Finally we arrive at one of my favorite stories in Genesis – the tale of Noah’s ark. It remains one of the easiest to disprove historical accounts of the holy book. The way I see it, the story of the great flood is a massive embarassment to proponents of the Bible.
You may remember where we left off – Lamech, a descendent of Seth, son of Adam, had just given birth to his son Noah. In the following chapters, he’ll play a central role in the course of humanity.
A ‘Giant’ Leap of Faith
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.Genesis 6:1, 6:2, 6:3, 6:4
The first verses of this chapter may seem cryptic, but there’s quite a bit to unpack here.
For one, God seems to think that living nearly an entire millenium is no longer something humans should be capable of. He sets a ‘natural limit’ on their lifespans: 120 years. Some christians take this at face value, noting that the oldest people in history lived to be around that age. I however, find them to be the exact opposite – the few individuals who managed to live past the age of 120 have wholly disproven this verse of the Bible.
As humans continue to populate the earth, the ‘sons of God’, a.k.a Angels, who were cast out from heaven are so attracted to the daughters of mankind that they take them as wives and impregnate them. Not with human children, no – their offspring is the highly controversial group, the “Nephilim” – also known as giants. These giants will be described in the Book of Enoch as being around 4500 feet (1350 metres) tall.
It’s not uncommon in mythology to depict impossible creatures as the result of sexual activity between mythical figures. In greek mythology, the Gods often came down to earth to have children with humans and nymphs, producing half-blood offspring like the cyclops.
Why Must Beasts Pay for The Wickedness of Man?
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.Genesis 6:5, 6:6, 6:7
God looks upon his creation and sees only evil. It grieves him, and he feels regret. Regret. The all-knowing, all-powerful, eternally God who created the universe regretted his decision to make mankind. So, naturally, he swears to destroy any and every thing that he had created, ashamed of what it had become.
This is a really interesting point in Genesis. In my opinion, this is where everything could have still been kept from falling apart. Any author would tell you that God as a character in this story would now arrive at the ‘turning point’ in his development. Finally, God would recognise how much of a monster he’d become and how unjust his judgement had been.
Instead, God blames his creation. Humanity is at fault for sin, and so the whole world must pay. Like a bitter, self-righteous dictator, he believes the world is filled with toxic, mislead individuals who know little about life and even less about morality. Not unlike some of the authoritarian leaders in power throughout history, there is apparently only one way to fix this issue. The final solution. The animal kingdom, humanity… God regrets creating them both, and vows to destroy them all.
I Have So Many Questions About Noah’s Ark
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.Genesis 6:8, 6:9, 6:10
“Noah walked with God.” This isn’t an understatement. Noah is described throughout the following chapters as speaking directly with the Lord. His devotion to God is unwavering. God chooses Noah for one reason, and one reason only – Noah listens to God’s every word. You see, as the Bible repeatedly reminds us, it’s not about who does good or evil in the world. It’s all about your devotion to him. Everything else is secondary.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.Genesis 6:11, 6:12, 6:13
You might think this whole thing is starting to sound like a broken record, but it’s important we ask these questions. God created the earth, apparently, and everything on it. Now he looks down at it, disgusted by the violence and corruption. So… logically, he sets in motion a plan to kill them all.
How could a God be so opposed to violence and yet so willing to murder innocent people? Well, the truth is, many christians don’t think the men and women from before the flood were innocent at all. They say that through their own free will, they defied God and as such became sinners, deserving of whatever punishment God sees fit.
And if you’re a christian who doesn’t believe that, tell me please what the purpose of this story is; if not to make us fear the sheer power behind something that actually doesn’t really exist.
You’ll find only a few christians these days who claim to stick to everything the Bible says. They will however admit their belief in things like creationism or original sin. Where they get these ideas, if not from scripture, I don’t know.
Building an Ark: For Dummies
Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.Genesis 6:14, 6:15, 6:16
It’s not exactly clear what “gopher wood” is. It could be pine, cedar or even cypress wood. However, the specifications of the ark are laid out in a lot of detail. It’s not entirely pointless to note that these dimensions have been shown to be suitable for a craft like this to float. There are plenty of other issues with the story of Noah’s Ark – so I have no issue admitting that a ship like this could have been seaworthy. No, in my eyes, the real problem begins a verse later.
And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.Genesis 6:17
God is virtually incapable of ‘making the punishment fit the crime’. All life must pay for the ‘misdeeds’ of mankind. Christian sources describe this event as a ‘reset to backup button’ on God’s part; returning the earth to a state it was in before humanity had soiled it. It seems God has very little respect for his creation. No loving God would see his people as so disposable.
Divine Favoritism and Selective Mercy
But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.Genesis 6:18
Here, we establish the covenant between God and Noah. More than a contract, a covenant in this context is the most serious obligation possible. God vows to save Noah and his family from the incoming flood – further bringing attention to the fact that Noah is supposedly so much better than the other people of the world.
Why is that? Is it because he walked with God? Did everything he told him to? Is Noah allowed to live solely because he devoted himself unquestiongly to his Lord, and followed his every command?
And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.Genesis 6:19, 6:20, 6:21, 6:22
You see, God shows mercy to Noah and his family, but not to the countless innocent animals that inhabited the earth. Only two of each ‘kind’ are to be saved. The sheer number of innocent creatures that are to be wiped out by this flood is immeasurable. Why?
Seriously, let’s ignore the atrocity of killing all of humanity for a second and ask a different question. Why the hell would God would kill all these innocent creatures, only to preserve two of each kind so they would be able to populate the earth once again? Is there a more accurate example anywhere of unnecessary slaughter?
Either way, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.