The covenant renewal with Noah doesn’t mean sin has ceased to be a problem. In fact, immediately in the narrative Noah partakes too much of the fruits of his labor, he ends up drunk, and naked in his tent. His youngest son, Ham, sees him in this state and tells his brothers. It’s important for us to rightly understand what is going on here, for the punishment must fit the crime. It’s clear Ham’s folly was no passing glance but an act of rebellion. As a result, Noah doesn’t punish Ham but his son, Canaan. Shem and Japheth, on the other hand, are not easily swayed by Ham but properly care for the dignity of their father even in his undignified state. As a result, Noah blesses not only them, but their entire generations; a promise that reaches even to us.
The great cataclysm of the Flood reset, in a way, the created order. With Noah and his family, God essentially returns the world to it’s postlapsarian state. At the same time and in so doing, God restates the mandates He gave to Adam and Eve. This tells us a lot of what God values. Even though He was willing to restart the world, there are some ethical codes He is unwilling to rewrite. In this way, God cements for the Church a number of things He holds sacred.
To seal all of this, God places in the sky the rainbow. Whenever this symbol arises, we are reminded of the wrath of God, the grace of God, and the patience of God. In like manner, when God looks upon the rainbow in the sky, He sees the seal of covenant promise to never again employ baptismal waters to destroy those whose hearts are wicked from their youth. Instead, as we learn from Scripture, fire will be used to destroy and cleanse, preparing the new heaven and new earth for the glorious marriage of the Lamb and His Bride.
About the series
The Book of Genesis is the starting point of God’s covenant with His people. This book gives us the historical sketch of the creation, fall, and redemption of the world. Genesis is also a perfect litmus test to gauge whether or not a person fully trusts in the authority, sufficiency, and inerrancy of Scripture.