Book of Genesis #20
In this study, we focus on select parts of chapter 7 through the beginning of chapter 9 and we consider the following questions:
Was the deluge a historical phenomenon?
If indeed the flood is historical, did it cover the entire Earth? We consider two options: The geographical universality of the flood and the Anthropological universality of the flood.
Next, we focus on the arc, its meaning, and its symbolic import. The Fathers have always seen in the arc a symbol of the Church (Anagogical meaning of scripture? (See the Four Senses of Scripture) and have derived from that study the necessity of the Catholic Church for the salvation of man.
We then take on the meaning of the '40' days of rain (Why 40?), the difficulty with the clean and unclean animals in Chapter 7 verses 2 and 3 that seem to contradict the general statement about two pairs of animals in Chapter 6 and explain the meaning of the raven, the dove, the olive branch and the sacrifice that Noah offered once he reaches dry land.
Lastly, we cover the covenant that God establishes with Noah and point out how man is now allowed to eat meat (whereas before he was not) as a recompense for the work that Noah and his family performed on the ark. We explain why man is not permitted to eat any animal with its blood and point out the fundamental link between this passage and John chapter 6 where Jesus insists that man eats his blood and drink his blood. How could Jesus ask us to drink his blood if the Covenant with Noah explicitly forbids it? The answer is both profound and surprising.
Lastly, we explain how the covenant with Noah establishes a biblical basis for capital punishment and discuss how the constant view of the Catholic Church on the issue of capital punishment differs from the current penal code in the United States.