Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:5-8 NKJV)
Now that is an interesting passage from Scripture. Does God change His Mind? I don’t believe He does, but let’s look see what some of the Commentary writers have to say. The bolding mine.
(Believer’s Bible Commentary) – “6:6, 7 The Lord’s sorrow does not indicate an arbitrary change of mind, though it seems that way to man. Rather, it indicates a different attitude on God’s part in response to some change in man’s behavior. Because He is holy, He must react against sin.”
(Barnes – this is long but interesting) – Gen_6:7 – I will wipe away man from the face of the soil. – The resolve is made to sweep away the existing race of man. Heretofore, individuals had departed this life. Adam himself had long since paid the debt of nature. These solemn testimonies to the universal doom had not made any salutary or lasting impression on the survivors. But now a general and violent destruction is to overtake the whole race – a standing monument of the divine wrath against sin, to all future generations of the only family saved.
From man to cattle, creeper and fowl of the sky. – These classes of animated nature being mingled up with man are involved in the same ruin with him. This is of a piece with the curse laid upon the serpent, which was the unconscious organ of the tempter. It is an instance of a law which runs through the whole course of nature, as we observe that it is the method of the divine government to allow for the time the suffering inflicted on an inferior animal, or even on a fellow-creature, by selfish passion. It has an appearance to some minds of harshness and unfairness. But we must remember that these animated creatures are not moral, and, therefore, the violent termination of their organic life is not a punishment; that the pain incidental to this, being apart from guilt, is in itself a beneficial provision for the conservation of life; and that it was not intended that the life of animals should be perpetual. The return of the land to a state of desolation by the destruction of animal and vegetable life, however, has its lesson for man, for whom ultimately all of this beauty and fertility were designed, and from whom it is now withdrawn, along with all the glories it foreshadows, as part of the punishment of his guilt. The tenant has become unworthy of the tabernacle, and accordingly he is dispossessed, and it is taken down and removed.
(Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown) – Genesis 6:5-6 – God saw it … repented … grieved — God cannot change (Malachi_3:6; James_1:17); but, by language suited to our nature and experience, He is described as about to alter His visible procedure towards mankind – from being merciful and long-suffering, He was about to show Himself a God of judgment; and, as that impious race had filled up the measure of their iniquities, He was about to introduce a terrible display of His justice (Ecc_8:11).
(Matthew Henry) – 4. Even the brute-creatures were to be involved in this destruction – Beasts, and creeping things, and the fowls of the air. These were made for man, and therefore must be destroyed with man; for it follows: It repenteth me that I have made them; for the end of their creation also was frustrated. They were made that man might serve and honour God with them; and therefore were destroyed because he had served his lusts with them, and made them subject to vanity. 5. God took up this resolution concerning man after his Spirit had been long striving with him in vain. None are ruined by the justice of God but those that hate to be reformed by the grace of God.
(Guzik) – “b. The Lord was sorry that He had made man . . . He was grieved in His heart: God’s sorrow at man, and the grief in His heart, are striking. This does not mean that creation was out of control, nor does it mean that God hoped for something better but was unable to achieve it. God knew all along that this was how things would turn out, but our text tells us loud and clear that as God sees His plan for the ages unfold, it affects Him. God is not unfeeling in the face of human sin and rebellion.”
(Wesley) – “Genesis 6:7 – I will destroy man – The original word is very significant. I will wipe off man from off the earth; as dirt is wiped off from a place which should be clean, and thrown to the dunghill. Or, I will blot out man from the earth, as those lines are blotted out of a book which displease the author, or as the name of a citizen is blotted out of the rolls of the freemen when he is disfranchised. Both man and beast the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air – These were made for man, and therefore must be destroyed with man. It repenteth me that I have made them – For the end of their creation also was frustrated: they were made that man might serve and honour God with them and therefore were destroyed, because he had served his lusts with them, and made them subject to vanity.
These are just some of the remarks from the Commentaries that I have on my e-Sword program, which I use often. My understanding is that God had created both man and beasts/birds. They were suppose to serve Him and use the birds in His service also. After the fall, (Genesis 3) that is when things changed. Man continued sinned more and more until it was continually night and day – “24/7”. Apparently, they even used the creatures and birds in evil ways. Enough was enough and God had reached the end of his long suffering and had to use justice. Because of His Love, he could not let things continue. Gospel Presentation
Now we see such beautiful birds and wonder how much impressive were they like in their unfallen state. I am so thankful that God saved Noah’s family and at least 2 of each animal and 7 pairs of each of the birds. We see some glimpse of what they must have been like. We also, unfortunately, see the results of the curse on many of our avian friends.
More Birds of the Bible