Undoubtfully the all-loving G-d was a bit harsh on punishing the whole generation of Noah (probably millions?) by drowning them (and all the animals - what did they do?) in boiling water (He could simply give them a stroke). But what were they punished for? Here's some background, please let me know if I contradict any Midrashic interpretations:

  1. G-d creates Adam and allegedly commands him the 7 Noahide laws with nothing in written (for those who think only Noah was commanded, this is even a better question).

  2. Even when commanded, Adam is not explained the reward for his compliance or the punishment for transgressing them, not mentioning "the final solution" for the whole of humanity.

  3. Strangely, we see that Adam isn't commanded to pass those commandments and this knowledge on to his descendants or to rebuke the wrongdoers. Neither he's commanded to educate his kids accordingly. Surely he wanders around telling his story, but the only punishment he tells about is downgrading to the Earthy life.

  4. G-d gets, probably, seriously hurt by Adam's sin and decides to completely hide Himself from humanity, He doesn't speak with people and doesn't send reliable messengers.

  5. Meanwhile, 9 generations of humans are born into total bliss and anarchy, setting their own rules for social conduct and eventually forgetting who G-d is. That angers Him but, instead of intervening, He patiently waits for almost 16 centuries and then suddenly, one day, He reveals to only one man, describes His plan and commands to prepare himself for his personal salvation.

The gloomy rest we all know.

Personally, many years ago, I used to yell at my kids for their misbehavior, but eventually recognized that much of it boils to my misunderstanding or unrealistic expectation, and if I was my kids I would behave pretty similarly.

Of course, I'm not judging G-d and He must be by definition just, I'm trying to understand His thinking and reasoning (for it is a Mitzvah to follow His ways) and it's important that He not only be just but He has to look just.

So, how do our interpreters see G-d's justify G-d's expectations from Dor Hamabul?

  • You're asking a lot of questions here, but why must the mabul be malicious? It reset society on the foundation of Noach the Righteous, no stinking corpses everywhere, human-animal balance maintained? The world was in a permanent spiral of lawlessness before then. Your question why G-d didn't work harder to constantly remind humanity of His commandments is a separate question and should.be asked separately.
    – Derdeer
    Aug 26, 2021 at 10:14

1 Answer 1


You are right to ask this question. Why did G-d feel the need to “blot out from the earth the men whom I created—man together with beasts, creeping things, and birds of the sky” (Genesis 6:7)? Could He simply forgive them? Is it possible that every person was corrupted without exceptions? Were the animals also bad even though they were only following their instincts? Why did they need to be killed? Needles to say, the fish survived the flood. Rabbi Arnold Ehrlich felt that the fish should also have been killed since, they too, ate other fish.

Is it possible that the entire world, with the exception of one family, become totally corrupt and required obliteration without the chance to repent? Can it be that the Bible is exaggerating the entire event in order to make a point? Is it possible that the entire world was not flooded, but just a single, local flood, as scientists now suggest?

Is the story of Noah’s flood a myth? Does G-d interact with the world? The Rambam wrote in the first chapter of his Mishneh Torah that G-d does not speak. Does it account for G-d’s silence for nine centuries and even during the holocaust? How does this make you feel if G-d never spoke to anyone. Did Noah act righteously? Did he have too much faith? Did Adam act faithfully when he didn’t inform his children about the law, and why does the Bible not inform us of Adam’s reaction to Cain’s murder, nor are we told if Adam ever disparaged him for his sin. Why?

The Greeks told us in their flood myth that people were saved by throwing stones in order to repopulate the world. This is not natural. The biblical account is more natural. Noah is given additional time to construct an ark and build rooms to accommodate for the animals and his family. Is it possible that Noah was able to accommodate all the animals? Does it make sense that animals who are only habitual to certain areas like the rain forest could live in Noah’s world to begin with?

The Rambam wrote that G-d is good and never commits evil. If this is so, did G-d cause the flood, if ever there was one, or was it a natural event. Why is the flood in the Bible attributed to G-d and not other natural disasters that occur today?

After the flood, G-d regrets ever having made man. Does G-d regrets? If G-d regrets, does this denote that justice was done improperly or does it mean to say something else? That G-d wished creation had turned differently. If the latter is the case, is G-d all-knowing. The Ralbag, as well as Ibn Ezra felt that G-d only knows only the general but not the particular. Ibn Ezra also says that the flood did not last for forty days but was on and off and was intermittent. Perhaps the story is a myth, a parable which teaches a moral lesson.

  • Sorry I got lost. Can you bold the part that answers the question?
    – Al Berko
    Oct 31, 2019 at 21:05
  • The final sentence answers the question perfectly. "Perhaps the story is a myth, a parable which teaches a moral lesson." For if we take the Genesis account literally multiple questions arise. But if we read it as a parable, all questions are answered.
    – Jonathan
    Oct 31, 2019 at 22:18
  • 2
    I think you constantly misuse the idea of parables, describing everything as such. Even if it is a parable, a myth, the main motif should hold, and it does not matter if it was real or not. You simply trying to get away from the question instead of answering it.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 31, 2019 at 22:28
  • They were many answers to this question which I have explored. The last sentence was my conclusion but by no means is and was the only answer I presented. Even if it was a true happening, I attempted to answer which is almost impossible. That’s why I prefer the parable.
    – Jonathan
    Oct 31, 2019 at 23:44
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    I had to downvote for two reasons: 1) Saying that a story in the Torah is a myth is probably heretical, and at best is a very slippery slope that will lead very quickly to saying that G-d did not make a covenant with Avraham either. 2) Al's complaint that saying it is a parable doesn't help, because we want to understand the morality of the story, even if it were, chas v'shalom, not historical.
    – Mordechai
    Nov 1, 2019 at 7:40

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