The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)
One hundred and twenty years before God spake the words of my text, Noah had received the most awful communication that ever came from heaven to earth. No man up to that time, and I think no man since, has ever received such a communication. God said that on account of the wickedness of the world He was going to destroy the world by water. We can have no idea of the extent and character of that antediluvian wickedness. The Bible piles one expression on another, in its effort to emphasize it. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” Men lived five hundred years and more then, and they had time to mature in their sins.
For one hundred and twenty years God strove with those antediluvians. He never smites without warning, and they had their warning. Every sound of the hammer echoed, “I believe in God.” If they had repented and cried as they did at Nineveh, I believe God would have heard their cry and spared them. But there was no cry for mercy. I have no doubt but that they ridiculed the idea that God was going to destroy the world. I have no doubt but that there were atheists who said there was not any God anyhow.
From “The Overcoming Life”. D. L. Moody