My take on the Genesis flood is a bit different. A very common, perhaps the MOST common world saving strategy is “reward and rescue the good people, marginalize or eliminate the bad people.” This strategy in fact I believe is read onto the Bible. That is exactly what many people want God to do and the filter that many people read the Bible as asserting. We like reading the Bible this way because we like to locate ourselves with the righteous, deserving the good things we get, and we like to locate our enemies with the unrighteous, deserving the punishment they get.
What do we have in the Genesis flood? God looks and sees the mess humanity has made of his good creation and he wishes he had never made us. Then he has the idea, I’ll save just the very best in the world (and his family, good parents have good kids, good breeding, blah blah blah) and then I’ll remake the world by culling the bad and rewarding the good! It’s a Hebrew version of Karma.
How does that experiment work? God kills all but one family, saves the best animals, and even within this family after their rescue things go poorly (the wine, the laughter, etc.) and things go downhill right away.
Humanity cannot be rescued by dividing us into good people and bad people. We must be changed. Proof? The Genesis flood account. The flood account is a do-over, and the results are the same.
Then God takes a different approach and begins to pursue Abraham, and that’s where the drama really gets going. Then God really starts to get busy, enter into relationship, costly relationship, and it is in the context of this relationship that we get to see the truth about ourselves (we’re natural born sinners, fallen royalty of Eden) and also the truth about God, he’s a determined lover who like Hosea enters into a bad marriage in order to rescue his beloved.
The “good people”/”bad people” or deserving/undeserving categories don’t work. We need dramatic rescue and it will take nothing short of this God laying down his own life to get what he wants, us.