The truth of the “Noah’s Ark” story in the Bible, is that if we took away the ark, and the flood, and the man named Noah, we would still have the universal and eternal truth that the story is meant to convey.

Unfortunately, that part of the story, the truth part, usually takes a back seat, if it even gets mentioned, when the story is typically taught or preached to modern-day Christians. If I asked you what the story was about, the only reference point you would probably have is your Sunday School teaching as a child or youth. Every kid gets their dose of the story of Noah’s Ark in Sunday School. And yet, we still teach the story like we’re teaching it to children, even though we’re adults now – and presumably “we can handle the truth!” 

So, here is a little truth for you about the story of Noah’s Ark. 

  • This story is not meant to convey an actual historical event that happened some time in this world after Cain murdered Abel. If you’re interested, “Creationists” can give you an actual date of the flood. (I’m not interested. It’s not what the story is about.)
  • Thus, this story is not about how humanity got so wicked and evil at some point that God had to do something drastic … like drown all the despicable people in the world … and they were all despicable except one family – Noah’s. That is not what the story is about. 
  • And finally, the story is not about how God was willing to give humanity one last chance … a mulligan … to see if we could straighten ourselves out (we can’t!) and live in a way that God wants us to live (we couldn’t). 

You have probably been taught and led to believe that the story of Noah’s Ark is about one, or all, of those propositions. But of course, that would be a literal reading of the myth story that has a much bigger truth within it than any of those fairy tale/nursery rhyme reasons. And remember … the truths in the Bible are always UNIVERSAL and ETERNAL truths that are just as true today as they were when they were written in the Bible. In other words, the stories of the Bible are NOT about morals or truths that are confined to the time and place of the story itself, but rather the truths are bigger than the story. 

In the story of Noah’s Ark – it really doesn’t matter if the boat was ever built, or the flood ever happened, or even if there was ever a man named Noah. The truth is (can you handle it?) nobody really knows if any of those things are true. But there is one more part to the story, that everyone knows about, but it doesn’t get talked about much. And that little part, though not meant to be read literally, reveals the UNIVERSAL and ETERNAL truth of this story. This truth appears at the very end of the text I have suggested you read for this week. You’ll find it in Chapter 9 of Genesis; verses 8 – 17.

You see, the story of Noah’s Ark is about the covenant that God has made with all of humanity. That covenant is portrayed in this story by a rainbow in the sky. That “bow,” the story tells us, is to remind us that no matter how much we break God’s heart with our choices on earth, that no matter how bad we act or how much we ignore God, God will make “an eternal covenant with you and all living creatures” (Gen. 9:12) – a “permanent promise to you and all the earth” (Gen. 9: 13) – that God “will never cause a flood to destroy all human life.” (Gen. 9:15) Even though we will continue to break God’s heart constantly and consistently and will continue to break our end of any covenant or promise that we have with God. 

So, understand this: the story of Noah’s Ark is not about something God did to us to punish us by wiping us off the earth in a worldwide flood. Rather, the UNIVERSAL and ETERNAL truth of the story of Noah’s Ark teaches us that God will never do such a thing to us, even though we may deserve it. Instead, what God will do is keep God’s end of the covenant – to never leave us or forsake us, to always hold out a hand to rescue us, and to always be waiting for us when we decide we want to come back home to God. 

If you keep reading the Bible, all the way through, you’ll find out just how much God loves us. So much so that God sacrifices his only Son so that all of humanity, stuck in our sinful and wicked ways, can finally find a way back to our originally created self … in the garden. Jesus becomes the bridge that leads us home … and helps to heal God’s broken heart … one by one. 

Pastor Bob