"It wasn't a potential atonement actuated by the sinner, it was an actual atonement initiated by the savior."

John MacArthur

Noahs Ark

Why are only 8 saved during Noah’s flood?

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During the Flood of Noah, only 8 are saved. Why is that?

If, as many believe, salvation is through man’s self-determined free will, what went wrong?

This very salvation controversy, that has raged since the beginning of Christianity, and to which I have addressed several times, is simply who chooses whom?

Did God elect some to be saved before the foundation of the universe, or does man, through his own free will, self-determine to be saved?

We know since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) that salvation throughout history is by faith and faith alone. Ignoring the fact that one’s own effort, or free will, could easily be construed as “works” which would seem to violate this principle, let’s instead look to Old Testament history to ponder a real-life story – the flood of Noah (Genesis 5 – 9).

The New Testament repeats the truth taught in Genesis that only eight people were believers and survived the global Flood (1 Peter 3:20) – Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives.

The question then is how many unsaved people were around during the time of the flood – and didn’t survive?

Noah appears in Genesis 5:28-29 as the son of Lamech and ninth in descent from Adam. Since this was during the antediluvian period (which according to Bishop Ussher’s 17th-century chronology, lasted for 1656 years, from Creation (some say the fall of man) at 4004 BC to the Flood at 2348 BC). Noah is 600 years old when the flood arrives and lives to be 850 years old.

In an article addressing an estimate of the population at the time of Noah, the author claims: “If the growth rate in the pre-Flood world was equal to the growth rate in 2000 (0.012), there could have been about 750 million people at the time of the Flood. However, given the extremely long lifespans prior to the Flood, the growth rate could have been much higher. Increasing the rate by just 0.001 would put the population at close to four billion at the Flood.”

If we are to believe this estimate, between 750 million and 4 billion people rejected Jesus Christ and perished during the flood while only 8 survived.

It is clear throughout both the Old and New Testaments that God specifically chose people to bring about His will and purposes. Abraham, Moses, and Noah are all said to have “found favor in the Lord” (Exodus 33:17, Gen 6:8 and Gen 18:3) and the choosing of the nation Israel as well as principal characters in the New Testament such as the Apostles (John 15:16 “you did not choose me but I chose you”), along with Mary, Paul, John the Baptist, and quite obviously many, many others.

But, let’s ignore the concept of God’s sovereign choosing.

Let’s assume that man is saved through his own free will efforts.

Looking at the story of Noah, we now must believe that only 8, through their free will, chose God and that 750 million to 4 billion people could never muster enough free will to do so, even though their life span, and thus their opportunities to choose God, extended over hundreds of years.

Does this even seem plausible?

Where was man’s free will?

Were 750 million to 4 billion people with free wills totally impotent?

But, why did God only choose 8 if election is valid? Because God’s is sovereign and according to Romans 9:15 states “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy…”

Since “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) we know that without salvation, man is naturally at war with God as Romans 8:7 states “the mind of the flesh is hostile to God.”

Without God reaching down and plucking a remnant for salvation, all men will continue to reject Him, and Noah’s flood proves this very point.

It would seem more believable that were it not for God’s election and His intervention, no man would ever be saved.