Ten Ways Noah’s Ark Prefigured the Church

An interesting article from Catholic Exchange (see original for lots of embedded links):

March 24, 2014
Ten Ways Noah’s Ark Prefigured the Church
Stephen Beale

When Catholics speak about the Church as the “barque of St. Peter,” two images usually come to mind—the actual fishing boat of St. Peter and the ark that saved Noah and his family from the Genesis flood.

Indeed, since the time of the Fathers, Catholics have always seen the epic ark as a type of the Church. Just as the ark was the means by which Noah and his relatives were spared destruction, so also the Church is the instrument by which Christians are saved. The comparison between the two has an explicit biblical foundation in 1 Peter 3, where the apostle writes that the flood itself anticipated the sacrament of baptism.

Inspired by Peter and the Genesis account, early Church Fathers, elaborated on the many ways in which the ark prefigures the Catholic Church. Here are ten:

Wood and water. Building on the words of 1 Peter 3, St. Augustine argues that the ark represents the primary means of salvation in the New Testament—the wood of the cross and the waters of baptism by which original sin is washed away (Contra Faustum, Book XII).

The door on the side. Noah, his family, and the animals all entered the ark through a door on its side (Genesis 6:16). This is analogous to the way we enter the Church through the side of Christ, which was pierced on the cross, releasing blood and water. “And its having a door made in the side of it certainly signified the wound which was made when the side of the Crucified was pierced with the spear; for by this those who come to Him enter; for thence flowed the sacraments by which those who believe are initiated,” Augustine writes in The City of God.

The body of Christ. Even the very ratio of the dimensions of the ark to each other suggest a human body, specifically, the body of Christ, according to Augustine: “For even its very dimensions, in length, breadth, and height, represent the human body in which He came, as it had been foretold. For the length of the human body, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, is six times its breadth from side to side, and ten times its depth or thickness, measuring from back to front” (The City of God, Book 15).

One ark, one Church. It seems obvious, but the point is a necessary one: there was only one ark, not a fleet of ships or an ark and a few tugboats. Just as there was one ark that saved Noah and his family so there is one baptism and one Church. St. Cyprian makes this case in one of his epistles: “the one ark of Noah was a type of the one Church. If, then, in that baptism of the world thus expiated and purified, he who was not in the ark of Noah could be saved by water, he who is not in the Church to which alone baptism is granted, can also now be quickened by baptism.”

The decks and stages of the spiritual life. While there was one ark, there were many levels (at least three) within it, which Origen, in his second homily on Genesis, saw as symbolic of the varying progress Christians make in the spiritual life. The fact that there were three itself is noteworthy, as Church tradition often conceives of the spiritual life as progressing in three states: purgative, illuminative, and unitive.

The window above. No detail of the Genesis flood account is insignificant for patristic interpreters like Augustine. For example, in Genesis 6 we are told that, in addition to the door on the side, Noah was instructed to make an “opening” for daylight, presumably near the top of the ark. Then, he was ordered to “finish the ark a cubit about it” (Genesis 6:16). “That the whole ark together is finished in a cubit above; as the Church, the body of Christ gathered into unity, is raised to perfection,” St. Augustine writes in Contra Faustum.

Penance, the cross, and Christ. The dimensions of the ark were 300 by 50 by 30 cubits. St. Jerome sees significant to each number. He notes that the Hebrew word for 300 contains a Hebrew letter associated with the cross (because of a prophecy in Ezekiel 9:4) while 50 is a penitential number (because Psalm 50 is penitential). Finally, Christ was 30 when He was baptized and began His ministry. In a sense, these three numbers represent the whole compass of the spiritual life: “through penance, we arrive at the mystery of the cross; we reach the mystery of the cross through the perfect Word that is Christ” Jerome concludes in Homily 84 (Early Christian Commentaries on Scripture, InterVarsity Press).

Sealed in love. No nails were used in the construction of the ark. Instead, it was held together by pitch. For Augustine, this symbolizes the way in which the Church is held together by love: “For pitch is a glutinous substance, of great energy and force, to represent the ardor of love which, with great power of endurance, bears all things in the maintenance of spiritual communion” (Contra Faustum, Book XII).

Built of saints. The shape of the building material is symbolic too, according to Augustine. “And the fact that it was ordered to be made of squared timbers, signifies the immoveable steadiness of the life of the saints; for however you turn a cube, it still stands,” he writes (The City of God, Book 15).

God closed the ark. Once Noah, his family, and all the animals are safely in the ark, Genesis 7:16 records this touching detail about who closed the door to the ark: “Then the Lord shut him.” (The Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, adds at the end of the verse: “from the outside.”) Church Fathers saw this as an example of God’s tender care for men. “Notice in this place too the considerateness in the expression … to teach us that he had ensured the good man’s complete safety,” St. John Chrysostom says in his homilies on Genesis (Early Christian Commentaries on Scripture, InterVarsity Press).

When you see the massiveness of what water did to the Grand Canyon and all the fish fossils that have been found on mountain tops its no doubt that it was a worldwide flood as the Bible say.
Thanks, Vox. Many of these I had not heard of.

The theology of the Ark is indeed spelled out here Vox. I note from the website the author was once a Protestant before converting to Catholicism. Were it not for Protestant creationism, this theology would have been lost to Catholicism.

Inherent in it, but not expressed, is the theology of the FLOOD.
ONE ARK, ONE CHURCH should have included ONE GLOBAL FLOOD.
The reason for this is apparent in the Catholic Modernist version of the FLOOD.

‘Deluge: The great flood which covered the whole land or region in which Noe lived (Gen 6: 1-9:19). God sent this flood to destroy all men in this region because of their wickedness. Noe and his family alone were spared.’
--- Catholic Dictionary, annexed to The Holy Family Bible, The Catholic Press Inc., Chicago, 1956, p. 64.

Let us now see what 'SCIENCE' did for Catholic theology. Elsewhere we have insisted that Modernism began when in 1741 churchmen, from Pope down, challenged the literal interpretation of the Bible; Challenged the biblical interpretation of the Fathers, overturned a papal decree, and accepted Copernicanism as a truth of science and THEN a truth of the Bible.
As a result of this precedence, and use of Pope Leo XIII's Providentissimus Deus, 'SCIENCE' gave Catholics licence to add 6 billion years to the age of the world, to allow cosmic evolution (Big Bang), to tolerate the evolution of life and even of the body of man.

Has anyone any idea of the amount of Catholic theology that these theories eliminated from Catholicism?
Now back to the FLOOD and it now a local flood. Had God told Noah to go on holidays for a year he could have avoided death while relaxing on some beach somewhere instead of spending years building an ark and stuffing it with animals to float on a lake. And a local flood DID NOT KILL ALL ON EARTH. So, with this version of the Flood the theology of Catholicism and the Ark is GONE, others COULD BE SAVED OUTSIDE THE ARK, those living outside that 'region.'
Now if one does not recognise modern ECUMENISM inherent in the 'scientific' version of the Ark then I will be surprised.
Here is another interesting fact ,

'The Egyptians, we know; had a slightly different version of history to that of the global deluge brought about by God’s anger with mankind as revealed in Genesis chapters 6-9. They taught that local deluges had at times flooded and destroyed peoples and places off the face of the earth. Ironically, today, in Catholic encyclopaedias and in their biblical notes the global flood of Noah has been demoted to the pagan version, just as the biblical moving sun has been demoted to the pagan version, that is, not to be taken too literally.
The gods however supposedly saved Egypt and her ancient buildings, temples and sanctuaries. Perhaps here we see good reason why the Egyptians falsified the ages of their buildings as recorded by Katarina Emmerick.

So, it seems we go to pagan Egypt to find the origin of Heliocentrism and of the local flood of Noah. 'Nothing new under the sun,' yes?
(03-26-2014, 05:17 PM)cassini Wrote: The theology of the Ark is indeed spelled out here Vox. I note from the website the author was once a Protestant before converting to Catholicism. Were it not for Protestant creationism, this theology would have been lost to Catholicism.


I'm a little bit lost here because all of the citations were from the Church Fathers. It's from the Fathers that all these ideas come.
(03-26-2014, 05:52 PM)Vox Clamantis Wrote:
(03-26-2014, 05:17 PM)cassini Wrote: The theology of the Ark is indeed spelled out here Vox. I note from the website the author was once a Protestant before converting to Catholicism. Were it not for Protestant creationism, this theology would have been lost to Catholicism.


I'm a little bit lost here because all of the citations were from the Church Fathers. It's from the Fathers that all these ideas come.

What I am saying Vox is that the theology of the Ark depends on the fact that there was an Ark and a global flood with no question of a surviving human or animal for that matter (otherwise why put animals in the Ark?). Its a long time since Catholics believed in that global flood. Protestant creationism has kept faith in a global flood and in their belief the above theology still applies, not in any Catholic dictionary version of it. 

Here from NEW ADVENT Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Universality of the Deluge
The Biblical account ascribes some kind of a universality to the Flood. But it may have been geographically universal, or it may have been only anthropologically universal. In other words, the Flood may have covered the whole earth, or it may have destroyed all men, covering only a certain part of the earth. Till about the seventeenth century, it was generally believed that the Deluge had been geographically universal, and this opinion is defended even in our days by some conservative scholars (cf. Kaulen in Kirchenlexikon). But two hundred years of theological and scientific study devoted to the question have thrown so much light on it that we may now defend the following conclusions:

[size=10pt][size=10pt]The geographical universality of the Deluge may be safely abandoned[/size][/size]

Neither Sacred Scripture nor universal ecclesiastical tradition, nor again scientific considerations, render it advisable to adhere to the opinion that the Flood covered the whole surface of the earth.


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