Genesis vi. 10-13.

July 5, 2010

And he begot three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth.  And the earth was corrupted before God, and was filled with iniquity. And when God had seen that the earth was corrupted (for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth), he said to Noe: The end of all flesh is come before me, the earth is filled with iniquity through them, and I will destroy them with the earth.

10-12. Noe’s sons; the earth corrupted

St. Chrysostom: “After Scripture said that that just man had three sons, at once it added: Now the earth was corrupt before God, and was filled with iniquity.  Did you see the great and indescribable variety in the same nature?  For Scripture said of the just man: Noe was a just man … but of all the others it says: Now the earth was corrupt before God, and was filled with iniquity.  For by the name earth, it designates the multitude of men.  For since all their works were earthly, accordingly Scripture signifies by the name earth both their vileness and their excess of wickedness … It should be said that corrupt gives a certain emphasis to their wickedness, which was of every sort.  For it cannot be said that they were guilty of one or two sins only, but that they committed every sort of iniquity without limit: and therefore it adds: And the earth was filled with iniquity.  They strove after sin, neither in passing nor without interest, but committed all kinds of sin with burning exertion.  And see how Scripture does not consider them worthy of more than unimportant memory, but calls them by the name of earth, at once indicating the gravity of their sins and the wrath of God.  Now the earth was corrupt, it says, before God: that is, they did everything differently from how God had instructed them, trampling on His commandments, losing the inborn judge of human nature through idleness.  Did you see, beloved, how evil sin is, how it brings it about that men are not worthy to be called by their own name?  Again, hear what follows: And the Lord God saw the earth, and it was corrupt.  See again how it calls them earth.  And afterwards, having called them earth once, and again, and a third time, so that no one might suppose He speaks of the physical earth, it says: For all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth.  Nor here does it honor them with the name of man, but calls them flesh: by which it wishes to teach us that it speaks not of this earth, but of men clothed in flesh and devoting themselves completely to earthly works” (xxiv. 2.).

13. God speaks to Noe

“Now, by what Scripture adds, it shows to us God’s indescribable mercy, and the greatness of his kindness.  For what does it say?  And God spoke to Noe.  See the immense goodness.  For He tells this just man, like one friend to another, of the punishment with which He will threaten the human race … ‘I have shown,’ He says, ‘great patience, great tolerance, not wishing to inflict the punishment that I am going to; but because the measureless multitude of their sins has led them to this point, it is necessary to put an end to them, and to destroy their wickedness, lest it progress further’ … ‘Did they leave out anything,’ He says, ‘that aims at sin?  I can see such a flood of wickedness that it overflows and gushes forth and fills the whole earth: therefore I will destroy both them and the earth itself.  Because they first corrupted themselves by their own wicked deeds, I will therefore bring about a general ruin, and destroy them as well as the earth, so that the earth may be purged and healed from so many stains of sin.’  Now, if you please, what do you think was the state of the just man’s soul when he heard these things from the Lord?  For although he was conscious that he possessed much virtue, he nevertheless did not receive what was said without sorrow.  For the just are inclined to love, and undertake whatever must be done for the salvation of others” (xxiv. 3.).

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