Many of the founding fathers of America were Deists. “Deism is essentially the view that God exists, but that He is not directly involved in the world. Deism pictures God as the great ‘clockmaker’ who created the clock, wound it up, and let it go. A deist believes that God exists and created the world, but does not interfere with His creation. Deists deny the Trinity, the inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, miracles, and any supernatural act of redemption or salvation. Deism pictures God as uncaring and uninvolved. Thomas Jefferson was a famous deist, referring often in his writings to ‘Providence.’”[1] No Bible-believing Christian can subscribe to this view. The Bible itself shows that God is involved in people’s lives and cares passionately about us. Furthermore, there are many specific instances in the biblical record where God’s love and care for us are documented. God loves everyone, and he wants us to love him in return. Learning to love God involves loving and caring for our fellowmen. When people reject God, they care less about their fellow man. From the beginning of mankind, that resulted in Cain killing his brother, Lamech’s murder and polygamy, and then violence being the common theme by the time of the flood. I often think of the situation on earth before the flood in Genesis six as similar to Germany in World War II. Hatred and violence abounded. This is where God got involved.

The English Standard Version in Genesis 6:6 tells us that as God observed the violence on the earth, He “Regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” The New Living Translation puts this verse, “So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.” Other translations say, “it filled his heart with pain.” God is not distant and removed from man’s situation and, as any loving parent, wants his children to love each other. The whole idea of justice and righteousness pursues God’s desire for us to treat each other appropriately. He went to great lengths to invest himself in the lives of his creation to help us understand that. In the days of Noah, it required a rebooting of the entire race because of the violence done to one another. The use of the Hebrew word for corruption and violence in this verse “Conveys that the advancement of sin has reached its apex, permeating every corner of civilization.[2] But with the call of Abraham, God worked with people. First, he did that one at a time; then, he worked with his chosen nation to bring into the world a set of laws and instructions on how to live with one another.

There has been much debate over how God, being the perfect being, can ever “repent” or “be sorry” for what he has done. The Bible contradicts that idea. 1 Samuel 15:29 says, “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.” Whereas the human race only plotted evil in their hearts, God was grieved in his heart. He now had to act to remove the evil from the earth for the sake of all humanity. God does not “regret” or “feel sorry for” any particular action He chooses, but he loves justice and will always bring it about in our world. I like how Matthews concludes his remarks on this verse. He writes, “In Christ, we see God so moved by grief and love that he chooses to take upon himself the very suffering of our sins. God is not a dispassionate accountant overseeing the books of human endeavor; rather, he makes a personal decision out of sorrowful loss to judge Noah’s wicked generation.”[3]


[2] Walton, John H. 2001. Genesis. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Mathews, K. A. 1996. Genesis 1-11:26. Vol. 1A. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.