Genesis 6:5-7 - "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth ..."

The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the LORD said, "I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground — for I regret that I have made them." (Genesis 6:5-7)

Did God really regret making humans?

These verses indicate a God who is bitter and angry. They indicate that the Supreme Being regretted creating humanity. And that as a result, He decided to wipe everything out in a fit of anger.

To see the context of the statements in these verses we must examine the Hebrew texts.

One might ask who the Supreme Being was speaking this to? There is no indication that God is speaking to anyone. Therefore, we must understand that the Supreme Being is being paraphrased here, just as He has been in other verses from Genesis.

These texts were recorded many centuries after being passed down orally from teacher to student for thousands of years. From this, we can understand that they are third-hand narrations that have gone through many generations of oral teachings.

We can also see in these verses that there is no definite conversation between two individuals. There is no witness to this statement. It is paraphrasing. The writer of these verses was paraphrasing the Supreme Being.

In other words, it is not as if God is constantly talking to Himself, as if there is no one who will listen to Him. Rather, it is obvious that someone is listening to Him as this event is being described.

Some sectarian teachers might argue that God is speaking to Noah here, as God seems to be indicating the rationale for causing the great flood of Noah's time.

This, however, contradicts the events. Following these verses, Noah is introduced in Genesis 6:8-12 for the first time. Following that, Genesis 6:13 begins with: So God said to Noah,.... This is when the story indicates that God spoke to Noah.

We can therefore understand that Genesis 6:7 was not spoken to Noah. Rather, this statement was spoken by teachers who were explaining what they thought were some of the motives and emotions of the Supreme Being. They were paraphrasing God.

What is paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is a typical narrative tool. Let's say we were passing along a story about a forest ranger who saw a fire break out in the forest. The story might be narrated with something like: "When the forest ranger saw the fire, he saw that he needed to call the station immediately." This doesn't mean that the forest ranger said out loud to himself: "I have to call the station."

Yet at the same time, it is is also possible that the narrator made the assumption that this is why the ranger called the station. It is possible that he could have been calling the station for another reason.

Now if this story of the ranger had been told numerous times, from one generation to the next, the story may take on new assumptions. Perhaps someone adds that the ranger told the station personnel to bring more men to fight the fire with him. It wouldn't matter that the ranger called to warn the station so it would get evacuated. The story will have taken on a new meaning by then.

In the same way, the assumption that the great flood was caused by God becoming angry at the wickedness of humanity does not have a witness. It is a paraphrasing of God's theoretical purpose for the great flood.

Was there really a flood that covered the earth?

Scientists have been trying to confirm through archeology whether there indeed was a flood that covered the entire earth around the timeline stated in Genesis.

So far, core drilling samples do show there was a world-wide flood some five million years ago. This was long before there is any sign of humans, though it is certainly possible.

Yet there has also been an indication of a large flood in the region and timeline where the texts of Genesis arose. However, this flood timeline doesn't indicate a worldwide flood that wiped out all of humanity.

What archeologists have confirmed is that the region of the Mediterranean Sea swept into the Black sea and flooded out the region, which concurs with the timeline of the Book of Genesis.

Whether there was a world-wide flood during this time or a more regional flood, the event describes a deluge and the relationship between God and Noah:
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:8)

Did God really get this angry?

As to why the Supreme Being has been displayed with such ferocity in the texts of the Old Testament, the issue is power. Those early Israelite scribes who transcribed those original oral teachings into the texts labeled the Torah, followed by those early Church scribes, worked under the orders of those who wished to utilize the scriptures to gain followers and control people. They manipulated the words of the Supreme Being to create the impression that the Supreme Being is an angry God who gets pissed off easily and likes to "wipe out" people.

This allowed them to virtually threaten the populace: 'If you don't follow our institution, you will invoke God's wrath.'

This could not be further from the Truth about the Supreme Being, and we can see this even from within this paraphrasing of the Supreme Being.

The phrase "for I regret" is being translated from Hebrew word נחם (nacham). The translation word choice used here indicates that God was sorry he made man, but this is simply not true.

According to the lexicon, נחם (nacham) means, "to be sorry, be moved to pity, have compassion" and (Hithpael), "to be sorry, have compassion."

Now how does "compassion" relate to regret? When a person feels compassion, they also typically show sorrow - as they are sorry for another person being in that particular state.

This illustrates that the Supreme Being was not sorry that he made man - as though God is a spoiled brat who puts together a toy airplane, and if the toy doesn't satisfy him, he throws the toy to the ground and says, "I'm sorry I ever made that airplane!"

Yet this is how the translators are making out God to be. Is God a spoiled brat, that gets pissed off if we don't do what He says?

No. We must understand the situation. The Supreme Being is feeling compassion for those who have become empty and unsatisfied - and increasingly self-centered - due to their having left their natural position and loving relationship with Him. This emptiness was displayed by the increasingly perverse and violent activities of human society:
The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (Genesis 6:5)
Here the hearts of those on the earth at that time are seen as becoming progressively self-centered (evil), resulting in increasing perversity.

Due to His love for us, this caused the Supreme Being pain: His heart was deeply troubled. (Gen. 6:6)

In other words, God loves us and wants us to be happy. He doesn't need us. He doesn't get upset for Himself that we are rejecting Him. He wants us to be happy, and He knows that our only facility for true happiness is when we are embracing our natural position.

And what is that natural position? We were created by the Supreme Being to be His loving caregivers. He created us to exchange a loving relationship with Him. But since love requires freedom, He also gave us the freedom to love Him or not.

And some of us have taken advantage of this freedom and decided that we did not want to love Him and care for Him. We decided we wanted to love ourselves and care for ourselves and seek out our own happiness.

Does loving ourselves bring us happiness?

We can see it even in the common expression, 'tis better to give than to receive.' There is no fulfillment in receiving because we are caregivers by nature. We are happier giving than receiving.

This is also evidenced by those who have everything we might desire: Wealth, fame, political position, sensual pleasure and so on. We can see that those with practically everything - such as rock stars or movie stars - become miserable and even lonely with all their fame and wealth that many drown themselves in drugs and alcohol or even commit suicide. This is indicated in another verse:
God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. (Genesis 6:12)
Those who focus upon giving to others, or their families, on the other hand, find a little solace there. But they are not satisfied by those very things that we chase around - fame, wealth, pleasure and so on. This is seen even among the most wealthy people who have tried to become happy by gaining so much wealth - but find later in life that they gain more fulfillment by giving away that money.

Why are we here?

Once we took advantage of our freedom and rejected the Supreme Being we were given a virtual place - the physical world - and these temporary physical bodies to act out our self-centered desires. Because we wanted to be away from Him, God created the physical universe surrounded by water as an environment where we could not have to see Him. He created a place where we could avoid God.

We could compare this to an automobile and the freeway. When we sit down in a car we occupy the car. We do not become the car, we drive the car. But in order to use the car we must take the car to a freeway. Freeways are set up for speeding cars. Therefore, no one is allowed to walk on the freeway, because they will get hit by a car. The freeway was not designed for walking. It was designed for driving cars.

In the same way, we are given virtual temporary identities in the form of physical bodies. These physical bodies were designed for the physical world. The physical world was designed to allow us to escape from the spiritual plane. This is why the physical senses and mind cannot perceive the spiritual realm. After all, since we rejected God, God had to create a zone where we could seemingly get away from Him. While we can never really get away from God, He had to create the illusion that we were away from Him. This is the physical world.

But the Supreme Being also set up the physical world as a place of learning. He knows we won't be happy away from our natural position, so He set up the world to give us the illusion that He isn't there, but at the same time, set it up with many facilities for learning. In other words, this place is also a rehabilitation center.

Within the physical world, the Supreme Being set up an entire hierarchical system of species and rules of engagement - specifically, consequences. Consequence learning is the facility the Supreme Being set up to help us evolve, and gradually realize that we need to return to our natural position. Even then, it is still always our decision. He just helps us see the situation as it is, in order to make an educated decision.

And for those who want to avoid the decision - to the degree they want to avoid Him and the decision to return, He allows these persons to inhabit bodies that are to different degrees, ignorant. These are animals, fish, plants and so on. Those living beings within these physical bodies are also undergoing so many lessons, but they do not have the opportunity to make a choice. They must evolve to the point of taking on a human form before they have that opportunity.

But those of us who evolve to the point of occupying a human form is capable of realizing the Truth and making that decision. In the human form, we can decide to return to our natural position in the spiritual realm. If we want to.

What does God want from us?

God wants us to come home to Him. The Supreme Being wants us to come home because He knows we will be happier in the spiritual realm, in our natural position. We are each drowning in this physical world of illusion, chasing our self-centered desires which bring us no fulfillment. No happiness.

This is why the Supreme Being is feeling compassion. We know from the Hebrew that He is expressing His compassion for those who are lonely and empty here. This compassion is reiterated in Genesis 6:6, "His heart was deeply troubled. (Gen. 6:6)

This seems to restate what He is being paraphrased as saying in 6:7. Here again, the Hebrew word נחם (nacham) is being translated to "grieved" but its meaning is actually related to compassion. This compassion the Supreme Being has is confirmed with the Hebrew word עצב (`atsab), which is being translated to "filled with pain." And "heart" is being translated from לב (leb), which refers to one's innermost being, will, inclination or understanding according to the lexicon. In other words, it is not talking about a physical heart. It is referring to a Supreme Being who is complete with emotions of love and compassion.

Is there a difference between grief and regret?

This goes to practicality. Would the Supreme Being really be "grieved" and "filled with pain" in regret for something He created? What kind of Supreme Being is this, who makes something and then regrets making it? This incorrectly paints God as not only a spoiled brat but also as someone who doesn't create very well - that He would then regret what He created.

We see the word עשה (`asah) elsewhere used in this latter form just a few verses later. In Genesis 6:22, it says:
Noah did everything just as God commanded him. (Gen. 6:22)
Here what Noah "did" was service to the Supreme Being. He "did" (עשה (`asah)) just what God asked him to do. Noah could have easily not done what God asked. He could have said no. What Noah "did" was an offering or service to the Supreme Being. It was part of an exchange: Part of a relationship.

And what is this physical world? Is this not the place the Supreme Being made for us because we wanted to get away from Him? Isn't the illusion of the physical world that we cannot see God the result of our desires? Certainly, the Supreme Being did not desire that we turn our backs on Him and chase our self-centered desires around. But because we wanted this, the Supreme Being created the physical world as a gift to us. An offering of love.

So yes, the Supreme Being surely was saddened by our decision to be away from Him. It pained Him, not because He needs us. He has unlimited creative powers, and He has plenty of others who lovingly care for Him and exchange living relationships with Him. But He has a transcendental sadness for our current condition. He has compassion for us. He has mercy for us.

The Supreme Being could easily just let us go and drown forever within the physical world, forever forgetting Him and eternally empty. But He doesn't. This is why He created the physical world also as a place of learning: A place of consequence.

So what is this about the Supreme Being saying He will "wipe mankind from the face of the earth" then? How can this be connected to His feelings of compassion for us?

Again we must see the real situation. First of all, the "animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air" were not, according to the text, doing anything wrong that would make God want to wipe them out. Secondly, He did not wipe them out. And He did not wipe out "mankind" - humanity. Humans still dwell on earth and so do animals, birds and so on. So God did not wipe them out.

What God did was create a fresh start for humanity. He oversaw a flood that killed many physical bodies, but then made sure that some of the humans and the other species all repopulated the earth. What was the purpose of this?

Indeed, the Supreme Being has an ultimate purpose. We must remember that the persons who resided within each of those physical bodies who drowned in the Great Flood did not die. Their physical bodies died. And along with those bodies, many of their cultural habits that had developed over thousands of years also died.

Those persons who were occupying those physical bodies then each came to occupy another body after the flood and went on with their chase for happiness in the physical world along with their rehabilitation. But what changed is that the new human society - first guided by the devoted loving servant of God, Noah, - provided a better cultural foundation for those persons who were ready to make a decision to return home to the spiritual realm.

The human lifetime is a critical point in our evolution, and if we choose to produce a society that lives like animals - focused only upon eating, sleeping, mating and defending - then we will forfeit our current opportunity to return home to the spiritual realm. Because of our animal consciousness, we will descend into the animal species and begin a descent through the lower species. The physical world in itself is hell, but life in the lower species is a worse hell than the human form of life.

Should we make this choice, we will not necessarily lose our chance to return to the spiritual realm forever, but for a very long time. As we descend into the lower species, we will lose any remembrance of the Supreme Being. We will become focused upon eating, sleeping, mating and defending, and that's it. Once we reach the bottom of our evolution cycle, we begin to evolve back up through the species, until we gain another opportunity to live in a human form.

And for those who do make some spiritual progress during their human form - but have not perfected their learning - they will take on another human form, and have another chance. This depends upon our consciousness at the time of death - which directly relates to how we conduct ourselves during this lifetime.

With these points in mind, let's revisit the Supreme Being's paraphrased statement. Instead of Him being some kind of spoiled brat who is angry and bummed He made man in the first place, what was actually being communicated by the ancient teachers is a Supreme Being who was saddened about the current state of consciousness - the emptiness, loneliness and violent behavior - among most humans in the physical realm. Feeling compassionate, God decided to give humanity a fresh start. By wiping out the society as it was, He offered the potential to create a new human culture led first by His loving servant Noah, giving those who would occupy a human form a better shot at returning home to their natural position.

So those persons who were progressing spiritually and whose physical bodies were "wiped off the face of the earth" came back to re-inhabit human forms within a society that provided a better foundation for returning to the spiritual realm.

Did the earth get out of God's control?

The earth hasn't gotten out of God's control. The reality is that the Supreme Being simply has provided us a place where we can act freely. He has set the world up with automatic response mechanisms which allow us to quickly learn the consequences of our actions, good or bad.

The Supreme Being has offered us this place because He wants us to have the ultimate freedom to love Him or not.

What should be the correct translation of this paraphrased statement of the Supreme Being then? Utilizing the Hebrew as discussed here, a more appropriate translation of the text into modern English would render something like:
"I will cleanse the earth of human society, as well as the animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air - for I am feeling saddened and compassionate - and will offer them a new opportunity." (Genesis 6:7)
This "new opportunity" is indicated with the last phrase, וְעַד־עֹוף הַשָּׁמָיִם, which includes the root Hebrew word עשה (`asah), as "to make an offering." This word also indicates "to appoint, ordain, institute" according to the lexicon. To "institute" something is to set up a new opportunity. This is precisely what the "cleansing" (a better translation than to "wipe") achieved. A new start for those who were ready to inhabit another human form of life.

The goal is to return to our natural position and our loving relationship with the Supreme Being. This is why both Moses and Jesus taught as the most important instruction:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'" (Matt. 22:37-38 and Deut. 6:4)