The Bible


Genesis 6:8-22 : Noah Builds an Ark


8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.

19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.



Noah's Ark

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

"Noah and His Ark" by Charles Willson Peale

The story of Noah's Ark in Genesis Chapter 6 is one of the most famous stories of all time. What's it really about? In the story, Noah represents a church - not a building with a steeple - but a group of people with a set of spiritual beliefs and practices. It's basically a good church, and the people in it are open to spiritual influx from God.

When God tells Noah to build an ark, the inner meaning is that God is telling the people of this church to get ready to protect the good loves and true ideas of their way of life, because a flood of evil and falsity will otherwise sweep them away.

By doing this, Noah, his children, and their descendants form the nucleus of a new church - what Swedenborg terms the Ancient Church, which kept a spiritual church alive on earth. This Ancient Church spread across much of the world, and there are many traces of its influence, even today. For example, the flood myth is common in many cultures, and the names given to God - Zeus Pater in Greek, Jupiter in Latin, Daus Peter in the Rig Vedas - are similar across a lot of Eurasia.

The details of the story are important - the ark itself, its construction of gopher wood, the animals and birds, the 40 days and 40 nights of rain and flood, the dove, the olive branch, the rainbow, Noah's three sons. In Arcana Coelestia, these details are explained in depth. The key passages are linked in.

The Noah's Ark story is not only a story about the spiritual history of the human race. There's another layer of meaning, too. It's applicable to our lives. We have to listen to the Lord, even when people might think we're stupid to do so. We need to protect the goods and truths that we have from being swept away. We need to take the steps that are needed to allow a new church - a new spiritual life - be formed in us. We need to emerge from states of temptation and struggle into states of thankfulness and peace.