Genesis 8: The Noahic Covenant

*These notes come from Bob Deffinbaugh’s study on Genesis 8 at

The Noahic Covenant is the first Biblical covenant, and by understanding it we can gain an appreciation for the significance of all God’s covenants, especially the New Covenant that was initiated by Jesus. Genesis 8:20-22 reconfirms the purpose of God to save men.

  • A New Beginning  – Original creation was pronounced good by God but Noah’s day did not receive this, as God saw man as wicked and sought to rework creation
    •  Animals
      • Adam was charged to subdue the earth and rule over the animal kingdom, but Noah was not given this command. Rather, God placed in animals a fear of man, which man could use to control them
      • Adam and family were vegetarians but Noah’s people could eat flesh, perhaps earth’s conditions changed and meat was now necessary for survival. Could not, however, eat blood/life of animal in order to teach man that God values and owns life. Man must be brought to the realization that because of sin he could only live by the death of other animals
    • Man
      • before the fall men were violent and had no regard for life. Life was for God alone to give and take
      • suicide is taking our life into our own hands when it belongs to God
      • abortion is wrong because when a fetus has blood, it has life
      • To attack man is to attack God in whose image we are created
      • God instituted corporal punishment to create a reverence for life
  • Features  of the covenants:
    • 1) initiated and directed by God, 2) made with Noah and all successive generations, 3) it is universal – man & animals, 4) unconditional, 5) promise to never again destroy earth by flood. Will destroy by fire, but only after righteous are removed, 6) sign is the rainbow. Every covenant has a sign.  Rainbow is appropriate because it consists of reflection of rays of sun in particles of moisture in the clouds. Water that destroyed earth causes rainbow. Also appears at end of storm to show it is over. Rainbow is not for our benefit, but for God’s
  • Application for Israelites
    • gave reason for number of rules laid down in Mosaic law
    • Israelites could look forward to salvation that God would bring
    • Foreshadowed New Covenant and New Covenant took on much that Noahic had anticipated. All Biblical covenants culminate in New Covenant, which overshadows them
  • New Covenant and Noahic Covenant Compared
    • new covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:30-34
    • Jesus instituted covenant with his death and sign as the Lord’s table
    • new superseded old
    • all flesh benefited from old but only those in Christ benefit from new
    • must trust only in Christ for salvation
    • Only condition for entering new covenant is expression of personal faith in Christ by receiving him
    • old only assures men he will not be destroyed by flood, but new protects against the final fire
    • Covenants offer comfort – permitting man to know where he stands with God. Do not try to negotiate your own contract with God

*Link to study on the rest of the chapters in Genesis


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