76 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.
17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.
That which was brought into existence in six Days is reversed in forty. There are many echoes, here, of the 1st creation story. It is probably worth skimming the first chapter again.
One of the key phrases in the creation story is “be fruitful and multiply.” With the multiplication of the waters, flooding everything back to where it had once not been, this phrase is effectively reversed—”multiply and wipe out.” (Later this will be the mantra of entering an already occupied land.)
Readers are reminded to hearken back to what they have previously heard (connecting their eye for reading to their ear for listening to what was written). In so doing, they will know good and not-good available for application in their context. Additionally, such contrasts provide an openness beyond the present to what yet might arrive. In this case, we are hearing a forty-day prelude to the context for a new creation.
Including this prelude and subsequent removal of the water for a second time, opening space, creating an arc of space for an ark of life, we will have slightly more than a year’s time. Though the time frame is significantly longer and there is not a need to repeat the creation of species being carried along, we are in the midst of a next creation story. With the potential of a nuclear winter or hothouse climate disaster, the time frame of yet a next creation will be much longer than a year. Storing food for a year will seem like child’s play.
In the context of such mythical realities as creation, deconstruction, next creation, next deconstruction, we don’t need to speculate about species that don’t live as long as it took the waters to come and go (how did mosquitoes make it through the flood?), what an aquarium of cosmic proportions was made of before there was glass, or other flood questions. What we might have is a moment of thankfulness for what has been and spend more than a moment in thought regarding a next better iteration than our current limits.