What Is Noah's Flood

Information and Explanation

Humans were born in perfection, but the first humans, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God and brought original sin into the world. This brought death into the world, but God had patience with humanity. However, like out-of-control children, the human race spiralled into sin and wickedness until God had no choice but to punish them. This is the origin of Noah's flood.

Water RocksThe Bible tells us that the sinfulness of the world grieved God so much that He wanted to destroy the entire world by flood. However, Noah's faith and holiness convinced God to save him and his family, and thus the entire human race and animal species.

God told Noah to build an ark and bring along several of each animal in order to not only replenish humanity, but also the animal kingdom. It rained for forty days and forty nights, creating a great flood upon the earth.

For a long time Noah and his family stayed in the ark, until the waters began to recede. Noah sent out a raven, but the bird returned. Next, he sent out a dove and it returned with an olive branch, indicating that at least some of the plants were now visible with the water receded. Noah later sent out the dove again, and it didn't return, indicating that it has found a place to land and the flood had finally ended.

After the flood, Noah and his family left the ark and offered sacrifices to God. Then, they followed God's commands to repopulate the earth, along with the other species. According to the Bible, all peoples of the earth trace their lineage to Noah and his sons.

Many modern Christians (including most Catholics) take the flood as an allegorical story based on a local, but massive, flood. There are parallels to Noah's flood in other stories from various cultures in the region, indicating some type of memorable flood happened.

Noah's flood has great significance in the Christian tradition. It is a profound example of God's justice and love. He punished the world, but decides to spare Noah on account of Noah's holiness. The image also found expression in the Christian rite of baptism where the flood waters can represent the power of baptism over sin. Finally, Noah's ark toys have become popular with babies and children, not only among Christians but among secular families as well.