Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again (Noah's Ark Part I)

(Noah's Ark - Part 1 of 2)
In the early chapters of Genesis, not long after creating man, God started having second thoughts about what He had done. In Genesis 6:5-6 we read:

5 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.

6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

But back in Genesis 3:3 did God not say :

Behold, the man is become as one of us

So what the hell happened? If man was created in God's image and later became as God, how did he get so evil? Is God saying that the (forbidden) apple doesn't fall too far from the tree? Why didn't God nip this wicked behavior in the bud if it pissed Him off? Why did He allow it to get out of control? Why didn't He correct man when he first started thinking those evil thoughts? Couldn't He have set up some sort of counseling? Maybe man just got bored. I mean, what the hell was there to do back then? Couldn't God have organized some sort of activities or team sports to keep man occupied and out of trouble?

Whatever the reasons, God wasn't going to share in the blame, nor was He going to take it any more. In Genesis 6:7 we read:

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.

Was this not a bit of an overreaction? Were man not God's children? Could God not have tried to rehabilitate them? And why was God taking His anger out on the beasts and the fowls, not to mention the poor creeping thing? What the hell did they do? Were they guilty by association? Why were they made the scapegoats? What about the fish and all those abominations of the sea? How did they escape God wrath? And by the way, what the hell is the creeping thing?

Well anyway, there was one old guy who hadn't managed to piss God off. In Genesis 6:8 we're told

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord

What did Noah do to make himself graceful? Should the Bible not tell us, so we to can find grace in the eyes of the Lord? Is this information not of paramount importance? And how did Noah remain graceful while surrounded by all that wickedness? Wouldn't the wicked guys have kicked his ass? Cain killed Abel when Abel was God's favorite, so how was Noah surviving as the favorite? Maybe the explanation is in Genesis 6:9, for there we're told that:

. . . . Noah walked with God

So was God like Noah's bodyguard? Sure, no one would kick Noah's ass when he was strutting around with an Omnipotent Being. But could it be that Noah was only good because God was walking with him? What if God had walked with others too? Would perhaps their wickedness not have been so great and their thoughts not so evil? Would it have hurt God to go walking with some others as well?

Apparently God wasn't up to just walking with anybody, and so he continued with His plans for mass destruction. In Genesis 6:14-15, He says to Noah:

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

15 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.

Is that not quite a strenuous a task for an old guy like Noah? In Genesis 7:6 we learn that the poor guy is 600 years old. That's well beyond retirement age. Should he not just be relaxing and enjoying his twilight years? Was Noah allowed to hire anyone to build this ship? If the whole world was indulging in wickedness, then are we to assume there were no honest and God-fearing shipbuilders that Noah could turn to? And if he hired a shipbuilder with evil thoughts, would Noah not be contributing to the evilness? But if Noah started building ships on his own, how would the Shipbuilders Union react? Would they not destroy his operation?

And what the hell is gopher wood, and where was Noah to find so much of it? Is there even such a thing today as gopher wood? Did Noah use it all up? Who was to teach Noah shipbuilding? And why did God chose the cubit for measurement? Could He not think of something more standard? If a cubit varies with the person, whose cubit is God talking about? Is it a man-sized cubit or a God-sized cubit? And how could poor old Noah build such a large ship? Would these cubits not make the ark about 450 feet by 75 feet (137 meters by 23 meters)? Could such a wooden ship even remain afloat? Would such a long ship not fold in the middle if carried over a large wave? Did smaller ships like the Schooner Wyoming and the HMS Mersey not suffer structural problems due to their length?

But the ark that God wanted old Noah to build wasn't just to be for sunset dinner cruises. In Genesis 6:17 we learn of God's plans:

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.

Did God really think this thing through? Did He seriously ask a 600 year old guy to build an unseaworthy vessel from an unknown wood, for the purpose of riding out a flood of Biblical proportions? Does God not think straight when He's pissed? And again this obsession to kill everything? Has God no compassion? What about the elderly or the little babies? Were their deaths to be the first case of collateral damage?

Then to make matters worse, God comes up with some more outrageous instructions for Noah. In Genesis 6:19 He hits Noah with this directive:

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.

How was Noah to choose which animals lived and which died? Were there animals that had found grace and others that indulged in wickedness? In Genesis 3:22 did Got not say that only He and man could tell good from evil? Again, why were the beasts and the creepy thing made to suffer, and why was Noah made the bad guy who had to choose?

And then, what about the hermaphrodites, such as snails? Can they not act as male and female? How could Noah tell which was which at what time? And how much free time did God think Noah had? In the next two verses God goes on to say that Noah had to take two of everything, including birds and creeping things, as well as food for the whole gang. Could God have not given Noah a hand, since they were walking around together all the time? And was there even room in the ark, despite its huge size, for so many creatures? Is this why we lost the big mammals, like the sabertooth tiger and the woolly mammoth? Could Noah not squeeze everybody on? Why did he pick on the big mammals to leave out and not those creepy things? If something had to be left behind, why not creepy things? Or viruses? Or bacteria?

Well, apparently God thought there was extra room in the ark, for He told Noah in Genesis 7:2-3 to take even more of the clean animals:

2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

Now, what was the deal with the creatures by sevens, the male and his female? Was math different back then? Could 2 be divided into 7 evenly? Was it something that only God could do? If not, were there not some clean males hanging around without their females?

Despite the amount of time and manpower required, God was being impatient. In Genesis 7:4 He says:

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights

Talk about unrealistic deadlines! How could a feeble old guy do all that in only seven days? Did God not realize that quality is often sacrificed for quantity? Was Noah allowed to work on the sabbath? Did God not forbid such activities under penalty of death? Did God really mean seven working days? What kind of shifts did Noah put in? Was overtime authorized? Were there any violation of the labor laws that went unreported?

See Part II for the Great Deluge

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