I was listening to this OnScript podcast while doing some research for a Bible study, and there was one section that I think would be of wide interest here.
At minute mark 23:50 to 31:55 Matt Lynch (author of the book Flood and Fury: Old Testament Violence and the Shalom of God) situates the Flood narrative in its ANE context and its context as a recreation event that parallels the Genesis creation event.
ANE creation stories typically told of the story of bringing peace to creation by violent subjugation of hostile forces, usually represented by watery chaos and monsters of the deep. The biblical account is notable because of the absence of violence and subjugation to establish a peaceful creation. The primordial waters in Genesis are not hostile. God commands the chaos monsters to be fruitful and multiply like the rest of his creatures. Even the command to rule and subdue that is given to humans implies a non-violent, subjugation-free, vegetarian ruling and subduing because their rule is over realms they cannot possibly control.
But after this notably non-violent beginning, sin enters the world and the result is violence. (Lynch mentions that enmity in the OT connotes intent to do violence and with sin, you have enmity entering all relationships and violence ensuing) By chapter 6, violence fills the earth.
Lynch says God “destroying” creation with the Flood should be seen a potter who realizes the vase he has created has become ruined and deformed on his wheel, so he “destroys” the vase by once again shaping it into a formless ball of clay SO THAT it can be reformed. The returning to a formless ball of clay is a prerequisite for the recreation. The ruining of creation is not something God did with the Flood, it’s something human violence did prior to the Flood. The Flood returns creation to a watery, formless chaos SO THAT God can recreate his creation which has been ruined by the violence that has filled the earth.
I liked the explanation because it makes the point of the text God’s intended recreation and redemption of a ruined creation, not God’s destruction of creation.
Anyway, it’s interesting food for thought from a good Bible scholar if anyone is interested.