Baptism corresponds to the ark story because the arc of that story was death and life. Baptism is the Christian’s public declaration that God has brought us through the waters of judgment. Through union with Christ, we have been brought safely into everlasting life. The Lord Jesus, the true and greater ark, is our refuge. And in Christ, we are delivered and not condemned.
The account in Genesis 6–8 is about a staggering judgment on the world. Everyone who is not on the ark perishes. The flow of the account works like this:
- In Genesis 6, Noah is told to build an ark.
- In Genesis 7, the promised flood comes upon the earth.
- In Genesis 8, the flood waters subside.
Genesis 7 is about the death of the world. We’re told, “The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died” (Gen 7:20–22).
When we imagine the world covered by water, we can recall the state of creation in Genesis 1. “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2). It was from this condition that God brought forth land (1:9–10). Then God made creatures for the land, including people made in his image (1:20–31).