Sunday, March 26, 2006

Discussing Creationism Part VII

Many people dismiss the Genesis account of the flood as being a myth, not to be taken literally. Many people even of religious persuasion have accepted the words of the the scientists and scholars, following along with the notion that the story is too fanciful to have really occurred.

What does the Bible have to say about the reality of Noah and the flood?

The book of Genesis is written as a historical account of the creation of the world and the patriarchs from these beginning days. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are all included in Genesis. In the 5th chapter of Genesis, a geneology is given from Adam to Noah. To the Jewish people, geneologies are very important. They would not have recorded the descendants of mythological characters. Genesis 10 gives the geneology of the sons of Noah. Chapter 11 focuses on the descendants of Shem, Noah's son, after the flood. From Shem's line, Abraham, the Jewish nation and eventually Jesus would arise. Both Noah and Adam are mentioned in the geneology of Jesus in Luke 3. Obviously, Noah was not mythological according to the Jewish records that were kept.

Noah is mentioned as a man of great faith in Hebrews 11:7. "By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."

Again, Noah is mentioned by the apostle, Peter, talking about God not sparing the ancient world, "but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly." 2Peter 2:4-5

Both of the above passages clearly state that Noah existed and that the flood occurred. According to the Bible, Noah, the ark and the flood were not a myth.


Discussing Creationism Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

Part VI

27 comments:

Aurora said...

Carol, are you familiar with ICR Ministries found here www.icr.org ?

Dave said...

I'm sure at that time it was quite possible those people in the area that the bible was written did believe what they were writing.
I don't think that the people in the Chinese Empire for example believed it though, as they were 8000 miles away and oblivious to the fact that the 'middle east' existed, the same could be said for the indiginous population of your area or of Australasia.

Carol said...

Aurora,
Thanks for the link. I had come across it before while researching.

Dave,
I suggest that you read Genesis online. This would help in your discussions with Creationists.
The various nations were not formed at the time of Noah. There was a dispersal of the people at the time of the tower of Babel which occurred later.Genesis 11

Nabeel said...

Prophet Noah was the only prophet who saw God .. yuppp .. he told God that, God I love you soo much I wanna see you .. i wanna see my creator who I have immense love for. God said no as man can't handle His divine reflection but he persisted.

He then climbed on a mountain and asked God behind a curtain, to show himself. He quickly opened and shut the curtain, and the whole moutain turned into mascara. Thats where natural mascara comes from. Noah was unharmed ofcourse .. and he didn't see Him no man could handle such a Sight.

Carol said...

I have heard of your creative abilities, Nabeel but the closest I read of your version in the Bible is in Exodus 33:13,17-23.
In this passage, Moses asked to see God and God replied by allowing him to see His back as He passed by.

Mascara?

FRIDAY'S CHILD said...

I think during those times people thought things were real. I really don't know what creationism is? But
I still do believe what was written had happened.

Shygetz said...

In the 5th chapter of Genesis, a geneology is given from Adam to Noah. To the Jewish people, geneologies are very important. They would not have recorded the descendants of mythological characters.

In The Silmarillion, a geneology is given from Beor to Nimloth, and through to the later Houses of Man. To the British people, geneologies are very important. J.R.R. Tolkein would not have recorded the descendants of mythological characters.

Carol said...

Friday's Child,
Creationism is the belief that God created the world, universe.

Very good deductive thinking, Shygetz.
However, Tolkien is also a known fiction writer who delighted especially in myths. He can write a fictional geneology if he likes, that is his craft.

Moses, on the other hand, is known for writing the historical books of the Bible. Geneologies are given throughout the Bible.By your assertions, it seems that you believe the Bible itself is fiction.

Shygetz said...

Very good deductive thinking, Shygetz.

Hey, wish I could take credit for it, but this logic is solely yours. You should copyright it.

By your assertions, it seems that you believe the Bible itself is fiction.
I made no assertion; I provided a counter-example to your assertion. Your assertion was that the presence of a geneology indicates factual truth. I presented a valid counter-example. People can and do write genealogies for other than historical purposes, as evidenced by Tolkein's work.

Moses, on the other hand, is known for writing the historical books of the Bible.

The authors of the Pentateuch credited Moses with authorship; the vast majority of biblical scholars (not just non-literalist theologians, but also those who approach the Bible as a literary work) believe that the Pentateuch was writted by a group of people over a period of centuries (Google "documentary hypothesis"). Example--the style of Deuteronomy is consistent with a single author; obviously, Moses didn't write about his own death, which suggests that Moses did not write the rest of Deuteronomy. Non-religious based objections to the documentary hypothesis tend to lean on post-Moses editing leading to the changing tones, a view that also weighs heavily against Biblical literalism (as the Bible would have changed over time).

Carol said...

Shygetz,
Thanks for contributing. I am glad that you are interested enough to read and contribute.

The many geneologies given in the Bible show that this was taken by the Israelites as a literal truth. Do you have Biblical examples that show otherwise as this is the book in question. The Bible wasn't written as a fictional book as your counter argument tries to assert.

Yes, I have heard the theory of multi-authors. Certainly, Moses couldn't have written the ending of Deuteronomy.

I wish you didn't feel like you had to write anonymously. You make good points. It is good to have someone opposed to the matter.

Shygetz said...

I write anonymously so as to separate my professional life from my online activity. This protects my employer from being unfairly associated with my views.

The many geneologies given in the Bible show that this was taken by the Israelites as a literal truth. Do you have Biblical examples that show otherwise as this is the book in question.

No, it doesn't. Using the same logic, I could state the the many geneologies given in The Silmarillion show that this was taken by the British as a literal truth. You should not judge a book's truth solely by its own lights; if you do, then any internally-consistent book (including the majority of fiction works) should be viewed as infallible truth. You should judge the truth of any book by how well it agrees with external evidence.

But, we'll do it your way. Who was the father of Shelah? Was it Arphaxad (Gen 10:24) or Cainan, son of Arphaxad (Luke 3:35-36)? Or do the genealogies randomly skip generations, making them historically worthless and quite non-literal? You tell me.

Yes, I have heard the theory of multi-authors. Certainly, Moses couldn't have written the ending of Deuteronomy.

So you know that Moses isn't the sole author of the Pentateuch. Why do you think he wrote any of it?

Carol said...

Dear Shygetz,
I just wondered why there was no link to your other pseudomyn.

I did not say that I agree that Moses was not the author of Genesis...

You know, I don't think you are interested in anybody's answers but your own.

Everybody makes their choice.

That little boy...

Shygetz said...

I just wondered why there was no link to your other pseudomyn.

I have no idea which other pseudonym you are talking about. I don't host my own blog, and I think this is the only pseudonym I have commented under (at least, for quite some time). If you think I am someone else, look at my IP address. I seriously doubt it matches anyone else.

I did not say that I agree that Moses was not the author of Genesis...

I said that you agreed that Moses was not the sole author of the Pentateuch. And I asked that, given that Moses could not have writted the entire Pentateuch (as he is credited for), then why do you think he wrote any of it?

You know, I don't think you are interested in anybody's answers but your own.

Everybody makes their choice.


Wow...talk about the pot calling the blank sheet of copier paper black. Projection, much? If you have any answers, I would love to hear them. I believe I have addressed all of your questions, but you have left mine unanswered. Who is the father of Shelah? The Bible is on the Internet, you could quickly look it up.

That little boy...

Ah, that is what polite discourse from Creationists sounds like. I had forgotten. A.) How do you know I'm a boy? B.) How do you know my size or age? C.) Does my sex, age, or size matter as to who the father of Shelah is?

Or maybe Biblical literalism and young Earth Creationism should be given a special status, above all critique, due to the fact that you (and some other very passionate people) believe in it. Which is it? Can I critique your "science" or is it special and exempt?

Carol said...

Sorry Shygetz,
I must've mistook you for someone else. I am especially pleased then that you are reading this blog. It is good for me to know the objections to creationism and the Bible too.

You ask questions that I never thought of before. It appears that you have studied Bible criticism. Please list any further questions if you like. I am interested to know what you think.

Once again, sorry for the mistaken identity.

Carol said...

ps.
I will be unable to respond to the comments for a day or so.

Shygetz said...

Your apology was gracious, and is graciously accepted.

I have made a serious study of the Bible and biblical apologetics back in my high-school and college days (especially during college, where I had access to excellent biblical scholars and resources), and I still have a lingering interest. I wouldn't say I have any questions; I have become accustomed to the observation that there are numerous internal and external contradictions in the Bible. However, they generally require a careful reading to find, as they are often buried in genealogies (e.g. the father of Shelah) or OT laws (e.g. Lev. 11:6--rabbits do not chew their cud), and as such are not often found in a casual reading (which is what even most devout Christians give the OT). Such discrepancies are typical of a collection of oral histories (even a relatively accurate one), but not of an infallible document divinely protected in its true form by God Almighty. Which is why I insisted (and continue to insist) that, in order to claim that the Bible in literally unerrant, you must rely upon revealed knowledge that is useful only to the ones to whom it has been revealed.

Paste said...

'Dave,
I suggest that you read Genesis online. This would help in your discussions with Creationists.
The various nations were not formed at the time of Noah. There was a dispersal of the people at the time of the tower of Babel which occurred later.Genesis 11'

So the histories of all people except those of the christian middle east are wrong? All people have found their way to the farthest corners of the world in the last 10000 years. People made inter continental and ocean going voyages when still living in mud huts? This is just plain stupid, why is it even being debated?

Su said...

Tolkien knew he was writing myth. It would be interesting to look up his views on the subject, also those of CS Lewis, who was also steeped in mythology.

shygetz - interesting point about oral histories. This does not invalidate the Bible as God's Word. In a way the existence of 4 different accounts of Jesus' life (the gospels) strengthens its claim to reality. Human beings do have different eye witness perspectives. We can see this evidenced even today (just try getting a witness statement). It does not mean that the events did not take place! Far from it - 2000+ years on, we are still talking about Jesus....

Shygetz said...

su--I am not attempting to invalidate the Bible as "God's Word." I am pointing out that the evidence is against a literal reading of the Bible as historical or natural fact. If you think that the Bible is an erroneous text that still maintains the gist of the message that God was trying to send his people, then I've got no problem with that.

While Tolkein knew he was writing myth, you have no idea what the writer of Genesis was thinking. You don't even know who it was. Tradition says Moses wrote the entire Pentateuch, but this contradicts all analyses of the text. So, maybe the Genesis writer also thought that the stories were fiction (although I admit that they were probably a redacted summation of oral histories thought to be largely true by the author--the point is, since we don't even know who the author was, how can we guess his motives?) The fact that they still resonate today doesn't mean they are factually true. We also are still talking about Aesop's fables, but do you believe that a tortise actually raced a hare and won? There are multiple versions of the tale of Cinderella--does that give them credence as eyewitness accounts?

cranky old fart said...

"You ask questions that I never thought of before"

I am just dumbfounded that those who rely on a literal Bible for their world view often make little or no effort to critically examine the darn thing.

Carol said...

Boy, you've got me studying. Thanks...

Aurora said...

Since Moses was a prophet and wrote of other things that were yet to happen but later did, why is it so hard to believe that he wrote all of Deuteronomy, including the end, thus prophesying his own death?

In addition, it's ludicrious to compare the British and their recording of history because the British are not the Chosen People. The Jewish people are. They are the only people whose entire beginning is told, from their formation (Abram becoming Abraham) to their predicted victorious end. To say that Tolkein was a prophet, even in jest, and put him in the same light as Moses shows lack of the basic understanding between a prophet and a plain old writer.

There are no discrepancies in the Bible, only discrepancies and lack of understanding in some of its readers.

I mean no disrespect to anyone here, just as I'm sure no disrespect was intended towards the Jewish people for their history and very important role in the world as a whole.

Carol said...

Shygetz and other interested parties,
Here is a link to a site that gives a interesting and plausible explanation to the dilemma about Shelah.
The passage in Genesis has been a puzzling one to me.

When I come across a passage in the Bible that I don't understand or that seems contradictory, I mark it hoping to understand it at some point. It doesn't cause me to lose faith.

I commend you and others for the faith you have in evolution. You strongly contend for your beliefs. I will contend the same. I only ask that you do so on this blog with the same respect I will give you.

Thank you.

Shygetz said...

Carol, I read the article on Shelah. It is typical--the Bible demands a literal reading except for when that gets you in trouble. In other words, Luke literaly means "son of" when he says "son of", except in Luke 3:35, when it doesn't. That is not a literal translation; you are interpreting the text beyond what the words say. Doing this makes you not a literalist.

When I come across a passage in the Bible that I don't understand or that seems contradictory, I mark it hoping to understand it at some point. It doesn't cause me to lose faith.

That's what bothers me about the whole movement--you could find passage A in the Bible that says "The sky is blue" and passage B in the Bible that says "The sky is green", and you would mark it hoping to understand it later. I just wonder what would happen if you found a passage that read, in it's literal Hebrew (or Greek) "This passage is a lie."

aurora, Dueteronomy does not say "I, Moses, prophesy that blah, blah, blah" or anything similar. No, it speaks in the past tense--Moses climbed Mt. Nebo (sp?), the Lord showed him the Promised Land, etc. So, your interpretation that this is a prophecy is far from a literal reading of the text. So is your story that the Bible is literal except when you say it isn't? Doesn't sound very reliable to me. What evidence do you have that Moses wrote the Pentateuch at all? If I remember correctly (and please correct me if I don't), the belief that Moses wrote the Pentateuch is only tradition--it is not written in the Bible. Is Jewish tradition now considered infallible, or do the literalists now believe that the authorship of the Pentateuch is an open question?

The only reason you think that the Jews are the Chosen People are because of your ancient collection of writings and your revealed knowledge. There is no evidence of them being a Chosen People--why should I treat their writings different from anyone else's? They certainly aren't the only people to think that they were specially beloved by God. There is no evidence that Moses wrote any of the books; why should I believe he did? There is no evidence that Moses ever made a true prophecy, outside of books of unknown origins and dates of writing. The Jews are NOT the only people with a myth regarding their beginnings (I said myth, not history; even if Moses wrote the Pentateuch, he wasn't a contemporary of Abraham). For example, look at the Muslims (and before you try to tell me that the Jews are a race and not just a religion, look at Sephardic Jews and then look at Ashkenazi Jews--if they are members of the same race, I'm a powdered donut).

If you believe there are no discrepencies in the Bible, then either you aren't a literalist, and therefore the Bible means whatever you want it to mean, or you haven't read it. I'll repeat--a plain reading of the text reveals discrepancies both with other sections of the Bible (I mean, just read Genesis 1 and 2, and try to get the timeline of creation down) and with the observed world (the earth is not flat,it has no corners, it moves, stars are not embedded in a solid firmament, insects have 6 legs, rabbits do not chew their cud, etc.), and that's without going into the more esoteric scientific evidence like evolution. Supernaturalism can contort the natural world to explain away the external evidence (maybe the Earth used to be flat, eh?), but only non-literalism can explain away the internal disputes.

Carol made the initial argument that, because there was a genealogy, it must be true. I pointed out how that is not so. Someone later said that, since the stories still resonate today, they must be true. I provided a counter-example to that, too. Now you are basically saying that since the Bible is the Bible, it must be true. There is no evidence that I should treat the Bible any differently than other texts.

I don't take any of your writing as disrespect; you are free to disagree with me without hurting my feelings.

Carol said...

Shygetz,
The Bible is a mixture of literary and figurative language. I never stated otherwise.The Bible contains prophetic and poetic speech. Jesus used figures of speech. Eg John 2:18-22.

In this post about the flood, I am showing that the flood isn't a
figurative passage. Other passages in the Bible verify that it wasn't taken as a mythological story.

Regarding the site about Shelah, it answers that "Canaan was the biological father - Arphaxad was the parental father." This isn't a figurative explanation but a factual one. It would be like one who is adopted. They have two fathers, their biological, birth parent and their adoptive parent.

In contrast to the your statement "I just wonder what would happen if you found a passage that read, in it's literal Hebrew (or Greek) 'This passage is a lie", the Bible states that it is the truth.
"Sanctify them through thy truth:the word is truth" John 17:17

I don't mind anyone disagreeing only to being disrespectful and ridiculing as has been done by some in the past.

Aurora said...

Shygetz, you obviously haven't read Deuteronomy nor the entire Bible because the BIBLE declares Moses to be a prophet repeatedly. In addition, a prophet is defined as one who predicts and it is done, which Moses most clearly did when he told Pharoah what would happen, and it did. He also prophesied of future prophets, future happenings, not once, but repeatedly. How many times have you read Deuteronomy? The entire Bible, both Jewish and Christian? Why do you speak authoritatively about books you have not studied?

The evidence that the Jewish people are God's Chosen? How about the fact that God Almighty declares them as such? How about the fact that they are the only people to have their history recorded from start to finish? How about the fact that they are the only people to miraculously survive repeated attempts, both past and very much present, to slaughter them? How about the fact that all prophets come from them? How about the fact that Israel flourishes under their hand and their hand only?

Aurora said...

One more important correction: The Jewish people are not a race Hitler tried to prove them as such and was proven wrong. The Jewish people are a culture, distinguished by language, religion, and distinct practices. Anyone can become a Jew if one chooses to convert regardless of race. Israeli Jews at present are composed of five main races, including Ethiopian Jews.