Did God also tell Noah to let birds fly … because he didn’t want Noah looking out the window?
If you’d read any children’s picture Bibles you’d know that Noah released the dove while standing on the exposed “deck” of the ark, of course.
I’ve always just assumed the hills blocked the view… I mean, they probably would have died of ammonia poisoning if there were no windows.
So, I was being sarcastic. And you responded with a wink.
Then you topped me by saying the hills blocked the view of the bird!
Top notch answer!
I salute you!
Birds were the ANE drones.
Would you then also say that the narratives about Moses, Exodus of Israelites, and Crossing of the Red Sea are nothing other than “a morality and theological lesson” and do not refer to historical events?
It is a possibility. However, I am not as familiar with the current state of research on the topic so I think I will stay out of those deep theological waters.
if you don’t mind, I’d like to jump into your question; I look forward to what Mr. T_ will say.
There are lots of reason to think the chronology of events in the Old Testament is a corrupted record (either intentionally or not):
We have one of the 10 tribes of Israel (Simeonites) living to the south of Judah (or even within Judah)… and yet they are supposed to be one of the Ten Tribes of Israel after the rebellion against the King in Jerusalem. This is the primary proof that the chronology of “the Ten Tribes of Israel” is at least fundamentally flawed.
We have an Exodus event that, historically, makes no sense while Egypt is still running its armies and tax collectors throughout Canaan, in support of the imperial border territories in northern Syria. During this time,
the strategic requirement for a safe “rear area” would have required wiping out the Exodus group.
It is only after the consolidation of the Pelest/Palestinians that Egypt was prevented from accessing Canaan (and points beyond) … and this is the context of Exodus.
If you can support Exodus (or something like it) after 1130 BCE, then maybe it’s historical… or parts are.
George has advanced strong arguments against explanations of Noah’s Flood and Moses’ Crossing of the Red Sea in terms of ordinary natural phenomena.
On the other hand the teaching of Jesus Christ leads us to accept the Biblical narratives about Noah and Moses as referring to events which were really witnessed by the people living around these prophets. Additionally, in case of Exodus the very existence of the Jewish people along millennia strongly speaks in favor of historicity.
This seem to speak in favor of the option that both, Noah’s Flood and the Israelites’ Crossing of the Red Sea were miracles, which may have happened without letting behind archaeological evidence.
In this respect it may be helpful to consider the so called “Miracle of the Sun” or “Miracle of Fatima”, which happened hundred years ago, on October 13, 1917 (see for instance this article in the The Washington Post). Since May 13, 1917 the Virgin Mary was appearing to three children on the 13th of each month at Cova da Iria. On September 13 one of the three, Lucia Dos Santos, said the Virgin Mary told her, “In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.” On October 13, at about 2 pm the sun ‘danced’ before the astonished eyes of a crowd of 70’000 who had gathered at Cova da Iria to see the predicted miracle. The whirling sun was also seen by people who were not at Cova da Iria but in villages nearby. In the rest of the world nothing extraordinary was recorded.
Independently of whether one believes or not what many of those who were present witnessed thereafter, one can say that from a scientific point of view such a “dancing of the sun” (like “bilocation”) can be considered a quantum superposition of a macroscopic object, as illustrated by the well-known paradox of the “Schrödinger cat”. Additionally, the fact that 70’000 people perceived the phenomenon whereas billions around the earth didn’t, can be considered a demonstration of the possibility of “parallel worlds” very much in the spirit of the “Many-Worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics. In summary, from a strict scientific point of view what happened in Cova da Iria on October 13, 2017 is a highly improbable natural phenomenon but not an impossible one. And the “miracle” consists precisely in that it was predicted by children above any suspicion. As far as I know, the only pieces documenting the miracle are the testimonies of eyewitnesses; there are no movies or pictures like the Turin Shroud or Guadalupe Tilma.
I think this miracle may provide a suitable explanation for events like Noah’s Flood and the Red Sea Crossing. These events were perceived by a number of people according to the Biblical narratives: In case of the Flood, Noah, his family and the sinners who perished in the catastrophe; in case of the Crossing of the Red Sea, Moses and the Israelites. In both cases archaeological vestiges are unknown for the time being and seem rather highly improbable, although cannot be excluded.
In conclusion: As argued in the thread “My Theory about the Flood” all humans endowed with free will and capable of sin at the moment of the catastrophe were affected by it. These may have been some hundreds of thousands living likely in the region of the first Sumerian cities said to have exercised “pre-dynastic kingship before the flood". Nothing speaks against assuming that all these people perceived things according to the Genesis narrative, in a similar way as the 70’000 gathered in Cova da Iria on October 13, 2017 perceived the Sun whirling in the sky.
I like most of what you said here. This is a viable explanation and does not go against the basic theme of the Genesis account. I do know that the earliest versions of Gilgamesh did not have a Flood story in them and it was tacked on later. I am not sure, from what I have read, that they are settled on what was the actual Epic of Gilgamesh story in any event --since some eoisodes seem to have been tacked on as time went along. So whatever “link” exists between it and Genesis just lies in the fact that ancient Mesopotamia had a longstanding tradition that some sort of catastrophic Flood event served as some sort of dividing line in history — for example, the kings in the Sumerian King List all had ridiculously long reigns just as antediluvian rulers and individuals in the biblical text did…and these various accounts have similarities and differences – and may be rebuttals to each other (was humankind destroyed because it was too noisy or because it had become evil and corrupt??? etc) — but they all refer to this event, whenever it occurred. Some suggest it happened at the break-up of the icecaps at end of last Ice Age…but early third millennium BC works for others…
One can say it … just as one can say the moon is made of cheese. But it hardly makes more sense than the latter.
On a personal level, my atheism isn’t based on Noah’s flood and the Exodus not being literal historical accounts, so I don’t have much skin in that game. I can see how fallible humans could have written myths or legends about their ancestors, and even how they could have put words in Jesus’ mouth. I view the Bible as the work of humans and not God himself, so perhaps I don’t get as hung up on these issues. It is possible that the God of the Judeo/Christian/Muslim traditions is real and that humans have written imperfect scriptures about that God.
As the old saying goes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
If you don’t mind, I would like to know the premises your atheism is based on in order to adapt my answer.
Thanks in advance.
My atheism is based on the lack of verifiable and independent evidence for the existence of God, or any other deity. I am on the side of what people usually call weak atheism where I accept the possibility that deities exist, but lack belief because I have yet to see evidence that they do exist.
Another way to phrase @T_aquaticus’ position (and no doubt I will benefit from any modifications you suggest Mr. T) might be:
He wants to have proof of the source of meaning before he concludes there is “meaning” outside of human conceived meaning.
In contrast, I find meaning in the world, and thus I conclude it could only come from a supreme source.
Needless to say, I have no empirical way to demonstrate that my assessment must lead to my conclusion. But I can’t think of any reason to reject the formulation. For many Theists, my approach doesn’t resolve the issue of whether Biblical Yahweh is or is not the “Supreme Source”. But as a Unitarian, I am fairly flexible on how to perceive Biblical narratives.
If “proof” with a little “p” is equivalent to “evidence of”, I would agree. I don’t want people to mistakenly think that I need absolute proof in order to accept something.
You see no reason to reject the formulation, and I see no reason to accept it. That is perhaps the most concise way of describing our differences that I have seen yet.
Is this an objection against the particular miracle of “the dancing of the sun”,
or are you also questioning the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Thanks for clarifying.
Your quasi-scientific interpretation of “the dancing of the sun” was a stitch. But, of course, your explanation is right up there with magical hair.
I am not challenging the resurrection of Jesus.
If by “lack of evidence” you mean that we cannot see God as we can see for instance the sun, than by definition we cannot have evidence of His existence, because God refers to a being existing outside space-time and therefore invisible.
However in today’s quantum physics we have a lot of evidence implying the existence of entities beyond space-time.
In particular, there is increasing evidence that space-time is discrete. This means that there is no material link between your neurons today with your neurons yesterday. Consequently there is no material substrate granting conservation of your personal identity.
On the other hand conservation your personal identity is not granted by your consciousness either, since you are not aware of your existence while you are sleeping.
Consequently, if you keep to your personal identity you can’t help acknowledging a personal being beyond space and time who grants your existence as a person.
This may allow us to understand better who the Biblical YAHWEH is and why He can work miracles out.
In today’s biology we have lots of evidence that entities exist in the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest. However, I don’t see that as a reason to believe in Bigfoot.
That’s sounds like Deepak Chopra woo. I see no reason why my neurons would change into something completely different over the time of a Planck second or over the distance of a Planck length. We can accurately map interactions at the quantum level over time and distances larger than the Planck constants, so there is no reason to think that the world is entirely destroyed and then rebuilt every 5.39E−44 seconds. Mountains seem to stick together just fine over those times and distances, so there is no reason to think that my brain is any different.