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Echoes of Eden: Noah's Interpretation of Adam

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Tamarajo is an avid Bible scholar who loves nothing more than seeking out the treasures in God's Word and sharing them with others.

echoes-of-eden-noahs-interpretation-of-adam

Importance of the Early Genesis Narratives

The "Beginning" narratives of Genesis contain the genetic code that finds its expression and fruitful development in the rest of Scripture and throughout the history of human experience.

These early chapters of the Bible are the template for the subsequent events detailing God's relational advancement with fallen humankind. Every chronicle will echo these beginning accounts and reveal applicable facets drawn from each episode. Every scene will also contain Messianic themes pointing to Jesus the Messiah—Savior of the world. The following quote from the book Reading Moses Seeing Jesus by Seth D Postell, Eithan Bar, and Erez Soref, summarizes this thought.

. . . from beginning to end a singular story is told in the Torah (first five books of the Bible), not just in the smattering of verses but woven into its very fabric. Perhaps examining the narrative structure of the Torah with its many parallel story lines and recurring themes we may see signposts pointing consistently and undeniably toward the Messiah and our need for Him2

It's a messy story, to say the least, but that's just the backside of the tapestry view. As we follow the common threads through the fabric of these Biblical accounts, a much bigger picture comes into view. We shall see how the genius of God beautifully weaves His eternal plan through the warp of rebellious humanity who resists Him at every turn.

This article will overlay and compare the Biblical accounts of the fall of Adam at the culmination of creation and Noah's disgrace upon entering the new world after the flood.

echoes-of-eden-noahs-interpretation-of-adam

Restraining the Chaotic Waters

We will begin by overlaying the post-flood events of Genesis chapters eight and nine with the post-water division scene of the Genesis chapter one creation account. The following scene occurs after the floodwaters of Noah were receding, and the dry land appeared.

And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried.

— Genesis 8:13-14

The earth drying up is noted three times in the above portion of Scripture taking us back to the third day of creation.

Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth . . .

— Genesis 1:9-10

In both cases, the dry land appears immediately after chaotic waters are divided in the first event and receding in the second.

These "dry land" episodes set the stage for soon-to-follow parallels linking Noah's and Adam's narratives.

echoes-of-eden-noahs-interpretation-of-adam

Old and New Creation Blessings

The post-flood, new creation scene begins with all breathing beings, human and animal, disembarking from the ark at God's command. God blesses Noah, his family, and all classes of living creatures with fruitfulness and multiplication precisely as He did in the beginning with Adam, Eve, and the living creatures.

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"be fruitful and multiply"

Creation:

  • Genesis 1:22 (birds and fish),
  • Genesis 1:28 (humans)

Post-flood new creation:

  • 8:17 (every living thing of all flesh)
  • 9:1 (Noah and his sons)

This literary format of blessing with fruitfulness and multiplication intentionally connects the two stories.

echoes-of-eden-noahs-interpretation-of-adam

Old and New Creation Prohibitions

After Noah builds a sacrificial altar, the issue of prohibited food appears, rehearsing the garden's forbidden tree and the commands that came with it. Pay attention to the linking phrases in both accounts.

The Garden:

. . . the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat . . .

— Genesis 2:16-17

Noah's new world:

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

— Genesis 9:3-4

Every tree was given for food in the garden with one prohibition—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Noah's story, every moving thing was given for food with the prohibition of eating flesh with its lifeblood still in it. The language used to describe both the provision and the prohibition in Noah's story matches the earlier chapters of the Genesis garden story.

A Revisit of the Image of God

Man created in the image of God, noted in Genesis chapter one, makes its second appearance in God's post-flood discussion with Noah.

In Noah's case, it occurs in regards to destroying the image of God in humans through murder.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed;
For in the image of God
He made man.

— Genesis 9:6

Following Adam and Eve's expulsion from the garden, their son Cain killed his brother Abel. The connecting of these two dots may allude to the idea that this type of violence may have been a large part of the destructive practices of the antediluvian world, which necessitated this addendum.

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The Garden and the Vineyard

The elements of Genesis chapters two and three, describing the sacred garden space, get rescripted in Genesis chapter nine. With the new creative order established after the flood, Noah planted a vineyard much like God planted His garden in His newly formed world.

And Noah began to be a man of the ground, and he planted a vineyard.

— Genesis 9:20

The vineyard planting appears to be an independent move on Noah's part. There is no mention of God instructing Him to plant the vineyard, nor is there any participation from God recorded in the text.

Connections with "a man of or from the ground" and the planting theme, noted in the above verse, are also recast from the following scene earlier in Genesis.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.

— Genesis 2:7,8

The mention of Noah's connection with the ground overlayed with the above verse further substantiates Noah's independent move. The verse above distinguishes that man apart from God is merely dirt.

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Naked and Ashamed

The remainder of the garden events, recorded in Genesis chapter three, depicting the fateful fall of humankind through Adam, is condensed in the Noah story. Like Adam and Eve partaking of forbidden fruit, Noah partakes of his wine and becomes drunk.

. . . and he (Noah) drank of the wine, and became drunk, and lay uncovered in his/her tent.

— Genesis 9:21

Perhaps Noah's drunkenness suggests an intoxicating element of the garden scene.

The partaking of the fruit and the drinking of the wine ends in subsequent nakedness or uncovering, linking both the garden and Noah's vineyard narratives.

. . . she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked.

— Genesis 3:6-7

In the case of Adam and Eve, they became conscious of their own nakedness. In Noah's event, Ham "saw the nakedness of his father."

And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brethren without.

— Genesis 9:22

Curses follow in both cases. In the Garden scene, both the ground and the serpent were cursed.

So the Lord God said to the serpent:

“Because you have done this,
You are cursed . . .

Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground because of you . . .

— Genesis 1:14

In the Noah event, Noah's grandson Canaan, the son of Ham, was cursed.

So Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said:

"Cursed be Canaan . . . "

— Genesis 9:24-25

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Why Does the Curse Fall on Canaan?

The Biblical text assures us that Canaan was Ham's son before any vineyard was planted.

Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan.

— Genesis 9:18

No other grandchild is mentioned. Canaan Ham's son is also noted when the nakedness scene occurs.

The age-old question is, why was Noah's grandson cursed instead of Ham, who reportedly "saw his father's nakedness?" And, what was it that "his younger son" had done to him?"

The laws in the book of Leviticus may give us a vital clue as to what really happened in the tent while Noah was intoxicated.

The nakedness of your father’s wife you shall not uncover; it is your father’s nakedness . . . The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness

— Leviticus 18:7-8, 20:11

If the Leviticus law explains that Ham was with Noah's wife, Canaan would have been the offspring of that union and thereby cursed. It might also explain why Shem and Japeth walked backward to cover 'their father's nakedness/wife."

Additionally, the Hebrew word "tent" in the Noah account is used in a female form, suggesting an uncovering in the female's portion of the tent. In the ancient world, women had their own tent or occupied their own space within the family tent. The women's portion or tent was where intimacy would have taken place. Noah going into "her" tent while intoxicated suggests he was, perhaps, seeking an occasion with his wife.

Another clue in the text that Canaan may very well have been the son of Noah's wife is discovered in Canaan's curse. He is noted as a brother of Shem and Japeth.

Canaan. . . A servant of servants
He shall be to his brethren . . .

. . . Blessed be the Lord,
The God of Shem,
And may Canaan be his servant.
May God enlarge Japheth,

And may he dwell in the tents of Shem;
And may Canaan be his servant.”

— Genesis 9:25-27

The narrative comparisons link the generational consequences of alternative fruit-eating and wine drinking.

Moreover, we could also see comparisons with a female being approached by someone wicked in both stories. In the case of Eve, it was through the manipulative deception of the serpent. As it concerns Noah's experience, Ham was the perpetrator.

Conclusion

Like Adam in his new world, Noah stumbles right out of the gate of his new world too. However, God's Messianic plan continues through Adam's son Seth and Noah's son Shem despite all the tragedy.

Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph . . . the son of Shem, the son of Noah . . . the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

— Luke 3:23,36,38

Jesus is the second Adam who gets it right on our behalf.

“The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

— I Corinthians 15:45

And is it was in the days of Noah; He will return soon.

. . . as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be . . . be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

— Matthew 24:37-39

This lesson concludes with the names and their meanings in the genealogy from Adam to Noah, revealing the Gospel message of God's Son, who, unlike all who came before Him, successfully secures salvation for humanity. The video above is a short teaching on the names and their meaning. I have refined a couple of the meanings of the names based on personal word studies.

Adam -Man
Seth -Appointed
Enosh – Mortal
Kenan – Sorrow
Mahalalel – The praised God
Jared – Shall come down
Enoch – dedicating
Methuselah – His death shall bring
Lamech – Despairing
Noah – Comfort and rest

Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow, (but) the praised God shall come down dedicating (Himself). His death shall bring (the) despairing comfort and rest.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Tamarajo

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