When YHWH sees the evil ways of humanity, he initially decides to wipe them out, but then determines to save Noah’s family. After the flood and Noah’s sacrifice, YHWH promises that He will never again destroy the earth and all life, even though humanity will continue in its evil ways. Thus, the story chronicles not the moral and emotional advancement of humanity but of YHWH.
The ancient Near East had many versions of the flood story, such as Atrahasis, Ziusudra, Utnapishtim, etc., most of which predate the Torah’s account of Noah’s flood. But what is the earliest extant version of the releasing birds motif?