Neighbor: Listen what’s this [ark] thing for anyway?”
Noah: I can’t tell you Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Neighbor: Can you give me a hint?
Noah: You want a hint?
Neighbor: Yes Please
Noah: How long can you tread water, ha ha ha ha ha
Bill Cosby Noah: and the Neighbor Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow…Right! 1963
Yesterday I got into a bit of a discussion with a person on twitter by the name of Staunch Atheist concerning biblical things. To my complete lack of surprise the “judging God” card got played pretty early (or late as I came to the discussion late myself).
— Staunch Atheist (@StaunchA) December 13, 2014
This is such a common argument among atheists that it’s almost a requirement that it be made and if it’s not made you have to wonder if something is wrong.
Of course there are several answers that can be given: All people die and damnation not death is the ultimate evil (thus while all die innocents would be spared the damnation of the guilty), It’s the just payment for their deeds (Genesis 6:13). It’s no different that the German & Japanese children who died during the necessary of World War 2 bombing to stop an overwhelming evil. The nonsense of a moral judgement from one who doesn’t believe in an absolute static morality (my personal favorite).
But I’d like to approach this from a completely different angle recycling a point I made in the my first six months of blogging concerning what the bible is and what it isn’t.
In my opinion one of the great mistakes that people make with the Bible it to make something of it that it is not. It does chronicle history but it is not solely meant as a history book, for example 18 years of Christ’s life is missing (actually more like 29, we only have a brief glimpse at age 12). Those years might be of interest to historians but in terms of the purpose of the book (see point 1) they don’t matter.
and the understanding of it by the people it was written for.
Now lets take Moses as such. He is blessed with direct contact with God but he remained a man of his time, with the physical perceptions and the scientific knowledge of a man of his time.
Thus it didn’t matter if God spontaneously created the water for Moses or steered him to a place where there was a stream about to break through rock or if he weakened the rock, as far as Moses was concerned God made it happen.
So lets apply that same logic and argument to the flood.
Per Genesis written by Moses inspired by God, Noah is informed by God that the Doom is coming and is told to build an Ark to save him alone because he alone is just.
In the eyes of God the earth was corrupt and full of lawlessness. When God saw how corrupt the earth had become, since all mortals led depraved lives on earth, he said to Noah: “I have decided to put an end to all mortals on earth; the earth is full of lawlessness because of them. So I will destroy them and all life on earth.
Make yourself an ark of gopherwood, put various compartments in it, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you shall build it: the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.
Make an opening for daylight in the ark, and finish the ark a cubit above it. Put an entrance in the side of the ark, which you shall make with bottom, second and third decks. I, on my part, am about to bring the flood (waters) on the earth, to destroy everywhere all creatures in which there is the breath of life; everything on earth shall perish. But with you I will establish my covenant; you and your sons, your wife and your sons’ wives, shall go into the ark.
Now consider, if we remember that this story in Genesis, while inspired by God for Moses to record is not a video recording or a court transcript of events but the truth as explained to Bronze Age Humans with a Bronze age understanding, as are in fact the instructions given to Noah an even earlier Bronze Age man:
That being the case many possibilities arise concerning the flood?
Will it rain for 40 days & forty nights?
Will the water just appear?
Will some geological event divert waters causing a flood
Will a giant meteor strike hit the Indian ocean causing a gigantic flood?
Will earth’s meteorological cycle have a one in a million year rain event?
Will some other astrophysical event from a comet passing close or a disruption of the Moon’s orbit cause an extreme flood event?
Is it the sudden melting of Ice Caps due to the end of an Ice Age?
Was there some combination of all or some of the above?
Any of them are possible but Noah (Bill Cosby notwithstanding) doesn’t know or ask how. Nor does God explain to him physics, meteorology, astrophysics or any of the sciences to him or any of those who would pass the oral tradition to Moses. They don’t really know and neither do any of us.
But in terms of scripture and the purpose of the Bible it doesn’t matter. What matters is Noah obeys, the flood happens, Noah his family & the animals with him live, everyone else dies.
Now one can still choose to judge a God they don’t believe in if they wish (Even if he didn’t directly cause it why didn’t he save anyone else? I’ll touch on that tomorrow) however one must remember the existence or nonexistence of God is independent of one’s belief or disbelief. If for the sake of argument God doesn’t exist in 100 years neither you or I dear reader will know or care.
But if I and the rest of the Christian world is right and God does exist, be aware that while you can choose to judge God , eventually he will be returning the favor.
On the bright side, even the most hardened sinner and/or doubter have an ace in the hole they can play even to the last minute of their life if they so choose:
write that I am more generous towards sinners than toward the just. It was for their sake that I came down from heaven; it was for their sake that My Blood was spilled. Let them not fear to approach Me; they are most in need of My Mercy.”
Jesus to St Faustina Diary #1275
Yes it can be that easy.