Even from apostolic times the Church has regarded the ark of Noah as a symbol rich in theological significance. St. Peter himself spoke of it in terms of salvation, referring to “the ark . . . in which a few, that is eight souls, were saved ( diesothesan) through water.” He went on to speak of “an antitype which now saves ( sozei) us: baptism” (1 Pet. 3:20–21). The Epistle to the Hebrews similarly treated of the ark in reference to salvation, saying that Noah “prepared an ark for the saving ( soteria) of his household” (Heb. 11:7).
Early Christian testimonies to this understanding follow suit. For example, in the second century Justin Martyr saw the ark as a symbol of the Cross ( Dialog . . .