In Romans 1-3:23, Paul underscores that those nasty Gentiles are indeed idolaters and sexual immoral. But, like Aronofsky's Noah, Paul sees that sin hasn't just infected the "others," but pervades God's chosen covenant people as well. With the Psalmist, Paul declares: "There is none righteous. No, not one!" Like Aronofsky's Noah, Paul declares that the problem is not merely with the line of Cain or the Gentiles. No, the entire line of Adam is caught in the snare. So what is the solution? It is not to pull ourselves up by our moral bootstraps and make better choices (the final Pelagian note sounded by Aronofsky's Noah). No, in Jesus Christ, the answer has been given: Adam and his line must drown, must die.
And so the second Adam takes on himself all the weight of our misery and sin. The cross is thus the bookend to Jesus' baptism by John, a baptism of repentance. For the only true baptism of repentance is one that ends in death, for the line of old man, the line of Adam cannot rehabilitated. He must be drowned. And just as sinful humanity drowned in the days of Noah, so the One who walked on water was dragged down to the deepest depths because of our sin.
But the sign given by the Son of Man is not only that of Noah but of Jonah, who both descended into the depths but miraculously ascended as well. So this new Jonah calls us to pass through the waters of death and new life.
Scripture affirms that we cannot be rehabilitated. We cannot be reformed. We cannot be reoriented. We cannot be reeducated. We must die. We must pass with Christ through the waters of death and emerge into a new life. "Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (Rom 6:3-4)
Today we remember and give thanks that, in Jesus, the old Adam was drowned so that we might be born anew by the water and the Spirit.