A Question I Was Asked:

Two Questions: On the Flood, and on the Sadducees

"What Was the Point of the Flood When Things Are As Bad, or Worse Now?"

"Did the Sadducees Ask Jesus a Rhetorical Question?"

1. What was the real purpose of Noah's flood? The world is now as bad as before, if not worse.

2. Mathew 22:23-30 - Was Jesus was answering a rhetorical question, since the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Question 1: The Great Flood; What Was the Point When Things Are As Bad, or Worse Now?

Okay, it's a good question, but there are a few things we should consider:

a. The Flood serves as an example of where sin eventually leads; it is true that today the world is as bad - or worse - than it was then, but the Bible needed a very dramatic, graphical early account of the eventual judgment upon the earth that widespread sin must always lead to. The Flood account fulfils that role. Peter the Apostle tells us about the next one, that is, the one which is to come, in 2 Peter:

3. Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5. But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgement and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:3-7).

b. The Flood also teaches us that dramatic, physical upheaval alone cannot cure the problems of sin. After all, sin soon made a comeback, as my questioner states. Ultimately a Saviour of Mankind was required. Ultimately sin must be spiritually-addressed. It is spiritually-addressed in Christ.

c. The Flood teaches us that God is able to 're-boot' His plan of salvation through just a few people, actually 8 in all at that time. A few faithful people are more advantageous to God than millions of sinners. God does not 'need us' but we most certainly need Him. So one of the messages there is sin - grievous that it is - can never be 'too big' for God. Those coming through the Flood were also 'baptized' in waters, serving as symbolic of the Church to come. See 1 Peter 3:20-21.

d. The Flood teaches us about the limitless power of God - A God who can indeed bring such a momentous and spectacular occurrence to pass, although we have a promise that a world-wide Flood will never occur again. See Genesis 9:11-17. His limitless power is also taught in the fact that every single human who perished in the Flood will rise again in the resurrection, where they will be fairly judged.

e. Related to point C, Jesus - the Saviour of Mankind - would be born through the family line coming from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah. It seems - in some way we may not fully comprehend - that the line was purified and improved by being made smaller at that critical time, a purer family line would now come from Shem, possibly less sin-influenced, more fitting for Jesus to be eventually born into.

So there are several lessons for all believers in the account of the Flood, but the main lesson is the direct and dramatic judgement which widespread sin always eventually results in.

Question 2: Mathew 22:23-30.

23. That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24. "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27. Finally, the woman died. 28. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?" 29. Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31. But about the resurrection of the dead - have you not read what God said to you, 32. 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." (Matthew 22:23-30).

This was a trick question which the Sadducees, who ridiculed the idea of a resurrection, threw at Jesus. Jesus knew at once this was simply a trick question which was calculated to cause Him confusion - it did not, because He refused to respond according to the flawed reasoning of these people.

In the resurrection there is no marriage, marriage is for the present world for physical human beings. Without question, former loving husbands and wives will still be together, and children too but not in a marriage/small family state, we will all be spirit beings, "like the angels in heaven" as Jesus states. Then in a huge spiritual family. Yes, it was a rhetorical question, this is a figure of speech taking the form of a question but which is really all about making some point (rather than to elicit a direct answer to the question). The Sadducees intended to make it appear ludicrous to expect a resurrection, this is because they only considered some sort of physical resurrection. But Jesus showed that it is not ludicrous when one has the correct understanding - which the Sadducees did not.

Robin A. Brace. February 19th 2016.