For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16

John 3:16 tells us that God loved us, so He sent Jesus to save us.

So why didn't He do this during Noah's time?

  • Related: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/14724/…
    – user3961
    May 16, 2013 at 18:29
  • The Bible reports a lot of what happened, but does not always report on why. The Old Testament provides an extended narrative of God's people falling away from him, and God sending prophets to lead them back to him. (Examples include Abraham and Moses, but there are others as well). you can tell from the OT that God was willing to let people come back to him via his prohpets/messengers. And they would, for a while. That pattern is well documented in the OT. The account of the Flood and Noah is, by comparison, very short in terms of the amount of text that captures that narrative. Feb 5, 2018 at 14:25

5 Answers 5


It's rather ironic — the thrust of your question is "Why did God wait so long?" Andrew Lloyd Webber asks the exact opposite question — "Why come so early?" As Judas sings in the finale:

Every time I look at you
I don't understand
Why you let the things you did
Get so out of hand
You'd have managed better
If you'd had it planned
Now why'd you choose such a backward time
And such a strange land?
If you'd come today
You could have reached the whole nation
Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication

The truth, however, is that God in his timing knew exactly when to come. As Paul says in Romans 5:6

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

That phrase "at the right time" is a single Greek word, kairos — which is an opportune moment, the perfect time for a thing. Paul says much the same thing in Galatians 4:

3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces[a] of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Why was the early 30s the perfect moment? Why was the fullness of time not earlier? Only God knows. We can speculate, but the truth is, only God knows.

One thing we do know is that God did not desire multiple sacrifices. Rather, he wanted one "for all time," as Hebrews states in chapter 10:

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Given how controversial literal interpretations of anything prior the written record, it is not overly surprising to me that God would wish to wait, for our benefit, to come to a time when written records would be preserved. (Heck, theologians even discounted the existence of a real King David until just recently when, surprise, written evidence found.)

Had Jesus come in antediluvian times, Jesus would have been hopelessly mythological. (Again, even with as much historical record as does exist — Tacitus, Josephus, etc. — many still regard Jesus as myth!)

And, absent the flood that did come, it is also equally likely that, frankly, God would look like too much of a softy. I mean, think about it — in Genesis, God is forever trying not to blow people away. He withholds the death that Adam & Eve deserve. He withholds the death that Cain deserves. And after the Flood at Babel, God disperses the people by the least intrusive means possible — confusing their language.

You can argue that God is not just (although I'd argue back with this question). You can argue God is too lenient. But the truth is, God has exactly the timing that he desires.

  • 3
    never would've expected a reference to Andrew Lloyd Webber in this way on this site :)
    – warren
    Mar 26, 2012 at 15:25
  • +1 for Wikipedia link to kairos. Sometimes I see on this site people refering to Greek, but fail to mention which Greek. Ancient? Byzantine? Or Modern? In Modern Greek, kairos just simply means 'time' now, or more specifically a time of the day, or time of the year such as a season.
    – user1946
    Aug 7, 2012 at 20:15
  • 1
    Don't you get me wrong. Don't you get me wrong. Don't you get me wrong now... Sep 24, 2012 at 13:47
  • If votes were renewable after a year, this would have another from me. Very nicely put.
    – Caleb
    May 29, 2013 at 6:48

Why does a judge sentence one man to prison, another to community service, and gives a third a suspended sentence? It may be because the judge is capricious, but it might also be because, after examining the facts of each case, he fairly concludes that this is the appropriate action in each.

Considering how little we know about the pre-Flood world, I think it's pretty tough to say.


According to the Biblical account, a lot of things were different in the antediluvian and early post-diluvian world—lifespans were longer (Gen. 5), one language was held in common (until Babel, Gen. 11), and even the very properties of water were different: there was no rain (Gen. 2:5) and rainbows were not seen in water (until Gen. 9:13-16).

Morality, too, appears to have been different. Before the Flood, Cain could ask God, perhaps in all honesty, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen. 4:9), and murderers like Cain and Lamech received divine protection. Only after the Flood does God change this: "From the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man." (Gen. 9:5, KJV).

In a world where there was little or no responsibility for the lives of others, could a Christ have taken it on himself to save humanity? Would that divine sacrifice have been understood?

  • Very interesting concept to show. You lead up to the question but then do not answer it. Perhaps an examining of what the "law" was to Noah and how it might have been similar to the Law that Moses received. +1 anyway.
    – user3961
    May 16, 2013 at 18:26

Short Answer: Because God's activities in Genesis 1-9 teach mankind about the coming of Jesus. It was not only important for Jesus to come, but also for mankind to understand Him when He came.

The question is a bit like asking why God didn't just send Jesus in Moses' day instead of the "Passover lamb." Jesus actually is the true Passover Lamb. But we only understand that because God first gave us a natural illustration to help us understand it when it happened.

Much of what we have in the Old Testament is God teaching His people spiritual / eschatological truths by illustration through the natural events of Old Testament history. The story of Genesis 1-9 is a picture of human history from the time following the flood to the end times.

To illustrate this, I will now summarize both stories simultaneously, using the same words:

  • The waters collect and dry land appears

  • Animals are introduced according to their kinds

  • One man and his family are introduced

  • God commands them to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth"

  • God gives them dominion over the animals

  • God gives them instructions about what to eat

  • The man and his family quickly fall into sin

  • Wickedness increases on the earth

  • God decides His Spirit will not strive with man forever, and numbers man's days; judgment is coming upon the whole earth

  • A safe-haven is provided by which one man and his family will be preserved from the coming destruction; those who are "in" this "safe-haven" will be raised up from the surface of the earth while everyone left on earth is destroyed

  • The wicked are oblivious until it is too late

  • God exercises judgment on the wicked earth, destroying every last person on earth. Only the one man and his family are spared, since they are no longer on the earth during this judgment.

  • The man and his family are safely introduced to a whole new world and given a fresh start

If it isn't obvious by now, Jesus is the true Noah. As further support, we see this comparison made a number of times in the New Testament:

For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. -Matthew 24:37

And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man -Luke 17:26

It is only Christ and His family -- those who are "in Christ" -- that will be raised up on the last day and spared from the judgment that is coming upon the whole world.

by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.

But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. -2 Pet. 3:5-7


  • Jesus is the Savior of His family, and all those who are not in Christ will be wiped off the face of the earth in a fiery judgment.

God gave us an illustration ahead of time to help us understand it:

  • Noah is the savior of his family, and all those who are not in his ark were wiped off the face of the earth in a watery judgment.


So, to answer your question, God gave us the events (and Biblical record) of Genesis 1-9 to help us understand Jesus and the coming judgment. That is why we have Noah and the flood.

But again, to clarify, it is Noah that corresponds to Jesus, and the flood corresponds to the coming judgment... it is not the flood that corresponds to Jesus as your question suggests. So if God had sent Jesus, that would not have negated the judgment. If God had skipped the illustrations and jumped straight to eschatological fulfillment, Jesus would have come and then the world would have been destroyed by fire (instead of water.) It is not as if the destruction would have been averted by His coming, as your question suggests.


I've pondered this myself. Genesis speaks of a period when a faction of angels deliberately defied God by coming down to Earth and mating with human women, resulting in a race of beings, the Nephilim.

The terrible nature of these creatures was one of the primary catalysts for the great flood and it's my belief that Jesus was sent to save God's intended people, not the aforementioned abominations.

Genesis 6:4-8 (NIV)

"4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.5 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. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 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.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord."

  • For clarification, when you say "that God hadn't intended" - I assume you don't mean that God was caught by surprise, or caught off-guard, so to speak. What does it mean exactly?
    – Matt
    Mar 24, 2012 at 21:05
  • That's correct, it's my belief that God intended for humans to be saved all along. He most certainly allowed the spawning of the Nephilim to teach the current and future generations the importance of living a gracious and loving life. Sorry for the confusion. Mar 24, 2012 at 21:22
  • nice observation, KodeKreachor, in fact, Jesus said that the period immediately before His coming would be like the days of Noah...
    – user1539
    Apr 10, 2012 at 10:25
  • @User1539 What verse is that?
    – user3961
    May 16, 2013 at 18:23
  • @fredsbend: Matthew 24:37.
    – Steve
    May 29, 2013 at 13:19

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