Noah, the Eighth Person

II Peter 2:5. . . .And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;”

To see the first post in this section, go here for the context:

I have always loved the story of Noah as he heard and obeyed the voice of God instructing him to build a. . . .a WHAT? “Lord, I’m sorry—what is an ARK? I’ve never heard of that!” And God, being a patient Lord, told Noah that He was going to send a flood that would destroy everyone and everything on earth except Noah and his family. He would do it because the people of the earth had turned so far away from Him that He regretted having created mankind in the first place. It was an unregenerate population, guilty of all sorts of sin, including the worship of heathen gods.

I’ve also always wondered why this verse refers to Noah as “the eighth person.” If I’ve ever heard it explained, it didn’t stick. As with many other things, once I teach something, then I remember it. So here goes.

I read several explanations of “Noah, the eighth man.” None of them hold up under close scrutiny. One of the most popular is that God preserved seven others plus Noah, the eighth person, from the flood waters that covered the entire earth. This idea is upheld in several generally accepted modern translations or revisions of the Bible, but to my mind it leaves a lot of questions unanswered.

You can find the story of Noah in Genesis 6, especially vv. 5-8, for our discussion today. Why would God call Noah the eighth person to be protected, rather than the first? He was the leader of his family, after all.

Other offered explanations just don’t stand up under close examination. The one that makes the most sense to me is that Noah, after the flood waters receded, was the beginning of a new generation of mankind. The number eight, in the Bible, always indicates a new beginning, the start of something. There is a very clear article that explains other ideas, and then presents Noah the Eighth in the context of the new beginning. Here is the link:

I found this to be the most believable explanation of all the others I read.

Noah was a preacher of righteousness. He was the man chosen by God to start a new human family. Sadly, we see Noah in his own humanity very soon after the Flood was over. It’s an interesting read, from Gen. 6 through 8, including God’s promise that He would never again destroy the earth by flood, and setting a rainbow in the sky as a surety of that promise.

Notice that God said He would never destroy the world again by flood. He did NOT say that He would never destroy the world again at all.

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