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“The Waters” Clarified

As is often the case on Sundays, I get to discuss ideas with those in attendance after the sermon. I love this and had several conversations this last Sunday.

Franklin Miller pointed out something that I want to give voice to. In the sermon, I talked about Genesis 9:8-17 and pointed out how 1 Peter 3:18-22 connects to this passage but infuses the “waters of the flood” with new and more positive meaning (like the bow, circumcision, and bread and wine). Peter mentioned that Noah and family were saved through the waters of the flood.

I took this as Peter infusing the “waters” with new meaning to connect it with the waters of baptism which “now saves you.” Reading the passage in a physical way will lead one to think that the waters were destructive. Since they were! If read that way, then Peter is infusing new meaning into those waters to connect the idea to baptism.

However (and this was Franklin’s point), the waters of the flood were cleansing the world from sin. Thus, one does not need to use the literal/physical sense of destruction, but rather the purpose for which God had for those waters. They were cleansing waters. Therefore (in this sense), Noah and family, and the world were “saved through the waters.”

I think Franklin is correct on this. The point of the flood is to cleanse the world from sin/wickedness. Therefore, we do not have to regard the secondary effect (destruction), as the primary meaning. Thus, Peter’s connection to baptism is good on its own terms. The waters of the flood and the waters of baptism have a more univocal purpose.

Thanks to Franklin for the insight.

Pastor Isaac

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