Clines on God’s Second Repentance in Genesis 6

From David Cline’s The Failure of the Flood:

According to the biblical narrative, the Flood is determined upon by the deity because humans are wicked. He is sorry he has created humans and resolves to ‘blot them out’ with a flood of waters. The universal Flood he plans to bring upon the earth will destroy not only all humans but also all animals, and the earth itself (Gen. 6.13). His design is therefore to undo the whole work of creation.

In the event, according to the narrative, that is the opposite of what happens. The earth survives, the waters dry up, the animals are released on to the earth to breed abundantly (8.17)-and humanity, because of whom the annihilating Flood has been sent, is charged with being fruitful and multiplying and filling the earth yet again (9.1).

So the deity not only totally changes his mind about the wisdom of creating the world, he also totally changes his mind about the wisdom of uncreating it. The narrative, however, does not say that. It spends some time explaining how God decided to destroy the world, and how he felt about his original creation: he was ‘sorry that he had created humans, and it grieved him to his heart’ ( 6.6). But it does not spend a moment over how he felt about reversing his decision to destroy the world, or over how or why he made yet another U-turn.

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