In light of modern scientific research, there is intense theological controversy over the first ten chapters of Genesis. For the purpose of our story, the Bible implies that the flood occurs about 2500 BCE (1500AL), at which time a decadent world is destroyed by the wrath of God.
In the study of this Degree, a devout Noah, his sons and their wives, are despatched to repopulate the earth and re-establish moral values.
Archaeological evidence leaves little doubt that about 4,000 B.C. there was a flood of immense proportions, stretching up the Euphrates and Tigris rivers almost to their source.
In the early records of Freemasonry, frequent mention is made of Noah and the Flood, and all the ancient Masonic Constitutions contain allusions to the story of Noah. However, the emphasis was on the transference of knowledge, Noah being credited with finding the two great pillars made by Enoch, one of brass and the other of brick, on which was inscribed a full record of the Arts and Sciences as known at that time.
Against this background, a new Degree centering around the story of Noah and the Flood, and first known as the ‘Ark and Dove’, was apparently created in England during the second half of the eighteenth century. It gained significant support because the Degree’s non‑denominational theme and lesson of worship of the one universal God holding a special appeal to Freemasons in a century following the strife‑torn era of religious reformation, division and persecution.
The Degree probably attained its present form at the end of the eighteenth century, after which its strength rose and fell as it was worked in Craft Lodges with varying and moderate success. It achieved a firm place when in the middle of the nineteenth century it was brought under the control of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland and the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of England.
The Degree teaches us that to those who worship the one universal God, then unto them He has promised His everlasting peace and mercy. This promise is expressed in two covenants recorded respectively in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 9, Verses 8 to 17, and the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 54, Verses 9 and 10. As a token of the first of these two covenants, God has set the rainbow upon the heavens.
Accordingly, the symbol of the Royal Ark Mariner Degree is the rainbow, and the colours of the Degree are the colours of the rainbow.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can enrich your understanding of Masonic history and traditions through the Royal Arch Degrees, available to you upon becoming a member of the USGC.