It is your right to believe what you believe. Have a nice day tomorrow.
I am a moderate-conservative Southern Baptist. May I ask your view? I do like your article. I hope you do not mind, but I copied it and will place it in my notebook of things that interest me. I wish to thank you for your contribution and God bless.
Thank you very much. And you have a very pleasant Sunday also. And remember to thank the Sun for providing the energy for life on Earth.
NCSE as an organization is Godless, but nonetheless, that is a great article. I think that God wiped out the civilization of Noah, formerly located in what is now Iraq. I think he did this because their society had degraded to such a point that it simply was lost unto itself. Living in such a society would be misery. I think that God told Noah to build a 3 story boat in the middle of the desert as a warning to that society which was not heeded; a sharp contrast to the Ninevites that Jonah only had to give a reluctant warning to and the entire civilization repented of their cruelty. I think that Noah and his family were real people, who built a real boat, loaded it with real cattle and fowl and survived an actual year long flood that had an 18 foot swell in a flat river valley which took a year to subside. I think that the critters in the surrounding countryside swarmed onto the boat to escape the rising waters, which is exactly what critters would be expected to do and which is described in scripture. I think that Jonah’s descendants went on to be the political founders of the countries listed in Genesis 10. Not the genetic sole progenitors, but founders in the sense that George Washington is the founder of our country. Wait, do you mean you like the NCSE article I linked to, or that you like the Biblically Inerrant Theistic Evolution topic that I put up? Or do you mean the article about dove hunting? In the Biblically Inerrant Thiestic Evolution topic I explain hellish societies and God’s perfect plan for salvation, both of which are necessary to really understand what happened to Noah and the corrupt people inhabiting the land in which he lived.
I liked the article and what you have been writing. I knew the organization was not Christian; however, I believe personally that the deluge was a local event. Yes, Mesopotamia is the mother of civilization; however, when making a judgment as I did above, I had to admit that other views had their strengths too. I hope you do not mind that I made a copy of the article to placed in my special notebook of things that I find interesting. Have a nice Sunday, Nick. I must eat breakfast now.
The use of a GLOBAL FLOOD to accomplish just divine goals is a SUMERIAN depiction. It makes for pretty bad Judeo-Christian theology…
I do not thank the Sun for gifts of science, but I do thank the SON who made such things as the sun. Remember that 0+0=0, i.e., no Intelligent Design means no design or nothing. My simple first grade equation has already proven that and again proves that. I do not thank the sun for life; I thank an Eternal Being who started all of it. End of discussion. I hereby make a quote from the Holy Scripture from John 1:1:
In the beginning was the Word, and the World was with God, and the Word was God.
My point: The sun is not the Logos but Jesus is.
Prove to me that the God of the Bible did not do this. Use both science and theology along with logic to defend your thesis. I believe that Nick is right. Oh ye of little faith.
We all have masters of some kind. It could be our job, our bosses, or perhaps our wives. Your statement is incorrect, Kind Sir. We all have masters.
It is not bad Christian Theology.
Just because the Sumerians report it a little differently, that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. Furthermore, that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen as described in the bible.
Well thankyou for this. Although I’ve taken it slightly out of context, nevertheless it is an important point to acknowledge. And we could debate whether miracles were required or not required in various instances, or how these miracles or natural events might have happened, but we realize that such a flood is a possible event.
But this is exactly, but even more so, the type of “supplementing of the story with things that aren’t recorded”, that you protest so strongly when given even the most reasonable explanations of how various flood events could naturally have happened. Why is it okay to add this type of qualifier which scripture does not present, and not okay to add (not add exactly, but merely explain) the logical natural events that are not recorded?
Really? Where is the reality, believability, and truth in the myth of the Greek pantheon of gods? And even if you were to demonstrate such small aspects that may display a modicum of truth or reality, you must admit that it is vastly outweighed by a corresponding lack of reality and lack of truth.
Every bird needs water. However, ravens and doves eat different things, and have differential preferences. Ravens tend to be scavengers, but not doves. So the needs are different. As larger birds, ravens are also less preferential for roosting, although they will often also roost in trees, or wherever they can gain a better view.
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Sure, I think anything is possible. So I choose the possibles that are more likely, not less likely. Your statement has the problem right in it: “a story which did not happen in order to educate…”. Such a story might provide a moral of some type, but would not educate people in anyway about God’s character, if such a story was demonstrably contradictory to the way that God actually did work in creation.
The issue is not whether there is truth in fiction. Although I have not read Lord of the Rings, I have read several of CS Lewis fictional but allegorical and symbolic novels which also attempt to portray some truths about man’s relationship to God. The issue is not whether there is truth in fiction. The issue is whether it is fiction or not. CS Lewis novels cannot be the primary teachers, but can only elucidate or clarify truths that already exist, and only teach these truths as parables, or as potentials. We might get a better understanding of truth from some fiction, but that is not the same thing as getting more truth. It is an entirely different situation that how scripture teaches us truths about God, as it does in the history of Israel. We know the teachings are real because the stories are real. We cannot know if God punishes evil, if he has never punished evil, if it is merely speculation.
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You don’t find it at all ironic that you don’t see comparability between the Greek Myths and the mythic elements of the Old Testament?
If we can find a talking donkey in the Old Testament, why would we doubt equally bizarre events in Greek myth?
If we can find a man kept alive INSIDE A FISH OR WHALE for 3 days, what should we not believe in Greek myth?
If we can find 3000 people killed in a Philistine temple in the Samson story … what incredibly inflated numbers in Greek myth should be disbelieved? (The American assault on the Normandy beaches did not create 3000 fatalities!)
If Nehemia and Ezra flatly contradict each other … which one should we actually believe? Or neither?
Compare the silliness of Pandora’s box with the idea that rainbows didn’t exist until God specially invented them.
Interpreting myth is a come-as-you-are party … some people are just more tolerant of the myths in which they were raised…
I don’t think I claimed this, that because some stories are historical, that all stories necessarily must be. Nor do I deny the parables of Jesus. The issue in fact is that you cannot argue from one story to another based merely on their genre, as if one story should have a particular genre because other stories have such.
Nevertheless, parables only teach truths which already exist; they do not establish the basis for such truths. Historical stories go beyond this, by establishing the basis for the truths. Thus if the apparently historical stories are deemed to be fiction, or parables, or metaphors, then they no longer establish the basis for the truths they portray, and we are left to looking elsewhere for that foundation.
Signs as Reminders of Covenants/Contracts
Of course, no Biblical text claims that God “specially invented” rainbows at some later date long after the creation of the universe. (The refractive properties of light were not delayed until after the Great Flood!) Instead, the Genesis text states that a particular significance was assigned thereafter to the rainbow as a reminder of the Noahic Covenant. [I’m not trying to imply that gbrooks8 thinks that the Bible states that rainbows appeared for the first time after the Flood. I’m simply acknowledging that some people actually *do* make that claim! So it is worth broaching that topic.]
In that culture it was quite common to take something rather routine—even something quite mundane—and give it new significance. This was especially common when covenant relationships were established between parties to a contract.
Of course, this custom persisted in Western Culture as well, right through the Middle Ages until literacy became common. I can still vaguely remember James Burke’s 1980s (??) BBC classic Connections (which came to PBS television in America soon after) illustrating this concept with a typical story from some English village in the 1100’s. A judge (a cleric?) came to town and was presiding over the disposition of an estate of some deceased man. A witness came forward and said, “This knife was given to me by John of Essex, son of William, on the day that he asked me to serve as a witness at his son’s baptism. Everyone in the village knows this. This is the very knife, I say. Everyone knows I speak the truth.” The judge looks at the villagers gathered round, and they all shake their heads in agreement. Everybody in the village knew the story behind the special knife. There was nothing obviously special about the construction or appearance of the knife. But for years people had seen the man using the knife and the story of how he came to own it was often mentioned, even across generations.
Such mnemonics were important in societies before literacy and public records became common. That’s why even piles of random rocks were assembled in ancient Israel to commemorate important events. Piles of rocks are in and of themselves not rare or unusual. But by assigning significance to them—and then retelling that story often—such signs became “monuments” equivalent to what we might call a “historical marker” or commemorative plaque. We might even call them “legal documents on public display” so that future generations would not be prone to forget them!
Likewise, the Bible doesn’t claim that no atmospheric water droplets had ever before refracted to display in the sky the colors ROYGBIV. Instead, Noah was told that, from that day forward, the beautiful rainbow in the sky would serve as a reminder of the covenant God established with humans and all other creatures after the Great Flood. Thus, every rainbow in the sky serves as a public display of an ancient contract.
Has the significance of “the sign of the rainbow” ever been misunderstood by those of other cultures since the Genesis text was first written down? Yes. Probably many times. But that doesn’t change the fact that this kind of custom was a familiar one in a great many ancient cultures.
POSTSCRIPT: Signs & Contracts
In pre-literate societies, contractual agreements (aka “covenants”) were often accompanied by signs to make them more memorable and meaningful.
WORTH EMPHASIZING: A covenant is a word that has largely been replaced in our culture by the term “contract.” In fact, because so many undergrads tend to think of words like “testament” and “covenant” as Bible talk without context, I always encouraged them to substitute more common synonyms, such as “contract”. Thus, the “Old Testament” and the “New Testament” can be regarded as traditional, even pious-sounding titles with rather unpretentious meanings: “The Old Contract” and “The New Contract”.
And when people complain that Christians today obey provisions of *the New Testament" and not necessarily those of *the Old Testament", I ask them if they have ever refinanced their mortgage or if they know somebody who has. Most will say yes. So then I ask them, “After someone refinances their mortgage contract—an agreement between two parties—do they base their relationship on the rules of the old contract or the new contract?” (Everybody answers: “The new one, obviously.”) "Do any of the same rules appear in both the old and new contracts? (“Yes.”) “Do any of the rules in the two contracts differ?” (“Yes”.) “Does anybody complain that any provisions of the old contract are now ignored by most people?” (“No, of course not. The old contract was replaced by the new contract.”)
Of course, we can also point out that the Old Testament (aka The Old Covenant) was a contract between YHWH ELOHIM and the Children of Israel, while the the New Testament (aka The New Covenant) refers to that same deity (who in Greek was called by the noun THEOS, God) who established a special relationship agreement with individual humans, both Jews and Gentiles who placed their faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God. Also, many of the New Testament texts deal with clarifications between the Old and New Covenants, that is, the Old Contract and the New Contract.
Anyone who has attended a Christian seminary and taken courses in Systematic Theology has probably spent many classroom hours learning about the various covenants of the Bible. Even many young and uninformed Christians get confused sometimes about the covenantal relationships described in the Bible. Thus, we should extend gracious patience to those who may be confused by the differences between the Old and New Testaments, the old and new contracts.
Some may think my excursus on covenants tangential to the OP question of “What caused the Flood?” Yet, in fact, if one is asking for the ultimate cause (i.e., the significance and divine purpose) in the Great Flood account in Genesis, such topics are inevitable.
I believe it important to consider both Ultimate Causation (a topic from theology and philosophy) and Proximate Causation (the focus of Science) whenever we approach topics associated with interpretation of the Biblical texts. As a Christ-follower, I find it difficult to strictly bifurcate these kinds of questions. Of course, as a scholar of history and hermeneutics, I find a strict division of the two logically impossible.