Sunday, October 14, 2007

Reflections on Noah

Sometimes when I can't sleep at night I read from the Bible and try to reflect on something. Last night I was flipping through Genesis and caught this interesting phrase about Noah:
When Lamech was one hundred and eighty-two years old, he begot a son and named him Noah, saying, "Out of the very ground that the LORD has put under a curse, this one shall bring us relief from our work and the toil of our hands." (Genesis 5:29)
Immediately this prophecy of Lamech about his son called to my mind messianic expectations in the reversal of the curse of labor brought on by Adam. I began to see Jesus-parallels as Noah was an intercessory figure who saved mankind from being destroyed through their sinfulness. Noah could be seen as the first of many proto-Jesus figures in the OT.

I found this explanation much more satisfying than my footnote in the New American Bible which says that Lamech's comment was in response to the fact that Noah was the first vinter.

You can also see Noah as a new-Adam figure. He is the new father of all mankind, the earth is in a sense newly created after the flood. Just as Adam had all the animals brought forth and named, Noah saved all the animals. And Noah is given the same blessing Adam was given:
Go out of the ark, together with your wife and your sons and your sons' wives. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you--all bodily creatures, be they birds or animals or creeping things of the earth-and let them abound on the earth, breeding and multiplying on it. (Genesis 8:16-17)
This is like the same "be fruitful and multiply" blessing given to Adam.

Anyways, I later realized that of course none of these reflections on Noah were ground-breaking, but the same ideas are part of our tradition in faith and the teachings of the Early Christian Fathers: See New Advent on Noah.

Like many of the great OT Fathers of our faith, we are taught that "Noah found favor with the LORD" and that he was "a good man and blameless in that age, for he walked with God." (Genesis 6:9-10) I puzzled a bit over the expression "walked with God." Isn't that same expression used with some other OT figures who "died" or left this world for the next to be with God? Noah fits the bill for being righteous, especially as he obeyed all of God's commandments to the letter without a word of protest or questioning. I love that expression "walked with God" though as term for one's proximity to God, through faith. Noah's blamelessness and his justness stem from his walking with God.

These are just some of my early AM musings. Nothing deeply profound, but it has certiainly been a while since I gave any thought to Noah.

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