The Flood as a New Creation: Some Textual Parallels

While I’m sure these are better elaborated elsewhere, these are a few things I noted that seem to tie the Flood together with the Creation stories in Gen. 1-3. (both in my own reading and drawn from other sources. Sadly, I didn’t keep detailed notes on other sources).

  1. In both stories the earth is submerged in the “deep”. The Hebrew word is tehom, which is often referred to as the waters of chaos in scholarly literature (this post gets at some of that. See the stuff under the third point). See Gen 1:2 (see here for the Hebrew) and the “fountains of the deep” in Gen. 7:11 and elsewhere in the flood story (again, see here for the Hebrew).
  2. The ark goes “on the face of the water” (Gen. 7:18) just as spirit does in Gen. 1:2.
  3. Noah and family to multiply and replenish the earth (Gen. 9:1), just as Adam and Eve (Gen. 1:28)
  4. Relation of man to animals is emphasized, although it differs when repeated in Gen. 9:2. In Gen. 1:28, man has “dominion” over animals; in Gen. 9:2, animals will fear man.
  5. Noah and his family are to fill an empty earth, like Adam and Eve. This one is perhaps more of a stretch, as in Gen. 1, the earth is not empty, while in Gen. 2 the earth is empty of animal life but not plant life. Notably, God is unconcerned about the plant life when flooding the earth, suggesting that a parallel to Adam and Eve in Gen. 2, rather than Gen. 1 might be stronger.
  6. It appears that God removes the curse on the earth in Gen. 8:21 that he placed on it in Gen. 3:17. Gen. 8:21 says: “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s (Adam’s) sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.”

I don’t really have much to say about what I think this means, although it is intriguing. If point 6 is correct, then it suggests that whatever curse was on the land due to Adam is no longer operative. This would suggest that citing the curse on the land as a justification for our need to work–which is the kind of thing I’ve heard–would be a bit weaker. But I’m not sure that this is a great loss, since I’m sure there are other passages that can probably be used in its place.

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3 thoughts on “The Flood as a New Creation: Some Textual Parallels

  1. Chris, I find this post fascinating (and the blog as a whole). I find you reasoning on the parallels convincing, but I’m curious on your thoughts as to why that is so.

    • Hi Ryan! I don’t really have any additional insights, except that it suggests that the Flood was a re-creation. What does (and should) that mean? On one hand, it suggests that post-flood world probably should have all of the positive connotations that we give the newly created world (and, if the curse on the earth is in fact wiped away, even more so). But we Mormons don’t spend a lot of time hand-wringing the destruction that the flood created, so I’m not sure that there’s much to run with there (although this does come up in my upcoming post about Enoch).

      I suppose that I would take it as additional evidence against a tendency to view the creation in Genesis 1 as “historical”, since some of these parallels would seem to confirm an ancient cosmology that’s not at all in line with modern views of how the earth fits into the universe (see here for a nice approach to that, from a Christian perspective, and a shorter one, here, from an LDS perspective). That might be a little hard to do, though, since the flood story provides some of the evidence that scholars have used to (re)build that ancient model, if I understand things correctly. So you might fall into circular logic there.

      • That is helpful and thanks for the reference. And I’m perfectly fine with circular arguments. It’s turtles all the way down after all.

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