In the previous chapter, we looked at the story of Noah and the Great Flood.
It’s a fascinating bit of fiction, claimed to be true but widely discounted by scientists across the world. Some believers claim although there was no ‘global flood’, a highly localised flood did occur. Keep in mind that, even according to the Bible, this is false. We’ll get into that later on in this chapter. Meanwhile, let’s check up on Noah and his family.
The Calm After the Storm
And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;Genesis 8:1, 8:2, 8:3, 8:4, 8:5
And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
Here, God finally closes the floodgates, ending the flood and calming the waters. As the water dissapates, the Ark settles on a mountain in what is today known as eastern Turkey.
Countless articles are written in support of this narrative every year. They claim to have found a door of the ark in the turkish alps, or a geological formation in the rocks that seems “ark-shaped”. In reality, only one of these conflicting claims could even be true – and not a single one of them is.
The Raven and the Dove
And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:
And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.Genesis: 8:6, 8:7, 8:8, 8:9, 8:10, 8:11, 8:12
And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
In an attempt to better understand Noah’s apparent motivation behind sending out a raven, I did a lot of research into the symbolism of the raven and dove in christian mythology.
Most sources point to the selfish, carcass-feeding nature of the crow; and that the description given to it as going “to and fro” is also commonly used to refer to Satan. It’s widely believed that the goal here is to show that even after the flood, both the “clean” and the “unclean” – or the “good” and the “evil” will repopulate the earth.
But then, I wonder, what was the purpose of the flood in the first place?
I have my own interpretation that I’d like to propose. I don’t usually do this, but the story of Noah’s attempts to find land after the flood always told a different story to me. See, the crow may have been “unclean” – but it was also self-sufficient. The crow could feed off the carcasses floating in the waters and rest upon them to avoid fatigue. As such, the raven’s “uncleanliness” relates more to its seperation from – or lack of need to rely on – God.
This image of the rotting dead floating in the waters after the flood is in stark contrast to the blue, beautiful waters often depicted surrounding the ark. It’s easier for the church to portray this story as based in reality when the scenery thereof is so beautiful. People are accepting of the flood myth because it’s a magical tale that focuses on God’s love for Noah and his family, rather than the glaring atrocities carried out by the Lord in these chapters.
Good Thing Noah Didn’t Suffer From Claustrophobia
And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.
And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.Genesis 8:13, 8:14
This is the fourth & fifth time the Bible gives us a specific date related to the events of the Great Flood. What other purpose is there to this, than to double down on the idea that this is a true story? The Bible drops all sense of ambiguous descriptions like “once upon a time” and insists on these dates in the hopes to create a believable timeline of the events before, during and after the flood.
And God spake unto Noah, saying,
Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him:
Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.Genesis 8:15, 8:16, 8:17, 8:18, 8:19
So, after a year and ten days, the stampede of animals who’d been locked up with one another in the ark are finally allowed to leave. Let’s put aside the sheer impossibility of them being aboard the ark in the first place and instead focus on the matter at hand – somehow, Noah apparently succeeded. He had brought countless animals from the world before the flood to the world after the flood. The sheer nobility of this act is not to go underappreciated. Whether directed by God or not, we cannot deny that according to the Bible, Noah saved countless species from extinction.
It’s nice to know that even though the story is a falsehood, the overall morality depicted in this tale is righteous. Or is it?!
Sacrificial Offerings Are a Baffling Concept
And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.Genesis 8:20, 8:21, 8:22
These three verses are jam-packed with insanity.
First, why the hell did Noah go through all this trouble to preserve the lives of certain animals just so they could be sacrificed later? Would the burnt offerings not have had the same effect, if burnt before the flood? If not, why? What kind of cruel God would demand his offerings first go through hell on earth, before death? What kind of cruel God would require the burning of living creatures as a price for “never again smiting any more every living thing, as I have done”?
What kind of omnipotent, omniscient deity would be swayed by the smell of burnt offerings? What is it about the destruction of life that calms him so? What on earth is even going on here?
What is the take away here? What are we supposed to learn? It makes me sick to my stomach.
This passage in the Bible is often referred to as “Noah’s Sacrifice”. In truth, Noah isn’t the one giving over his life, or the lives of his loved onces. Noah, of all people at this point in the Bible, has sacrificed the very least. To refer to it as Noah’s sacrifice is vile – and absolutely what God would have wanted.