Credo-Baptism Answers Genesis 6&7 and 1 Peter 3:20-22


Puritan Board Freshman
Being new to comprehensive Reformed theology, my wife and I have recently been reading Scripture with several questions floating around in our minds. We've been discussing baptism, especially what it is and for whom it is meant.

With this in mind, my wife pointed out to me this last week something that struck her from the Scriptures. She began a study of the book of Genesis with a small group and they reached chapters 5-7 last week. She pointed out Genesis 6:9-10 and 7:1, namely that God counted Noah righteous and then dealt mercifully with his whole household.

This prompted some very thoughtful consideration from the both of us. We've grown up understanding that baptism is done on an individual basis, not as something that's done as a household. It doesn't make sense for a person or people to be baptized based on the faith of another, so went our line of reasoning.

My mind then went to 1 Peter 3:20-22 and how Peter remembers Noah and the flood and claims that "baptism now corresponds to this."

Can someone help me connect the dots here? How do these texts relate to one another, and then to the doctrine of baptism?

Posting this to both paedobaptism and credobaptism answers forums out of curiosity.

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Junior
Noah was a sign of better things to come--he passed through the water for the physical preservation of life. Being with Noah in the ark did not confer salvation, as Ham's later acts show. You cannot take every picture and shadow and make a one-to-one relationship to what we have now. Jonah's marine incident was a sign of Jesus' death and resurrection. But Jesus didn't have to get swallowed by a fish for the sign to apply: what the sign meant came true in a different way.
So the sign of Baptism, prefigured in many ways in the OT, is now applied to those who have passed from death unto life by being born again. Not by a physical connection to some parent, but by spiritual union with Christ, in whom alone is life eternal.

Phil D.

Puritan Board Senior
Does God particularly work within families in graciously and providentially extending the Gift of Salvation? Absolutely, both statedly and observably. Do these texts generally convey or allude to that truth? I believe so. Do they further intend to speak to the issue of infant baptism? Not that I can see. If we really want to extend the stated symbolism beyond what is says, then it could be pointed out that Peter also emphasises that only eight souls were in the ark, all adults.

In my personal opinion, when attempts are made to seize on these kinds of abstracts to support a specific controverted position, it more likely betrays a weakness in it, rather than adds strength to it. It is reminiscent of the patristic abuse of analogy, where they saw a reference to baptism in nearly every mention of water in the OT.

Texts must be applied according to their stated intent. Sober exegesis of 1 Peter 3:18-22 shows the apostle is speaking to, and that it applies to "us" (vv 18 & 21), i.e. believers who have made an appeal for a good conscience through baptism.
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John The Baptist

Puritan Board Freshman
I think a study of typology, Sensus Plenior, and intertextuality would be beneficial here.

Like mentioned above, the point by point comparisons similar to the patristics should likely be avoided.

John The Baptist

Puritan Board Freshman
I've looked at a few things since my previous post, and have a few more thoughts.

I think we can get into trouble when we confuse typology and allegory. There are some uses of allegory in scripture (Galatians 4:21-31 being the best example). In allegory, the details have symbolic meaning. In Galatians, Paul could not lay it out any clearer, linking details in the story of Sarah and Hagar to the old and new covenants. Jesus also uses allegory in some of his parables, giving the details meaning (though this is often not the case). Just because they employed allegorical interpretation does not mean we ought to. Allegory is rare in scripture, and we ought not slap allegorical meaning on every passage. This is especially tempting when interpreting OT narrative. The patristic fathers got in trouble because they did this for most passages of scripture, providing symbolic meaning to each detail.

Typology is more of an analogous relationship. Details are fuzzy, and it is not direct prophecy. It is a correspondence and foreshadowing. Unlike analogy, the details are not as important.

I think in 1 Peter, we are keyed into the typological nature with the term 'corresponds.' Notice how Peter does not break down the story of Noah point by point and apply symbolic meaning to each detail.

Hopefully this helps in your exegesis!