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Some of my more lazy readers complained to me that my last PBTB—which I thought was tremendous—was far too long, and they encouraged me to cut back on the word count, citing the alleged “known fact” that “trivia” means brevity.


I will keep this short, however, but only because I am very, very busy striking fear into the hearts of my minions—i.e., it’s finals time at Eastern University.

So, to get to it . . .

Did you know that the word for “basket” in the story of Moses’s birth is the same word use for the “ark” in the story of Noah?

And did you further know that the Hebrew word is tevah (TAY-vah)?

So what? Well, this is sort of a big deal. I talk about this in a bit more detail in The Bible Tells Me So, but since—as I’ve already mentioned—I’m not allowed to go into any great detail here but have to remain brief because some people just want deep knowledge tweeted at them.

The brief version is like this.

  1. There’s something about water in the Bible, especially Genesis and Exodus.
  2. In Genesis 1, God separates the waters above from the waters below (Day 2 of creation) and then he separates the waters below to reveal the dry land beneath (Day 3).
  3. The story of Noah and Flood in Genesis 6-9 isn’t “Whoa! Look at all that rain!” but the undoing of what God did in #2 above: the waters that God had separated now collapse back in on themselves, thus returning the earth to its pre-creation state. The Flood is God pressing reset on creation.
  4. But righteous Noah and his family are saved through this watery chaos in a tevah (ark) lined with pitch to waterproof it.
  5. In the second book of the Bible, Exodus, baby Moses—to escape Pharaoh’s edict to kill the male Israelite children—is placed in a tevah (a basket, likewise lined with pitch) by his sister and left to float on the Nile. He is rescued downstream by, ironically, Pharaoh’s daughter.
  6. Moses, therefore, is a new Noah, so to speak, and his rescue as an infant not only harkens back to the story of the Flood, but signals the deliverance of the Israelites later in the book, once again through water: the Red Sea (better, Sea of Reeds) is separated revealing the dry ground beneath (just like #2 above). And, like the Flood story, the Egyptian army drowns when the separated waters come crashing down on themselves.

Three rescues of God’s people from a watery threat (Noah, Moses, and the Israelites) and the destruction of God’s enemies by means of a watery threat. And all of that echoing the story of creations.

So here is the bottom line (well, ONE of the bottom lines, because I’m getting close to being wordy again):

creation and deliverance are two sides of the same coin in Israelite theology.

The deliverance of God’s people is a “creation act”–or perhaps better, an act of “re-creation.”

And I’ll bet many of you can see echoes of this theme in the New Testament. Here are 3:

  • The coming of the Jesus, the Savior, is described in creation language in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus]. . . .” The coming of Jesus is like pressing reset on creation.
  • “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Personal rebirth is like taking part in a new created order.
  • The Christian Bible ends, in the book of Revelation, with the final redemptive act being a “new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1). Redemption is now, and only now, fully accomplished, in the ultimate act of recreation.

There. That’s as brief as I can do it without suffering physical, emotional, and spiritual trauma.

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.