Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth. (Genesis 8:6-7)What does the raven that Noah sent out symbolize? That is a question which many commentators attempt to answer... but is this a question which really needs to be answered? For those who distort the Scriptures by turning the opening chapters of Genesis into an allegory, the answer must be yes (after all, there has to be some hidden meaning behind what is obviously not actual history!). But for those who believe what the Bible states about early human history, the question of what the raven symbolizes does not necessarily need to be answered.
Nevertheless, many bible-believing commentators still endeavor to explain what the raven symbolizes. This is, of course, a legitimate endeavor. The Old Testament is filled with symbols of the Messiah to come, and those symbols must be found somehow! But sometimes... commentators can get a bit carried away— and that certainly seems to be the case when it comes to Noah's-raven-symbolism.
Some commentators think that the raven in Genesis 8:7 symbolizes an unbelieving heart. This is because ravens are black, just like a hardened heart. The raven also flew back and forth (it probably rested by perching on the outer part of the ark), but the raven never actually came back into the ark. From this, some conclude that the raven, in order to survive, must have feasted upon dead animals floating in the water— dead animals which symbolize the sinful desires of unbelievers.
But there are a few problems with turning the raven in Genesis 8:7 into a symbol of an unbelieving heart...
Noah Sends Out An Unsymbolical Raven (Part 2) - Genesis 8:6-7
Noah Sends Out An Unsymbolical Dove (Part 1) - Genesis 8:8-12
The First Sight Of The Post-Flood World - Genesis 8:5
The Chronology of the Flood: The Raven and Dove - Genesis 8:6-12
How God Stopped The Flood (Part 1) - Genesis 8:1-3