The Promise of the Rainbow
"Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in his heart, 'I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease'" (Gen. 8:20-22). The animals offered here express the thanksgiving of Noah and show one reason why additional clean animals were taken on board the ark. God is pleased with the gratitude of Noah, expressed via the "soothing aroma." God determined to never again destroy the entire world with a flood, even though man would continue his relationship with wickedness (even from youth). God knew He would eventually destroy the Earth once and for all with fire (cf. II Pet. 3:10-13), but never again with water. As long as the Earth exists, we will experience the seasons (including their extremes) as well as day and night.
"So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man. And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it'" (Gen. 9:1-7).

Here God authorizes an expansion of the human diet--meat. The relationship between man and animal was now changed and the beast of the earth would now fear mankind as a predator. Even though God allows man to consume meat now, He forbids eating flesh "with its life, that is, its blood." This is a universal principle, still applicable today (cf. Acts 15:20). And, speaking of lifeblood, if a human sheds another man's blood, his own blood shall be shed. This implicitly grants judicial power (government) to mankind but not personal vengeance. Every human life is valuable and must be respected and treasured, for every man and woman is made in God's image. Furthermore, God encourages the beings who are like Him to multiply their numbers significantly.

"Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: 'And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth. Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.' And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth'" (Gen. 9:8-17).

Here God affirms to Noah and His sons that He would never flood the Earth again. As we mentioned in a prior lesson, this proves one of two propositions: Either (1) the flood of Noah's day was global in scope, or (2) God is a liar. If the flood was local and God promises not to repeat such, He is a liar since there have been countless destructive local floods over the centuries. If one rejects the notion that God is a liar (and he certainly should), then he must embrace the truthfulness of a global flood in Noah's day. God determined to set a sign of His covenant in the sky for all to remember--the rainbow! Many appreciate the beauty of a rainbow, but do you appreciate the God who put it there and what it truly signifies?