Noah’s type

One of the ways in which we see those echoes reverberating through Scripture is through something called Typology.  This is about seeing how people, places, objects and events point forwards from themselves to people, places, objects and events in the future.  We use the term particularly to speak about Old Testament things that point forward to New Testament things and especially to Jesus and the Gospel.

Typology requires a type, the pattern/mould/form if you like and the anti-type, that which it points forward to.  So, if Elijah, Aaron and David are types of prophet, priest and king then they point forward to Jesus as the anti-type who fulfils all of these.  Similarly, Noah’s Ark and the people crossing the red sea are presented as types of salvation and baptism.

It’s to Noah that I want to particularly turn as we’ve been reading about him in the Daily Devotions from Genesis 1-11.  The other day, I picked up on some links between Noah and other Old Testament characters, particularly Adam and Lot.  I think, this is how we see a building image through lots of connecting types before we reach the true and final anti-type.

Noah is a mini-anti-type of Adam.  In Genesis 1-2, God forms the land out of a watery mass.  In Genesis 9, God brings dry land out of the watery mass of the flood.  Adam is tempted to sin, eating the fruit of a specific tree.  Noah takes fruit and turns it into wine leading to intoxication.  Adam realises that he is naked, Noah is discovered naked by his son, for both this leads to shame.  Both Adam and Noah have three notable sons, Shem like Seth is presented as the head of a godly line where there is blessing whilst Ham and his son Canaan follow Cain in representing curse (Genesis 9:18-28).

Now, play it forward a few chapters in Genesis to Genesis 12 and there we meet Abraham’s nephew Lot.  2 Peter 2:7 describes Lot as a righteous man. That might be surprising given his failings but although Lot ended up in the city of Sodom, he is clearly seen as one of God’s covenant people and therefore righteous.  Furthermore, his shame and disgust at the sin of Sodom points us to one whose moral character stands out from those he lived among.  The implication of 2 Peter 2:7 seems to be that Lot like Noah was “righteous” and “blameless among his contemporaries”. 

In Genesis 19, God meets with Abraham, Lot’s uncle and begins to tell him about his plans for Sodom, just as God chooses to reveal his purpose to send a flood to Noah. Unlike Abraham, Noah does not seem to protest the plan and one reason for this, I think, is that whereas Abraham had Lot to plead for as righteous and blameless, Noah had no one else to plead for save himself.

I want to suggest then that Noah and Lot present to us a type of the Gospel in that we see that God loves them and chooses to rescue them. This is tied into righteousness, not I think in the sense that they were morally perfect, but in the sense that they were his chosen people and so under the cover of the covenant.

Incidentally, there are echoes of Noah’s post flood intoxication and shaming when Lot’s daughters get him drunk to sleep with him and have children. Lot’s descendants like Ham’s must be considered as belonging to the cursed line, seeking to oppose and rival God’s people Israel (Genesis 19:30-38).

Noah though also provides a type not just of the saved, people of God but also of the saviour because it becomes clear that the people and animals who get onto the ark and are saved are only saved because of their relationship to him.  They were in effect saved, by/through/in Noah just as we are saved by/through/in Christ.

If we see these stories connecting up and creating one story, it should be no surprise. The author of the little stories is the same author who is telling the one big story.

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