What does Genesis 6:7 mean?One of the most devastating verses in Scripture, verse 7 expresses both God's sorrow in seeing what humanity has become, and His pronouncement that He will wipe from the face of the earth so much of what He has made. These words raise many questions.
How can a perfect, sovereign God feel sorrow about any action He has taken? The Hebrew word ni'ham'ti used here, is from the same root word as yin'nā'hem, used in verse 6. This term is nacham, and it refers to emotions. The primary meaning is simply one of pain, anguish, or unhappiness. It's entirely possible for a person to feel unhappiness about a situation, without considering it the "wrong" choice. God is sorry that man has come to this state—His decision to create man is, in this moment, causing Him grief. He is not suggesting that He's made a mistake in creating us.
Another question is why God is committed to destroying animals and birds, along with humanity? This is an issue the Bible gives virtually no guidance on. Ultimately, we can wonder, and we can question, but we can't give a dogmatic response. What we do know is that God's sovereignty and ownership over the earth includes animals just as much as humans.
Those first two questions are difficult to answer in a satisfying way. A third question, however, is actually the entire point of Scripture itself: If this—destruction and wrath—is God's response to humanity in our natural, sinful state, how can we ever hope to be at peace with our Creator? The book of Genesis, as with the rest of Scripture, will present God's answer to this dilemma. In short, God provides both the judgment which is required for sin, as well as a means of mercy for humanity.
The following verse will provide a glimmer of hope that all is not lost for mankind.