Friday, September 21, 2007

Genesis 7:1-16

Genesis 7:1-16

1 The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made."
5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.

Okay, back we go. Genesis 7 tells of the great flood. The great flood has always been one of my great sources of doubt. We know that many different societies have their own flood story. The Mayans have one. The Babylonians and Sumerians had one. The Chinese had one. Why don't any of those mention Noah? Where did the water come from, and where did it go to? Now that we know that Mount Everest is more than five miles high, we know that there would need to be five miles of rain to fall around the world to cover every mountain. That's hard to believe.

The chapter begins with an odd sort of praise for Noah. In a world so wicked that God must destroy almost every innocent beast, he finds Noah to be "righteous." We later learn, in Romans 3:10, that no man is righteous. None. Didn't we know that back when Genesis was written? In verse 3, God says to take seven of every kind of bird, or seven pairs, I can't tell. Birds are fowl, though, right? Didn't God already say the Noah was to take two of every fowl (Genesis 6:20)? So is it two or seven? Then God warns that seven days later, He will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature. Why? How is that just? Only man was wicked. Why did all the monkeys have to die except one pair? How were the lucky pairs chosen? What about the fish and the sharks and the whales? They probably made out just fine. Forty days of rain won't hurt a fish? Why are fish ok but monkeys have to die? How did they pack up the entire ark in seven days? 5,000 years ago, all the animals known to the Israelites might have fit into a very large ship. Now we know there are millions. Or did most of the modern animals evolve over 5,000 years to the millions of species we have now?

Until I reread this chapter, I never noticed that the floodwaters came from both above and below, but it looks like some of the water came from "all the springs of the great deep" and the rest came fro when "the floodgates of the heavens were opened." Did this rain literally come from outer space? We now know that rain doesn't come from any sort of floodgate from the heavens.

I look around me, and I see the world, and I read my geology books, and I visit the zoo, and I read my biology books, and this just does not make sense. Do I have to believe that they crammed every kind of animal into a wooden boat built by one man and his sons in order to be saved? I hope not, because this sounds like a bedtime story, rather than something real.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an interesting theory in this month's Discovery magazine about this very story. You may want to check it out. Remember though, the Word is God-inspired but this story, as one of the oldest in the Bible, may have been told and retold so many times that the details may be a little vague. Apparently, what everyone can agree on, is that some catastropic flood happened. With the corroborating evidence from the other cultures, at least some of this story can be shown to be true.

October 15, 2007 at 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thomas, your situation deeply concerns me. I too have been going through a crisis of faith for about a year and 3 months. I truly believe the most important thing to remember is that we are not entitled to answers. Sometimes the Lord doesn't ever answer our questions. I have tons of them, and many as yet remain unanswered. The key thing to consider is that faith's purpose, from a biblical perspective, is not to become convinced of how certain things fit together, or how to reconcile biblical accounts with the physical realm that you and I live in today.
One major possibility to consider is that perhaps the Biblical accounts have been intentionally left void of major details, not because they are some kind of fables, but due to the knowledge of a God of infinite Wisdom and grace. To have everything nicely, neatly wrap itself into today's fast-paced world of technology would be too easy. Where would the trusting of God and His Word begin? It would be intellectual fact, but not a truth that you would be clutching to for dear life.
There are two concepts as to what I define faith as, and as best I understand it--the first one would be "taking God's Word at its word, no matter how impossible or inconceivable it may be."
The accounts given are not stories. They are truth. They have to be. If not, then humanity's meaning is utterly false and hopeless.
True faith is going to transform the way you think and look at things. For example, seeing the absolute chaos the world is in, one would think that God and Christ, if they existed, would step in to stop all the suffering. But God's purpose is not to fix pain--this may sound selfish, but His goal is His own glory. He intimately knows His own character; He defines what is right and wrong, and since He is perfectly aligned with what is right, He sovereignly chooses to operate in a certain capacity.
It's almost as if there is some eternal fight going on for the souls of men, much less a trial of their actions and deeds.
The second aspect of faith from my perspective is " believing God 's character, when everything and everyone is screaming He is untrue, and it's all just a joke." I believe, unlike Calvinists, that man shapes his own destiny. IMO, the Lord predestined and preassigned, if you will, certain paths and crossroads for all humanity based on his foreknowledge of what our choices would be. I don't know if you believe in salvation anymore, but it is real. His character is good, even if everything you have ever experienced says "No."
To break everything I have learned and understand from my own Biblical studies here is is simply too constraining and small. But I want you to know that I care, Thomas. I have been where you are, and in many ways I still am. I am just a man trusting what he cannot see or understand. I am holding onto the fact of God's goodness, even when my circumstances say otherwise. I would love to contact you via e-mail and continue to discuss your ideas and mine if you wish.

Stephen
rshak8@hotmail.com

November 1, 2007 at 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aloha...

I just came across your blog while looking for an explanation of Genesis 2:18ff. This looks like a great blog! Where did you go?

Tana-Lee
Aiea, Hawaii

October 14, 2008 at 1:29 AM  
Blogger Dudesup said...

If you get around to looking at your blog I would also like to talk to you, maybe bounce a few of my ideas to you, see if you agree.

J.JohnstonS.S@Gmail.com

(offer also open to any one else who may be interested in talking)

January 26, 2009 at 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well written. I've had the same questions with the Bible, seeing as there were tons of inconsistencies in it and we're talking about whole books, not just chapters or verses alone.

If I were to give my faith to a religion, I'd try to make sure they were consistent with their written and spoken teachings first.

March 8, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

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