8 God said to Noah and his sons, 9 "Look! I now confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that is with you, including the birds, the domestic animals, and every living creature of the earth with you, all those that came out of the ark with you--every living creature of the earth. 11 I confirm my covenant with you: Never again will all living things be wiped out by the waters of a flood; never again will a flood destroy the earth." (Gen. 9:8-11, NET) This covenant will remain until the earth has passed away (Gen 8:22). This is a perpetual covenant between God and Humankind given through Noah (Gen 9:17).
Provisions of the Noahic covenant
- Man's responsibility to populate the earth is reaffirmed (Gen 9:1, 7).
- The subjection of the animal kingdom to man is reaffirmed, but now it will be administered under a new relationship. Whereas previously man and animal coexisted in peace and animals most likely fully cooperated with man’s care and maintenance, now the animal kingdom would fear man and be dominated by him (Gen 9:2).
- Man is permitted to eat the flesh of every "moving creature" outside the realm of man. It is suggested that initially man was a vegetarian but after the curse of the Flood, man's allowable diet was expanded to include the animal kingdom (meat) -- which involved killing an animal. The only exception, which is in fact carried over into the New Covenant, is that man is to refrain from eating blood, the "life of the flesh" (Gen 9:3, 4).
- The sacredness of human life is established. Since man is made in the image of God, one who commits murder shows not only contempt for man but also contempt for God (Gen 9:5).
- Whatever sheds man's blood, whether man or beast, must be put to death. This is seen as the institution of human self-government (Gen 9:6).
- The covenant is confirmed with Noah, his sons, their descendants, all the animals on the ark and their descendants (Gen 9:8-10).
- The earth will never again be destroyed by a universal flood (Gen 9:11). The next time God destroys the earth, the means will be fire (2 Peter 3:10).
- The rainbow is established as a sign of the Noahic Covenant to both God and man signifying that God will never again destroy the earth by a universal flood (Gen 9:12-17).