611 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
Having been introduced to G*D’s regret and had this marked with a brief genealogy, we now emphasize the import of G*D’s response with a more detailed telling of the source of the regret and a second pronouncement not allowing regret to have the last word.
Earth is another way of talking about ’adam (a generic human)—they are the foreground and background of one another.
The corruption of one is the outrage of the other. ’Adam is outraged, pained, at the corruption of the ground East of Eden. Tilling is now work, not vocation. Earth is outraged, pained, at the corruption of humans only seeing its beauty and enslaving it as only utilitarian.
This mutual outrage and pain cannot be hidden. Likewise, it seems incapable of being overcome by either or both parties. They have lost touch with one another, become competitors, and even enemies.
Since Earth and Human are so intimately intertwined, there is no choosing one over the other. They either run each other into lifeless ground or benefit one another. Lacking what seems to be a process to listen to one another for their respective experience of good and not-good, G*D’s decision is to be rid of both.
The way out chosen does privilege Noah (a second ’adam) over Earth. Collecting the animals, two-by-two, is a recapitulation of the dominion and naming functions of ’adam. The vault of Heavens is shrunk to mere cubits. While not completely destroyed, creation is diminished. There is no steering of this teensy ark, and so no destination can be anticipated. It may be East or West of a first Eden. It may be in the center of Eden as the flood takes out the fearsome cherubim and puts out a flaming sword.
Even if Noah does not eat of a Tree of Life, G*D seems intent on finding ways to keep this strange ’adam creature close.
Regret, corruption, and outrage sit on one side of an equation with a second-chance and safe-passage on another. This equation is dynamic and never seems to balance. Creation, creation reversed, next creation, next reversal, and so on. There is more than one way to skin a cherubim.