It is not stated plainly but I think “never again” carries with it a certain amount of regret. Or if not regret at least a determination that extinguishing all life on the planet earth by drowning is not the final solution to the reality of evil. Our time is no more or less evil even if the scripture states that in Noah’s time “the whole earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.” (Genesis 6:11) Surely there were innocent children in Noah’s age? And what of the multitude of animals that didn’t win the two by two lottery? The evil of every age has always presented the righteous with a dilemma. Isn’t flooding the earth and killing every living creature on it as evil as whatever prompted such a response? That is why in an equally evil age God remembered the covenant and chose to do the dying himself rather than making the whole world the scapegoat for sin. Not as an excuse for evil but an invitation for the righteous to live in such a way that invites others to climb aboard the ark of salvation that is life in the Lord.