One of the most terrible examples of God's judgment of sin is the story of Noah's ark. Even though it has inspired the decor of many a nursery with pictures of a bald, bearded man squeezed into the ark with cartoon-eyed animals, it is anything but sweet. When the earth had become too violent and corrupt, God decided to destroy all flesh, except those in the ark.
The water came from the "fountains of the great deep" as well as "the floodgates of the sky" (Genesis 7:11). What is this "great deep"? Other Bible passages indicate that it is the ocean. Wikipedia confirms this event:
Burckle Crater is an undersea crater likely to have been formed by a very large scale and relatively recent (c. 2800-3000 BC) comet or meteorite impact event. It is estimated to be about 30 km (18 mi) in diameter , hence about 25 times larger than Meteor Crater.
The comet would have struck the Indian Ocean, between Madagascar and Australia, causing a mega tsunami.
But I digress, because I've spent so much time talking with atheists recently that I can no longer say anything without backing it up. As soon as I had written the first sentence I heard voices in my head insisting that scientifically the flood couldn't have happened.
I really wanted to talk about the two parts of God's nature that are so closely intertwined that we cannot separate them: his justice and his mercy. First, there is God's justice. Victims require justice. Nobody sins in a vacuum--sin not only affects other people, but it spreads like a cancer. "The sins of the fathers" are truly visited upon the children, as psychotherapists can attest to. The children bear the scars and inflict them on their own children.
Although our justice system recognizes that criminals are often deeply broken, crime has to be punished and society has to be protected. But sin injures even when no punishable crime has been committed. And sin and suffering are inexorably linked, even where the link is not direct.
So God who is just and good will some day do away with all sin and evil. Nothing and no one who causes people to stumble can have a place in the New Earth (Matthew 13:41). In the same way that God flooded the earth during the time of Noah, he will put an end to the current earth. And in the same way that he gave Noah clear instructions on how to build the ark, he gives us clear instructions in his word on how to receive "the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 3:15).
After the flood, he put his rainbow in the sky as a sign of his covenant of peace and mercy. And after his crucifixion, when evil seemed to have prevailed, he went "and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah" (1 Peter 3:20). At that darkest moment of human rebellion, he extended his offer of peace to the corrupt people who died in the flood, demonstrating that his mercy triumphs over judgment.