Most recently I invited Bill Watson, Criswell College’s Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Research, to preach our Palm Sunday service. Bill is a two time graduate of the Criswell College and is working on his PhD at the University of Texas in Dallas.
Bill preached on Noah, which wasn’t inspired by the recent movie of the same name. It was inspired by Easter, a holiday on which the church celebrates our great hope–the resurrection. His message was simple: The story of Noah teaches us that we are all really messed up and that, without the resurrection, we will always be messed up.
I imagine you’re asking, “How in the world does the Flood teach us about the resurrection?”
Bill’s take on Noah suggests that Noah is a second Adam, not to be confused with Jesus, the “last Adam” (1 Cor 15:45). As the second Adam, the story of Noah is a second story of creation. In fact, it’s astounding how much the story parallels the creation story in Genesis 1. Consider these parallels:
- The darkness in Genesis 1:2 parallels the sure darkness from the rain clouds in Genesis 7:17.
- The dry land appearing in Genesis 1:10 parallels the tops of the mountains becoming visible in Genesis 8:5.
- The vegetation sprouting in Genesis 1:11 parallels the freshly picked olive leaf in the dove’s beak in Genesis 8:11.
- God’s first command to Noah after leaving the ark parallels his first command to Adam, which is to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen 1:28; 9:1).
There is little doubt that there are striking parallels between the stories. When reviewed more intimately, the order is even the same. But the question still remains, “How does this teach us about Easter?”
In short, Bill argues that the story of Noah reveals the tragedy that Adam’s sin in Eden impacted mankind so deeply that even Noah, the sole man on earth who “found favor in the eyes of the Lord,” was still incapable of overcoming it (Gen 6:8). The story reveals that even when God started over with the very best among us that creation was still doomed. Consider what Noah did upon leaving the ark:
“Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent” (Gen 9:20-21).
Like Adam, Noah ate fruit in a forbidden way and then became ashamed through nakedness. And like Adam, Noah failed to live up to God’s standards. And we should learn that, if given the same opportunity, we too would fail.
This is where the message of Easter comes in. Peter writes that the “present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire” (1 Pt 3:7a). The backdrop of this statement is Noah’s Flood, teaching that in the same way that God destroyed the ungodly in Noah’s day, so will God destroy the ungodly on the Lord’s Day.
” … kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (1 Pt 3:7b)
The only difference is that when God walks these proverbial Noahs out onto the earth, of which you and I through Jesus (our ark) are part, that we don’t have to worry about messing up in the way Adam and Noah did. We don’t have to worry about following in the footsteps of the first or second Adam. This is because we will, at this point, have followed in the footsteps of our last Adam, the resurrected Jesus Christ.
Therefore, Noah teaches us that, apart from Jesus, although we may find favor in God’s eyes, without the resurrection we are doomed. Without Jesus we can’t help but follow in the footsteps of our ancestral Adams. We will always fail. But with Jesus we can not only make it through the Flood, we can succeed after it.
Bill’s sermon was phenomenal, and I encourage you to take 30 minutes to listen to it as you prepare to celebrate the resurrection this Sunday: Bill Watson’s The Story of Noah.