Noah’s Story: Part 2, Genesis 8

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Noah's Story

“When men began to increase in numbers on the Earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful and they married any of them they chose” -Gen 6:1.

As I said last time, the people of Earth had never seen rain before. With the water vapor canopy the Lord had placed around the Earth to create its atmosphere and protect its inhabitants, the weather was always perfect, comparable to the nicest summer day in your time, with just the gentlest of breezes. Each night, water came up out of the ground to nourish the vegetation, creating a fine mist that settled on all the plants and kept everything clean and fresh. It was a truly remarkable example of the attention to detail in God’s perfect creation.

But now for the first time ever, water began falling out of the sky as the canopy collapsed onto Earth. At the same time the gentle mist that had come up out of the ground at night became a rush of bubbling fountains, too numerous to mention, that crescendoed into literal geysers of water hundreds of feet high. It seemed like water was coming from everywhere. It began on the 17th day of the second month 1656 years after Adam’s creation and continued for 40 days and nights. We thought it would never end. With the collapse of the canopy, the winds began to blow and for the first time we experienced stormy weather on Earth. Talk about scared!

But the dimensions the Lord had given us in building the ark turned out to be exactly perfect for maximum stability in the rolling waters as we rose, and although this was our first voyage ever (actually anybody’s first ever), we were relatively comfortable aboard. After 40 days the entire earth was covered so that even the tallest mountains rested beneath at least 20 feet of water, and for 150 days it remained that way as we floated around atop this never ending sea. Those who know the principles of hydraulics know that water seeks its own level. If it covers the tallest mountain in one place, it has to be just as high every other place too, and the mountains in our area were over 17 thousand feet tall. Of course, I didn’t visit every place on Earth during my extended cruise, but I can tell you that all during that time I never saw even one peak protruding above the water. It looked to all of us in the ark as if the water had completely covered the surface of the Earth. (You know, even today if you could raise all the ocean floors to sea level and lower all of the mountain peaks as well, there’s enough water on Earth to cover its surface to a depth of over eight thousand feet!)

All told we were in the ark for 370 days. Many have wondered what we did during that year, but what’s truly miraculous is revealed by what we didn’t do. There were no deaths and no births during that time, either among us humans or the animals. Neither did we spend all our time cleaning up after them. The Lord put them into a mild form of hibernation, requiring only a minimum of food. Good thing, too! Can you imagine the stench of living in a huge barn with over 36,000 animals who’ve been processing food in one end and out the other for over a year with no place to put the manure, let alone the rotting carcasses of the dead? The apostle Peter was right. The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials while holding the unrighteous for judgment (2 Peter 2:9). In all the Earth only the creatures that live in the sea and those of us on the ark survived. Later the memory of this time would be re-created in pagan minds with the legend of the lost continent of Atlantis.

But finally, on the 17th day of the 7th month, five months to the day since the Lord had shut us in, the ark came to rest in the mountains of Urartu high above the fertile plains of Mesopotamia to the west. As we felt the rumble of the ark’s flat bottom scraping over solid ground, we knew that the time of judgment was past and the time for a New Beginning had come. Centuries later in Egypt the Lord adjusted my people’s calendar making what had been the 7th month into the 1st one (see Exodus 12:1-2) and 1400 years after that on the 17th day of what was now the 1st month our Savior, Lord Jesus came out of His tomb also indicating that the time for judgment was past and the time for a New Beginning had come. The ultimate New Beginning on the anniversary of the first one. Some coincidence, huh?

As the waters steadily receded, I began sending a dove out to explore the situation. After returning several times with nothing over a period of months, it came back one day with a freshly plucked olive leaf. Since olives only grow at low altitudes, I knew the water was finally gone. I took the cover off the ark on the first day of the first month of my 601st year and saw that the ground was dry. One month and 27 days later the Lord commanded us to leave the ark and release the animals. It had been 53 weeks since we’d stood on dry ground and it was quite a sensation. We were the now only humans in a freshly cleansed world with nothing but promise ahead.

After we descended from the mountain, I built an altar and in gratitude sacrificed some of the clean animals the Lord had told me to bring for this purpose. As the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, He promised never again to curse the ground because of man’s evil inclinations, and never again to destroy all living creatures in this manner. As long as Earth endured there would now be seasonal weather patterns, and the regularity of these patterns would be our reminder of His promise. And among my people a tradition arose that the location of my altar was the same as the altar that Adam had built outside the entrance to the Garden. It was the same place where Jacob would one day dream of angels ascending and descending on a ladder into heaven, and where King Solomon would locate the Holy of Holies in his glorious Temple of God.