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How many animals were on the ark? The opinions among the biblical commentators are divided. Some consider that 35,000 is the figure and others 50,000. There are opinions in which the number is even smaller, no more than 2,000 animals, but that goes against any animal classification by reducing artificially the number of all terrestrial animals to about 1,000.
A moderate estimation of the number of animals which would have needed to be on the ark would probably be around 50,000 if we considered also the huge diversity of the birds. This would be right only if we consider that Noah would have taken only one pair of all clean animals and birds, and not seven pairs.
Notwithstanding, up to the present time scientists have named and classified more than half a million animals, but it is believed that from 2 million to as many as 50 million kinds of animals are living on Earth today.
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The majority of these animals are capable of surviving in water but their environment would also have been affected by the Flood.
Some apologists maintain that probably on the boat not adult but young animals would have been taken, and they needed less room than adults.
This idea is a ridiculous attempt to make the unbelievable accepted. It is also a tacit recognition that Noah’s ark would have been too small to receive a pair of all adult animals on Earth. Young animals and especially very young, are inseparable from their families and their flock. Generally, animals live in groups and the young wouldn’t have boarded the ark two by two separated from their families. Moreover, in order to come in pairs, animals would have needed to be mature enough and not very young, because the pairing is a complex process which cannot be easily imposed onto animals. The paring of animals comes after a certain age and in certain conditions and it wouldn’t have applied to very young animals.
Did Noah have to round up all animals or would God have brought them to the ark? Could animals have travelled alone from their places to the ark? In what manner did the animals travel two by two from different regions of the earth to Noah’s ark? How did the polar bears travel from the North Pole? How did the kangaroo and many marsupial animals come from Australia precisely to Noah’s ark? Would Noah have travelled to Galapagos to collect tortoises or would the tortoises have come in their rhythm to Noah’s boat? How much time would have been needed to bring a pair of tortoises from Galapagos to the ark? The Bible doesn’t say but both options seem incredible. God didn’t promise to Noah that He would bring the animals to the boat. Noah would have needed to bring the animals into the ark:
“19 And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.” (Genesis 6; 19 NRSV)
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“Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; 3 and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 7; 1-3 NRSV)
The Bible doesn’t give us the possibility to speculate that God miraculously brought the animals before the door of the ark, as some commentators maintain with no biblical support:
“Skeptics paint a picture of Noah going to countries remote from the Middle East to gather animals such as kangaroos and koalas from Australia, and kiwis from New Zealand. However, the Bible states that the animals came to Noah; he did not have to round them up (Genesis 6:20). God apparently caused the animals to come to Noah. The Bible does not state how this was done.”
What the Bible says isn’t that God caused animals to come to the ark but that they would have come to the ark brought by Noah. “You shall bring two of every kind into the ark” is the expression used by Genesis 6; 19. It isn’t in any way specified in the book of Genesis that God would have determined the animals to go to the boat:
“20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive.” (Genesis 6; 20 NRSV)
“Two of every kind shall come in to you” from Genesis 6; 20, doesn’t mean that God brought them to the ark. “You shall bring two of every kind into the ark” from Genesis 6; 19 is much more precise than verse 20 because animals couldn’t have come onto the ark of their own initiative – Noah had to bring them onto the boat.
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Between Genesis 6, verses 19 and 20, we can see an inconsistency which is important in the context of the problem discussed at this point. Verse 19 seems to assert that Noah should have brought the animals onto the ark but verse 20 refers to the animals coming onto the boat on their own. Nevertheless, nowhere in the book of Genesis can one find text in which it is written that God would have brought animals to Noah’s ark. All actions which were supposed to be done directly by God were mentioned in the book of Genesis, for example, sealing of the door of the ark.
“16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.” (Genesis 7; 16 NRSV)
According to the text, God had told Noah how to proceed in regard to the animals, He didn’t order animals to come to the ark. Nevertheless, if an action was made directly by God the book of Genesis mentioned it.
This is how the book of Genesis works. A false premise is the base for a false conclusion. The incorrect premise on which Genesis 6; 19-20 is based is that animals would have been under the dominion of humankind, hence they would have obeyed human beings’ commands. The situation being so absurd some commentators need God’s intervention in a miraculous way by bringing animals to the ark in order to explain the texts, and this in spite of the biblical account. In the stories of Noah’s Flood animals are presented in the same allegorical manner in which the book of Genesis presents them in other chapters, for example, in the case of the personification of the snake.
Where was the ark built, in what region of the earth? The book of Genesis doesn’t say. Once we have established that animals wouldn’t have been brought miraculously by God to the ark and they couldn’t have come by themselves also, the only remaining possibility is that Noah and his family would have gathered the animals from the most remote corners of the earth. Did Noah organise a safari in order to catch African animals? Did animals obey Noah and come alone to the ark? Did lions and panthers and rhinoceroses and snakes and alligators follow Noah quietly, as do domestic animals, to the ark? They wouldn’t have behaved in this way. How did Noah handle all the dangerous animals?
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He couldn’t handle them because without tranquilisation Noah couldn’t have realised the transportation of those animals. Noah would have needed to use empiric means of transportation in order to bring animals from one point to another and besides ships he would have needed to use animal-propelled wagons. In those conditions, any trip would have lasted for long time. How much would a dangerous animal have resisted under those conditions? Probably, it wouldn’t have resisted too much. The transportation of the animals, particularly of the dangerous ones, requires special conditions which wouldn’t have been at Noah’s disposition.
Apparently, all these questions are answered by the apologists of a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis without really answering them. Here is an example of such an insubstantial answer. Craig von Buseck writes:
“The Genesis passage clearly states that God gathered the animals and brought them to Noah inside the ark two by two.”
This is just not true. The Genesis passage doesn’t state that God gathered the animals and brought them to Noah inside the ark two by two. Reading the biblical texts anyone can see that the Bible doesn’t say that God would have brought the animals to Noah’s boat.
If animals had already been corrupt and violent before the Flood as the book of Genesis says, it would have been very difficult to deal with them in the process of bringing them to the ark. Allegedly, God condemned all flesh including animals for corruption and violence before the Flood but, at the same time, He would have encouraged them to become even more violent after it by allowing meat consumption. The entire account contained by the two stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis is absurd.
Some insects have a very short life and others such as bees need pollen for their living. Bees cannot live without pollen and Noah would have needed to take with him an entire family of bees and not only two insects of that kind, because their multiplication requires special conditions. Without bees to pollinate so many plants the entirety of life on Earth would have been in danger.
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One year and ten days on the boat would have gravely disrupted the cycle of life of bees and their way of feeding. They could have eaten honey, of course, but they also needed fresh pollen which is available only in living plants, which couldn’t have been supplied on the ark. It is wrong to consider that bees can be fed only with honey for a long period of time and some studies show that this kind of feeding can induce their death.
Bees are so important for the existence of the entire ecosystem of the earth that losing them on the ark would have meant an incredible threat to life on our planet. I personally consider that on Noah’s ark it would have been impossible to generate the right environment for many insects and most importantly for bees, because without pollen and nectar for a long period of time they couldn’t have survived. Moreover, after the alleged Flood when landing on the devastated dry ground, bees wouldn’t have found plants with flowers at least for another few months. Who would have fed them after their descent from the ark? Besides the bees, tens of thousands of animals would have needed to be fed but no provisions would have lasted after the Flood, after the long trip on the ocean. To believe otherwise would be an incredible naivety taking into consideration the amount of food which would have been needed for a sample of all animals on Earth for a rather long period of time. In the stories of the Flood there aren’t answers to questions which stem naturally from what the narratives maintain and for this reason also those stories are unbelievable. If we attach to those stories the characterisation “inspired” we don’t increase their value but we negatively affect God’s image.
Many insects would have died on the ark during the trip considering their fragility and their very short duration of life. They would have become extinct and the only solution in their case would have been to create them anew after the Flood. That would contradict the biblical account according to which animals were created on the sixth day of creation and not after the Flood. At the same time, many accidental deaths or illnesses would have been highly probable on Noah’s boat due to the improper conditions, and almost any death would have brought the extinction of an animal kind.
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What would have happened on the ark with the waste coming from so many animals? Some apologists of a literal reading of the book of Genesis invent fantastic explanations in order to make the stories of the Flood more acceptable but without success. They imagine all sorts of technological devices existent on the ark which would have facilitated the work of Noah and his family. They also have to admit that the amount of the waste from so many animals was huge, being at about 11 tons of matter daily. Such an amount of waste combined with the need for animal feeding and watering would have been impossible to be handled by 8 people who would have worked on the ark. This problem is acknowledged in the following quotation even if the solutions given to it are unrealistic:
“As much as 12 U.S. tons (11 m. tons) of animal waste may have been produced daily. The key to keeping the enclosures clean was to avoid the need for Noah and his family to do the work. The right systems could also prevent the need to change animal bedding. Noah could have accomplished this in several ways. One possibility would be to allow the waste to accumulate below the animals, much as we see in modern pet shops. In this regard, there could have been slatted floors, and animals could have trampled their waste into the pits below.”
What pits below would have been available on the ark which could have deposited 11 tons of matter every day? This quantity of matter accumulated for no more than one hundred and fifty days would have meant a total of 1,650 tons of extra matter and more than double for one year and ten days, until the water would have receded completely from the earth. The decks would have been one on top of the other and not too high above each other, and wouldn’t have been suitable for the existence of any pits below. This is a very strange attempt at an explanation. The accumulation of the waste below the animals in such a small space would have generated an unhealthy environment and impossible living conditions. We should remember that the presence of all bacteria and viruses on the earth which would have been on the ark in order to survive the Flood, could have generated a biological hazard under unhealthy conditions generated by the lack of hygiene.
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One cannot escape the conundrum of a situation in which approximately 11 tons of waste had to be shovelled out of the boat through a very narrow window of only 18 inches high by 8 people every day. In my view, the hypothesis that all that waste would have been kept on the boat for more than one year is absurd. If we take into consideration the smell of that waste and the danger caused by illnesses, keeping it on the boat would have endangered the life of all those human beings and animals.
What would have been the daily program of Noah and his family? They had to feed between 35,000 and 50,000 animals or more every day, once or twice daily. They had to provide them with water and to clean their waste. They also had to attend to animals’ illnesses when they occurred. They needed to prepare their own food and to rest. Such a daily program is unrealistic for only 8 people. At an average-size zoo there are more than 8 people working every day with much less animals than would have been on Noah’s boat for which would have been needed several hundred workers to do the job.
The details of the Flood stories don’t add up in order to constitute a credible account of what would have happened during such an event. All the work on the ark would have been done in very difficult conditions, Noah’s family having to deal with some very dangerous animals like carnivore dinosaurs, lions, panthers, jaguars, tigers, hyenas, wolfs, crocodiles, alligators, scorpions, many kinds of snakes and so on which would have been on the ark.
Taking only a pair of snakes on board the ark wouldn’t explain the wide range of snakes living on Earth in our days. The idea that on the ark there was only one pair of elephants, one pair of bears, one pair of crocodiles, one pair of monkeys, and so on but not all species of animals is highly objectionable. For example, there are 8 species of bears: 1 - North American Black Bear, 2 - Brown Bear, 3 - Polar Bear, 4 - Asiatic black bear, 5 - Andean Bear, 6 - Panda Bear, 7 - Sloth bear and 8 - Sun Bear.
It seems to me that it is unacceptable in the context of creationism to say that Noah would have taken with him, for example, one pair of North American black bears from which all species of bears developed in approximately 3,500-4,000 years.
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This is by itself a contradiction of the creationist view on nature and presupposes an extraordinary intervention of evolution in the development of nature. North American bears and panda bears are two very different species of bears. According to the book of Genesis all animals were created on the sixth day of creation after their kinds. Did God create only two bears on that day and all the bear species emerged through their evolution, or rather did all species of bears come from a common ancestor, all evolving at the same time? I consider that the latter is the correct answer. That common ancestor could have been an animal from which not only bears but other animals have evolved.
“Scientists tell us that bears and dogs share a common ancestor. About 38 million years ago, the bear and dog lines separated into two distinct groups. The bear group began to walk on the soles of their feet while the dog group (called “canids” which includes modern day dogs, wolves and foxes) continued to walk on their toes. As bears evolved into omnivores, which means they began to include plant material in their diet, their gut became longer. Since plants take longer to digest than meat, plant eating animals need longer guts than carnivores.”
A common ancestor for many predator animals at 55 million years old would have been discovered recently, but that couldn’t have been on Noah’s ark, with the timing of the Flood as it is concluded from the Bible.
“Mammalian carnivores can trace their lineage back to a creature in the early Eocene, 55 million years ago. Fossils that were discovered in Belgium have gotten researchers one step closer to finding the ancestor of these animals.”
Bears and canines also have a common ancestor which had lived on Earth 30 million years ago and not 4,000 years ago, and that is a problem which cannot be overlooked.
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“Where did the bear really come from? The evolution of bears as we know them today, started around 30 million years ago. Their ancestors evolved into a family of small mammals known as the Miacids (Miacidae). The bears, small bears and also the canines developed from the Miacids.”
If God had created the common ancestor of all bears and dogs and also of other carnivores He had made a kind of animal which evolved into other kinds. This is in contradiction with the creationist view on nature. According to the Bible God had created all kinds of animals on the sixth day of creation, therefore no other kinds could have appeared afterwards.
Polar bears are thought to have evolved from brown bears but their separation started 100,000 years ago and not at all in the last 4,000 years as young creationists maintain.
The point is that on Noah’s ark approximately 4,000 years ago, after the calculation coming from the Bible, all species of bears had to be present and not only an ancestor, because the separation between the different species started much earlier than it is presumed that the alleged Flood would have happened.
This problem is similar to that of the existence of many human species which all would have started with Noah’s family, and would have developed in a relatively short period of time. One can accept that some varieties could have appeared after the Flood but all species had to be on the ark. It is obvious that the human authors of the two stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis didn’t have any understanding about the history of the animal species.
Not every commentator agrees with the opinion that all species of animals would have needed to be on the ark. There are commentators who consider that from one kind of animal, all species belonging to that kind would have developed in a few thousand years. Here is an example of such an opinion:
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“Noah was only asked to take land animals “in whose nostrils was the breath of life”. This excludes aquatic animals and insects that breathe through their skin. Noah was to take all these animals, “after their kind”. The word “kind” refers to all animals within the limits of interbreeding and thus is a broader classification than a modern “species”. Thus, Noah did not take German shepherds, Pomeranians, mongrels, wolves and jackals on board. He took a dog like animal. The different types of dogs that we see today descended from the animal pair that Noah took on board. While there are millions of species, there are only about 8000 kinds. These 8000 kinds “evolved” into the millions of species that we see today, in just a few thousand years. I put “evolved” in quotes because this kind of change is not the kind of change required to make goo to you.”
Ironically, the author of the article advances the idea that Noah wouldn’t have taken insects on the boat. If so, all insects would have been destroyed by the waters of the Flood and today no insects would live on Earth. But many insects are alive on the earth today, consequently either Noah had taken them on the ark or the entire story of the Flood is a fairy tale. All animals including the insects had been created by God on the sixth day of creation, according to the book of Genesis, and that would have happened before the Flood. No other creation of animals had occurred on Earth according to the Bible.
At the same time, when the Flood happened, the separation between species being already made, Noah needed to take on board a pair of all species of animals, for example, all eight species of bears. If Noah hadn’t done that many animals would have been lost and their species wouldn’t have been preserved. If Noah had taken on board only one pair of bears today on Earth there would be only one species with some variety within its limits, but not eight species including the brown and polar bears.
Another important inconsistency found in the stories of the Flood is the difference in treatment between terrestrial and aquatic animals. The terrestrial animals would have been killed by the Flood but living in the waters, the aquatic animals would have been spared. This difference in the treatment of terrestrial and marine animals doesn’t make any sense when we look at it in the biblical context.
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The motivation for the Flood was that “God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth”. The flesh is the flesh of land animals but also of aquatic animals. To maintain that only one category was corrupt but the other one wasn’t is absurd. The same violence which would have been on Earth would have been in the waters also.
Sharks and many other predator aquatic animals would have committed the same violence as the terrestrial animals, but apparently they wouldn’t have been punished for it. If the marine animals had also been destroyed by the harsh conditions of the Flood, how did they appear again after the Flood? The marine animals either weren’t punished for their violence through the Flood or they were destroyed by the Deluge and their existence today cannot be explained. Both versions show the incongruence of the biblical stories about the Flood. In other words, the Flood couldn’t have solved the problem of violence of all flesh, hence it was useless.
How many animal species are known to live at the present in the world? Mammals – 5,513 species, birds – 10,425 species, reptiles – 10,038 species, insects – 1,000,000 species, spiders and scorpions – 102,248 species. 50,000 species of animals which needed to be on the ark is a very moderate evaluation. How could Noah identify all species of animals in order to be able to take a pair of all species on the ark? This would have been impossible with the degree of knowledge existent in his time.
The classification of the animals is an important scientific achievement which wouldn’t have been within Noah’s reach. Did Noah follow a kind of catalogue showing all animals on Earth? Of course, he didn’t. Noah couldn’t have identified which animals had to be taken on board if he hadn’t known all species living on Earth in his time. Noah couldn’t have known all species of animals. Some continents weren’t discovered until a few hundred years ago and over there, are live animals which couldn’t have been known by Noah. The classification of the species came relatively late in human history, hence it wasn’t known at the time of Noah either. If Noah had been able to classify the species following the identification of all animals he would have left this knowledge to his offspring, but he didn’t.
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Noah wouldn’t have known the geographical areas where some animals would have lived, for example, America and Australia, which were discovered long time after the era when the alleged Flood is said to have happened. Noah couldn’t have organised expeditions in order to bring animals from the areas unknown to him.
Before going into a certain geographical area Noah should have known what animals would have lived there, and hence if there were other animals than in the areas he visited already. If Noah had searched for the animals without a plan he literally had to go all over the earth looking for animals metre by metre and trying to make an inventory also during that process. By the time he had collected some animals, other animals already collected and brought to the ark would have been dead because the time needed for such an operation would have been huge.
Practically, without a plan based on detailed information Noah couldn’t have collected all animals from their specific environment. Very important species of animals living in America and Australia which are newly discovered continents would have been lost if the stories of the Flood are true. In my opinion, the way in which animals are distributed on Earth contradicts the stories of the Flood, according to which all animals migrated on our planet starting from one single centre, the place where Noah’s ark landed. If the ark and the place of its landing were real, many animals which live only in Australia wouldn’t live only there, but they would also be found in the areas between Ararat Mountain and the Australian continent – this is not the case. The animals living in Australia would have travelled to that continent after the landing from Noah’s ark but some of them would have remained in other places on that route.
As a matter of fact, Australia separated as a continent from Antarctica 45 million years ago and some species of animals developed on that continent, are specific only for that geographical area. (What is Gondwana? See: livescience.com › Planet Earth) Animals didn’t come from the Middle East where the ark landed but they were born in specific areas and some of them live only there. That is further evidence for the incompatibility between reality and the stories of the Flood.
A detailed description of the species founded on a systematic analysis of the main characteristics of the animals was established only in the 18th century.
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Only having this classification at his or her disposal could someone have pretended that would have saved all kinds of animals on Earth except, of course, those animals which weren’t yet known therefore weren’t classified.
“Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus created and published in 1758 the system still used to formally name and describe species.”
How many clean animals would have been taken by Noah on the ark, one pair of each or seven pairs of each? How could Noah have differentiated between clean animals and animals which weren’t clean with a lack of precise prescriptions? Which animals are clean and which are unclean was only revealed in the laws given to Moses after the exodus of Israelites from Egypt. The Bible doesn’t state anywhere that before Moses there was another delimitation of animals into clean and unclean, hence this division before the Flood is fictitious and added to the texts only when this classification was in place.
Either Noah took seven pairs of clean animals on board the ark and seven pairs of all birds, and sacrificed some of them, or he took only one pair of each clean animal and after the Flood those animals would have been sacrificed and consequently their species would have been extinct. Both options are absurd. Taking seven pairs of all clean animals on the ark and seven pairs of all birds, the number of animals present on the boat would have multiplied greatly. Offering clean animals to God in sacrifice, if on board the ark there would have been only one pair of all animals, would have meant that species like sheep or cows would have been extinct on Earth, but they aren’t.
Giving that on Earth we have sheep and cows and other clean animals, we should consider seven pairs of clean animals and seven pairs of all birds on Noah’s ark. If we consider seven pairs of all birds the total number of birds on the ark would have been around 140,000. I have multiplied seven by two which means seven pairs of each species, and with 10,000, which is the estimated number of the species of birds. This is a very important number and hard to host on the ark together with all other clean and unclean animals.
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At the same time, the total land animals to be taken on board the ark would have been very important if we consider also extinct animals at the present time, but which lived on Earth at the time of the Flood. Only insects would have been about 1,000,000 species. They would have been very difficult to carry on board and to take care of. As we have so many insects on Earth their kinds either would have been on the board of the ark, or the Flood never happened. The latter is more likely.
Four are the decisive arguments able to invalidate the story of the Flood. Firstly, we may ask how many days the earth was under water during the Flood. This is the calculation made from the texts of the book of Genesis:
“The Bible says that Noah was 600 years old when the flood waters came upon the earth. God commanded Noah to bring his family and all the animals aboard the Ark and seven days later, it began to rain and God shut the door to the Ark. The Bible says that it all began “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”
We have the starting point and the ending point of the Flood and we can calculate how many days was the earth under water.
“In the 601st year, 1st month and 1st day [on Noah’s birthday in other words], he looked and saw that the “face of the ground” was dry. But apparently not yet firm. On the 2nd month and 27th day, the ground was dry and God commanded Noah and those aboard the Ark to leave it.
If we subtract the beginning date from the end date we get:
“Year 601 Month 2 Day 27 [End date]
– Year 600 Month 2 Day 17 [Begin Date]
= 1 Year 0 Months 10 Days” 
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How many days was the earth covered by waters, according to the book of Genesis? The answer is clear, it had been 375 days, in case that it wasn’t a leap year having 366 days. No vegetation would resist under a layer of water more than 200m deep for such a long period of time. All vegetation on the earth would have been dead when Noah’s ark ended up on the Ararat Mountain. The plants need photosynthesis in order to survive. Surviving without photosynthesis for around a year is an utter impossibility. What is photosynthesis? Here we have some explanations besides the ones already given:
“Photosynthesis is the process of converting light energy to chemical energy and storing it in the bonds of sugar. This process occurs in plants and some algae (Kingdom Protista). Plants need only light energy, CO2, and H2O to make sugar. The process of photosynthesis takes place in the chloroplasts, specifically using chlorophyll, the green pigment involved in photosynthesis.”
In order for the process of photosynthesis to be possible, some essential conditions are needed. At least one of these conditions couldn’t have been realised during the Flood and that condition is the presence of light under a thick layer of water. Let’s imagine what would have happened with plants during the Flood. A layer of around 8,848 metres of water, the height of Himalayan Mountains, would have covered the earth. At such a depth, the sunlight or any other light wouldn’t have been able to reach the plants usually dwelling on the dry land but which were covered by water during the Flood. Without the light coming from the sun or any other source the photosynthesis of the plants wouldn’t have been possible. Without photosynthesis, the plants would have died in a few weeks at the most. There wouldn’t have been any chance of existence for plants without light. How far does the light travel into the ocean? Light doesn’t travel fully into the ocean more than 200m.
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Beyond 200 metres into the ocean photosynthesis is no longer possible. Without photosynthesis, life for the plants would have been impossible and all the vegetation from the earth would have died. What would have happened if photosynthesis had become impossible? The changes of the environment would have been so important that life on Earth would have become extinct. The following quotation explains the importance of photosynthesis for the life on Earth:
“Photosynthesis is incredibly important in numerous ways. Everything in an ecosystem is a part of a food web. Trees, plants, flowers, shrubs, algae, etc. all need the sun in order to convert the suns light into energy. Here is an example that will make it easy to understand. All of the things I listed above cannot survive without using photosynthesis. So for example, there would be no trees. Without trees there would not be hiding places for a number of different animals. Since these animals did not have adequate hiding areas, they would be eaten very easily by predators. Since the predators are eating all of these animals, there would be a shortage of food for them and they may not survive. Every living thing is dependent upon another for survival in some way… Thus without plants there will be no animals subsisting directly on food from plants. And in absence of such animals there will be no animals subsisting on food obtained from other animals. Thus without photosynthesis there will be no plant or animal life on earth.”
After Noah’s Flood, if it really happened, no life on dry land would have been possible because for one year plants wouldn’t have access to light, being covered by water. Even if one reduces this period following different interpretations of the stages of the Flood, to nine or seven months, the outcome would have been unchanged. Nevertheless, according to the Bible, the earth had dried completely after one year and ten days. How can this dilemma be solved? There are many explanations given by the commentators who maintain a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis. The following is the most important of them. The plants survived through their seeds which could have been contained either in the body of drowned animals or harboured by trees or other vegetation which would have been uprooted by the Flood.
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It is not impossible that some seeds would have survived the Flood and some vegetation could have revived through them, but the dilemma isn’t solved. Not all plants reproduce through seeds – some of them reproduce through spores and others through asexual reproduction.
“Asexual reproduction is when offspring are genetically identical to the parent. Asexual reproduction only requires - and only allows for - one parent. Most of the time, we think of two parents - a male and a female - making an offspring. However, asexual reproduction only uses one parent. In plants, asexual reproduction is called vegetative propagation.”
If the Flood had been real no plants which use asexual reproduction would have been alive after the Deluge. Provided that all plants were created on the third day of creation as the book of Genesis says, the destruction of all plants using asexual reproduction by the Flood wouldn’t have allowed their existence in the present time. Notwithstanding, the plants which use asexual reproduction live on Earth in our days, hence the Flood is only imagination.
Vegetative or asexual reproduction is specific for the multiplication of many plants. For example, potatoes reproduce through their bulbs. If the plants of potatoes had been covered by water for one year and ten days, and in this period of time several months were under 200m depth without light and oxygen, no potatoes and other plants which use vegetative propagation would be on Earth today. The plants which reproduce through asexual reproduction are less resistant in unstable environments, therefore less likely to have survived a cataclysmic event:
“Because asexual reproduction doesn’t allow for evolution and adaptations to occur as frequently as sexual reproduction, vegetative propagation is not advantageous for plants that live in changing environments. In unstable environments, plants that are identical to each other may all die out at once. However, if plants are genetically different, which is a result of sexual reproduction, some plants may survive in an unstable environment.”
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Such were the conditions during the Flood described by the book of Genesis that many plants would have disappeared from the earth after it. Among those plants would have been potatoes, all kinds of berries and others, but also the majority of plants which multiply through seeds and spores. Even if it isn’t impossible that some seeds would have survived through the Flood, it isn’t likely that they would have done it. Some experiments done with dormant seeds aren’t conclusive enough in order to support the idea of repopulation with plants after the Flood in this way.
There are arguments against the possibility of dormant seeds reproducing and creating new vegetation on Earth following the Deluge:
“In reality, seed dormancy is a complex affair and involves metabolic and environmental prerequisites for entrance into and recovery from the state as well as several forms of quiescence. The vast majority of seeds which become dormant do so in order to endure cold temperatures or prolonged drought, and in the warm flood waters most would germinate immediately and then drown for lack of oxygen (cf. Villiers).”
Being carried by the waters, the dormant seeds wouldn’t have always found a suitable geographical place for their reproduction, taking into consideration that plants need a certain environment for their survival. The soil on which the dormant seeds would have landed wouldn’t have been prepared for receiving them, because after the Flood its salinity would have increased drastically.
The uprooting of trees and other plants and them traveling up to 8,848m depending on where they were situated, to the new surface of the oceans, would have been a rare phenomenon. Even if a few seeds would have survived, all over the world the multiplication of plants would have been threatened by the lack of pollination agents such as insects.
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They would have needed time for their multiplication before being able to cover the entire face of the earth. At this point we face, again, a contradiction generated by the inability of the biblical texts to offer solutions to so many problems. Plants based on dormant seeds couldn’t have been pollinated with a lack of insects and the latter couldn’t have multiplied with a lack of pollen, their specific food. At the same time, the herbivorous animals would have destroyed the unlikely few plants coming from dormant seeds when searching for food. For this reason, the continuation of life after the Flood would have been improbable. Proof that the Flood never happened is that today there are plants on Earth which don’t multiply through seeds and which would have all been destroyed by the lack of photosynthesis under a thick layer of water.
How about the oceans, was the life possible in that environment? I would be in doubt to answer positively to that question for several reasons. If the Flood had covered the surface of the earth with a layer of 8,848m of water, all marine animals had to adapt to that kind of change, but could they have done that in reality? Coming from above and from beneath, according to the book of Genesis, the water would have raised quickly on Earth but the light doesn’t reach into the water consistently more than 200m. This situation would have posed a serious problem. The marine animals usually living in salt water in search of light would have entered suddenly into a layer of fresh water caused by the Flood. The presupposition is that the rain during the Flood wouldn’t have been salted and it shouldn’t have been if it was as we know it today. Nevertheless, salted rain would have created further problems without solving the brutal change in the marine environment, because in this case the fish which lived in fresh water would have been seriously harmed.
This is the reason why rain water isn’t salty:
“When water evaporates from the ocean, only the pure H2O molecules are involved - it’s basically energy turning the water from liquid state to vapor state. The salt particles are, in essence, left behind.”
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The vast majority of the animals, living in the oceans, live near to the surface and they need light. They would be in search of light if for any reason the light was gone from their areas. The following quotation explains:
“Only the very top layers of the ocean get enough light to support plants, and most of the truly abundant animal life is crowded into the top 200 meters.”
Many marine animals feed on plants, and if the marine plants disappeared with a lack of light, animals which feed on them would also have died. In their turn, carnivorous marine animals without their food would have vanished after a while. The point is that such a Flood as the one described by the Bible would have disrupted all life on Earth up to the point of extinction if it had been a real event. The death of the marine plants would have had such a serious impact on the entire oceanic environment that it is almost certain that the majority of life in the oceans would have been gone.
Moreover, the transformation of CO2 into oxygen would have been hindered by the death of all plants terrestrial and marine following their submerging in deep water in places where light couldn’t penetrate. The conclusion to this point is that a Flood of epic proportions would have killed all vegetation at least on land if that had been covered with a deep layer of water for a long period of time, 375 days or even less. That would have prevented the production of oxygen for a while with fatal consequences. The alleged presence of dormant seeds without the possibility of multiplication through pollination for many plants wouldn’t have been sufficient to cover the need of oxygen on Earth.
In the ocean are found two general types of plants. Some plants have roots that are attached to the ocean bottom and others don’t have roots and drift about with the water. The rooted plants in the ocean are only found in shallow water because they cannot realise photosynthesis in deep water.
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All vegetation with roots in the marine environment would have died following the Flood because they would have been covered with a deep layer of water. Even if the vegetation of the sea which live at the surface could probably have travelled with the water, its life would have been in danger following an extreme downpour of rain. In forty days, the level of the ocean would have raised 8,848m which is the elevation of the highest mountain on Earth, if the edges of all mountains had been covered with water. That could have been an insurmountable problem not only for the marine animals trying to cope with such an extraordinary situation but also for the marine vegetation, which needs sunlight in order to survive. Could the phytoplankton have kept the pace with the rhythm in which the level of the water increased during the Flood and stayed in the photic zone all the time? Even if the answer is yes, the entire ecosystem of the earth would have been gravely affected. The ecosystem of the earth is in a delicate balance and an event like the alleged Flood would have destroyed this equilibrium.
What was the environment on Earth after the Flood? Coming out from the ark, animals would have been starving and the provisions from the boat would all have been exhausted. The carnivores would have had to attack the herbivores coming out of the ark as the only available food for them. In this way, all species of herbivorous animals would have become extinct very quickly. Even if spared by carnivores, herbivores would have been starving through lack of vegetation, and that also would have brought about their extinction. The land vegetation which usually would have been consumed by herbivores would have died under a deep layer of water with a lack of sunlight.
As a matter of fact, if the birds had eaten the small amount of dormant seeds which allegedly would have survived the Flood, no vegetation would have grown on Earth any more. Those seeds wouldn’t have covered the food necessities of so many birds therefore after a short while birds would have been extinct and also the vegetation which could have developed from those seeds.
If we accept that some dormant seeds would have survived in spite of all negative odds, we have to admit that any regeneration of plants from dormant seeds would have taken a few months. The provision of food from the ark would have been exhausted at the end of the Flood and human beings and animals couldn’t have waited for another few months without food.
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If Noah had some remaining seeds of cereals with him and he planted them on his arrival on Mount Ararat, he would have had to wait for about four months before the harvest of the wheat. After one year and ten days of Flood, another wait of four months would have been too much for the animals coming from the ark. How could Noah have stopped hungry herbivorous animals from eating the plants before their maturation? This would have been impossible.
Without herbivores’ flesh to be eaten, all carnivores would have died and with them humankind also. After a while the remaining life from the oceans probably would have moved onto the dry land and a new cycle of evolution could have emerged. Nevertheless, this new cycle of evolution would have excluded Noah and his offspring who would have died through lack of plants and animals to use as food.
Following a global Flood the hopes for life on dry land would have been the evolution of the species from marine to terrestrial ones, or life starting again on dry land from scratch. The remaining marine life would have evolved into biological beings suitable for dry land and that would have confirmed the evolution theory which sees the origins of plants and animals in the sea. It is true that some researchers think that life on Earth would have started on land, not in the oceans; its beginnings would have been in a “warm little pond”. This was also the prediction of Charles Darwin 140 years ago.
This is probably a very optimistic scenario because it is possible that even in the oceans a universal Deluge would have brought about the extinction of the majority if not totality of marine plants and animal species. After the Flood, in case it really happened, God would have had to recreate all animals and plants anew on Earth.
How about the viruses or other microorganisms? They aren’t considered to be animals but a special category of living beings, or rather on the edge of what life is. How could they survive the Flood other than in the bodies of all animals or plants found on the boat? It is supposed that Noah would have taken with him on the boat only healthy animals, and all the animals or people affected by viruses would have remained out of it.
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In this case how could all those viruses have survived if they were covered by more than 8,000 metres depth of water, and all their hosting organisms had died? The only solution is that all viruses would have been hosted by the bodies of human beings and animals on the ark. Together with viruses on the boat, would have been all bacteria good and bad.
“A virus is a microscopic organism that can replicate only inside the cells of a host organism. Most viruses are so tiny they are only observable with at least a conventional optical microscope. Viruses infect all types of organisms, including animals and plants, as well as bacteria and archaea. Approximately 5000 different viruses have been described in detail at the current time, although it is known that there are millions of distinct types.”
Viruses can provoke many diseases in animals and if all the existent viruses had been in the bodies of the animals on the ark, nothing good would have happened.
“Animal viruses are associated with a variety of human diseases. Some of them follow the classic pattern of acute disease, where symptoms worsen for a short period followed by the elimination of the virus from the body by the immune system with eventual recovery from the infection. Examples of acute viral diseases are the common cold and influenza. Other viruses cause long-term chronic infections, such as the virus causing hepatitis C, whereas others, like herpes simplex virus, cause only intermittent symptoms.”
So many viruses on the ark would have generated many diseases in human beings and animals, taking into consideration very difficult conditions and extreme agglomeration on the ark. The medical resources would have been very small, hence at the end the entire trip would have been disastrous.
The principle of a global Flood renders totally impossible the development of human history such as we know it. A global Flood on the earth would have been an irreversible catastrophic event and the description of the book of Genesis is a very naïve one.
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The stories of the Flood are inadequate pictures of an imaginary reality that could never have happened in the natural world in the way that it is described by the book of Genesis. If a man with the name Noah has ever existed he never achieved the deeds described by the book of Genesis. Noah depicted by the Bible is a fictitious personage.
According to the book of Genesis the earth would have come from the primeval sea and would have been engulfed by it after a while. After all, the rain which had provoked the Flood had come from “above” meaning from the waters that had been separated by God through the dome of the sky.
Where did all the water of the Flood come from and where would it have disappeared to after the alleged event? In order to find the biblical answer to those questions we have to come back to Genesis chapter 1:
“6 And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ 7 So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so.” (Genesis 1; 6-7 NRSV)
The supposition on which is based the narrative about the event of the Flood, is based on the expression “waters that are above the dome”. This is a false supposition because there aren’t waters above the sky. At a certain moment, God would have allowed the waters from above the dome of the sky to come back to the earth through certain “windows”.
“11 In the six-hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.” (Genesis 7; 11 NRSV)
There aren’t windows of the heavens in the real world. Even if we take this expression metaphorically it nevertheless doesn’t reflect any real phenomenon. The dome of the sky from Genesis chapter 1 was seen as a solid “firmamentum” by many ancient readers of the Bible, either Jews or Christians.
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I don’t find it necessary to enter the entire discussion of the meaning of the Hebrew word “raqia” translated in English, through Latin, as firmament. The cause for this interpretation is the function for which the book of Genesis says that the dome was created, which was to separate waters from waters. Such a function couldn’t have been assured by other than a solid firmament. Even if the Hebrew word “raqia” is not always used with the sense of a solid object, in Genesis chapter 1 it undoubtedly has this meaning.
The way in which the book of Genesis describes the universal Flood is based not only on the false assumption of the existence of a dome which stops the outpouring of water from above the earth but also on a misunderstanding of the phenomenon of rain. There isn’t such a dome and consequently such an overflow of water able to cover the entire surface of the earth is only fiction. Why isn’t it possible? This is because the total amount of water on Earth would remain the same either in liquid, solid, or in gaseous form, no matter how many times the water would change its form. If the water from the oceans evaporates, when it comes back as rain the total amount of the water is the same, and the level of the oceans cannot be higher than they were before the process of evaporation. There never was a reservoir for waters beyond the sky able to supply huge quantities of water when needed.
Another false supposition is the misunderstanding of the phenomenon of rain by the Bible. It says that it would have rained for the first time on Earth with the occasion of the Flood. As the ancient man saw the rain coming from above he or she thought that above the sky there must be a reservoir of water which sometimes comes down to the earth. The perception probably was that water reached the earth when the sky was opened by God. They thought that the sky kept the waters apart. This is a very empirical image about reality and surely is beneath God’s knowledge, who wouldn’t have inspired such wrong information to man.
Contrary to the real world and according to the book of Genesis, the earth had been covered at the beginning by waters and in this way it had an immense universal ocean, a certain kind of “primeval flood” which the reader will encounter again in the stories of Noah’s ark. At the same time, the reader must notice that there wasn’t rain until the Noah’s Flood, according to the Bible.
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The authors of Genesis thought rain came to the earth for the first time during the Flood, and, in spite of the presence of the oceans on the earth, there was not rain before the Flood.
If there was not rain, what was the circuit of water in nature? Naturally the water evaporates from oceans, lakes, and so on and subsequently condensates forming clouds. The water from the clouds returns to the earth and replenishes the oceans but also the other sources of water. It is obvious that the authors of the narratives from the book of Genesis didn’t know the circuit of water in nature.
Where did the water go before the Flood when there were oceans and evaporation but not rain? The authors of the book of Genesis didn’t know anything about evaporation and condensation of the water of the oceans and of other sources. The absence of basic knowledge and understanding of the laws of nature are evident in the stories of creation from the first two chapters of the book of Genesis. This cannot be God, who knows everything, and He wouldn’t have inspired to humankind absurd things.
The following quote explains briefly the complexity of opinions about rain on Earth before the Flood, based on the book of Genesis:
“Scripture says tantalizingly little about climate conditions before the Flood. Based on a few indirect verses, early creationists speculated that a vapor canopy covered the earth until the first rain fell during the Flood. In time, this view became dogma for some Christians. Later, when mathematical modeling failed to support the canopy theory, many creationists abandoned the idea of a canopy and no-rain-before-the-Flood. In time, the belief that it rained before the Flood became a new dogma.”
If the model of a canopy is not sustainable, because no known physical force has been shown to be capable of suspending such large amounts of water vapour in the atmosphere without major complications, such as a massive greenhouse effect, and probably it was not a canopy at all. If the rain was not present until the Flood the watering of plants on the earth is an unsolved problem. The rainbow was formed for the first time after the Flood and with no rain to refract sunlight, rainbows would not have formed.
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The canopy is a very unlikely possibility and the rain without rainbows at all is impossible, therefore here we are confronted with another crack in the consistency of the biblical narratives. Before the Flood there was no rainbow, hence no rain – it is what the Bible maintains.
At the same time, the book of Genesis doesn’t discern any difference between sweet or unsalted waters of the rivers and the salted waters of the seas. In the alleged initial mixture of waters which would have constituted the primeval ocean, some waters would have been salted and the others sweet, drinkable. When salt and sweet waters mix together, the level of salt dilutes but even so, the waters are not drinkable, are not sweet. How could the animals drink water after the creation if the primeval sea was salted? They couldn’t have used salted water for drinking.
If there hadn’t been rain on the earth before the Flood how would rivers have been formed and fed? Previous to the Flood, with a lack of rain, rivers wouldn’t have been supplied continuously with fresh water and that questions their existence. If there wasn’t rain before the Flood, from where did the river from the Garden of Eden take its water? A small spring wouldn’t have been enough for the existence of an important river. In times of draught many rivers lower their levels beneath a critical point.
If the waters of the primeval sea had been salted, the waters which were separated in order to let the dry land appear would have been salted also. With a lack of rain there wouldn’t have been rivers with fresh water on Earth and no human beings and animals could have existed on our planet. Rain replenishes fresh water in rivers and streams therefore they don’t taste salty.
Without rain the waters in the rivers would have been salty because they carry numerous dissolved solids found in their ways. In this case life as we know it on Earth would have been impossible because the salty waters wouldn’t have been suitable for plants and also for animals. Even if plants need salt to perform their chemical procedure, too much of it can cause the death of terrestrial plants.
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It isn’t too much to say that without rain the life on Earth before the Flood would have been impossible. Plants couldn’t have grown therefore human beings and animals couldn’t have existed on Earth in the conditions described by the book of Genesis.
It is obvious that where there is rain there are rainbows as well, and the first rainbow on Earth would have appeared only after the Flood. Moreover, the rainbow was unique after the Flood because it was a sign between God and humankind. It was a very important sign which concerned both humans and animals. Such a sign couldn’t have appeared before the Flood because the existence of the Deluge would have desecrated the symbolism of the rainbow before being used by God as a token of His covenant with His creation. In other words, the rainbow was the sign of a covenant between God and His entire creation that He never again would destroy the earth through a Flood. If this sign had existed before the Flood, the covenant would have also been in place and that dramatic event of the universal Deluge wouldn’t have happened. God couldn’t have used an old phenomenon, the rainbow, as a symbol of His covenant because such a phenomenon would have been discredited as a symbol when it accompanied the rain during the Flood.
“12 God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (Genesis 9; 12-13 NRSV)
Genesis chapter 9, verse 3, is clear when it states that God set the bow in the clouds as a sign and it is not a physical phenomenon happening naturally, according to the laws of nature. The rainbow was sent on purpose to be a sign, it wasn’t a natural phenomenon used as a sign because if it was, God wouldn’t have said that it was sent by Him.
The narrative from the book of Genesis regarding the third day is not accurate because it doesn’t give the whole story and contains a reference only to oceanic and sea waters, but doesn’t say anything about the rivers.
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Were the rivers separated from the waters of the seas together with the land on the same day of creation, or did they appear from earth, being generated by nature in a slow process? If they were created by God directly, it would be interesting to know when. Rivers are very important for Earth and one of them went through the Garden of Eden.
Where was the Garden of Eden geographically situated if indeed such an area would have existed factually on Earth? Theologians, historians, ordinary inquisitive people and men of science have tried for centuries to figure it out. Eden has been “located” in as many diverse areas as has been the lost Atlantis. Some early Christian fathers and late classical authors suggested that it could lie in Mongolia or India or Ethiopia. They based their theories quite sensibly on the known antiquity of those regions and on the notion that the mysterious Pison and Gihon were to be associated with those other two great rivers of the ancient world, the Nile and the Ganges.
If the Garden of Eden was somewhere at all on Earth, it is very hard to be located our days and some specialists, such as Dr. Juris Zarins, maintain that it lies presently under the waters of the Persian Gulf.
Many researchers see the Euphrates River as a possible location for the Garden of Eden. The Euphrates River begins at the place where the Karasu and Murat join in north-eastern Turkey. It is the longest watercourse in Southwest Asia. The distance from the source of the Murat to where it joins with the Tigris (near Basra, Iraq) is 3,000 kilometres (1,864 miles). The waterway provided the water that led to the first flowering of civilization in Sumer dating from about the 4th millennium B.C. Many important ancient cities were located on or near it including Nippur, Shuruppak, Uruk, Eridu, and Ur (where Abraham was born). For several centuries, it was the eastern limit of effective Egyptian and Roman Empire control and a very important place.
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The location of the Garden of Eden is where the Sumerian civilization had developed, and the Sumerians’ myths about creation have many things in common with the Jewish one. If Abraham had come from that area he would have brought the Sumerian legends about creation with him. In this way, we would have one explanation as to why there are so many common features between the Sumerian stories of creation and the biblical ones. It is possible that an entire group of people would have come from Sumer in Canaan, bringing with them the stories about creation.
One thing can be said for sure. A river in no-rain conditions would hardly be 3,000km in length. Usually the source of a river is tiny but it grows bigger because many streams of water coming primary from the rain gather to form the main course. It is utterly impossible that a river with four branches could have been sourced only from a tiny underground source. Whoever chooses to believe such thing, that is his or her problem, but to force or manipulate someone to believe it, under the threat of punishment with perpetual hell, is immoral and unjust.
Let us see what the texts of the Bible have to say about the motives which explain the lack of rain on Earth before the Flood:
“4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6 but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground—” (Genesis 2; 4-6 NRSV)
Very rarely can one read more incoherent and absurd things than the stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis. On the day that God made the earth and the heavens, that is the first day, no plant of the field was yet on the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up, not because there wasn’t rain, but because everything was covered with water and all was under the primeval sea until the third day, according to Genesis chapter 1. The cause of the lack of rain at the beginning of creation offered by the Bible is naïve. The rain comes as an effect of a certain process of the nature, it isn’t “given” or “supressed” by God as a gift, and this is regardless of the dynamic of nature.
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God doesn’t despise or disregard nature, He uses it and can control it but He takes into consideration the laws of nature and He doesn’t act as if they didn’t exist.
Another important question is related to the origin of the water which generated the Flood. The windows of heaven don’t exist, hence the entire story of the Flood is pure imagination simply because there isn’t any source from which the water would have come. The expression “fountains of the deep” doesn’t surely mean a source of water ready to burst to the surface at any time. There is water deep inside the earth but it is entrapped in rocks, not free to escape and emerge into the oceans.
There is an opinion in which the fountains of the deep are explained by volcanic eruptions:
“There are many volcanic rocks interspersed between the fossil layers in the rock record—layers that were obviously deposited during Noah’s flood. So it is quite plausible that these fountains of the great deep involved a series of volcanic eruptions with prodigious amounts of water bursting up through the ground. It is interesting that up to 70 percent or more of what comes out of volcanoes today is water, often in the form of steam.”
This is an unacceptable proposition. An extreme volcanic activity during the Flood would have transformed the marine environment in a way that would have made the existence of life on Earth impossible. If we imagine the increase of the level of oceans by over 8,000m the volcanic activity would have been very important and the water temperature in the ocean would have increased dramatically. Together with water, the volcanic activity would have produced lava and toxic material which would have killed all marine animals and plants. Why the increase of over 8,000m? Simply because all mountains would have been covered with water during the Flood and the highest mountain on Earth which is Mount Everest has a maximum elevation of 8,848m. Mount Everest is much older than the supposed date of the alleged Flood, the age of the latter being deduced from the biblical texts.
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What is the water from above? It is just another false perception of the reality. Of course, as usual, some literalists have found a “solution” to this problem also. They say that if we cannot find a large amount of water in the sky, concentrated in the same place, it isn’t a problem and the Bible is surely literally right, the water is above the stars at the edge of the universe:
“Dr. Russell Humphreys has argued that since Genesis 1:17 tells us that God put the sun, moon, and stars also “in the expanse of the heaven” then the expanse must at least include interstellar space, and thus the waters above the expanse of Genesis 1:7 would be beyond the stars at the edge of the universe.”
Where was the rain from the Flood produced? It was formed at the edge of the universe, according to this opinion. Where there isn’t any respect for science, the place of scientific observations is taken by ridiculous so-called explanations. In this type of opinion, it doesn’t matter how that water would have travelled such a huge distance to become rain on Earth, what matters is that it is written in the Bible and the Scriptures cannot be wrong even when they are clearly false. In this case and not only in this one, the book of Genesis is wrong if we take it to be literally exact. Without the contribution of the waters from above the earthly rain would have never been sufficient to cover the “high hills”, in fact the mountains of the earth.
There isn’t such thing as a solid dome separating waters from above from waters on the earth and there aren’t waters above which can come to Earth if the windows of heaven are opened. This is a scientific truth which can be verified. Studying the cosmos, humankind couldn’t discover such a dome and such waters from above.
If the windows of heaven aren’t real and there would have been a global Flood on Earth, it was necessary for the alleged period of rain of 40 days and 40 nights to be preceded by an important process of evaporation. How could that process of evaporation influence the life on Earth before the Flood?
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How much water would have been vaporated from the oceans in order to be transformed into rain which would have covered the earth kilometres in depth? This level of evaporation would have negatively influenced the life on Earth to a high degree.
Another strong argument which together with others already mentioned can bring us to the undisputable conclusion that the stories of the Flood are only myths, is related to the waters allegedly coming from above and from the fountains of the deep, which couldn’t have faded away without trace after the Deluge. Following the Flood an incredibly huge quantity of water would have disappeared in a relatively short period of time without traces. As usual the apologists of a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis have found an explanation. Before the end of the Flood, during a period of time of only a few weeks, God would have created other mountains higher than the previous ones, only to raise them above the new water level. The proponents of this theory are not just naïve but rather they consider their readers naïve. Here is a sample of this kind of imagination:
“There are a number of Scripture passages that identify the Flood waters with the present-day seas (Amos 9:6 and Job 38:8-11 note “waves”). If the waters are still here, why are the highest mountains not still covered with water, as they were in Noah’s day? Psalm 104 suggests an answer. After the waters covered the mountains (verse 6), God rebuked them and they fled (verse 7); the mountains rose, the valleys sank down (verse 8) and God set a boundary so that they will never again cover the Earth (verse 9). They are the same waters!”
The assumption is that before the Flood the waters in the oceans were at a lower level than in our days, and after raining 40 days and 40 nights the level of the water was the actual one. That would have presupposed the existence of another source of water than the one existent on Earth. After the Flood when the waters covered the existing mountains, God recreated the earth and raised the tectonic plates in order to generate new mountains such as the Himalayan Mountains, with their highest point, Mount Everest, 8,848m.
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In this case the Himalayan Mountains and other high peaks would be very young, being created during the Flood. According to the Bible the Flood has to be placed in time at about 2,304 BC plus or minus a few years.
Scientific studies contradict this age of the Himalayan Mountains. The scientific estimated age of the Himalayan Mountains is in some opinions around 40-50 million years old and others maintain that is younger but not less than 25 million years old.
At the same time, a new hypothesis considers that in the area where the Himalayan Mountains exists there were previously other formations 450 to 500 million years old.
When we accept one of these dates we can see that the Flood cannot be harmonised with the creation in six days. The existence of the earth is much older than the Bible says. Unless someone can demonstrate scientifically that the Himalayan Mountains are 4,320 years old this kind of explanation for the disappearance of a huge quantity of water after the Flood cannot be accepted. As a matter of fact, scientists studied the age of the Himalayan Mountains and there aren’t any reasons to conclude that they are that young.
The creation and elevation of the Himalayan Mountains during the recession of the waters of the Flood is pure fantasy. If such a phenomenon was real and not only fantastic imagination, it is very likely that those tectonic movements would have created an incredible disruption for the remaining life in the oceans and all animal life would have disappeared. The temperature in the oceans and the entire oceanic environment would have changed dramatically and that couldn’t have gone without consequences for the marine life. The way in which mountains were created in reality is in a collision course with the stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis:
“Many of the major mountain ranges are created when the Earth’s tectonic plates crash together. Because of the tremendous energies involved, the sides of the plates crumple like cars in a head-on collision. The mountain ranges are created because of those crumpling plates. The Indian subcontinent “crashed” into Asia 25 million years ago and created the Himalayan mountain range. In fact, the Himalayans are still growing!”
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Other ways in which the mountains are formed is along fault lines or when magma from beneath the surface of the earth is pushed up, but doesn’t actually crack through. If the magma actually cracks through the surface, you get a volcano. The final way to form a mountain is through erosion and if you have a high plateau, rivers will carve deep channels into the area.
All these ways of generating mountains, if they would have been applied at the same time in order to create new mountains, would have generated real mayhem. As the water is said to have receded in a short period of time from the earth, that means that the alleged new mountains weren’t created in millions of years but in weeks. Let us imagine that a few thousand years ago in the interval of few weeks the earth was in a profound transformation and the dry land had been created for the second time on Earth. That would have amounted to a new separation of the waters, similar to the one which is described in Genesis chapter 1, but such a separation was made only once if the creation was ended in seven days as the Bible says, and most importantly would have been done before the creation of humankind:
“9 And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1; 9-10 NRSV)
What the proponents of the theory maintain is a recreation or a repetition of the creation of the dry land after the Flood. This would be a direct contradiction of the texts from Genesis chapter 1 which says that the creation was finished in seven days, including the creation of the dry land. In this case, the seven days of creation wouldn’t have been seven days, but much more than that, because the separation between oceans and dry land would have happened twice.
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The book of Genesis chapter 1 says that God ended His creation in seven days:
“2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.” (Genesis 2; 2 NRSV)
All these kinds of explanations given by the advocates of biblical literalism about where so much water would have disappeared to after the Flood, show that there aren’t any valid explications for the water receding in weeks from the earth. In the same interval of time that the book of Genesis says the water from the Flood abated, God would have raised all mountains on Earth, and consequently there hadn’t been only a Flood but also countless volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
As the plants covered by waters would have died due to lack of light and the volcano erupted all at the same time in order to create new volcanic mountains, the atmosphere on Earth would have been irrespirable. It is true that not all mountains are of volcanic nature but many of them are and their impact on Earth’s atmosphere would have been huge. The sky would have darkened completely from so much smoke, generating a volcanic winter, and life would have perished completely on Earth. A volcanic winter is explained by the following quotation:
“Volcanic winter, cooling at Earth’s surface resulting from the deposition of massive amounts of volcanic ash and sulfur aerosols in the stratosphere. Sulfur aerosols reflect incoming solar radiation and absorb terrestrial radiation. Together these processes cool the troposphere below. If sulfur aerosol loading is significant enough, it can result in climate changes at the global scale for years after the event, causing crop failures, cooler temperatures, and atypical weather conditions across the planet.”
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If we balance carefully the argument supported by creationist commentators we can see that their attempt to escape from absurdity is very contradictory. The survivals of plants through dormant seeds together with a volcanic winter after the Flood are two incompatible assertions. Dormant seeds would have needed proper conditions for their germination but in a volcanic winter such conditions couldn’t have been realised. During the Flood all plants would have died, being covered with a deep layer of water which would have prevented the process of photosynthesis, and their survival through dormant seeds would have been impossible under the hostile conditions of a volcanic winter.
The natural equilibrium on Earth is fragile and would have been gravely disrupted by such an important transformation of the environment. Before and after the Flood are considered to be two very different periods in the history of the earth. Some creationists maintain that before the Flood there weren’t high mountains but only hills:
“It seems that at one time, earth’s land surfaces were all together — not separated by the oceans and seas we find today. The Flood would have drastically altered the shape of the pre-Flood land surface. Before the Flood there were possibly no huge mountain ranges, because the Book of Genesis refers only to “high hills” being covered (Genesis 7:19).”
According to this type of theory Mount Ararat was either a high hill, therefore would have been completely and definitively covered by the waters of the Flood, or was created during the Flood as a high mountain. This mountain is the particular mountain on which Noah’s ark would have landed for the first time after the Flood.
Mount Ararat isn’t a high hill but a high mountain of 5,137m elevation. The creation of Mount Ararat effectively under Noah’s boat in order to generate a place for the landing of the ark is an absurdity given the profound transformations presupposed by such creation.
Another inconsistent solution given by some commentators says that if the oceans floors would have been raised 2-3 thousand metres, all “high hills”, which wouldn’t have risen at the same time, would have been flooded with water.
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During the Flood the ocean floor would have risen 2,000 metres or so only to cover all “high hills”. After that, in another few months, when the water receded on Earth, the geographical areas where the mountains are placed would have risen above the level of the sea and up to 8,848m, generating that water recession. This is a fantastic scenario as unbelievable and impossible as are the majority of the aspects of the creation stories. The following quotation explains such an opinion:
“In their catastrophic plate tectonics model for the flood, Austin et al. have proposed that at the onset of the flood, the ocean floor rapidly lifted up to 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) due to an increase in temperature as horizontal movement of the tectonic plates accelerated. This would spill the seawater onto the land and cause massive flooding—perhaps what is aptly described as the breaking up of the “fountains of the great deep.”
All these scenarios imagined to justify the account of the book of Genesis about the Flood are based on nothing but speculation. The bottom of the oceans would have risen and would have covered the hills with water, and after that or at the same time the movements of tectonic plates would have generated new mountains and all of this during a few months. In reality, if the bottom of the ocean and all the mountains had raised at the same time it would have been impossible for all the peaks of the mountains to be covered with water.
In the meantime, Noah and his family and at least a pair of all animals on Earth would have travelled unhindered on the troubled waters. The tectonic movements which generated the apparition of many mountains would have also generated incredible earthquakes which would have caused very high and dangerous waves. Such a dynamic of the sea would have made life on the ark impossible given its unavoidable effects on human beings and on animals.
In the second half of the flooding process the tectonic plates would have generated, according to some commentators of the book of Genesis, the rising of the oceanic floor and all this presumably without notable consequences for the passengers of the ark.
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How about the volcanic mountains and the volcanic ash which would have been thrown into the atmosphere following the apparition of the volcanoes? Their inevitable existence based on the supposition of the creation of all mountains during the sequence of time in which waters receded from the earth after the Flood, is enough to invalidate such a phantasmagorical hypothesis. In this type of explanation often the problem with the waters from above disappears and the Flood is explained only by the raising of the ocean floor.
“Scientists who study Earth and its composition will tell you that Earth is made up of three main layers. We human beings live on the solid outer layer called the crust. Under the crust lies the mantle, which is made up of hot magma and other semi-solid rocks and minerals. Tectonic activity in the mantle often results in noticeable changes in the crust we live on, including volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Beneath the mantle, you’ll find the core. Earth’s core is the deepest, hottest layer, and it’s made up of two layers itself: the outer core which borders the mantle and the inner core, which is a ball-shaped layer made almost entirely of metal.”
A huge explosion of the mantle or of the core of planet Earth would have been necessary for the entire sea floor to dilate and to rise 2,000 metres. Together with the sea floor the entire crust of the earth would have expanded because the mountains are also a part of this crust. The elevation only of the sea floor without the expansion of the rest of the crust is nonsense. The scenario in which the sea floor rose first and after that raised the foundation of the mountains, all this during a very short period of time, with the purpose to kill the majority of humankind and the animals, but without destroying the environment completely, is the most naïve story that can be imagined by a human mind.
The temperature in the oceans would have reached unbearable heights due to cracks in the crust of the sea floor and that would have made the life of the marine animals impossible. Some classical theists don’t even take into consideration that a mixture of lava and water would have transformed the marine environment in ways that would have made all marine life extinct:
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“The catastrophic breakup of the earth’s crust, referred to in Genesis 7:11, would not only have released huge volumes of water from inside the earth, but much molten rock.5 The ocean floors would have been effectively replaced by hot lavas. Being less dense than the original ocean floors, these hot lavas would have had an expanded thickness, so the new ocean floors would have effectively risen, raising the sea level by more than 3,500 feet (1,067 m). Because today’s mountains had not yet formed, and it is likely the pre-Flood hills and mountains were nowhere near as high as today’s mountains, a sea level rise of over 3,500 feet would have been sufficient to inundate the pre-Flood continental land surfaces.”
Why do we find so many sea fossils on the top of mountains? It is undisputable that huge tectonic events have taken place in the past history of the earth during millions of years. Some areas which once would have been sea floors would become tops of mountains and keep inscribed in them the fossils of many marine animals. The scientific way of explaining the formation of the mountains is consistent with the existence of marine fossils on the top of the mountains because some mountains have been created in areas where the tectonic plates collided under water. At the same time, such phenomena couldn’t have taken place during Noah’s trip on the seas because those very important movements would have brought with them major earthquakes and gigantic waves which would have made Noah’s navigation impossible.
Tsunami waves tens of metres high would have affected the life of animals on the boat greatly and many of them would have died, and those particular species would have been extinct. The timing chosen by some commentators for the raising of the sea floor level and other major tectonic movements only to explain the recession of the water from the earth after the Flood is hilarious. This timing coincides with Noah’s trip on the surface of the sea. Those two aspects don’t go together. Either Noah’s ark, crowded with so many animals on board, would have navigated in good conditions for safety, or the surface of the entire earth would have been in a profound transformation.
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Imagine Noah and his family on board the Ark and the sea level rising about 2,000 metres generating tectonic movements and tsunami waves together with volcanic ash. In the meantime, the crust of the earth would have cracked and hot lava, about 2,000 metres in height, would have entered into the oceans where the aquatic animals would have needed in the same time to adapt to an important change in the salinity of the waters of the seas, caused by their mix with waters from the rain coming through the “windows” of the sky. The animals from Noah’s boat would have been thrown violently from one side to the other not being able to protect themselves.
All the tectonic movements would have been incredibly violent, generating huge environmental effects. We have to add to that the activity of the volcanic mountains which would have poisoned the entire atmosphere, rendering it irrespirable. The people who advance such theories about the mechanisms of an alleged Flood don’t take into consideration the environmental problems which such phenomena would have generated on planet Earth. It is hard to believe that some people can trust such unlikely scenarios.
The existence of marine fossils on the top of the mountains is proof of the tectonic movements which determined the apparition of many mountains on Earth but it doesn’t validate in any way absurd theories. The factual tectonic movements didn’t happen during several months but in a very long period of time, and human beings appeared on Earth through evolution when the conditions allowed for their survival.
The following quotation illustrates the classical theistic view about the period of time in which the creationists say that the mountains had been recreated on Earth:
“Rain initially fell for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:12). The water reached its highest level some time between the 40th day and the 150th day (Genesis 7:24). From the 150th day the waters started receding (Genesis 8:3). After another 74 days, the tops of the mountains became visible (Genesis 8:5). At the end of 370 days (just over a year) the earth was dry enough for Noah, his family, and the animals to leave the Ark. (Genesis 8:14-19).”
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Let us recapitulate the events such as they are proposed by the apologists of the literalism of the book of Genesis. Initially there weren’t high mountains, but only high hills. The Flood came to Earth for 40 days and 40 nights and “high hills” were covered by water, and the sea floor had risen about 2,000 metres, which would have been enough for this purpose. If this scenario had been true and the sea level raised 2,000 metres, why would it have needed to rain also for 40 days and 40 nights on Earth, where allegedly there wouldn’t have been any rain yet? If there weren’t high mountains on Earth at the time but only “high hills”, such an amount of water wouldn’t have been necessary at all.
Why would God have created high mountains after the Flood if before it the “high hills” were considered high enough and the entire creation would have been declared as being very good? Did God change His mind and considered that high mountains would have been better than high hills? The creation of high mountains during the Flood contradicts the seven-day creation because that would mean that creation went beyond the seven days and what was considered initially to be very good would have been changed.
After the raising of the sea floor and raining for 40 days and 40 nights, the water stayed at the same level, it didn’t recede anywhere but the dry land rose again and with it the high mountains would have been created. High mountains such as the Himalayan Mountains were elevated from the level of the existing “high hills”. All those high mountains had to be elevated from the 150th day from the beginning of the Flood during 74 days, at the end of which the tops of the mountains became visible. After another 146 days, the mountains rose completely and the land was dry enough for Noah, his family, and the animals to leave the ark. One thing can be said for certain. All the high mountains of the earth didn’t appear in 220 days – their creation was a much longer process. Anyone who chooses to believe, on religious grounds, that all the mountains on the earth appeared in only 220 days, including the volcanic mountains, in my own opinion, separates him or her from any kind of scientific knowledge.
How high were the “high hills” before the Flood? Comparing different versions of the Bible only one speaks of “high hills” and all the others refer to high mountains. Here we have few examples:
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“New International Version: They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.
New Living Translation: Finally, the water covered even the highest mountains on the earth,
English Standard Version: And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered.
New American Standard Bible: The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered.
King James Bible: And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.” (Genesis 7:19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high ... –”
What is the difference between “high hills” and high mountains other than their height? All of them are generated in the same way and the difference is in the degree. Considering the way in which some mountains are known to have been created, it is impossible to think that before the Flood all mountains were very low, under 200m or so. Taking the example of Mount Ararat, which is difficult to believe that it was generated during the Flood while Noah and his family were on the boat heading toward it, the “high hills” could have been over 5,000m.
At the same time, the book of Genesis says that the waters have receded, not that the height of dry land and of the mountains has increased. The Bible literally says that a wind from God blew over the earth and the waters subsided:
“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided;” (Genesis 8; 1NRSV)
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It is easy to notice that the text doesn’t say that the mountains would have risen but the waters subsided. The text induces the idea that under the action of the wind the waters would have receded similar to the action of a wind on a pond with little water, which would dry quicker when exposed to a strong wind. The wind can dry a wet object quicker by moving the air around it and driving away the air already saturated with water. Nevertheless, the water vapour coming from the waters of the Flood would have been in such a quantity that it would have saturated the earthly atmosphere completely. The rain coming from the waters evaporated from the flooded earth would have come back to those waters and the high level of the oceans would have been conserved. In other words, waters of the Flood, once on Earth couldn’t have disappeared without traces but would have continued to exist on our planet in either of the three forms, liquid, solid, or gaseous.
Waters coming from outside the atmosphere with the alleged first rain on Earth during the Flood would have remained there, being impossible to escape into space again, neither in the form of liquid, solid, nor gaseous water. The earth’s gravitation wouldn’t have allowed that water to come back into outer space. A very small amount of one of the components of water, the hydrogen, can leave the atmosphere in time through the breakup of water via ultraviolet radiation, which frees a hydrogen atom. This atom is not gravitationally bound and can exceed escape velocity relatively easily. At the same time, this process wouldn’t have helped water to recede in any way after the alleged event of the Flood, considering the huge amount of water presupposed by that imaginary global Deluge.
No wind from God could have blown that water away. What need would there have been for a wind to blow over the earth if the cause of the annihilation of the waters of the Flood was the increase of the height of dry land? No need, of course. The idea contained by the book of Genesis is that God sent a wind to blow over the earth in order to dry the waters. According to the explanation given in the Bible, the wind made the waters subside, not the rise in the level of the dry land. The text is clear in this regard. The problem is that some creationists find very difficult to believe what the book of Genesis actually says and have invented another alternative which is that of the raising of the height of the mountains.
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The waters have receded and more metaphorically they fled:
“5 You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken. 6 You cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 At your rebuke they flee; at the sound of your thunder they take to flight. 8 They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys to the place that you appointed for them. 9 You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.” (Psalm 104; 5-9 NRSV)
The waters have stood in depth over the earth; they have been above the mountains and not only above hills. At God’s rebuke the waters flee to the place that He appointed for them. Not a word about the raising in altitude of the mountains. At the same time, in the book of Genesis, besides the Flood there isn’t any reference to earthquakes which would have been unavoidable in case of important tectonic movements. The Bible doesn’t allow for such an explanation. A huge tectonic movement during the Flood is pure imagination and it is amazing how widespread this is as a false solution for an important issue in the book of Genesis.
It is astonishing what the proponents of biblical literalism are able to invent. They don’t really believe what the book of Genesis says and they generate parallel explanations, as is the following:
“If the whole earth were fairly level, there would be enough water to cover it to about 3 kilometers. So how could the water from Noah’s Flood cover the highest mountains of the world such as Mount Everest at 9 kilometers? The answer is that Mount Everest — like other high mountains in the Himalayas, Andes, Alps, etc. — was formed after or during the Flood. It didn’t exist in its present form before the Flood. We know this because the higher parts of these high mountains contain fossils of sea creatures and seashells, such as trilobites and crinoids, showing that they are composed of rock that was once under water.”
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The mountains would have needed to rise in height during and not after the Flood if Noah would have seen the tops of the mountains coming out from the waters. The assertion that the ark would have navigated without any problems while the land rose beneath it is an impossible proposition. The ascension of the dry land under Noah’s boat would have generated huge waves, making the survival of animals and humankind very unlikely.
The ark wouldn’t have needed to hit any peak if the dry land really had risen during the Flood, because the plains also would have risen together with the mountains. Landing on a plain would have been much easier for so many animals than landing on the peak of a mountain.
Some commentators try to explain where all the waters of the Flood would have vanished to after the event, but in an unsuccessful way. As a matter of fact, there isn’t any explanation for such a phenomenon. For this reason, all explanations given by the followers of biblical literalism in this regard don’t have real substance. If only the mountains had risen during the Flood but not the plains also, the existence of the plains after the Flood cannot be explained. If both the mountains and the plains had risen from the depths of the waters of the Flood, the waters would have risen also, but mixed with lava and having a temperature beyond the boiling point.
Nevertheless, such an important transformation with all its catastrophic effects during a very short period of time would have brought the extinction of life on Earth. The main explanation given by the classical theists for the receding of waters during the Flood isn’t tenable and for this reason also the stories of the Flood can be classified as mythology with no regard for reality.
The text from the book of Genesis implies undoubtedly that the water has receded and the mountain was stable when it was hit by the boat and being the highest point in the area, was hit first. After hitting the mountain, if trapped by the rocks Noah’s boat would have probably been overturned by a further rising of the level of the mountain. If the land under water had raised, the boat could have landed on a straight field rather than on an abrupt rocky mountain and that probably would have happened if God really had organised the event. Because the land wouldn’t have risen but the water would have receded, according to the book of Genesis, the boat hit the higher and not the lower point of the land.
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We don’t have any indications which allow us to interpret the biblical text that the earth would have risen at the time, on the contrary the hint that we get from the Bible is that the water would have receded and the mountains stood still.
There are also other arguments which disqualify the explanations of how the waters of the Flood would have receded from the earth during the Flood. Why wouldn’t the boat have waited to touch a plain as it logically should and not the peak of a mountain, if the land beneath had risen all over the earth? Someone could say that accidentally, the ark had been beyond Mount Ararat exactly at the time when the mount had risen from the water, but this isn’t a realistic image. In this case, the mountain hit the ark and it wouldn’t have been hit by the boat as a static object. That would be the correct formulation.
The landing of all animals allegedly contained by Noah’s ark would have been more adequate to happen on a plain than on the peak of Mount Ararat, having over 5,000m altitude. That could also have happened when the plains were dry. Landing on the peak of the mountain with no vegetation, which would have died during the Flood, would have been nonsensical.
Imagine so many animals being hungry and thirsty at over 5,000m altitude in a very hostile environment without enough air to breathe. The altitude sickness over 5,000 metres is a problem which shouldn’t be neglected when one analyses the stories of the Flood. Noah with his family and all animals didn’t leave the ark until all land was dry. When the earth was dry, Noah was at over 5,000m altitude above the sea level because the ark hit first the highest peak of the mountain, as it was the first to be hit when the water receded.
Why wouldn’t they have come down from the boat at a lower altitude and not on Mount Ararat? Why would they have waited on the peak of Mount Ararat at a high altitude until the waters had dried up completely and why wouldn’t they have landed at the base of the mountain? The descent in the ark to the plains would have been much easier and healthier than coming down on foot from Mount Ararat’s abrupt peak. The lack of enough oxygen, water, and food would have decimated the animals from the ark if they had still been alive after so many earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity.
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The stories of Noah’s Flood are in no way consistent or rational.
“…At the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters had abated; 4 and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.” (Genesis 8; 3-5 NRSV)
Between the seventh month on the seventh day of the month, and the tenth month on the first day of the month, the waters continued to abate. The ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat in the seventh month, on the seventh day of the month, but the tops of the mountains appeared only in the tenth month, on the first day of the month. How could such absurdity have become reality? If the bottom of the ark had been stuck on some rocks the tops of the mountains would have been under the boat in the situation in which Noah’s ark first hit the highest point on Mount Ararat as it should. Such a landing is equivalent to a shipwreck.
If the text speaks of the tops of the mountains in general, the peaks of the Himalayan Mountains would have appeared before Noah’s boat hit the Ararat Mountain. Himalayan Mountains are higher than Mount Ararat by approximately 3,000m and until the water had descended to the level of Ararat a large portion from the Himalayan Mountains would have already been dry. If the text speaks about the top of Mount Ararat this couldn’t have been seen from Noah’s ark, being situated underneath the boat. The narrowness of the window of the ark wouldn’t have allowed the sight of the top of Mount Ararat found beneath the boat and we know that because Noah would have sent birds in order to recognise the land. If the ark had hit Mount Ararat in another place than the peak, at a lower level, the tops of the Ararat Mountain would have been seen before the landing of the ark. All details of the stories of the Flood are absurd and contradictory and they erode any credibility of those narratives.
According to the book of Genesis, Noah and his family and all animals would have dwelt for quite a while on Mount Ararat, not on the valleys but on the peak of that mountain. Until all dry land had appeared the ark would have stood above the sea level at a high altitude. Only after a few more weeks, the book of Genesis says, did all dry land emerge from the waters.
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What kind of food could all animals and humans have found when leaving the boat on the top of Mount Ararat? Who could have kept carnivorous animals apart from their prey? Being especially hungry, the carnivorous animals would have preyed on the herbivorous animals and many of them would have become extinct. Herbivores being extinct, what food would have remained available for carnivorous animals? With a lack of food carnivores would have become extinct also.
Eating of meat was allowed immediately after the Flood, therefore carnivores allegedly eating plants, which would have been on the ark, could have eaten meat after their descent. The point is that even the approval to eat meat after the Flood given by God in Genesis chapter 9 verse 3 is nonsensical when herbivores would have been in small number and with a lack of vegetation.
After the Flood “Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar”. Noah was allowed to eat “every moving thing that lives” meaning clean and unclean, but he sacrificed only clean animals. One text says that Noah didn’t know the difference between clean and unclean animals and the other text maintains that he did. This is another contradiction in the book of Genesis.
“3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” (Genesis 9; 3 NRSV)
“20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar.” Genesis 8; 20 NRSV)
“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you” is in contradiction with the Mosaic Law. Isn’t it God who has given Noah this command? Does God change His mind? He allowed Noah to eat unclean animals? All animals, clean and unclean, are included in the formula found in Genesis chapter 9, verse 3. If eating unclean animals wasn’t a problem why did God interdict their consumption to Moses? If eating them wasn’t good why didn’t God prohibit them to Noah? This is another contradiction present in the biblical texts.
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Coming out from the boat at over 5,000m altitude, Noah couldn’t have found any food or drinking water and the air would have been rarefied and also toxic, from the volcanic mountains which would have appeared recently, and wouldn’t have been enough or good to breathe. It is important to notice that, according to the book of Genesis, Noah would have descended from the boat together with his family and all animals only when the earth was completely dry.
“14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. 15 Then God said to Noah, 16 ‘Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.’ 18 So Noah went out with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 And every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out of the ark by families.” (Genesis 8; 14-19 NRSV)
The importance of this information lays on what description of that moment implies. The earth being completely dry means that the level of the sea would have been at today’s level. Taking that into consideration, Noah with his family and a sample of all animals on Earth would have descended from the ark at a little more than 5,000m altitude and not before that. This is a pinnacle of absurdity. At 5,000m it is likely that someone will get altitude sickness and between 3,658-5,487 metres is considered to be very high altitude. There is a process of adaptation of the body to altitude but the hazard still remains. Nevertheless, this process of adaptation is conditioned by very good hydration of the body. Acclimatisation is often accompanied by fluid loss, so someone hiking at a high altitude needs to drink lots of fluids to remain properly hydrated. The acclimatisation process is inhibited by dehydration so this isn’t only a facultative recommendation but it is an important requirement. People traveling at high altitude have to eat a high carbohydrate diet. (see also: princeton.edu/~oa/safety/altitude.html)
Being at high altitude, Noah and his family together with the animals would have been prevented to go through a process of acclimatisation due to lack of water and food.
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Not enough water, if any, would have remained on the ark after such a long trip. If we consider the number of animals and their intake of food the condition of eating a high carbohydrate diet at high altitude would have been also impossible to fulfil.
If hypothetically not all animals had died through lack of enough good air, the descent from the mountain for the remaining snakes, insects, worms, carnivores, and herbivores would have been a disastrous one.
Another very important aspect is that in order to sustain life the earthly atmosphere needs enough oxygen. This oxygen is produced by the plants from oceans and land and in lack of them no oxygen would have been available. Plants would have died without light under a thick layer of water, thicker than 200 metres, and the supposed volcanic activity would have created a volcanic winter which would have killed the remaining traces of life.
Another issue is the rationale for the Flood. Why did God destroy an entire population, some commentators calculated to be at about 4 million human beings, if the world after the Flood became even worse than before? Was the world corrupt and sinful only before the Flood? After the Flood corruption and sin have been even worse considering its extension. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah happened after the Flood and not before it. The Deluge hadn’t been a cure for sin and corruption, neither for the existence of Nephilim who have prospered also after the Flood, such as the Bible says. (Numbers 13; 33)
Why did God bring the Flood on humankind? Could it have been for the cessation of violence on Earth? As a matter of fact, after the Flood, God would have permitted the consumption of meat and that would have increased and not decreased the violence on Earth. Why would God have allowed the consumption of meat after the Flood if one reason for which He destroyed the earth was His disapproval of violence? The consumption of meat would have brought even more violence after the Flood. This is just another inconsistency of the book of Genesis. Let’s consider again the biblical text:
“11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth.” (Genesis 6; 11-12 NRSV)
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God has regretted twice before the Flood and after it. First He regretted that He had created humankind and second He regretted that He destroyed so many human beings and animals.
“8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.* 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ (Genesis 9; 8-11 NRSV)
This promise expresses regret. God wasn’t happy with what He did and He decided not to do it again, no matter how violent and corrupt humankind would become. The book of Genesis presents God with a very changing character. He hasn’t been decisive at all. He created humankind but He destroyed its majority after a while with a Flood which He regretted bringing to the earth and promised not to repeat it again.
At the same time, God has been very resolute against the killing of human beings.
“6 Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind.” (Genesis 9; 6 NRSV)
Coming from Someone who has taken so many human lives through the Flood, such a request immediately after the event looks incomprehensible. If God made humankind in His own image why would He have killed so many human beings through the Flood? That event wouldn’t have changed anything regarding the human moral stance.
If God of the O.T. is seen as a role model the killing of so many human beings at the Flood wouldn’t be a good example to be followed. God brought the Flood because of human nature.
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“The LORD" saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually” and “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and the earth was filled with violence.” This was human nature before the Flood and after it, and that nature would have been created by Him. The human nature was imperfect from the beginning of its creation and the proof for that is human disobedience to God regarding the knowledge of good and evil, hence human beings were created with an imperfect nature by Him.
In what way has the situation changed after the Flood? In what way has the Flood contributed to human beings regaining the likeness of God? In point of fact, the Flood didn’t change anything in human character and it couldn’t do that. It was an inadequate way of changing humankind and for this reason it is incredible that the Almighty God would have used such an inefficient method in order to correct people.
Even if Noah had been a righteous man, this didn’t mean in any way that all his offspring would have also been righteous. The selection of Noah as a righteous man to be the ancestor of a new form of humankind, more obedient to God, is a naivety not of God but of the authors of the biblical texts. A righteous man doesn’t always give birth to righteous sons and daughters and his genes are mixed with the genes of his wife, and both carry the features of many ancestors. To destroy the majority of humankind on the basis that Noah, being righteous, his offspring would also be righteous, is an incredible absurdity.
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In order to have a term of comparison the total deck area of Noah’s Ark according to the book of Genesis would have been equivalent to the area of about 20 standard college basketball courts or 36 lawn tennis courts.
Let’s imagine that we could bring all the land animals and birds within the area of 36 lawn tennis courts, and that we squeeze in the same area the food required by them for a long period of time, and very importantly the drinking water necessary for all those animals. We should remember that animals and man cannot drink salt water from the sea even if it is mixed with fresh water from the rain half by half. What would the concentration of the salt be if we mixed the sea water and the drinking water? Seawater has about 35 grams of salt/kg. A kilogram of seawater is just under a litre.
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“The two most common elements in sea water, after oxygen and hydrogen, are sodium and chloride. Sodium and chloride combine to form what we know as table salt. Sea water salinity is expressed as a ratio of salt (in grams) to liter of water. In sea water there is typically close to 35 grams of dissolved salts in each liter. It is written as 35‰. The normal range of ocean salinity ranges between 33-37 grams per liter (33‰ - 37‰).”
What is the proportion between the salt in sea water and the salt in the fresh water we all usually drink? This is an important question when analysing the story of the Flood because it can contribute to the understanding of how so many animals would have been watered on Noah’s Ark. The right assumption is that Noah’s boat couldn’t have carried all animals described by the book of Genesis at the same time as the food for these animals and also the fresh water for their drinking. They couldn’t have used for drinking, for human beings or for animals, water from the sea, because the sea is about 220 times saltier than our primary fresh water resources.
Even if the rain coming during the Flood would have mixed with the sea waters, the result wouldn’t have been a drinkable compound. A careful calculation would have to take into consideration many elements such as the water currents, the level of the combination between the fresh water and the salt water, and so on. Nevertheless, even without this type of calculation it is obvious that the salinity of the compound of fresh water and salt water of the sea would have been very unhealthy and even deadly when submitted to it for a long period of time.
The Himalayan Mountains have at their peak 8,848 metres. The waters of the Flood had to have that height in order to cover Mount Everest. At the same time, the overall average of the ocean depth is 4,000 metres. The ocean water being 220 times saltier than our primary fresh water resources, I wonder if the combination of salt oceanic waters with the fresh waters from the rivers and other sources was important enough to make the water around Noah’s ark drinkable? How much more fresh water from the rain has poured on the earth in comparison with the existing waters of the oceans?
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Even if the compound contained four times more fresh water than salted water, the total wouldn’t have produced drinking water. I don’t know the definitive answer to this question and it is very difficult to reproduce the conditions which would have been specific for such a catastrophic event as the Flood.
It is also possible that after a period of strong rains a blanket of fresh water would have covered the oceans, a phenomenon similar with the situation in which a river flows into the sea. The explanation resides in the difference in density between the salted water and the fresh water. That source could have provided fresh water for a period of time for humans and animals. It still remains unsolved, the problem of the collection of the waters through the window of the ark. The ark was constructed in such a way that its top was entirely covered and the only opening was a narrow window which wouldn’t have allowed the systematic work of collecting a big quantity of water from the sea.
Even if the window had been wider than is described by the Bible, how could only eight people on the boat, beside other works, extract from the sea and transport enough water for the drinking and the cleaning of tens of thousands of animals every day? It would have been impossible particularly if all tasks had been done under the intense rain which would have brought the Flood.
Only a small quantity of fresh water could have been collected from the rain through the window of the ark. The system needed to collect water would have hindered the ventilation of the ark and the disposal of the rubbish because all of them would have used the same narrow window. The roof of the ark would have stopped the collection of the rain water through the upper surface of the ark because that boat was sealed with the exception of the window. The rain water would have been dispersed back into the ocean from the moment it would have hit the waterproof roof.
The animals needed a lot of food and drinking water and they wouldn’t have understood the lack of their provisions. They would have become agitated and very noisy if their provisions had been in short supply.
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The collection from the sea and transportation of so much water used for drinking by so many individual animals by only eight people together with the manipulation of so much food and waste, makes the stories of the Flood unbelievable.
There are other important arguments which invalidate the stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis and which render their contents totally untenable. The mixture of fresh water of the rivers existent before the Flood and the salt water from the sea could have created other problems also. The following quotation signals this problem:
“Wouldn’t freshwater rains from the sky have made the saltwater deadly to ocean marine life? And wouldn’t saltwater have proven equally toxic to all freshwater fish? If water boiled up from beneath the earth’s crust, wouldn’t water temperature changes in the delicate ecosystem have also had a deadly effect?” 
I found these to be pertinent questions and for this reason I reproduce them here. One thing is plain; the disruptions produced to all marine and river water animals would have been so important that many of them if not all would have become extinct.
There are also animals which live both on the land and in the water. Hippopotamus would be an example.
“Hippos live in sub-Saharan Africa. They can only survive in areas with abundant water, though, so they live in areas with rivers and lakes. Hippos are amphibious animals and spend up to 16 hours per day in the water, according to National Geographic. The water keeps them cool in the African heat. They spend all day in the water and then hunt for food at night.”
What living conditions could have been provided for a hippopotamus on Noah’s ark? Could Noah have built a water pool for crocodiles, alligators, hippopotami, seals and so on?
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Living conditions in which the hippopotamus was thrown into water during days and collected back during the nights wouldn’t have been possible on the ark. If we have to take seriously the book of Genesis the hippopotamus probably would have been an extinct species. The story is the same with crocodiles and alligators:
“Saltwater Crocodiles are found in south east Asia and Northern Australia. During the wet season they spend their time in fresh water swamps and rivers but during the dry season they move down stream to estuaries and can sometimes be seen in the open sea.”
How about the birds which migrate? They would have been confined in cages on the boat instead of being free. Such limitation could have been a serious danger to their reproduction and probably their survival.
The habitat for some animals is very specific and couldn’t have been reproduced on a boat. The animals need a certain space around them and locking them in narrow cages would have been a cruelty towards the animals and would have endangered their lives.
Take for example the animal habitat in a zoo. That is not a natural habitat but nevertheless offers a good space around the animals and similar conditions to those in the wild. The animals receive food according to their needs and fresh water all the time.
On Noah’s ark, animals would have been forced to live in very narrow spaces for a long period of time far from their natural habitat. Their new provisional habitat would have raised many problems. How could predators have been kept apart from their prey? For example, how could anyone stop the snakes coming close to their prey if the former wouldn’t have been kept behind special barriers? How about the predator birds? How could they be prevented from eating small animals crawling uncontrolled in their cages, and in this way the latter being extinct from the earth? In practice, such accidents couldn’t have been avoided.
The stories of the Flood see animals in an unrealistic way and they are based on the false presumption contained by the book of Genesis that they were under man’s dominion and control.
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They would have come quietly onto the boat when Noah called them. They were very submissive to humankind and peaceful among themselves. These stories aren’t the reflection of reality but they are allegories in which animals are used as personages.
The narratives of the Flood from the book of Genesis are also based on the false assumption that God had created all animals to be herbivores and only after the Flood they became carnivores, when He allowed meat consumption. This isn’t consistent with the way in which the nature works through the necessary existence of the ecosystems, and it is in contradiction with the presence of violence and corruption of animals, also accused by God before the Flood.
“11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.” (Genesis 6; 11-13 NRSV)
The expression “all flesh” has to be understood not only as representing humankind but animals also. Violence before the Flood implies the existence of carnivorous animals which kill other animals in order to survive. If only herbivorous animals would have been on Earth, violence doesn’t make any sense.
I have debated in another chapter the problem of carnivorous animals and when they appeared on Earth but at this point the problem of eating meat by animals becomes very important. Did animals eat meat on the ark? The carnivorous animals would have required meat for their consumption.
Many carnivores usually attack man and they would have aggressed Noah’s and his family during their presence on the ark. On Noah’s ark there wouldn’t have been only domestic animals but many wild animals and the latter don’t usually respect man’s orders. In a zoo if the predator animals have to be moved from one place to another they need to be tranquilised. Tranquilisation is made with special substances which wouldn’t have been within Noah’s reach due to the insufficiency of technological means at the time.
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When entering the ark the predator animals would have needed to be led to their cages and confined there and that couldn’t have been done by Moses and his family without the use of tranquilisation.
How could Noah have conserved meat for the predators which needed to eat it for such a long period of time? Salting meat for conservation would have partially replaced the need for fresh meat for predator animals. How many animals would have been killed and consequently how much violence would the righteous Noah have committed in order to provide meat for predator animals? If we knew the exact number of predator animals inclusive of the predator dinosaurs and how much food they would have eaten every day, we could calculate the total amount of food needed for the total duration of the Flood, according to the book of Genesis. That would be a huge amount of aliment.
Before being consumed such meat had to be desalted, keeping it for a certain amount of time in water, if not so much salt would have been harmful for the animals. In that period of time there were no freezers and in that geographic area it was quite hot. Meat would have degraded quickly and would have been unsuitable for food. Moreover, a large amount of rotten meat could have generated incredible epidemic illnesses on the boat taking in consideration that all viruses and bacteria would also have been on board the ark in order to survive the Flood. The presence of viruses and bacteria plus the lack of enough fresh water and the excess of waste on board the ark would have resulted in a biological disaster.
If Noah and the ark had been real the carnivorous animals including dinosaurs would also have been on the boat and that would have created insurmountable problems.
The quantity of meat on the boat would have been very important if we consider so many carnivorous animals. For the period when the waters rose on the earth plus the time needed for the recession of waters, hundreds of tons of meat would have been needed to be on board alongside hundreds of tons of plants for the herbivorous animals and huge provisions of fresh water, which couldn’t have been dragged out from the sea waters or collected from the rain.
The explanations given for this problem by the apologists of the biblical literalism try to downplay the importance of the issue but without serious results.
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The following is such an explanation concerning the consumption of meat on the ark:
“Many carnivores, including lions and tigers, can readily manage on a vegetarian diet, and this may have happened on the Ark.”
Another explanation as aberrant as the first one is given in the continuation of the same article:
“If it was unavoidably necessary for some of the Ark’s tenants to have meat in their diet, this could have been readily accomplished using salted meat, reconstituted dried meat, or fresh meat from fodder animals carried aboard for this purpose. Tortoises are a good example of a fodder animal. Tortoises can survive up to a year and a half in captivity without water or food. In olden days, the famous Galápagos tortoise nearly went extinct due in part to its popularity as a fodder food. Thousands were taken aboard sailing ships to be kept as a source of fresh meat.”
In the book of Genesis Noah had been instructed by God as to how many animals to be taken on board and not a word about fodder animals is written. The descriptions of what animals would have been on board exclude the existence of extra live animals later used for food. If that had been a possibility, Noah would have taken live herbivores on the ark as food for carnivores and more vegetarian food for herbivores. The space of the ark was limited and taking live animals as food for carnivores for one year and ten days would have been incredibly burdensome. Being used to hunting and eating meat, lions or tigers wouldn’t have eaten straw from one day to another. There is a big difference between carnivores and herbivores in respect to their morphological structure, jaws, claws, stomach, teeth, and for this reason they eat different things.
I tried to imagine Noah and his family fishing on the boat in order to find fresh meat for the carnivorous animals. How much fish would have been needed to be caught every day?
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Probably tonnes of fresh fish every day, because they didn’t have the means to keep it for long. Drying and salting fish would have been another important task together with so many assignments, and not all animals would have been happy eating fresh or salted fish. The way in which the ark was constructed didn’t allow for fishing on the superior deck because it wasn’t an open deck but covered by a roof and sealed. The ark door also would have been shut by God.
“16 Make a roof* for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks.” (Genesis 6; 16 NRSV)
The roof of the ark had to be situated at one cubit above the whole construction which gives an opening of 18 inches all around the ark. Through that window, Noah and his family couldn’t have used fishing nets due to the narrowness of that opening. All the openings of the ark are mentioned by the book of Genesis and beside the window and the door other openings are not mentioned. The ark was constructed in such a way that Noah couldn’t have seen well what happened outside of it, and he needed to send birds in order to detect the dry land. Noah had to put his hand out of the window in order to collect the dove through it. During the hard pouring of the rain for forty days and nights, given the meteorological conditions Noah and his family wouldn’t have been able to catch fish anyway. It would have been a very heavy rain which together with the “fountains of the deep” would have raised the ark over the tops of the highest mountains.
Was the window of the ark wide enough to assure good ventilation of air necessary for the breathing of 35-50 thousand animals dwelling on three decks, and also enough light? Eighteen inches all around the boat couldn’t have given enough light and air inside the cages occupied by so many animals, given the disproportion between the size of the boat and the narrowness of the window. The boat was built on three levels and only the third or top level received light directly. The bottom and second levels of the boat were at approximately 13.5m for the former and 9m the latter, down from the window. The alleged height of the ark was 30 cubits and the window was one cubit, being much too small to supply light and ventilation.
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The ventilation of the ark occupied by so many animals being insufficient, the smell would have been unbearable.
The answer of the apologists of the book of Genesis is that God knew what He did and surely the ventilation couldn’t be other than great. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t God commanding such absurdity but human imagination which, as all through the book of Genesis, has proved unable to rise to the task of describing such a hypothetical reality. Coming from the sides it was impossible for the light to reach the bottom of the ark and many animals would have lived in darkness for a long period of time. That darkness would have had a very negative impact on the wellbeing of the animals and they would have become very noisy and frustrated.
The problem of the window of the ark has been debated over time by many scholars. Many tried to find an escape from the dilemma of its insufficiency in the translation of the word (tsohar) in Genesis 6:16 which appears only here in the Old Testament, but the proposed solutions don’t solve the problem.
It doesn’t matter if the translation of the word means a window or more windows, that opening or those openings couldn’t have assured sufficient ventilation and enough light. The deviation from the biblical text determined Eric Lyons to affirm:
“Another assumption often brought into a discussion regarding the “window” (tsohar) of 6:16 is that it was one square cubit. Although many people have imagined Noah’s ark as having one small window 18 inches high by 18 inches wide, the phrase “you shall finish it to a cubit from above” (6:16, NKJV; cf. RSV) does not give the Bible reader any clear dimensions of the opening. The text just says that Noah was to “finish it to a cubit from the top” (NASB; “upward,” ASV). The truth is, the size of the lighting apparatus mentioned in this verse is unspecified. The text seems to indicate only the distance the opening was from the top of the ark, rather than the actual size of the window.”
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This is another unsuccessful attempt to cover the inability of the biblical texts to create a credible image of a boat which helped humankind and animals to survive the Flood. The distance doesn’t refer to the section between the top of the ark and the window because there couldn’t have been anything from the top of the ark to the window if top means the higher limit. The window could have been situated in the wall or between the upper end of the wall and the roof. The window being placed between the wall and the roof, on the top of the wall, is the description of the book of Genesis.
The biblical text gives an undisputable description: “Make a roof* for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above”. What does “above” mean in this context? Above what? Of course, the expression “above” means over the walls of the ark. It cannot be clearer than that, the roof started one cubit above the top end of the four sides of the boat. Other translations express the same idea:
“Genesis 6:16 (BBE) You are to put a window in the ark, a cubit from the roof, and a door in the side of it, and you are to make it with a lower and second and third floors. (The Bible in Basic English)
Genesis 6:16 (CEB) Make a roof for the ark and complete it one foot from the top. Put a door in its side. In the hold below, make the second and third decks. (Common English Bible)
Genesis 6:16 (CSB) You are to make a roof, finishing [the sides of the ark] to within 18 inches [of the roof.] You are to put a door in the side of the ark. Make it with lower, middle, and upper [decks]. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Genesis 6:16 (ESV) Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. (English Standard Version)
Genesis 6:16 (GNT) Make a roof for the boat and leave a space of 18 inches between the roof and the sides. Build it with three decks and put a door in the side. (Good News Translations)
Genesis 6:16 (GW) Make a roof for the ship, and leave an 18-inch-high opening at the top. Put a door in the side of the ship. Build the ship with lower, middle, and upper decks. (GOD’S WORD Translation)
Genesis 6:16 (KJV) A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. (King James Version)
Genesis 6:16 (LXX) Thou shalt narrow the ark in making it, and in a cubit above thou shalt finish it, and the door of the ark thou shalt make on the side; with lower, second, and third stories thou shalt make it.”
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Everyone can make the following exercise of imagination. The height of the walls of the boat would have been 13.5m with an opening of 45cm on the top. Inside of the boat would have been several thousand animals living on three decks. The ventilation and light being insufficient and the opening too narrow for an efficient disposal of waste, the living conditions on the ark resulting from how the boat is described by the book of Genesis, would have made life impossible.
What kind of food was on the ark? The apologists of a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis present God as continuously changing His creation. By understanding the nature of animals in dependence of humankind’s moral conduit, those apologists are trampling on any kind of logic. This is an example of that kind of thinking:
“Creation scientists suspect that God caused meat eaters like lions and T-rexes to eat plants as they originally had when God created them, before Adam sinned and death entered the world.”
According to many interpretations of the book of Genesis God would have initially created all animals as herbivores; some of them became carnivores after humankind’s Fall and during the Flood all became herbivores again. After the Flood, some animals would have become carnivores once more. If the cause of change of the feeding habits was the human Fall why weren’t all animals affected equally? Why did an important number of animals remain herbivores? There wasn’t any justification for the situation in which only some animals started eating meat after the Fall if all animals had been affected equally by the human disobedience.
Of course, carnivorous animals and herbivores are genetically very distinct and this is the real reason for their different way of feeding, and not humankind’s Fall.
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With such an inconsistency it isn’t any wonder that so many people cannot accept the reality of the descriptions given by the book of Genesis.
How much food was on the ark? It is hard to calculate the amount of food needed by so many animals for such a long period of time. Any calculation has to take in consideration the type and size of the animals and the number of all animals existent on the ark. Without such calculation one can only approximate the amount of food needed on the ark and this approximation cannot but indicate a huge quantity.
How much food and fresh water does need an elephant a day? Elephants are large animals which obviously eat a lot of food and drink plenty of fresh water:
“Elephants are herbivores, which means they feed on plants. They eat roots, leaves, grasses, tree branches, and tree bark. They also love to eat fruit such as berries, mangoes and coconuts. By using their trunks they tear off even the strongest tree branches. They spend 15 – 16 hours a day on eating and consume 140 – 270 kg. These animals drink water by using their long trunks to suck up about 14 litres of water at a time, then pouring into their mouths. They drink up to 200 litres of water a day, but can go up to four days without water and will use their tusks to dig wells if necessary, an elephant can smell water from 5 km away.”
If an elephant needs such large amounts of food and water, how about a dinosaur? The existence of the dinosaurs on the boat is a kind of test in order to verify the veracity of the Flood story. According to the book of Genesis all animals were created after their kind on the sixth day of creation so inevitably the dinosaurs were also created on that day. There wasn’t another day for the creation of the animals so Noah also had to take the dinosaurs with him on the boat. This raises a huge problem given the size of the dinosaurs in comparison with normal humans and the amount of food and drinking water needed for a dinosaur. All kinds of dinosaurs would have been alive before the Deluge and would have been taken on board the ark. No cataclysm happening before the Flood capable of bringing the extinction of the dinosaurs is recorded by the Bible.
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How big were dinosaurs? They were huge herbivorous and carnivorous animals. The motivation advanced by the proponents of creationism for little space needed for animals on the ark is that all animals were young, half size or less, when taken on the boat. This is not a forthright explanation because even being half size or smaller, so many animals couldn’t have been contained by a single boat with the size of Noah’s ark in which the space for food and drinking water would have also been very important. At least one and a half decks from the entire ark, meaning half of the space, would have been occupied only by food and drinking water. The rest of the space, the surface of about 18 lawn tennis courts, would have been filled with the animals themselves, including dinosaurs. The ark and its dimensions are pure fantasy if we consider the size of the dinosaurs:
“The longest dinosaurs were sauropods; they were gigantic, slow-moving, tiny-headed, cow-like plant-eaters from the late Jurassic and the Cretaceous period. They had very long necks which were useful for reaching wide (and tall) swatches of vegetation. The lengthy neck was counterbalanced by a massive tail. These sauropods are the largest land animals ever discovered:
Supersaurus - 134 feet long (41 m)
Argentinosaurus - 115-130 feet long (35-40 m); 80-100 metric tons
Seismosaurus (“Earth-shaking lizard”) - 120+ feet long (37 m); +80 tons
Ultrasauros - 100+ feet long (30 m), +80 tons
Diplodocus - grew up to 90 feet long (28 m).
Brachiosaurus - about 85 feet long (26 m), 40 feet tall, and weighed 70-80 tons.”
If we compare the sizes of the dinosaurs with those of Noah’s ark we can easily discover why they couldn’t have been a possible cargo for the ark together with all animals on the earth even if they were half normal size. If Noah had taken on the Ark a pair of Supersaurus each at 41m long, a pair of Argentinosaurus each 35m long, a pair of Seismosaurus each 37m long, a pair of Ultrasauros each 30m long, a pair of Diplodocus each at 28m long, a pair of Brachiosaurus each at 26m long, a pair of Gigantosaurus carolinii each 14m long, a pair of Tyrannosaurus rex each at 12m long, a pair of Carcharodontosaurus saharicus at around 15m long, a pair of Sauroposeidon about 32m long and add all this length together, the total would be 542m.
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Their youngsters, being half of their size, placed in a line would occupy 271m. All dinosaurs would have been placed in pairs. A mature dinosaur of 41m long couldn’t have turned inside the Ark given its size.
Taking young animals on board half the size of an adult, two decks or more of Noah’s Ark would have been filled only with dinosaurs, leaving insufficient space for other animal species, and for food and drinking water. The decks would have proven to be too small. Taking only the eggs of dinosaurs, such as is advanced by some commentators, is unrealistic because they had to be hatched and the baby dinosaurs would have needed their parents after their apparition from the eggs. Probably, it was very hard to distinguish in which egg was a male dinosaur and in which egg was a female dinosaur. Noah would have needed to collect the eggs from different parts of the earth guessing what eggs belonged to each kind of dinosaur.
To all that, it has to be added that there had been two orders of dinosaurs, Saurischhians and Ornithischians, and five suborders Theoropodus, Sauropods, Ornithopods, Marginocephalia, Thyreophora (Enoplausaria). All these categories were divided into 13 infra-orders and 60 dinosaur families. This classification of dinosaurs was made taking into consideration only the skeletons and the remains which were found but who knows how many unfound remains of dinosaurs are still unearthed? The main part of Noah’s ark would have been filled only with dinosaurs and their food if the story of the Flood was a reality and not only a myth.
How about the height of the dinosaurs comparing with the height of Noah’s Ark? Ultrasauros, Brachiosaurus, and Sauroposeidon, had 26 to 30 metres in height and half this size means 13 to 15 metres. Even a third of the size of the adult animal would have been for the Sauroposeidon, 10 metres, over twice the height of a deck on Noah’s ark. Half of the height of a dinosaur, meaning a young dinosaur individually, would have been too much for the height of a deck on Noah’s ark.
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As a comparison, the Titanic was far longer than Noah’s ark, having 882 feet, 9 inches, meaning 269.1 metres. Her width in feet was 92, meaning 28 metres. and the height measured from the top of the funnels to the keel 175 feet meaning 53.3 metres. Costa Concordia, the object of another maritime disaster, was twice the size of the Titanic.
Noah’s ark would have been about 135 metres in length and the Titanic was 269.1 metres long, almost twice the size of the ark. The combined number of windows in the hull and deckhouses on the Titanic was 419. Can anyone imagine all living beings on Earth, in pairs, entering in order and being hosted by the Titanic? Titanic when full could carry 2,435 passengers, and a crew of approximately 900 brought her capacity to more than 3,300 people.
Nevertheless, Noah’s ark is said to have been the host for 35 to 50 thousand animals of which some were really gigantic. Something is definitely wrong with the stories of the Flood.
A much bigger number of animals would have lived on Earth in the past than today. Besides the dinosaurs, how many species are also extinct? According to some statistics every day an important number of animals and plants go extinct:
“According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life. Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the “natural” or “background” rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago.”
A huge number of species which have lived on Earth in the past are already extinct, so we cannot judge the number of animals that Noah would have needed to take on the ark only by equating it with the number of animals living today on our planet. Here are more details about this subject:
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“Of all species that have existed on Earth, 99.9 percent are now extinct. Many of them perished in five cataclysmic events. The classical “Big Five” mass extinctions identified by Raup and Sepkoski are widely agreed upon as some of the most significant: End Ordovician, Late Devonian, End Permian, End Triassic, and End Cretaceous. According to a recent poll, seven out of ten biologists think we are currently in the throes of a sixth mass extinction. Some say it could wipe out as many as 90 percent of all species living today. Other scientists dispute such dire projections.”
Many more animal species than the ones existing today would have needed to be on Noah’s ark if the stories about the Flood were real. At the same time, the dimensions of the ark wouldn’t have allowed for such a possibility. We don’t know the exact internal structure of the ark but the height of around 13.5 metres had to be divided into 3 in order to have had 3 decks. The height of every level would have been at around 4.5 metres. How many rooms were in the ark? This is a very important question not answered by the book of Genesis. If we knew how many rooms would have been in the ark, we also would be able to understand better how many pairs of animals would have been in it, but the Bible doesn’t say.
The length and the height of every room had to be suitable for a pair of every kind of animal. To make all rooms the same size would have been a waste of space because they had to follow the measurements of the biggest animal. Some animals wouldn’t have been able to dwell in the same room because they would have harmed each other. The entire ark would have been a sort of zoo with cages for each pair of animals except some which probably could have lived together for a while, for example sheep and goats.
To adapt all rooms to the size of their occupants would have been impossible. Noah wouldn’t have taken the measurements of all animals before building the ark. How big was a cage for a pair of elephants? The animals couldn’t have been squeezed into very small places because they had to move during the trip.
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How much space was allocated for a pair of lions, for a pair of crocodiles, a pair of giraffes, a pair of camels, or a pair of dinosaurs? The book of Genesis doesn’t give us all these details and this lack of precision combined with the diversity of animal dimensions and the impossibility for Noah to know beforehand all animals’ sizes or even to be informed about all kinds of animals living on Earth, puts in question the veracity of the biblical account.
There is of course the problem of dividing animals into terrestrial and aquatic. Many animals need to live both in water and on land in a cycle specific for each of them. Therefore, many animals being on the ark would hav needed continuous access to water, but that wouldn’t have been possible, the ark being sealed during the navigation. No pool of water would have been available on Noah’s Ark.
“Labeling an animal species “terrestrial” or “aquatic” is often obscure and becomes a matter of judgment. Many animals considered terrestrial have a life-cycle that is partly dependent on being in water. Penguins, seals, and walruses sleep on land and feed in the ocean, yet they are all considered terrestrial. Many insects, e.g. mosquitos, and all terrestrial crabs, as well as other clades, have an aquatic life cycle stage: their eggs need to be laid in and to hatch in water; after hatching, there is an early aquatic form, either a nymph or larva.”
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 www.theanimalfiles.com › Reptiles › Crocodiles & Alligators
Didn’t incest enter under God’s universal moral law from the beginning of creation? A relaxed view on incest had the effect of ultimately attracting bad health and immorality. One thing is obvious. The view on morality of Jewish Christian tradition has changed during history, acting as any other human social phenomenon and not as the expression of God’s universal moral law which is supposed to be constant. Besides incest, another example is adultery.
Before Moses, even the patriarchs didn’t have the notion of adultery and it is also an important aspect of God’s moral law, according to the Bible. Is God’s moral law absolute or relative, depending on different periods of time? If God’s moral law is unchanging it is not clear why adultery is seen as a decisive sin in the N.T. but was accepted by God when practiced by the patriarchs.
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If adultery wasn’t condemned by a law, hence wasn’t a sin before Moses, other people besides the Jewish people couldn’t have been legitimately punished for their adulterous lives because they didn’t receive laws condemning adultery from God. Some people from the Middle East would have been considered by God to be morally unfit and they would have been destroyed by Him for this reason even if the Bible says that without a law the sins are not reckoned.
“7 What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet’.” (Romans 7; 7 NRSV)
The Bible uses the word “sin” even before Moses’ Law and that is another inconsistency. If sin is reflected in the laws, using the word “sin” before the existence of any law is meaningless. Why were sins turned against many nations from the Middle East by God if they didn’t receive any law to condemn those sins? This is another fundamental contradiction of the Bible.
Incest and adultery were not sins before the Mosaic Law for the Jewish people and were not sins at all for other nations who didn’t receive that Law, but in the eyes of God incest was always considered an abomination.
Was adultery indirectly favoured by the acceptance of incest in the O.T.? In case of Abraham and Sara, incest and adultery were interwoven.
“From there Abraham journeyed towards the region of the Negeb, and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While residing in Gerar as an alien, 2 Abraham said of his wife Sarah, ‘She is my sister.’ And King Abimelech of Gerar sent and took Sarah.” (Genesis 20; 1-2 NRSV)
Abraham had a mistress with the name Hagar beside his wife Sarah. Before Moses, adultery and incest were acceptable in Jewish society but after the Mosaic Law they were prohibited.
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“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian slave-girl whose name was Hagar, 2 and Sarai said to Abram, ‘You see that the LORD has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my slave-girl; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.” (Genesis 16; 1-2 NRSV)
God didn’t reprimand Abraham, nor did He consider him a sinner because he was the man of two women. God blessed him and made a covenant with him. This looks like a kind of moral relativism rather than the expression of a universal moral law. I don’t judge God’s manner in working with humankind but I deem the consistency of biblical narratives, according to which God has adapted to human nature, using it for His purposes rather than always weighing humankind after a universal unchanging moral law. Besides the patriarchs, King David’s life is also an example of God accepting the adultery of one of His faithful man.
The explanation that incest hadn’t been too bad for health until Moses doesn’t address the problem of morality and comes with an element of moral relativism which contradicts the universality and absoluteness of God’s moral law. If one reads what Apostle Paul had to say about sexual immorality one will understand the immense moral gap between the acceptance of incest until Moses and the moral standards brought by Jesus, the Son of God. Is it not about the same God? In Moses’ Laws incest is clearly presented as morally bad.
“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2 Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: I am the LORD your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not follow their statutes. 4 My ordinances you shall observe and my statutes you shall keep, following them: I am the LORD your God. 5 You shall keep my statutes and my ordinances; by doing so one shall live: I am the LORD. 6 None of you shall approach anyone near of kin to uncover nakedness: I am the LORD. 7 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 8 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is the nakedness of your father. 9 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born abroad.
10 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son’s daughter or of your daughter’s daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness.” (Leviticus 18; 1-10 NRSV)
“You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born abroad.” (Leviticus 18; 9)
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We should notice that according to the book of Genesis all humankind has multiplied in defiance of this rule later contained by the Mosaic Law. The distance and opposition between the manner in which Genesis describes how humankind had multiplied and God’s commandment about incest from Mosaic Law shows clearly that the book of Genesis cannot be authored through divine inspiration. What writer, in narrating the story of creation and describing Moses’ Laws at the same time, wouldn’t have noticed the huge discrepancy between them? The problem is that it wasn’t only a writer but many writers who have written the first five books of the Bible. In Moses’ Laws incest is depravity. At the end of Leviticus chapter 18 we have the moral condemnation.
“24 Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for by all these practices the nations I am casting out before you have defiled themselves. 25 Thus the land became defiled; and I punished it for its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you shall keep my statutes and my ordinances and commit none of these abominations, either the citizen or the alien who resides among you 27 (for the inhabitants of the land, who were before you, committed all of these abominations, and the land became defiled); 28 otherwise the land will vomit you out for defiling it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29 For whoever commits any of these abominations shall be cut off from their people. 30 So keep my charge not to commit any of these abominations that were done before you, and not to defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 18; 24-30 NRSV)
By all these practices the nations would have defiled themselves. This is the declaration of the Bible and this assertion raises an important question. What practices? Incest and adultery would have been the most abominable practices. Who prepared the nations for incest if not, the way in which God had created humankind? According to the Bible, God would have accused entire nations for practicing the way of multiplication approved by Him.
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The reason for which the nations have been driven away by God to make place for the Jewish people in the Promised Land was that those nations practiced great abominations such as incest. This is a huge contradiction of the Bible. On one side the human species would have multiplied through incest as the only possible way for their multiplication. On the other side, all nations cast out by God before Jewish people would have been accused of their multiplication which was asked by God from humankind at the beginning of its creation.
Those nations cast out by God would have been assured that incest isn’t a problem as far as all humankind had multiplied in this manner. Consequently, the motivation contained by Leviticus 18; 24-25 for driving out other nations before Jewish people is inconsistent with the book of Genesis. This doesn’t mean that God would have acted in that manner, being unrighteous toward some nations, but this is evidence that those biblical texts weren’t inspired by Him because they contradict His moral nature expressed in the Mosaic laws. If the Mosaic laws don’t express God’s moral nature that means that they also haven’t been inspired by Him.
An abomination is something greatly disliked or abhorred which produces intense aversion or loathing towards a vile action. An abomination can be also a shameful or detestable action, condition, habit, etc. This is the definition of the dictionary. All these strong terms are implicitly contained by God’s characterisation of incest. It is a harsh moral judgement, it is not only a measure taken for the protection of human health as for example a vaccine against a disease. It is more than that; it is a moral condemnation of humankind for practicing incest.
In Deuteronomy chapter 27, the action of incest with a sister is under a curse. All human races are under a curse because humankind multiplied through incest between brothers and sisters, but this curse isn’t due to human fault. God had created human beings and blessed them to multiply and to fill the earth but at the same time He cursed the way in which they multiplied. There are two extreme attitudes towards incest in the Bible, first that it was necessary for multiplication and second, the total intolerance about it through Moses’ laws.
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Such a contraction is so important that it brings a thick darkness on the entire moral value of the stories of creation from the book of Genesis.
Looking back on human history through the lenses of Mosaic laws, the entirety of humankind looks morally condemned from the beginning of its creation.
“22 ‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ (Deuteronomy 27; 22 NRSV)
God’s laws are unchanged and universal; it doesn’t matter if the curse was pronounced after a long process of multiplication through brothers and sisters of the human races. The curse was there from the beginning even if it wasn’t manifestly affirmed and very importantly it was there before the alleged human Fall. Wasn’t Abraham under this curse even before Moses’ laws if God’s moral law is timeless, being the foundation of His Kingdom? If Moses’ Moral Law is still valid for humankind, being universal, why wasn’t it valid for the past and also from the beginning of creation at least in its general principles? Apostle Paul makes the difference between faith and law. Before Moses’ laws Abraham was evaluated through his faith and not through the laws which wouldn’t have been known by humankind. Nevertheless, God’s Moral Law is everlasting if He is eternal and this Law cannot change its principles even if it changes its form.
In Leviticus chapter 20, verse 17, incest of brother and sister is viewed by God as a disgrace and susceptible to punishment. That incest has become more dangerous in time is fully understandable. That before Moses’ Moral Law incest was the only way for the multiplication of humankind which was blessed by God and after Moses it became a disgrace, cannot be grasped in a reasonable way.
One would expect that in God’s eyes what was seen as a disgrace in Moses’ times would have been seen also as an abomination immediately after the creation of humankind. Why should one have this expectation? We were led to believe that God doesn’t change His mind as easily as humans do. Apostle James in chapter 1 verse 17 of his epistle says that with God there is no variation or shadow due to change.
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This assertion has become a very important pillar of the Christian faith but which isn’t confirmed by the stories of creation from the book of Genesis.
“17 If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or a daughter of his mother, and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace, and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people; he has uncovered his sister’s nakedness, he shall be subject to punishment.” (Leviticus 20; 17 NRSV)
It looks all right if we forget that Cain’s wife was his sister, or Abram and Sara were half brother and sister. Seth also had no marital choice other than one of his close relatives. Beside Cain and Seth all other human beings at the beginning of human history had to marry a sister or a brother, a niece or a nephew.
The most fundamental structure of the creation stories through which the origins of humankind are explained is flawed with very important moral problems which render the entire conception of how humankind was created morally unacceptable and in contradiction with other biblical standards. The story of Adam and Eve is a legend with no connection to reality which doesn’t fit with a rational understanding of the world or with the way in which the N.T. understands God’s moral law.
It is important to see how knowledge about God was lost after Noah in such a manner that He had to reconstruct the relationship with humankind anew with Abraham. Between Noah and Abraham was only about 400 years.
From Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations. In the period of 400 years from Noah to Abraham the knowledge of God was generally lost, according to the Bible. That was until God had spoken to Abraham. It is inexplicable that all families coming from Noah in only 400 years, a short historical period of time, lost the knowledge of God.
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The Flood story would have been transmitted generation after generation but not the knowledge of God who generated the Flood and that is strange. Many religions were created in that period of time but the faith in YEHOWAH was lost in spite of the vivid memory of the Flood.
After Adam and until Noah there were still people remembering God – one of them was Noah. After the Flood, no people kept the memory or faith in God and He had to intervene directly with Abraham in order to reconstruct people’s faith. This is strange if we consider that Noah was a very faithful man and for this reason he was chosen to save a part of the creation. Did Noah not convey his faith to his offspring? Why didn’t Noah’s family keep their memory of God? Allegedly Noah would have lived another 350 years after the Flood which would have given him enough time to transmit the faith in God to numerous generations, but it didn’t happen. If it had happened Abraham would have come with the right religion transmitted to him through his ancestors.
Noah’s sons knew about God who saved them from the Flood. Did they transmit this knowledge to their sons and after that to all their offspring? In the Bible, the knowledge of God starts again as if for the first time with Abraham, but this is an inexplicable interruption.
“2 And Joshua said to all the people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors—Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods.” (Joshua 24; 2 NRSV)
This interruption of the faith in the real God is another inconsistency of the book of Genesis. God wouldn’t have been in relation with humankind for 400 years after the Flood in spite that He wanted to generate a better world after the Deluge. If not for regeneration of the world what was the purpose of the Flood? It is hard to admit that God would have brought the Flood on humankind motivated only by the desire of destruction.
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The same author also makes this commentary:
“Can we even be clear that either Cain or Abel knew exactly what would be pleasing to God as a sacrifice ahead of time? Even with all this circumstantial evidence, we don’t absolutely know that God required a blood sacrifice of Cain. We can’t say for certain that the quality of Cain’s offering was inferior. And we can’t prove Cain’s heart was in the wrong during the sacrifice itself. Although the scriptural account does seem to point to each of these reasons, we can’t be emphatic about any of them. So, what’s the ultimate answer to God preferring Abel’s offering? We must come to grips with one thing: God, as Creator, is sovereign over His creation. While there are proximate reasons for God’s decrees, what ultimately makes “right” right and “wrong” wrong? God’s sovereign choice.”
I referred already to the first reason reiterated by the text. The second reason seen as an explanation for the rejection of Cain’s offering is the poor quality of the offering. The products of a cursed ground couldn’t have been other than of low value. Probably the implicit message of the texts was that the land being under curse, its products couldn’t have been other than rejected by God. This possible connection was later contradicted by other biblical texts in which the first products of the land were offered to God in a ritualistic manner even if they were extracted from cursed ground.
This quotation explains this approach:
“Abel’s animal offering was from the firstborn (meaning the best because it is first) of his flocks, but all we read about Cain’s offering is that he brought “some of the fruits of the soil.” Some interpreters understood this to mean that Cain’s offering was second rate—not of the firstfruits. In fact, that Cain offered “some of the fruits” seems to violate Leviticus 2:14, where offering the first fruits of the grain is commanded.”
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This is an important example of how the interpretation of the texts of the book of Genesis can be radically influenced by different translations. Only some translations used the expression “some of the fruits” and I wonder if this selection of words isn’t deliberately directed toward the justification of an absurd story. Here are several translations of the text from Genesis chapter 4, verse 3:
“New International Version
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD.
New Living Translation
When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD.
English Standard Version
In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground,
New American Standard Bible
So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground.
King James Bible
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the LORD.
International Standard Version
Later, after a while, Cain brought an offering to the LORD from the fruit that he had harvested,
At the designated time Cain brought some of the fruit of the ground for an offering to the LORD.
New Heart English Bible
As time passed, it happened that Cain brought an offering to the LORD from the fruit of the ground.”
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Everyone can see in the text of the book of Genesis, in chapter 4, verse 3, that there is an important problem. God would have provoked Cain to have a bad attitude by rejecting his offer without a clear reason.
This problem cannot be solved only through translation. All wheat from an area of land is the same quality. Cain wouldn’t have known that he had to present to God the first fruit of the ground because there were no rules for his offering. Cain’s intention would have been good but materialised in an imperfect way. Wasn’t the intention more important than the form? The book of Genesis leaves us the impression that God attached a great importance to the form of the offering and that emphasis could have been the influence of the redactor of the text for whom the form of an offering was essential.
Cain didn’t have any guidance in making his offering, therefore regardless of how he realised it his willingness to offer a selection of the results of his work to God was a gesture to be appreciated and an authentic recognition of His authority.
The last principle considered able to explain why God refused Cain’s offering is the difference in the heart of the one to offer.
“Additionally, there is the very important issue of Cain’s reaction. It could have been that God hadn’t given specific instructions for sacrifices, and thus that Cain legitimately didn’t realize his offering was inferior in type or quality.3 But if so, when God convicted him, Cain was defiant. The Bible says “And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it’” (Genesis 4; 5b-7). God provided a “way out,” but Cain, in his pride and stubbornness, allowed sin to rule over him—ultimately driving him to commit the first murder.”
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“If you do well, will you not be accepted?” This is the key element for the understanding of God’s attitude toward Cain. His sacrifice was considered to be a wrongdoing. Both God and Cain overreacted in their attitude to one another. We can infer that Cain wanted to do a good thing, an offering to God, but this good intention was turned against him. Presenting an offering to God cannot be but a good intention even if the form in which it was done wasn’t perfect. Maybe the intention was good but the realisation of it from God’s perspective was not that good for unknown reasons and Cain became angry.
Cain’s reaction was very disproportionate with the situation and he killed Abel for no reasons. God would have triggered Cain’s reaction but Cain was responsible for the crime, being driven by his temperament and being unable to master the sin. The point is that God’s attitude determined Cain’s response which was exaggerated. In other words, Cain was in a state of provocation by a rejection from God and subjectively he felt wronged and overreacted following that event. There is no excuse for Cain’s crime even if he felt that he was unfairly treated, after all Abel wouldn’t have been at fault in that situation.
According to the book of Genesis, not all Adam and Eve’s offspring were disobedient to God and Abel was righteous, hence obedient, but humankind inherited Cain’s crime because an important part of humankind was his offspring. Nevertheless, using the same principle we cannot infer that all Cain’s offspring would have been unrighteous.
This is a fairy tale of course, but we can conclude from it that God would have followed deliberately a plan in which He provoked a certain reaction from Cain. In a way, this is the continuation of the same motif as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God tempted the human beings in order to test their reaction and to see if they were obedient or not. God’s rejection of Cain’s offering could have been such a test.
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Unlike a human being, God knows in advance the effects of what He does and He would have known how Cain would have reacted if his offer was rejected, and this renders the entire story meaningless.
The story of Cain and Abel is also the first episode in a saga which contains a theme which is repeated in other texts of the O.T., the subject matter of sibling rivalry and younger sons. On this list beside Cain and Abel are Isaac and Ishmael, Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brothers, and we can also list David, the youngest son of a numerous family who was chosen from his brothers’ ranks in spite of being younger than them. This is literature in which the rivalry between the youngest and the oldest brother or brothers is a constant theme, this isn’t history.
God who knows all things had determined Cain’s anger because accepting or rejecting Cain’s offering was entirely His prerogative. There wouldn’t have been any law which Cain would have infringed. Cain probably couldn’t understand what he did wrong because according to the book of Genesis God didn’t give him any explanations. Cain would have killed Abel propelled by envy following God’s attitude in regards to him.
In a way, the book of Genesis implies that at the moment of the offerings to God, Abel and Cain lived independently, far away from Adam and Eve even if they didn’t have their families, but this is absurd. They would have made their offerings separately and not as a family. Why would Abel live alone with his herd and Cain alone in his field? Why did they leave their parents and live in isolation with two different occupations? There wasn’t any reason for that to happen. Cain wasn’t yet married and the book of Genesis doesn’t give us any motives to believe that Abel was.
Usually human beings live in communities, in families, and in the past they lived in tribes or extended families. We know from the book of Genesis that Cain married only after the tragic event of killing his brother and we don’t have any reason to assume that Abel, being the younger brother, was married. They usually would have lived with their parents, helping them with the hard work, not separately, and they would have brought an offering to God in the name of the entire family.
Adam was assigned for the task of tilling the ground as a punishment for his disobedience.
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As Adam did a grave thing in front of God, his punishment had to be transferred over to his offspring, consequently Adam’s sin would have been passed on to the entirety of humankind. Adam had to eat his food in sweat all the days of his life. Adam didn’t toil alone but together with his son Cain who was a tiller of the ground, also even if they could eat fruits from the trees in order to avoid toiling the ground. Adam and Eve could have eaten only fruits as they did before the Fall, but they would have been condemned to eat only cereals and other cultivated plants. Cain and Abel also could have eaten fruits and other green plants without being in need of growing crops or raising sheep.
As a matter of fact, the land had suffered twice, not just once, the negative consequences of human behaviour. The ground was cursed after Adam’s sin but also after Cain’s crime. Here is the biblical text:
“12 When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.’ (Genesis 4; 12 NRSV)
If the land had been cursed already because of Adam’s sin how could the land give his strength to Cain if such strength was already affected by the first curse? This is another inconsistency in the texts.
These stories are purely a human creation trying to evoke through mythology forgotten historical events and natural facts. Cain and Abel were depicted symbolically as the representatives of the first great division of work between the farmers of the land and the sheep keepers but such division would have appeared in reality only when human beings started to multiply on Earth and their number was greater than a single digit. This specialisation of work on Earth happened twice in the book of Genesis, the first time with Abel and the second time with Adah’s son. As Abel was killed only after a long period of time, raising livestock became an occupation again. The offspring of Cain also generated other great divisions of work in society.
“20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the ancestor of those who live in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah bore Tubal-cain, who made all kinds of bronze and iron tools.” (Genesis 4; 20-22 NRSV)
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Abel couldn’t have been a keeper of sheep if Adah who lived long after him, was the ancestor of those who live in tents and have livestock. Having livestock and sheep keeping is the same thing but livestock includes more kinds of domestic animals. Adah’s son, if he had been a real personage, would have been the predecessor of this type of activity because in his time the human population would have been more numerous, making necessary a division in human occupations. The only problem is that having livestock didn’t make any sense if the human beings were destined to eat only green plants until the Flood. Most likely, the names given by the book of Genesis are attributed in an arbitrary way and in reality, no-one knows the name of the first human beings who lived in tents and started to raise livestock.
What was God’s punishment for Cain’s crime, according to the book of Genesis? Killing Cain for his crime would have stopped the increase in number of the human races for a while. Tooth for tooth and life for life was the principle applied through Mosaic Law for such a case.
In spite of his crime Cain’s offspring would have played an important role in human history before the Flood. Cain was punished to become a wanderer but instead he established an important family with many heirs.
“10 And the LORD said, ‘What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth’.” (Genesis 4; 10-12 NRSV)
What was Cain’s reaction to his punishment? It was an incredible one. Cain has been worried that another human being will kill him in retaliation for his crime. Who could kill Cain in response for his murder? There was no-one on Earth at the time except his parents, Adam and Eve, and if we want to extrapolate probably one or more of his sisters, but not another man. All men who were born long after the creation were recorded by the book of Genesis.
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It was a very strange concern. Cain didn’t speak for the future, he didn’t know what the future of human race could bring; he was concerned for his actual situation. In a short-term perspective, the only people who could kill Cain, beside his parents, would have been one of his offspring because there wasn’t another branch of people on Earth, born from another brother. Nevertheless, there wouldn’t have been an imminent threat at all because Cain wasn’t married yet and didn’t have any children. There would be many generations until Seth would be born and he would have been seen as replacing Abel.
“13 Cain said to the LORD, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.’ 15 Then the LORD said to him, ‘Not so!* Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.’ And the LORD put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod,* east of Eden.” (Genesis 4; 13-16 NRSV)
Cain wasn’t afraid of someone in particular, but of anyone who would have met him, as if the entire world was populated. If Cain had one or more sisters those relatives would have remained at home with their parents contrary to Cain, who would have wandered in faraway places. No reason for Cain to become anxious in relation with his life. The biblical text starts from the wrong premise that at the moment when Cain killed Abel the Earth was heavily populated, and many human beings were killers. At the same time such premise is vigorously contradicted by other biblical texts from which it results that there wasn’t any other population on Earth apart from Adam, Eve, and probably one or more daughters unrecorded by the book of Genesis.
Of whom exactly was Cain afraid after he killed Abel? Cain wasn’t afraid of his parents but of some people who he could meet on his trips “I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.” Cain believed that other people inhabited the earth also in spite of how the story of creation describes the manner in which things happened. The book of Genesis implies that Cain wouldn’t have known that beside his earthly father he was the only male who lived on Earth at the time. This is the pinnacle of absurdity and it is not the word of God which cannot be absurd.
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There are of course some explanations given by the classical theists but none of which carry any weight. The idea is that Adam and Eve would have had other children, about which the book of Genesis doesn’t say anything. In the context of the book of Genesis there isn’t any evidence that other male children from Cain to Seth would have been born to Adam and Eve and it would be very unlikely for the writers of the texts to omit such an important aspect if those personages were supposed to be in the plot of their narrative. If Abel was replaced by Seth that means that there weren’t other males on Earth beside Adam in the period of time between Abel’s death and Seth’s birth. Cain was afraid for his life exactly in that period of time.
It is clear that the birth of a male child had been considered to be a very important event and for this reason we are not allowed to infer that some other male children would have been alive at the time, but not noticed by the story of Cain and Abel. Seth replaced Abel, hence if other males had been born between Cain and Seth, they would have taken Abel’s place before Seth and that would have been an important part of the narrative.
“25 Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed* for me another child instead of Abel, because Cain killed him’.” (Genesis 4; 25 NRSV)
The intention of the text is obvious; Seth has replaced Abel who could have been replaced only by another male child and not by a female. Seth couldn’t have been a danger for Cain because the latter was only a child. In spite of the clarity of the intention of the biblical text, some commentators try desperately to find a solution to this conundrum. Here is an example of such an attempt:
“So, whom was Cain afraid of? Cain was afraid of his own brothers, sisters, nephews, and nieces, who were already born and would be capable of seeking revenge. The fact that Cain had a wife (Genesis 4:17) is a further evidence that Adam and Eve had other children after Cain and Abel, but before Seth.”
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In the process of trying to make the book of Genesis acceptable some commentators invent other chapters to the book which unfortunately contradict the original text. After Cain, Eve bore Abel and no other males are mentioned until Seth, therefore no nephews able to kill Cain were present on Earth. The Bible didn’t say that Abel was married, hence he wasn’t, because when Cain married the biblical texts mentioned that. Cain was the older son, hence if he wasn’t yet married when he killed Abel it is likely that Abel wouldn’t have been married. In the book of Genesis males married late in their lives and had children. Cain didn’t have other brothers, nephews or nieces who could have sought revenge. If there were other sisters unmentioned by the book of Genesis besides his sister who married him, their mood wouldn’t have been a murderous one as far as one of those sisters became Cain’s wife. If a sister would have wanted to kill Cain, why would another sister have married him? It doesn’t make sense.
We are entitled to suppose that Cain wouldn’t have been married before the killing of Abel because all his children would have been born after the assassination of his brother.
Why would Cain have known his wife only after the assassination, according to Genesis 4; 17? If he was married before that event he would have known his wife before the killing. When he knew his wife, she gave birth to Enoch and no other children of Cain are mentioned by the Bible before that. In the circumstance in which Cain went away from God the book of Genesis doesn’t mention if there was someone with him, but the clear impression is that he was a lonely wanderer.
According to the enumeration of the population existing on Earth at the time, contained by the book of Genesis, only Adam and Eve or Cain’s wife could have killed him, but that was not at all likely. Cain being a murderer, he could have easily killed anyone who would have jeopardised his life. That is the way in which a killer would have proceeded and being afraid for his life is a less probable attitude.
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Cain being someone who attached so little importance to Abel’s life, the concern for his own life is something unexpected. It is clear that Cain wasn’t in any danger but the book of Genesis naively didn’t take into consideration the concrete conditions in which the story develops.
Seth would have been an important element in the legacy of Adam and Eve. The next reference after the acknowledgement of his birth is about Seth’s offspring, hence a child, particularly a male, would have been too important to omit.
“26 To Seth also a son was born, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to invoke the name of the LORD.” (Genesis 4; 26 NRSV)
The assertion that at that time people began to invoke the name of the Lord is nonsensical if we take into consideration that Cain and Abel would have made offerings to God long before that.
Cain got the protection for his crime even if it is obvious that he wasn’t in any danger from anyone. It is very unlikely that Adam would have killed Cain, his only son in life, in order to punish him for his crime, and by this he would have endangered the existence of the human races on Earth. God put a mark on Cain but at that moment none could see the mark if Cain was to become a wanderer on Earth, except his sister who became his wife. Wanderer means someone who moves about without a definite destination or purpose but Cain settled in the land of Nod.
Opposite to a wanderer is a settler, one who settles in a new region, especially a region that has few occupants or is occupied by people of a different ethnic or religious group.
According to the book of Genesis no-one lived in the region Nod except Cain and his wife. One wouldn’t expect that Cain would have found a wife in an unpopulated region; probably he would have taken an unmentioned sister with him from his paternal household.
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Even if the name Nod in Hebrew suggests the action of wandering, Cain went to that place not to wander but to build a city, according to the book of Genesis. Wanderers don’t build cities but they go from one place to another. Moreover, only two people, husband and wife, never build a city, but they would construct a house if they weren’t wanderers.
God condemned Cain to become a wanderer but he became a settler. Cain settled in the land of Nod and he didn’t wander any more, as a matter of fact, he never wandered because this was the only place where he went. Building a city is something that a wanderer won’t do by definition so the book of Genesis contains another contradiction in its description of Cain’s story. Cain became the father of a numerous family and his great-grandson Lamech also became a criminal.
Who was Cain’s wife? She had to be his sister, a daughter born from Adam and Eve, but about whom the book of Genesis doesn’t say anything.
“17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and named it Enoch after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methushael, and Methushael the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech took two wives; the name of one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.” (Genesis 4; 17-19 NRSV)
We can find that Lamech also killed a man who couldn’t have been other than one of his close relatives. Instead of being punished the result of the killing is again a protection even stronger than that of Cain’s, at least according to his words.
“23 Lamech said to his wives: ‘Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. 24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold’.” (Genesis 4; 23-24 NRSV)
The only possibility to identify Cain’s wife is a sister unmentioned by the Bible, but that necessarily means the continuation of the human species through incest. This issue is also debated amongst the commentators of the Bible. The following is such a comment:
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“The Bible does not specifically say who Cain’s wife was. The only possible answer is that Cain’s wife was his sister or niece or great-niece, etc. The Bible does not say how old Cain was when he killed Abel (Genesis 4:8). Since they were both farmers, they were likely both full-grown adults, possibly with families of their own. Adam and Eve surely had given birth to more children than just Cain and Abel at the time Abel was killed. They definitely had many more children later (Genesis 5:4). The fact that Cain was scared for his own life after he killed Abel (Genesis 4:14) indicates that there were likely many other children and perhaps even grandchildren of Adam and Eve already living at that time. Cain’s wife (Genesis 4:17) was a daughter or granddaughter of Adam and Eve.”
Because the stories of the book of Genesis are so scarce in details we have to work only with suppositions. There isn’t another possibility. Cain’s wife had to be his sister. Some commentators try to distract the attention from a sister to an even less probable niece. Why was the niece less likely to be Cain’s wife? If the book of Genesis tells us about Cain’s children it would have said something about Abel’s children also, if such children would have existed. If Cain had to marry an alleged daughter of Abel, it would have been very difficult for him to explain why he killed her father, and to his children why he killed their grandfather. Nevertheless, before Cain could have married a niece Abel had to marry a sister also and the problem remains the same. Another quotation clarifies the situation of Cain’s marital statute:
“A closer look at the Hebrew word for “wife” in Genesis reveals something readers may miss in translation. It was more obvious to those speaking Hebrew that Cain’s wife was likely his sister. (There is a slim possibility that she was his niece, but either way, a brother and sister would have married in the beginning.) The Hebrew word for “wife” used in Genesis 4:17 (the first mention of Cain’s wife) is ishshah, and it means “woman/wife/female.”
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Another gross exaggeration of the book of Genesis is the description of how Cain, who was a wanderer built a city after his child Enoch was born. A town or even a small group of houses couldn’t have been built by a wanderer, his wife and his little child. The story of Cain and Abel is implausible from a historical point of view. Building a house and constructing a city are two very different things. The whole story of Cain and Abel contains unbelievable details hence it is not credible.
In chapter 5 of the book of Genesis we have a very strange genealogy in which the most striking detail is the age at which the patriarchs became the fathers of their sons. Let’s take a few examples:
“6 When Seth had lived for one hundred and five years, he became the father of Enosh… 9 When Enosh had lived for ninety years, he became the father of Kenan… 12 When Kenan had lived for seventy years, he became the father of Mahalalel…15 When Mahalalel had lived for sixty-five years, he became the father of Jared… 18 When Jared had lived for one hundred and sixty-two years he became the father of Enoch… 21 When Enoch had lived for sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah… 25 When Methuselah had lived for one hundred and eighty-seven years, he became the father of Lamech… 28 When Lamech had lived for one hundred and eighty-two years, he became the father of a son; … 32 After Noah was five hundred years old, Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” (Genesis 5; 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 25, 28, 32 NRSV)
The old age at which the men would have had children, according to the book of Genesis strengthens the idea that Cain and Abel didn’t have children when the former killed the latter because they were still very young comparing with these standards. This in turn underlines the absurdity of Cain being afraid that someone would have avenged Abel’s death.
All patriarchs became fathers between the ages of 65 and 500 years old. This is extremely odd and contrary to human nature. For example, after Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. He waited for 500 years before begetting his three sons. Why did they all wait so much before marrying?
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It was not in accordance with human nature for a man to wait that much before marriage because adulthood comes after approximately 18 years of life, not after 65 years or more. That information cannot be right. Were they humans or not? What man would have waited for 500 years before getting married, regardless of how long he would have lived? Noah, of course, but this is an implausible story.
This period of waiting before marriage is in contradiction with God’s plan for the creation of humankind. The task given by God to fill the entire earth with population and the length of time before the marriage are two contradictory propositions which weaken the truthfulness of the texts. One may respond to this observation that possibly the patriarch begot only girls until those ages and only the first sons were recorded by the book of Genesis. To this I would reply that when the patriarchs begot daughters, Genesis specifies that in unequivocal terms. For example:
“10 Enosh lived after the birth of Kenan for eight hundred and fifteen years, and had other sons and daughters.” (Genesis 5; 10 NRSV)
Another aspect of confusion and incoherence is the story of Lamech. About him we have two different references. The first account presents:
“18 To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methushael, and Methushael the father of Lamech. (Genesis 4; 18 NRSV)
And we have also another reference in connection with Lamech in the following biblical text:
“28 When Lamech had lived for one hundred and eighty-two years, he became the father of a son; 29 he named him Noah, saying, ‘Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands.’ 30 Lamech lived after the birth of Noah for five hundred and ninety-five years, and had other sons and daughters. 31 Thus all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died.” (Genesis 5; 28-31 NRSV)
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When we compare the two texts the father of Lamech is in one text Methushael and in the other, the name of Lamech’s father is Methuselah.
“25 When Methuselah had lived for one hundred and eighty-seven years, he became the father of Lamech.” (Genesis 5; 25 NRSV)
Which name is right? Is it Methushael or is it Methuselah? We don’t know the exact answer. We have to conclude that in the book of Genesis we have two Lamechs and not just one. Several of the one Lamech’s sons would have been the initiators of the most important professional occupations in human history. The other Lamech’s son was Noah, well known for the Flood in which he had an important role to play.
What was Lamech’s idea when he hopped to the relief brought by Noah? The following quotation summarises the problem:
“So, Lamech named his son Noah. Genesis 5:29 provides the basic idea regarding Lamech’s thought process. He specifically mentions that the ground had been cursed as part of God’s judgment (cf. Genesis 3:17–19). The birth of Noah when Lamech was 182 years old would have provided “comfort” or “rest” from some of the work of subsistence farming. A son would one day be able to join in the labors of farming, giving Lamech some relief from his many years of manual labor. But Noah would provide more than physical rest. It appears that Noah’s name is also an inspired prediction regarding his life. The word Noah is taken from the Hebrew word for “rest,” nuakh (see 2 Samuel 14:17). Lamech lived in an evil time, before the Flood (Genesis 6:1). Noah’s father predicted that, in contrast to the world’s evil, Noah would represent righteousness and bring rest and peace in the midst of God’s judgment.”
Noah’s mission on Earth was neither a relief for his relatives or an occasion for peaceful rest because all died except his closest family.
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Probably it was not this relief that Lamech expected at the moment of Noah’s birth, but a real help for his survival. Noah didn’t bring any relief because after the Flood the world was as bad as before it.
What happened after the Flood with all the skills which belonged to Lamech’s sons? Were they all transmitted to Noah’s sons? If they didn’t survive all that occupational knowledge had to be reinvented again by Noah’s offspring. Why all were these skills mentioned if they wouldn’t have survived the Flood? The impression is that the writer of the text didn’t take into consideration the Flood as a very important event which would have disrupted the entirety of human history. He or she mentioned the alleged names of the first founders of human occupations without considering the catastrophic moment of the Deluge and the disappearance of almost all human beings.
How many professions were described by the book of Genesis and how many people survived to the Flood? Noah was a boat constructor and probably a land farmer, and his three sons had to be proficient in all other human professions existent before the Flood. It looks very problematic that Noah’s sons would have known all the occupations and arts which humankind practiced before the Flood. This seems to be an improbable situation which presupposes that humankind started knowledge almost from scratch after the Flood.
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