Summary: Is Noah’s flood allegory, myth or history? Is God genocidal? Is the flood story relevant?
Is Noah’s flood allegory, myth or history? Is God genocidal? Is the flood story relevant?
Purpose: Let’s explore some questions about Noah and the flood.
Plan: Let’s look at Genesis 6-9 and the relevance of the story.
Who were the Sons of God?
Genesis 6:2 says, “the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.” They cannot be angels because Jesus said angels cannot marry (Matthew 22:30; Luke 20:35–36). Ancient church fathers taught that the “sons of God” were probably descendants of Seth, a family that worshipped God. Did this family marry outside the faith and corrupt itself?
Genesis 6:5 says, “The wickedness of man was great… and … every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Our world and some churches also tolerate sin and promote it. God does not.
Was the Flood Genocide?
Genesis 6:7 says, “I will destroy man whom I have created” Whether allegory, myth or history how could God inspire a story of genocide? Death is not the end. There is hope beyond. Godlessness offers no hope beyond death. Whether God is good or not, He is still God! Who are we to judge God; we who kill innocent babies, drop atomic bombs on cities, drop drone bombs on civilians, and don’t care if the poor and immigrants live or die! God created us and is the only one who has the right to destroy us. Noah preached 120 years (Genesis 6:3) and they had every chance to repent.
Was the Flood Moral?
Innocent children were saved from a violent society and the church believes in the saving of innocents. God punishes sin to save society from itself. Rather than judge God, should we not rather repent and look to God to save us? How can anyone who rejects God’s instructions, judge from mere subjective opinion what is moral? How can those whose morality is based on the merciless dogma of the survival of the fittest judge a God who decides when and how men die or are punished?
Genesis 6:11 says, “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Is our world more or less corrupt?
Is the Ark’s Size Reasonable?
Genesis 6:14-16 says, “make rooms in the ark … The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. … You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.” A cubit is what? It is the size from the tip of the fingers to the elbow. So the ark would have been about 1.5 football fields long or about ten standard standard box cars. How could the ark fit all those animals? These are the same proportions as a modern cargo ship. Animals under stress prefer tighter quarters, and if they were babies, food and shelter needs were smaller.
Was the Flood Myth?
Genesis 7:19-20 says, “and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered … and the mountains were covered.” Is Noah’s flood allegory, myth or history? It may be myth (mythos, moral story more than accurate portrayal of events), but before we decide hastily, let’s ask questions.
Why are there over 200 similar flood stories from around the world? Words like myth or legend are usually applied to stories with few sources. This does not fit the usual criteria and if it were any other story these might be called variations on an historical event. It’s okay to disagree agreeably. People of faith hold a wide diversity of views.
Does the Flood Fit Geology?
Geology can be interpreted different ways. What about fossils of ocean creatures buried on tops of mountains? Fossils require rapid burial to be preserved. What about geological layers that require rapid formation and exist across entire continents? What about sediment that has been transported long distances? What about lack of erosion between strata, such as in the Grand Canyon? What about folded rock layers which could only have been bent while still wet, otherwise they would have broken up?
Does the story allegorically retell a local event? Of course there are also many unanswered questions with a literal interpretation and perhaps modern arguments over myth versus history miss more important lessons.
A Covenant of Faith
Genesis 9:11-13 says, “I establish My covenant … never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth … I set My rainbow in the cloud … sign of the covenant.” This is now the second covenant that God had made with mankind.
Genesis 9:21-22 says, “Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father.” Noah was righteous by faith, not sinless.