“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning. From every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life. Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed. For in his own image, God made mankind. And you, be fruitful and multiply, abound on the earth and multiply in it.”
God blessed Noah and his sons and told them to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Thus we have the second creation story that like the first asked humans to multiply. Once again, humans are to dominate animals, birds, and creeping things. Everything that lives is to be their food. Now the only restrictions are not to eat flesh with its life or blood in it. We already have a food restriction that will appear in the later Mosaic Law. Also there is the blood oath. Whoever sheds human blood must shed their own blood, because humans are made in the image of God. This is the beautiful thought that humans are next to God. It also reinforces the power of humans over the created world.
“Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations. I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. The waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.’”
God established a new covenant with Noah and his descendants. There will never be another flood. The sign of the new covenant is the bow in the clouds that is the rainbow. This rainbow commits humans to a continual relationship with God. This rainbow after the rain is the eternal sign of God’s relationship to man, all living creatures, and earth itself. What a nice ending to this terrible flood story.