An Englishman might have an English accent, and a Southerner might have a southern accent, “Suh.” And a Northerner might talk like a Yankee, trip-hammer Yankee, you know, and there might be dialects of that same language. But did you know that these men who study semantics, did you know these men who hypothesize that all language came from one language, did you know that they are absolutely at a loss even to begin to demonstrate such a thing? There are several hundreds of kinds of languages in this earth, did you know that?
And when you take all of the languages of this earth and try to go back and back and back and find a root, a common root, a common mother, a common source for all of the languages of this earth, did you know it can’t be done? You can take these many languages and go back and back, and you will find some of them come from a Romance language, from Rome, from the Latin, and some of them will go back there to a Chinese, and some of them will go back to a Polynese, and some of them will go back to those tribal groups in Africa, and some of them will be like these in America. But there is no such a thing as a common mother, a common background, a common root for the languages of this world!
Now why not? Why not? There was a time when there was one language spoken in this world, just one. And yet of all of these languages that are spoken now, there is no such a thing as bringing them back just to one, to a common mother, to a common denominator. Well, why that? Says here in the Book, says here in the Book, the Lord God looked down, and the people were one, and they all had one language [Genesis 11:5-6], and the Lord said, “Let Us go down” [Genesis 11:7]. Now, look at that “Us,” let “Us” go down. I’ve come across that before, haven’t you?
And God said, “Let Us make man in Our image” [Genesis 1:26]. And “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Isaiah 6:8. “Let Us go down, and confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth”: and they left off to build the city” [Genesis 11:7-8], because they couldn’t talk to one another. All they could do with one another was jabber, and he couldn’t understand it, and another one was jabbering over there and how to do that, and he couldn’t understand him. They couldn’t build, they couldn’t carry on, they couldn’t understand one another.
Therefore is the name of it called “confusion,” Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
Now I have to quit. I want to say just one thing and then we stop. There was not, there is not here recorded a single witness for God, not a one. And the descendants of Noah, every one of them so far as we can know, every one of them turned to idolatry, every one of them and worshiped the stars of the heavens, and the sun, and the moon, and the earth and all things that are in it. Thus, the descendants of old man Noah, and even Terah, according to Joshua 24:2, even Terah, the father of Abraham, was an idolater. The whole world turned to idolatry in this new age after the days of the Flood. And it was then that God decided to call out a family, one family [Genesis 12:1-3], and through him raise up a nation through whom the oracles, and the decrees, and the mandates, and the laws, and the revelation of God could be taught unto men, and through whom should come the Seed of the woman [Genesis 3:15], and the Savior of the earth [Genesis 22:18]. And the Lord chose Abraham, out of a world and out of a house of idolatry that he might be the instrument for the blessing of the world [Genesis 12]. And now that’s where we’ll pick up next Lord’s day morning.
Now while we sing a stanza of our hymn, somebody to give his heart to the Lord, somebody to put his life in the fellowship of the church. While we sing this song, into this aisle and down here by me, will you come and will you stand? While all of us sing our hymn today.
THE POST-DILUVIAN AGE
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. Seven great ages
1. Innocence – garden to the expulsion
2. Conscience – expulsion to the flood
3. Human government – flood to the call of Abraham
4. Patriarchal, promise – Abraham to Moses and the Exodus
5. Law – Moses to Jesus
6. Grace – Jesus to His coming
7. Kingdom – His coming to eternity
II. Government, social law comes order and nations
1. How man faired in the third new age? Failure
a. Self worship – Babel
b. Idol worship
III. God’s new decision to single out one family
1. Genesis 12
2. Separation – the first demonstration of faith
3. Faith in God’s promise