All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

A New Beginning

Hebrew storytelling often uses elements from a previous, similar story, largely repeating them to make a point. Although we miss many of them, consider how the author of Genesis uses this technique with the flood story.

Everything has been submerged by water; the highest mountains are topped by 15 cubits—over 22 feet—of water (Genesis 7:19–20). In doing so, God has essentially put the earth back into it’s pre-Creation state, where it was covered with water and was without form and void (Genesis 1:2).

Noah is the new Adam. He has three sons, just as Adam did, and because his family is the only one that survived, he is the second father of all humans.

Notice also that the Bible is very specific about the date the waters finally dried up: “And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth.” Genesis 8:13. Using the number six as the day of man’s creation, the first day of the first month of the 601st year is significant. It’s the Bible’s way of saying, “God is creating once again.”

Notice some of the parallels between Creation and Re-Creation:
Creation Re-Creation
God’s Spirit hovers over waters (Gen 1:2) God sends wind over waters (Gen 8:1*)
Dry land created (Gen 1:9) Waters recede, dry land appears (Gen 8:3–5)
Vegetation created (Gen. 1:11–12) Plants reappear (Gen 8:10–11)
Birds created (Gen 1:20–21) Birds released (Gen 8:19)
Animals created (Gen 1:26–27) Animals released (Gen 8:19)
Man created (Gen 1:26–27) Noah and his family released (Gen 8:18)
Adam commanded to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28) Noah commanded to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 9:7)
Sabbath and worship established (Gen 2:1–3) Worship re-established (Gen 8:20)
God’s Bow in the Clouds

Now God makes a covenant with man, and every living creature, promising to never again destroy the earth with water. Moreover, He gives them a sign of His covenant by saying, “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” Genesis 9:13 (KJV). Although this is obviously what we call a rainbow, the original Hebrew word is qesheth (pronounced keh´-sheth), which means “bow.”

Notice how we think in Greek terms: When we see a rainbow, we see a pretty arc of color in the sky. Most of us know that it’s the result of sunlight shining on the droplets of moisture in the earth’s atmosphere; some even know that there are seven colors displayed in a rainbow (not surprising, since that seems to be God’s favorite number). But while we’re interested in the scientific explanation (Greek thinking, again), the ancient Hebrews see something quite different. To them, it’s God’s Bow. It’s bright, colorful, and huge, and it only appears after a rainstorm—which still terrorizes those who remember the flood. While we’re interested in its colors, the ancients are interested in its shape. This bow represents God’s WMD, His “weapon of mass destruction”! This is His Bow (think bow and arrow), but it’s hanging in the clouds for all to see. He promised, and He is faithful.

Of course, the irony of it all is that God’s bow is made of water—the very substance He used to destroy the earth with a flood!

The rainbow symbol is echoed in the biblical descriptions of God’s glory in Ezekiel 1:26–28, and His throne in Revelation 4:3. His beautiful bow represents His mercy and fidelity to the ancients—and to us.

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Was I spinning? It must have worked.

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