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Echoes of Eden: The Uncreation in the Days of Noah

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Tamarajo is an avid Bible scholar who loves nothing more than seeking out the treasures in God's Word and sharing them with others.

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Introduction

The "Beginning" narratives of Genesis contain the genetic code that finds its expression and fruitful development in the rest of Scripture and throughout the history of human experience.

These early chapters of the Bible are the template for the subsequent events detailing God's relational advancement with fallen humankind. Every chronicle will echo these beginning accounts and reveal applicable facets drawn from each episode. Every scene will also contain Messianic themes pointing to Jesus the Messiah—Savior of the world. The following quote from the book "Reading Moses Seeing Jesus," by Seth D Postell, Eithan Bar, and Erez Soref, summarizes this thought.

. . . from beginning to end a singular story is told in the Torah (first five books of the Bible). not just in the smattering of verses but woven into its very fabric. Perhaps examining the narrative structure of the Torah with its many parallel story lines and recurring themes we may see signposts pointing consistently and undeniably toward the Messiah and our need for Him2

It's a messy story, to say the least, but that's just the backside of the tapestry view. As we follow the common threads through the fabric of these Biblical accounts, a much bigger picture comes into view. We shall see how the genius of God beautifully weaves His eternal plan through the warp of rebellious humanity who resists Him at every turn.

This article will study the Biblical flood narrative's reversal of the first chapter of Genesis's creation account. Rebellious humanity, as always, is front and center in terms of the causative chaos in the storyline.

In the first chapter of Genesis, God saw and declared seven times that His creation was good. By the sixth chapter of Genesis, God saw something different. His created beings had made things evil.

Given humanity's destroying itself, with but one family left to save, God, in His grief, must start over. We shall see how God's eye, as always, remains on redemption and recreation despite humanity's destruction of everything.

Clarifying the Problem

Several linking themes emerge when comparing the creation account with the flood narrative. Such as in the case of Adam and Eve, eternal life was revoked.

. . . the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever. . . ”

— Genesis 3:22

In Noah's day, either life-span was reduced to one hundred and twenty years, or the death of creation would occur in one hundred and twenty years.

And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

— Genesis 6:3

God's not "contending with humankind "forever" statement in the antediluvian scene also links us with the first mention of the word "forever" in the Genesis chapter three garden scene. Like the fall in Genesis chapter three, issues of eternality and mortality are, once again, addressed.

And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:

— Genesis 3:22

Additionally, the Spirit of God makes its second appearance in the flood story shown in the Genesis chapter six verse above. The first, of course, is in the creation account with a depiction of a chaotic, dysfunctional, violent watery mass.

. . . the earth was formless and empty, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters . . . Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.

— Genesis 1:2, 6-8

Notably, day two of the creation account is the only day God does not declare good. When overlaying the mention of God's Spirit in both events, we can interpret that humankind had become a not good, dysfunctional, chaotic, violent mess as it was in the beginning.


God expounds on the reason for His contention with the developing global dilemma after giving Noah's short genealogy consisting of only his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japeth.

The earth also was corrupt (destroyed or ruined) before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt (destroyed or ruined); for all flesh had corrupted (destroyed or ruined) his way upon the earth.

And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

— Genesis 6:11-13

The violence of humankind appears to be the framework for the impending destruction of humanity and the earth. In the beginning, God filled the world with plant life and an atmosphere that supported living beings. It was a fully functional and productive system. Human violence, however, plunges the earth back into its primordial state by destroying the governing systems designed to protect it.

Notice, also, the parenthesized expanded definitions in the above verse. In the original word translation, the word used to describe what God is about to do is the same word used to describe what humanity has already done to the earth and itself. It's as if God is saying they ruined everything, including themselves, so now I must destroy it.1

The destructive capabilities to both the earth and its inhabitants aren't that hard to imagine when we look at the world today.

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The Ark—Micro Eden

"The beginning of the end of all flesh" in Noah's day started with making a sanctuary that supported sustainable life in the form of an ark.

The end of all flesh has come before Me . . . Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms (nests) in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.

— Genesis 6:14

Its comparative scene looks back to the beginning of creation with God making a sanctuary called "the Garden in Eden" that also sustained life.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth . . . the Lord God made the earth and the heavens . . . The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.

— Genesis 1:1, 2:4

The protected garden space was an overlapping area where heaven and earth met. The three tiers of heaven, earth, and garden match the three-tiered structure blueprint plan for the ark.

. . . with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it (the ark).

— Genesis 6:16

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Ark and Creation Comparison

Much like God filled the earth in the creation narrative, He likewise filled the ark. Along these lines, Noah's story reads much like Genesis chapter one in reverse.

The last created beings noted in Genesis chapter one are the first mentioned in Genesis chapter seven regarding how God filled the earth and how He filled the ark in preparation for the earth's destruction.

Humans were the last created in the beginning.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Creation)

— Genesis 1:27

Humans are listed as entering first in Genesis chapter seven narrative.

On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark. (Ark)

— Genesis 7:13

Animals, the second to the last created beings in Genesis chapter one, are the second mentioned in the flood event. Notice the familiar phraseology of "its kind" in both accounts.

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Creation)

— Genesis 1:24-25

. . . they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind . . . (Ark)

— Genesis 7:14

God made birds and fish just before the land creatures in Genesis chapter one. Fish are not mentioned in the flood story, considering they are water beings. Birds, however, are noted following the reverse pattern. Their mention occurs in the Noah storyline after the land creatures.

Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Creation)

— Genesis 1:20-21

And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in. (Ark)

— Genesis 7:13-16

The parallel for the sun, moon, and stars on day four is missing because the deluge would only concern the destruction of the earth and not the heavenly bodies.

Day three of the beginning story, the first day of filling of God's creation, and the flood, includes the matching theme of food.

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind

— Genesis 1:11-12

The purpose of the trees in the creation account is clarified in Genesis chapter two's presentation of the garden space.

And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.

— Genesis 2:9

The mention of food is the last noted in the filling of the ark.

' . . . you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

— Genesis 6:21

God placed man in Eden.

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. (Garden)

— Genesis 2:8

Likewise, God placed Noah and his family in the ark.

. . . the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household . . . (Ark)

— Genesis 7:1

Seven Day Creation of the Cosmos

Seven Day Creation of the Cosmos

Seven, Seven, Seven

Noah was to remain in the ark for seven days before it rained. In this case, Noah gives us a glimpse of what Adam was supposed to do.

The Biblical text does not specify that Adam was to wait seven days in the garden space, but it is alluded to throughout Scripture.

In Exodus chapter thirteen, another incident involves the consecration of the newly constructed Tabernacle dedication where the priests were instructed not to leave the compound for seven days. The documented event contains three mentions of the seven days.

Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.

— Exodus 13:6-7

Adam most likely left the safety of his protected space to eat forbidden food represented in this priestly example by the forbiddance of eating leavened bread. Had Noah done the same by not waiting, the flood of judgment would have consumed him too. Like Adam, he would have been exiled to the outside with the rest of humanity.

Seven is also a key number connected with ceremonially clean animals that temporarily enabled humanity to return to fellowship and rest with God. Notice, again, the triple mention of seven in this particular text.

You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male, and his female . . . also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth

— Genesis 7:3-4

This scene matches the intended day of fellowship and resting with God noted in Genesis chapter two, including three mentions of the seventh day.

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

— Genesis 2:1-3

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The Deluge—the Undoing of Day Two

The following scene records two sources of water that comprised the flood. One source was from below, noted as the "fountains of the great deep," and the other was from above, represented by the "windows from heaven."

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep (תְּהוֹם same word as deep in Genesis one) were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

— Genesis 7:11

The above account is the reverse of what happened on day two of creation. A habitable atmosphere was created by separating chaotic waters and restraining them both in two separate ways, above and below.

Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the expanse and separated the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse. And it was so.

— Genesis 1:6-7

The flood narrative illustrates the once habitable functional world returning to its primordial state.

Something hovers over the face of the chaotic waters in both stories. In the case of creation, it is the Spirit of God. In the deluge, it was the ark.

The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters.

— Genesis 7:17-18

The floating garden reminds us of a meeting of heaven and earth as it is resurrected high above the earth. This resurrection also gives us a glimpse of a future Messianic resurrection.

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

— John 12:32

The first event destroys humankind to make possible the coming of a Messiah. The second event is the Messiah, who makes it possible for humanity to be saved.

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Tree Salvation Themes

Both salvation and the flood also involved dead trees in the form of wood, taking us back to the scene of the crime at the forbidden tree in Genesis chapter three. As it concerns the ark, the following verse is noted.

Make yourself an ark of gopherwood . . .

— Genesis 6:14

The cross of Christ, made of wood that brought salvation to all humankind, is called a tree in the New Testament writings.

He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

— I Peter 2:23-24

God's conversation with Noah

God's conversation with Noah

The Messianic Mission

In this case study, Noah will be the called out one who is a type of coming Messiah that saves us from our earthly toil. Noah's mission, like Christ's, was foretold by his father.

Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. And he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord has cursed.”

— Genesis 5:28-29

Notably, the "and had a son" statement in the above verse is unique to Seth and Noah in the Genesis chapter five genealogy. They occupy the first and last mentions of the post-Adam and antediluvian genealogical line of the Messiah Jesus.

Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age . . . the son of Noah,the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

— Luke 3:1,36-37

The New Testament book of Matthew links an Old Testament prophecy from Hosea chapter eleven with the calling forth of God's Son in the person of Jesus Christ.

behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”

When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

— Matthew 2:13-15

The calling forth of a son also has a connection with Genesis chapter one in the calling forth light, when God said, "Let there be light."

John associates this creation event with Jesus, the Son of God being the light called forth that shined in the darkness.

He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

— John 1:2-5

Noah's name means "comfort" or "rest from toil" The consequential toil and cursed ground, noted in the Genesis chapter five verse above, hyperlink back to the Adamic fall.

Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, (and not God's preventive instructions) and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”

— Genesis 3:17-19

The Adamic fall has found its expression in the Noah narrative with collective humanity seeking salvation and deliverance in the form of comfort.

Noah's commission to bring comfort from toil was also fulfilled in our Messianic Savior, Jesus Christ.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

— Matthew 11:28

Noah's name, interestingly, spelled backward in Hebrew, means grace.

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord . . . Noah was a just (righteous) man and perfect (entirely given to God) in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

— Genesis 6:8-9

It was God's grace through His Only Son Jesus that brought salvation to whoever desired it.

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

— John 1:10-16

The final messianic shadow expressed by Noah is discovered in the New Testament writings. Peter calls Noah a preacher of righteousness (II Peter 2:5). Righteousness was the primary theme of Christ's Beatitudes that He preached in Matthew chapters five and six, with five mentions of the word "righteousness" within them.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled . . . Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven . . . For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

— Matthew 5:5,6,10,20, and 6:33

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Reconstructing

After the deconstruction of the earth with a flood, God begins reconstructing the scene with the same pattern as the creation days.

Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind (רוּחַ same word as "Spirit" used in Genesis chapter one) to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained.

— Genesis 8:1-2

Just as it was on day two of creation with the Spirit hovering over the waters, now the wind is passing over the earth. A renewal of the earth is about to take shape, once again with the restraining of waters.

Dry land resurrects from the water as it did on day three, along with the number seven and its connection with resting.

. . . the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. Then the ark rested in the seventh month.

— Genesis 8:3-4

The restoration of trees resurrecting from the ground also appears evidenced by a freshly plucked olive leaf.

Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth

— Genesis 8:11

A doublet of seven days and a type of waiting occurs in this scene with the dove sent out by Noah to survey the conditions of the earth.

He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself. And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.

— Genesis 8:8-12

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Conclusion

The story ends much like the first chapter of Genesis does. Humans, animals, birds, and creeping things are issued from the ark with the blessing and command to be fruitful and multiply. The earth is once again habitable and functional.

Then God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.

— Genesis 8:15-19

In conclusion, the story of Noah points forward to another new beginning foretold in the book of Revelation that expresses the restoration of God's original purpose for humanity and creation. His original design is realized in an unhindered and unbroken eternal relationship with His creation in the following dictation.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

— Revelaiton 21:1-5

It is only through Christ crucified that this redemptive plan was made possible.

No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

— John 3:13-17

Sources

1The Bible Project podcast

2 "Reading Moses Seeing Jesus by — Seth D Postell, Eithan Bar, Erez Soref, Published by Lexham Press. Copyright 2017

© 2021 Tamarajo

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