17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
In a way, it’s a reversal. The water that were separated in Genesis 1 are now once again joined – dry land disappears and chaos returns. Water swamps and reduces the landscape once more to a formless, empty mass.
Except for that ark, floating, dwarfed by the sheer extent of the flood waters – even the mountains are covered. Everything outside the floating zoo is destroyed – everything with that life-breath, that thing that makes us alive. That which is living no longer breathes: it is dead, destroyed by the water that re-covers the earth, taking back what it had been denied.
A de-creation of sorts.
A bleak image, but holding a glimmer of hope that the water will not hold sway forever, that the land that was eaten will again be regurgitated, that life will repopulate the land.