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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Building a replica of Noah's Ark

I was reading an article that talks about how Greenpeace is building a replica of Noah's Ark. They are building the replica to promote their ideas about global warming. Their point is that we will face great floods due to polar ice caps melting in the coming years if nothing is done about global warming. Ironically, I wonder how many trees they had to cut down to build this thing. I am sure for them it is better for one tree to perish than an entire nation to dwindle and perish as unbelievers of global warming.

The Replica of Noah's Ark is a symbol

Nobody is suggesting that Greenpeace is building a replica of Noah's Ark in order to literally survive the coming floods. Greenpeace is building the replica as an object lesson to draw awareness to the consequences of global warming (i.e. floods). Their re-construction of the ship is not to be taken literally.

The Story of Noah's Ark is also a symbol

If they build it to the same specifications as described in the bible, it would be interesting to see how many animals they could actually cram into the replica of Noah's Ark. According to Genesis 6:15, Noah's Ark was 300 cubits by 50 cubits by 30 cubits high, or around 450' X 50' X 45' high. That seems like a fairly large ship. So large in fact, that I wonder if a wooden ship that large could withstand the torque of the open sea.

Literal view of the story of Noah's Ark

Genesis 6:17 says that the lord is about to create a flood that will destroy all flesh, and "every thing that is in the earth shall die". There is no doubt that it is talking about a global flood. In Genesis 6:19, it says that Noah is to gather 2 of every kind of animal there is in the world, male and female, into the Ark to preserve their seed. And what about bacteria? Did he have to carry the millions of bacteria cultures on his ship in containers as to preserve the bacteria, but not to infect any of the animals?

Herein lies a problem with the literal interpretation of the story of Noah's Ark- there are millions of species in the world today. We would have to think that he put in not just every species, but every subspecies as well. In other words, Noah didn't just put in 2 Elephants, he put in 4 Elephants, 2 African Elephants and 2 Asian Elephants. He didn't just put in 2 Giraffes, he put in 6; 2 Rothschild Giraffes, 2 Masai Giraffes and 2 Reticulated Giraffes. After all, if he only had 2 Giraffes aboard the ship, are they going to somehow "evolve" into different subspecies after the flood?

You also couldn't just stop at 2 bears, you would have to include 2 of each type of bears. So you would also have to include 2 Panda Bears, 2 Grizzly Bears, 2 Black Bears, 2 Sun Bears, 2 Brown Bears, 2 Polar Bears and 2 Sloth Bears. Remember, these Bears can't "evolve", so you would have to include every one of them on the ship.

Don't forget to include 2 of every Ape, Warthog, 80 Dogs, Horse, Zebra, Rhino, Buffalo, Cows, 100 cats, 6 Bisons, 12 Elks, all the different types of snakes, lizards, Ostriches, Bluebirds, Blackbirds, Owls, Cranes, Crows, Ducks, Eagles, all 26 Chickadees, and don't forget all 35,000 different species of worms. Oh, and who is going to feed all these animals? What are they going to eat? Is there room on the ship for food?

To add more work for an already exhausted old sea captain, after the water subsided, I think the 600 year old Noah had a challenging task in sending the animals back to their home origins, I mean how do you make sure the Frilled Neck Lizard makes it to his home country of Australia? As if living in close quarters with all those other animals on the sea voyage didn't make him angry enough. Once off the ark, how did they get to Australia, it is more than a skip across the water. Did he and the female have to climb aboard some Sea Turtles to take them to their home country?

To add insult, in Genesis 8:20 Noah offered some of the surviving animals up as sacrifices to God. Imagine surviving the flood and going through those years of rough seas only to be killed by Noah as a sacrifice after the flood subsided. I can't help but to feel sorry for those poor Unicorns.

It is almost absurd to even consider that the story of Noah's Ark is a literal history of an event that actually happened. It is possible that the story was based on a real event, there is evidence of smaller, localized floods from the ice age. However, at best it was extremely exaggerated. On the other side, there is no archaeological or geological evidence to support a global flood. Even if all the polar ice caps melted, there wouldn't be enough water to flood the whole earth.

Non-Literal View of the Story of Noah's Ark

I think it is more likely that the story of Noah's Ark is an allegory that was probably originally published as a fictional story, but as time went by, it became a real history, after all,
flood stories are very common in world mythology. A fictional story turning into a real event happens quite frequently. Have you ever received an email about a story that claims to be a true event, but when it is traced back to the original source, it turns out the original author said from the beginning and always maintained that it was fictional? This happens all the time. Another example is demonstrated in how people have started a real religion based on the Star Wars Trilogy. The name of the religion is called "Jedi". Perhaps in 1,000 years followers of Jedi will believe that George Lucas wrote a true history of events that actually happened.

Most people that I have talked to don't believe there was a global flood in the literal sense. There are many that still believe the story is based on a real event, but that the biblical version is greatly exaggerated. There are not many people that I have talked to that believe in the literal version of Noah's Ark, in that there was a global flood.

The Paradox of Noah's Ark

To say that there was a global flood means you have to say that Noah didn't have to include EVERY subspecies on the ark, and therefore he could fit all the animals onto the ship. For example, Noah didn't have to bring all 6 giraffes, he only had to bring 2 of the Masai Giraffe and they would evolve to the other 2 types after the flood. The contradiction in taking this literal view of the Bible is that you have to accept evolution, which contradicts earlier chapters in Genesis about the creation. However, if you view the bible to be literal, you have to accept a global flood, because the bible says it was a global flood, not a localized small flood. To what degree of evolution you accept depends on how high up the taxonomy hierarchy you go. In other words, at what point is evolution plausible? Can different Subspecies evolve from one species, or can different species evolve from a Genus, but no higher than that?

Not only would one have to accept evolution, you would have to believe that animals evolve much faster than any scientist could ever imagine. Instead of millions of years to evolve, you are talking about a few thousand years from the time of Noah's Ark to develop all the different variations and subspecies. Scientists would be calling YOU crazy for believing that evolution was that swift.

To say that Noah's Ark was a real localized event, but it was sensationalized and exaggerated creates a problem with a literal view of the Bible as well. To prove the Bible, you would have to discredit the Biblical verses. Remember Genesis 6:17 says that it was going to be a global flood and every thing in the world was going to perish.

This begs the obvious question: If the story of Noah's Ark is an Allegory and not a real event, what else in the Bible is symbol? After all, the Cross is an ancient pagan symbol of suffering, and the story of Jesus and his Crucifixion wasn't written until at least 70 A.D., 40 years after his death. How does one sift through the text and figure out what is historically accurate and what is myth? That I don't know at this point. I do know, however that it is stories like Noah's Ark and Giants that are found in the Bible that leads me to believe that many of the stories are allegories and based on mythological creatures from the time period they were written.

Applying the same logic to the Book of Mormon

If one is to accept that some of the stories in the Bible are allegories and not to be taken as a literal history, then they can be open to accepting the same thing about the Book of Mormon. Since the Book of Mormon was written in the 1800's by Joseph Smith, it is also an Allegory which happens to contain 19Th century Christianity.

Skeptical Mormon

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just because you don't have a testimony of the truthfulness of the church, you think THAT gives you license to "knock" the LDS Church.
Get a life!

Zelph said...

Anon,

Thank you for taking the time to read some of my posts and commenting. I don't quite understand your response. I think I do have a great understanding of the truthfulness of the church. I also have a great understanding of the un-truthfulness of many of the claims made by the church.

Nobody can refute any of the facts that I present on this blog. If you have a much better understanding of the "truthfulness" of the church, then instead of throwing insults, why don't you point out what is untrue on my blog?

No, I don't think that just because I no longer believe in the church gives me a license to question the church. I think everyone, including full believing members SHOULD question every aspect of the church. I think I have just as much right to free speech as you do.

I am not preventing your right to free speech, or preventing you from starting your own blog to counter my arguments, or to defend the church.

Once again, I thank you for your comments and hope you visit regularly.

Anonymous said...

The story of Noahs ark is pure BS. Kangaroos, koala bears and duck-billed platypuses have never existed in Europe or anywhere else in the world but Australia. The animal life of Australia (to use it as one example) is particular to that country. Did Noah travel all the way to Australia to collect these animals? And after the Flood did he travel all the way to put them back? We can go on and on. Did he travel to the Himalayas to collect the yak, to Alaska to collect the polar bear and to South America to collect the condor?