In his short study on biblical covenants, Covenant and God’s Purpose for the World, Tom Schreiner provides a helpful comparison between Adam and Noah. As our men’s Bible study looks at this section of Scripture today, I share Schreiner’s eight evidences for seeing textual connections between Adam and Noah. Clearly, Moses wrote Genesis 1–11 to show how Noah is a Second Adam.
Here are his eight observations. I’ve added the italicizes to highlight the observations.
First, God’s work of ordering and shaping the creation occurred when the earth was covered with water and chaos (Gen. 1: 2). So too, after the flood the earth was inundated with water, and a new beginning took place when the water receded.
Second, God created the birds, creeping things, and animals to flourish and multiply on earth (Gen. 1: 20–21, 24–25). After the flood, the birds, creeping things, and animals again began to propagate on the earth (8:17–19).
Third, God created the sun and the moon to distinguish the day from the night and to establish the seasons of the year (Gen. 1: 14–18). After the flood, the regular pattern of the natural world resumed in “seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night” (Gen. 8:22).
Fourth, Adam and Eve were blessed by God and enjoined to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1: 28). With Noah, the command was issued afresh; the flood didn’t represent the abolition of human beings. Additionally, the injunction to be fruitful and multiply was issued anew, and God blessed Noah as he had blessed Adam and Eve (Gen. 9: 1, 7).
Fifth, Adam and Eve were given dominion over the world (Gen. 1: 26, 28; 2: 14). They were to rule the world as God’s vice-regents. God reinstated this rule in a fallen world and revealed that animals, birds, and fish are under the rule of human beings (Gen. 9:2).
Sixth, God provided food for humans in giving them fruits and vegetables to eat (Gen. 1: 29). In the new world after the flood, the provision of food was reiterated, though now that provision included the consumption of animals (Gen. 9:3).
Seventh, we saw earlier that human beings are the crown of creation because they are made in the image of God (Gen. 1: 26). We wonder if the image was lost after sin and death entered the world, but God teaches Noah that human beings retained God’s image. They are still magnificent and wonderful despite being ravaged by sin (Gen. 9:6).
Eighth, as noted in chapter 1, the cutting of a covenant represented a new covenant, but the establishing of a covenant represented the renewal of a covenant already in place. If this distinction follows, the covenant with Noah reestablished the covenant made with Adam and Eve at creation (see Gen. 6: 18; 9: 11). (33–34, italicizes mine)
From these eight evidences, we have strong reason to believe Moses paints Noah as a second Adam. Such an observation shows why we should read Genesis 1–11 as one unified narrative, not as a collection of earlier disparate pieces. It also shows how these opening eleven chapters provide a pattern for the rest of Genesis and the Bible.
As others have observed, Abraham and Israel and David and the priests of Israel also point back to Adam. Indeed, Christ himself is called the Last Adam (Romans 5; 1 Corinthians 15). Such New Testament language doesn’t just pop into Paul’s mind thousands of years later. Rather, from a close reading of Genesis, we see how Adam is both an historical figure and a typological pattern for all other covenant mediators.
In this way, Genesis 1–11 develops an Adam-typology that will continue through the rest of the Bible that will have bearing on the doctrines of humanity, Christology, salvation, and creation—to name only a few. Indeed, our reading of the whole Bible is diminished if we miss this first step from Adam to Noah. Therefore, let us read Genesis 1–11 well and see how and why Moses speaks of Noah as a Second Adam.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds