Re: [asa] Noah's Ark- the debate over floods... and biblical interpretation

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Wed Apr 08 2009 - 17:06:57 EDT

You're doing great. Now we have a three-story basket, when the scripture
says the ark was made of wood. You have 8 people punting up river, or
possibly drawn by animals along the bank. But why are they headed for
Ararat when they are next to land all the way? Have you thought of what
it would be like to try to punt a string of baskets? I find matters more
and more bizarre.
Dave (ASA)

On Wed, 08 Apr 2009 16:19:50 -0400 "Dick Fischer"
<> writes:
Hi David:

The other night I saw part of the movie Hamlet. Although I found it
interesting, I must admit I couldn’t understand over 20% of the dialogue.
 I perked up at “Alas, poor Yorick,” and “To be or not to be …”, but by
and large I couldn’t pick up the lingo at all. We don’t talk that way
anymore. Genesis is typical ANE literature. If you aren’t used to ANE
literature from reading a boatload of it, you are going to miss some
things. Then there is Jewish jargon to deal with, the odd scribal error,
and the translation from one language to another. It’s a wonder to me
any of it makes sense.

What I find typical of ANE literature is that persons, places, and
clashes between cities seem to be reliable. The insertion of various
gods in the affairs of men is quite common and cannot be considered
“true” history. So when the flood comes in Atrahasis we read “Enki made
ready to speak, and said to Nintu the birth goddess: "You, birth goddess,
creatress of destinies, establish death for all peoples!”


Okay, a fabricated conversation from one god or another in ANE literature
is typical. So how about this conversation: And God said, “Let us make
man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the
fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and
over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the
earth” (Gen. 1:26). What makes this conversation genuine and the
conversation in Atrahasis bogus? Simple. We all know there is only one
God and we don’t believe in many gods. Plus the Bible is inspired.

But the type of literature is the same. Insertions of conversations from
God or gods are the norm in all ANE literature, Genesis included. So you
accuse me of waffling? May I suggest that if you want to understand ANE
literature, you should read some of it.

Specifically to your questions, you wrote:

>The Bible says that there was no help for him while you posit tens of
thousands of people living in the valley, lots of women, with more
elsewhere on earth.<

There was no help mate “suitable.” There were not “tens of thousands”
living in Eridu, more like a hundred or less at the beginning, and none
of the other cities had been established at that early date. There is
roughly 600 years between the first city, Eridu, and the city Cain built,
Enoch, which was the second city. By 7,000 years ago the entire earth
was sparsely populated in the millions. Read Jacquetta Hawkes, The Atlas
of Early Man.

> How does the notion that Noah simply stayed aboard the ark for two
seasons work? I can imagine him stuck on a sand bar where there was at
least an area of the ark from which he could drop a bucket to draw water
for the creatures aboard. This would not help the food problem unless he
could barter with the locals. But Mesopotamia has a distinct lack of
wood. Would a mass of wood as big as the ark not be salvaged by the

I’m not sure the voyage lasted a year. The Bible writer seemed to think
so, and we are stuck trying to make sense of it. So I’m trying. The
size of the ark is another problem area if we try to envisage the ark as
a massive 450 foot long ship. A seriies of smaller baskets lashed
together to form the overall dimensions might work, or maybe the writer
mismeasured, or maybe the original dimensions have been changed. There
are options. Choose.

> Floods flow downstream, with increased speed as there is more water. If
the ark were in the current, it would head for the Persian Gulf. If it
got into an area where water overflowed the banks, the water would be
ponding and going nowhere. So how did the ark head upstream to the area
of Ararat? Or is this an inaccuracy that does not disturb the message?<

If you remember the flood of 1993 in the midwest the water stayed for
months before receding. The Gilgamesh legend mentions punting holes and
punting is still a means of locomotion on the canals of Iraq. Animals on
the bank pulling the boat also might work.

There could be inaccuracies. I’m not saying there couldn’t possibly be
inaccurracies in the inspired text. When Genesis depicts the God who
created the entire univerrse taking a stroll through the Garden of Eden
enjoying the coolness of the air and sniffing petunias, I, even I, have
to put on my wading boots. Still, the flood appears to be a genuine
event that actually happened. There are possible answers to the typical
questions raised.

Dick Fischer, GPA president
Genesis Proclaimed Association
"Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"
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Received on Wed Apr 8 17:12:51 2009

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