For many hundreds of years after Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden, the family of man multiplied and spread over the earth. Because Adam and Eve had disobeyed God and learned of evil things, the knowledge of wickedness was passed on, and as men learned more about the world, they learned more ways to be evil. Men forgot that they were the children of God and they grew more corrupt. 

Finally God decided that man had grown so wicked He was sorry He had ever created human beings. And so God decided He would destroy all life on earth. There was one man, however, who remembered God and tried to live to please Him. His name was Noah. God spoke to Noah and told him the world had grown so violent that He was going to destroy the wicked, in a great flood that would cover the earth. But God promised Noah that he and his family would be saved from the flood, and that one mother and one father of each living thing on the earth would be saved too. 

God told Noah how to build an ark in which those to be saved would be protected from the waters of the flood. Noah followed God's instructions. And as the rains began and the waters of the sea rose over the land, Noah and his family and all the creatures were kept safe in the ark. The rains continued for forty days and the waters rose until the earth was a vast sea. Every living thing died in the terrible flood, except those sheltered in the ark. 

For 150 days the earth was covered with water and then the flood began to recede from the land. After Noah had been in the ark nine months, the tops of the mountains appeared above the water. Forty days later Noah decided to find out if the water had lowered enough for them to leave the ark. He sent out a raven and a dove. The raven never returned. The dove, finding no place to set down, returned to the ark. Seven days later Noah sent the dove out again, and this time it returned with a branch of an olive tree. Noah then knew that at least part of the land was dry enough for plants to grow. After another seven days Noah sent out the dove once more, and this time it did not return. Noah knew then that the time had come to leave the ark. 

As soon as Noah and the living creatures had left the ark, Noah built an altar where he gave thanks to God for being saved from the flood. God was pleased and made a promise to Noah that never again would He destroy living creatures as He had done with the great flood. 

The world was given again to man, for his use, as it had been given to Adam and Eve. God showed Noah the rainbow that we see in the clouds after the rain. He told him that this would always be the sign of His promise.


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