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No. 83: Genesis 1 and Genesis 8

BIBLICAL Horizons, No. 83
March, 1996
Copyright 1996 Biblical Horizons

I mentioned last month (BH 82) in my essay "Like a Dove" that Genesis 8 is a recapitulation of Genesis 1. Let me explicate that assertion here. Of course, the world after the Flood is a new creation, so we may expect a recapitulation of the first creation. It only remains to be seen whether our expectations are actually met. Here is what we find:

Day 1: "God caused a wind to pass over the earth" (8:1). Compare the hovering Spirit of Day 1.

Day 2: "Also the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, and the rain from the heavens was restrained" (8:2). Compare the separation of the deep from the waters above the firmament in Day 2, and recall that the firmament was called "heaven." The closing of the windows of heaven after the Flood was simply the re-sealing of the firmament-boundary between the heavenly and earthly oceans.

Day 3: The Ark rested on the 17th day of the 7th month, and the mountain tops became visible on the 1st day of the 10th month (8:4-5). Compare the separation of land and sea on Day 3. Also, I have argued that both of these events occurred on the 3rd day of the week. See Jordan, A Chronological and Calendrical Commentary on the Pentateuch. Biblical Horizons Occasional Paper 22 (Niceville, FL: Biblical Horizons , 1995), p. 16.

Day 4. "Noah opened the window of the Ark" (8:6). This does not obviously link to Day 4 unless we recall the Genesis 2 is also a recapitulation of Genesis 1. The humaniform recapitulation in Genesis 2 establishes that humanity is light (Day 1: 2:1-7), that the Garden between Eden and the world, with humanity in it, is the firmament (Day 2: 2:8), and that Adam’s placement in the Garden to rule it is the establishment of heavenly light-bearers in that Garden-firmament (Day 4: 2:15). Here Noah reasserts that rule over the earth. On Genesis 2 as a recapitulation of Genesis 1, see Jordan, Trees and Thorns: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 2-4 (Niceville, FL: Biblical Horizons , 1991-) series in progress; volumes 1-5 available (covering Genesis 2).

Day 5. Noah sent forth a raven, and then a dove three times. The last time, the dove remained on the land (8:7-12). Compare Day 5, the creation of fishes and birds.

Day 6. Noah and the animals move onto the land (8:18-19). Compare Day 6, the creation of animals and humanity.

Day 7. Noah worshipped God (8:20ff.). Compare Day 7, the sabbath.

In conclusion, even if the Day 4 slot seems dubious (and on the basis of Genesis 2, it is not), the rest of Genesis 8 clearly recapitulates Genesis 1, as we expected it would.