For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you, to keep them alive. Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.” Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.Genesis 6:17-22 RSV
The Ark is a type of Christ, the preserver of his people from judgment.
The spiritual teaching of Noah’s deliverance has always been recognized by Christians, who see in the Ark a symbol of the church into which they are admitted by baptism, God thereby graciously providing for their deliverance from the wrath and destruction due to sin.
These views, however, are not contradictory, for it is equally true of both.
ANALOGIES OF SALVATION
It was the water of the flood that separated Noah from the disobedient nation that perished.
Noah’s coming forth from the waters to live again on the earth might fitly be called his being “born of water.”
The same waters which destroyed the ancient world were those which saved Noah by bearing up the ark and delivering him to newness of life.
It is the water of baptism that destroys the wicked today, in the sense that they despise it, rebel against God’s command, refuse to obey it; or, if they allow it at all, downgrade the necessity or importance of it.
Just as the water separated Noah from the past and delivered him to a new existence, it is the water of baptism that separates the Christian from his past and from which he like Noah, arises to “walk in newness of life.”
The same element is instrumental in the salvation of Noah and that of the Christian, namely, water, exactly the same kind of water. (Whoever heard of different kinds of water?) 🙂
It was the water that washed away the filth of that generation; and it is baptism that, in a figure, washes away the sins of men who are becoming Christians (Acts 22:16). “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins.”
And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’Acts 22:16 RSV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.Matthew 7:13-14 RSV
Note also that only those in the ark were saved, and that, similarly, only those in Christ have the promise of eternal life.
Further comment on Genesis 6:1: The simple meaning of this much-discussed passage is that the righteous element of mankind sacrificed the opportunity to avoid the debaucheries of the Cainites through promiscuous intermarriage with the wicked element of the population.
In all ages, God has warned his children against being “unequally yoked together” with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
What agreement has the temple of God with idols?
For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.2 Corinthians 6:14-16 RSV
It was the prime law of God’s dealings with ancient Israel that they should separate themselves absolutely from the pagan world around them; and under no circumstances were they allowed to intermarry with pagans.
That which contaminates and destroys the home is the same thing that destroys the entire community of believers.
In the situation before us, the result was soon the utter corruption of humanity.
It is appropriate to think a moment about the stupendous nature of this man’s faith in what God told him.
Such a flood was a seeming impossibility.
The N.T. reveals that Noah preached (guided by the Spirit of Christ) for some 120 years during which time he was preparing the ark, preaching to those people of his own generation who must have mocked and belittled him.
How they must have hooted about that crazy old man and his building such a monster of a boat.
How was he ever going to get 45,000 tons moved in one piece to the water! What a fool they thought him to be!
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith.Hebrews 11:7 RSV
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.1 Peter 3:18-22 RSV