Inside the Ark- rather icky


Before we pop inside,let’s look back as to why we are in here – did God really do this?

noahtermite

Attribution Carl D’Agostino https://carldagostino.wordpress.com/

This is  the continuation of those hard things we find in the bible, again part of a myth a very powerful story. How can we believe that Our Heavenly Father who declared all things good is about to annihilate all living things by suffocation and drowning. ( See Rashi commentary at Noes Ark 1 – the herald angels the previous post.

If we were to progress through all the ‘bad God’ episodes in the Scripture then we would discover a god who appears to order or countenance all manner of Ethnocide, genocide, war, infanticide, murder, rape and onward. That is the reason behind the references to “Stories’ here, they were written for reasons mostly having nothing to do with God but  humans, Historians and Priests, justifying the terrible acts they had performed in His Name .

Inside the Ark  and stuff

It is thought that Noah was a native of the lower Tigris-Euphrates valley, and by whole world, the Hebrew indicates the area local to this and that human population in that area.  So the entire world are those people who inhabit this location – possibly the Tigris-Euphrates Valley.

Noah was the righteous one appointed by God to perpetuate the human family – those animals saved represented the ancestors of all living things.

What the story may represent is  likely to be the record of a natural disaster which , in distant memory, is later offered as the reason righteousness returned to the  world which is repopulated by the male and female pairs of animals, reptiles and birds gathered into Ark.

Only animals resident in the area ,  water buffalo, two endemic rodent species(native to the place and found nowhere else.) antelopes and gazelles and small animals such as the jerboa and several other mammals. Fish, snakes, bugs – found their way into the Ark ( Wikipedia Tigris Euphrates river system) and probably the odd camel or donkey and other immigrants to the area. ( Me being silly)

So no kangaroos, koalas, or any other creature not endemic  to that geographic region entered he Ark – And no termites – And a fairly  poor representation of all creatures that on earth do dwell.

Lucky Noah, did not have to do battle with Tiger Snakes, Red belly browns, Rattle snakes,  Dingoes, or Polar Bears, nor tussle with ferocious Aborigine’s of America and Australia, or Greenland, for possession of same.

Both clean and unclean animals were taken into the ark, 7 pairs of the clean versus 2 pairs of the unclean animals. The Jewish Commentator Rashi intimates that Noah must have read Torah to know that there were unclean animals.

Of all the clean animals: that are destined to be clean for Israel. We learn [from here] that Noah studied the Torah. — [Zev. 116a] seven pairs: in order that he might offer up some as a sacrifice upon leaving [the ark]. — [Tan. Vayakhel 6] 

http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8170/jewish/Chapter-7.htm#showrashi=true

Either there is an eternal Torah or Noah existed after Moses –  A  hypothesis shared by many biblical scholars today is that the first major comprehensive draft of the Pentateuch was composed in the late 7th or the 6th century BCE . Further prowling indicated that the primary source, before redaction was Jahwist and that chapter 7 was primarily Jahwist. 6th century BCE

( Redaction is editing) God’s Word edited perish the thought.

Therefore Noah existed before Moses but the story was not written down until the 7th or 6th BCE The Bible is a collection of Books written by several composers, most are recorded retrospectively and these authors wrote as they wrote to push a point of view or to use these stories to illustrate how certain things came about ergo the Creation Stories, the story of the Ark, and ascribe meaning to them.

The spiritual meaning of the Flood is evoked after Noah’s heroic survival.

Noah Builds an Altar

20 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. 21 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. Genesis 8:20

22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and nightshall not cease.  Genesis 8:21( JKS)

  •  God then placed a rainbow in the sky as an unmistakable pledge of his promise in this covenant.
  • God also renewed his commands given at creation but with two changes: man could now kill animals and eat meat, and the murder of a man would be punished by men.

When written fully this forms part of the Noahide Covenant of 7 Clauses see

The seven Noahide laws as traditionally enumerated are the following:[7]

  1. Not to worship idols.

  2. Not to curse God.

  3. To establish courts of justice.

  4. Not to commit murder.

  5. Not to commit adultery or sexual immorality.

  6. Not to steal.

  7. Not to eat flesh torn from a living animal.

Source: wikipedia Seven Laws of Noah

 

Advertisements

38 thoughts on “Inside the Ark- rather icky

  1. Reblogged this on Church Set Free and commented:

    “If we were to progress through all the ‘bad God’ episodes in the Scripture then we would discover a god who appears to order or countenance all manner of Ethnocide, genocide, war, infanticide, murder, rape and onward.”

    The “elephant in the room”: a “bad god.”

    Or you might to walk with Brother Francis-Clare who writes with the clarity and humour of confidence there is no “bad god” and here is why.

    Personally I find these posts valuable. Because they are not of the teaching I had as a young (or old) churchgoer.

    Thank you –

    Paul

    (comments closed, here, please add any thoughts under the original post)

  2. Interesting. So you limit God quite a bit here. You don’t think it’s possible that God would bring animals from all over the world to gather on the ark? I believe He certainly could. You don;t believe that God could tell Noah which animals were clean and which were unclean? I believe He could.

    You don’t even think this is true. I believe it is. I have heard, but not studied out, that just about every major people group have mention in their histories about a big flood that covered the earth. Funny, how could they have known Noah’s story?

    Sometimes I am baffled by how much people can limit God, but Him in a box, and try to slough things off because they just can’t grasp an all powerful God. Oh, and the wiping out thing – Sin is the cause, plain and simple. God does not tolerate sin, and he cares for His people. You can call it whatever you want – genocide, infanticide, whatever. God calls it sin. Heck, He could do the same today if we weren’t living under grace at the present time. Boy, am I glad we are!

    Love these kind of posts that make us think about who God is! Thanks.

    Be blessed

    • Pete, I would like to make two observations, if you don’t mind. The first being that the word that translators use as “earth” (γῆν) isn’t always global. It simply means land, and can as easily mean the land under your feet, the land belonging to a nation (ex: land of Israel), an island, or, yes, all of the land on this planet. It’s not a very specific word, so translating it to mean the entire world is poor theology without knowing what the writer actually meant. Sadly, we can’t go back and ask.

      The second observation is on the other cultures you mention. It is true that just about every culture talks about massive floods, but if you track them in time (those that you can trace, like China) you notice that the timelines simply don’t match each other. China’s great flood, which lasted for generations, is dated to ~1,920 BC, whereas Noah’s flood is generally put at ~3,000 BC. The Hindi flood dates to around 700BC, whereas the flood of the Hopi people (creation of the fourth world) dates well into the AD timeline.

        • Sigh. Okay.

          Noah’s flood ~2,345BC
          Sumerian Flood ~5,000BC

          Also, at the time of Noah’s flood Egypt was nearing the end of the building of the great pyramids, there is no record of a massive flood interrupting the building, and no indications on the pyramids themselves of high water marks exceeding a few yards. Egyptians recorded everything, a flood that massive would not have missed their attention. Since the building continued, uninterrupted, for a few hundred years after the flood who did the work? If all of humanity was wiped out, and Noah’s family was busy in Mesopotamia repopulating the world, there would have been only skeletons do continue the labor.

            • No theologian would ever say such a thing, and I didn’t.

              Do you believe everything written in Sacred Scripture is only historical fact? Was a man beaten and ignored by everyone until a Samaritan came by? Was a king’s land taken over by sharecroppers who killed his son? Or are this stories Jesus used to convey moral teachings?

              If you believe they are stories, then do you believe that God was incapable of using stories to teach mankind moral lessons until the Incarnation (or was it the Theophany?)? If you believe that parables only existed in the NT, then do you believe that everything in the Song of Solomon actually happened?

              I am an Eastern Theologian. In the East Theology and Science never parted company like they did in the West…at least not until the Russian Revolution, but that’s a story for a different time. Theology and Science developed hand-in-hand as we did not suffer the Middle Ages (there was no persecution of Galileo). Theology studied Sacred Scripture to divine they what’s and why’s of what God did, and what He wanted us to understand; Science studied His creation to try and understand (as much as mortal man is capable) how His creation works.

              Just as Jesus taught us in parables (because we were not ready to fully understand), so God taught ancient man in similar parables because he was not ready to fully understand.

            • TMT, I like this approach, and use it, but only so far. As it turns out, the earth isn’t flat, there is no dome across which the sun, moon, and stars transverse in regular patterns, there are no pillars holding it up, and it’s not surrounded by water on all sides. Who knew the earth wasn’t the center of the universe, but only an infinitesimally small part it? And yet, God seems to accommodate this cosmology to communicate His message.

              But, I still believe that His message, in large part, is the revelation of His character. And the account of Noah’s family, the ark, and the destruction of the world still does that. Call it a parable, myth, or what have you, the point remains. The God calling us into a relationship with Himself through Jesus is still the same God willing, though grudgingly, to destroy all of creation and start over with a remnant. Haggle over the historicity of the event, but the message remains, God is, at times, wrathful; He’s dangerous.

              It seemed to me that this original blog entry was trying to rescue God’s character from that trait. I don’t think such rescuing is in line with God’s purpose, and only obscures His character. On the other hand, I’m not sure sure I understood the intent or position of Brother Francis-Clare either. I’ve only read this one entry of his.

            • Over 2,000 years of Apostles and Theologians – Hebrew Scholars, Desert Fathers, Capadocian Fathers, Roman, Greek and Russian Theologians – (far smarter than I) have done all the groundwork. Read their works as close to the original languages as possible (not translations of translations). In the East we have a full, rich history of solid, unbroken theological study.

            • “God is, at times, wrathful; He’s dangerous.

              It seemed to me that this original blog entry was trying to rescue God’s character from that trait. I don’t think such rescuing is in line with God’s purpose, and only obscures His character. On the other hand, I’m not sure sure I understood the intent or position of Brother Francis-Clare either. I’ve only read this one entry of his.”

              I don’t thing he was going in that direction, either; but, like you, this is my first brush with his posting.

              Jesus put it best when he taught us to think of God as father. A father’s relationship with his children varies over time, a good father is what he needs to be at the time. When a child is young the father needs to be more forceful in teaching lessons. A child is not capable of reason, and so needs to be taught right from wrong in a “listen to me or else” manner, be that else spanking, time-out, or a warning that more harsh punishment may come to be. When a child starts to develop reasoning then the relationship changes and a gentler, kinder side of the father starts to emerge where he can being sitting down and explaining right from wrong, and how to follow the path to righteousness.

              The question of the flood isn’t one of whether it covered the entire planet, or just all of the area (and people) know to Noah. The question is, did man learn the lesson God was trying to teach. Obviously we didn’t, or the lesson wouldn’t have been repeated at Sodom and Gomorrah.

            • Yes God is a Heavenly Father. I need those correct us when it’s necessary. I’m glad for that because he helps me stay the course.

              I am not sure of the position of the original post either. But it’s fun to have these discussions anyway.

              Be blessed

      • אָ֫רֶץ – erets is the Hebrew equivalent to vγῆν and takes all the following meanings
        the numbers indicate how often they occur in the N.A.S.B with Strongs

        common (1), countries (15), countries and their lands (1), country (44), countryside (1), distance* (3), dust (1), earth (655), earth the ground (1), earth’s (1), fail* (1), floor (1), ground (119), land (1581), lands (57), lands have their land (2), open (1), other* (2), piece (1), plateau* (1), region (1), territories (1), wild (1), world (3).

        The word occurs firstly in the first line of the Torah.

        Genesis 6: 7 – אֲדָמָה adamah which refers to the earth/soil from which Adam was created. with the following meanings
        country (1), dirt (1), dust (3), earth (32), farming* (1), fields (1), ground (64), land (112), lands (2), soil (7).

        Lastly we have תֵּבֵל tebel meaning inhabited (1), inhabited world (1), world (34).

      • Yes, and there are many others as well. I tried to stick with tales whose dates could be set to a particular time by writings to prevent arguments about when they occurred. I have run into people who argue that the date of the Ice Age, and all carbon dating, are not accurate because the Great Flood manipulated current geography and mineral contents.

        • Yes, the same here

          I once had a Sunday School teacher who said that Satan put all the dinosaur fossils in the earth to confuse man.

          The Australian floods have been measured both geophysically and by reading the stories written down from the dream-time, the first of these dates to 13,000 years ago, yet this country is always flooding somewhere, while last yea’rs News Papers report of the biggest floods in so many centuries because they are local. I lived up north where we had two huge floods per year and were cut off from the mainland for a few weeks.

  3. Brother Francis-Clare,

    I’m new to your blog, so I may be missing some important meaning behind how you color-code parts of your entry. One in particular I found curious, where part of it is in red bold print. It sounds like you are saying that you refer to things in Scripture as “stories” because you think they were written by priests and other people who use them to justify the bad things they do. Basically, they “project” their baser choices onto their impression of what god is like.

    That seems, to me, to undermine any sense of inspiration. If that were true, how would we be able to know our Creator? Do we pick and choose only those parts of Scripture that we like and form a picture of a creator we can be comfortable with? Doesn’t this subjective approach create a god we like, much like what is claimed the priests are doing here?

    I ask because I’ve just completed a study of Judges, and I’m heading “back in” to edit it and make the lessons sink in deeper. I found more about the character of God in Judges than in a study of Luke I completed earlier. It wasn’t that I didn’t find His character in Luke, but it was familiar already. What I found in Judges was shocking. For instance, I believe God chose Jephthah’s daughter to be sacrificed (Judges 11). Such a choice throws Jesus’ statements about discipleship in Luke 14 into a much more clear and frightening light. We comfortably like to make these statements on the cost of discipleship hyperbole, but, as in Jephthah’s case, this Creator we follow could hold us to this standard much more literally than we imagine or are comfortable with.

    I think seeing the character of our Creator in the light of saving a few while drowning many isn’t actually the character of evil priests, kings, or anyone, but of Jesus. And, I believe we can fool ourselves into being comfortable knowing an illusion, incapable of saving us from hell (which, in this case would be real, not a metaphor). But I would rather we can get to know the Creator through this written record containing His self-revelation of Himself to us which He has preserved for that very purpose. The latter is far more frightening. But I, for one, would rather know Him as He is and has revealed Himself, rather than create another image, more of mind than of stone perhaps.

    That’s just one person’s imperfect view through a fence at the part of God’s activity I He lets me see. Thank you for yours.

  4. Pingback: The Torah’s Version of the Flood Story  – Re-theologizing

  5. TMT, I agree that the point wasn’t learned, but I still think it was, in part, to reveal a facet of God’s character. And yes, so His relationship to His people as a Father to children. I think, as you pointed out, His character as a Father varies to the time and need of the people. Sometimes I think we need a good swift kick in the pants, or a severe, possibly devastating, loss.

    That’s not to say His character was the whole lesson either. In the first twelve chapters of Genesis, the choices of living in opposition to our Creator are always connected to pretty severe consequences. And, as you pointed out, so it was for Sodom and Gomorrah.

    And this isn’t Pete. I don’t think he’d like to be blamed for my rants.

      • I have read this many times, and it’s mating store in Judges, and I find myself torn as to whether the crime was homosexuality, rape, or both. In both stories the aggressors were interested in the men staying in the house, in both cases their intent was sexual relations without consent (gang rape), in both cases the Lord set out to destroy the aggressors. In the first case he wiped out Sodom and Gomorrah, in the second case Benjamin was almost wiped out, a remnant saved only because Benjamin was one of the twelve tribes and would be needed for the future of Israel to work itself out. I don’t think the text is clear enough to distinguish if the crime for which they were destroyed was homosexuality, rape, or both. To be sure, there are other references to (possible) homosexual relations in the OT in which neither party was put to death. I say “possible” because the Hebrew wording / translation into “know” and “love” is not always clear (as in the case of David and Johnathan). Admittedly, my Hebrew is not as good as it should be.

        • My take on Sodom and Gomorrah has been pack rape as an initiation rite, still happens in some Private schools, also the action would be what they call Homogenital since not all men in a city could be homosexual. I ‘think’ that Lot himself was subject to the indignity and had perhaps participated in the initiation of others. Since he met the angels at the Gate I am inclined to think that he had reached the status there as one of the elders who sat at the gate. He knew what would happen to the angels and when the men came baying for them he offered his daughters which on that particular night may have been safe since the men were after men.

  6. “mostly having nothing to do with God but humans, Historians and Priests, justifying the terrible acts they had performed in His Name .” this one? Or this which alludes to the cartoon and to the local flood. “And no termites – And a fairly poor representation of all creatures that on earth do dwell.”
    I haven’t yet said whether the stories are Fact or Fiction 🙂
    Now you were saying that recently you made a study in Judges where you were enabled to form a clearer image of our God:
    You write:” I found more about the character of God in Judges than in a study of Luke I completed earlier. It wasn’t that I didn’t find His character in Luke, but it was familiar already. What I found in Judges was shocking. For instance, I believe God chose Jephthah’s daughter to be sacrificed (Judges 11). Such a choice throws Jesus’ statements about discipleship in Luke 14 into a much more clear and frightening light. We comfortably like to make these statements on the cost of discipleship hyperbole, but, as in Jephthah’s case, this Creator we follow could hold us to this standard much more literally than we imagine or are comfortable with.”

    I would not say that God chose Jephtah’s daughter to be sacrificed but rather that God knew it would be the case on the grounds of God’s Omniscience.

    The passage tells us two things 1 concerning vows to God, (CF) Numbers 30:2 If a man vow a vow to the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. especially of this proportion and of the great faith and understanding his daughter had in God.

    2 Of the great Faith and Understanding of God Jephtah’s daughter had, that she was willing to be sacrificed to enable her father to keep his oath.

    I understand where you are coming from just as God sacrificed one man, his son, to save all.

    The Priests we speak of here are Levites and were responsible for the recording of quite a lot of scripture, they and others were those who recorded God’s word whatever we believe it to be – as I said in a manner for it to be understood in certain contexts or to illustrate, in this case one of the stories of Beginning in Genesis.

    You will see why I call them Stories when we reach the end.

    In the meantime keep up your study and pray before you edit.

    • Br Francis-Clare, your view of Jephthah’s daughter is the common view. I disagree with it, but I do that a lot. If you want to see why I hold the view I do, my blog “knotholetheology.wordpress.com” is where you’d find my explanation.

      I’m glad to hear we haven’t completely seen your perspective on the flood. I thought I might have needed more experience with your blog before seeing your point, and gaining clarity on your point of view. I certainly meant no disrespect. I look forward to your further discussion. This has been enjoyable for me, and, I hope, for others. I’m learning new things, and meeting new people. Good stuff!

  7. Thank you every one I too have learned about God in reading your discussion

    Malachi 3:6 Descendants of Jacob, I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I never change.
    Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever… both ESV

    So God has not changed either when known as purely monotheistic- with the spirit as the active force of God in the world or as Two Persons in One – remember, though the Holy Spirit existed S/he had not yet been sent in the form to whom we relate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s