home
RSS
January 28th, 2014
10:37 AM ET

Noah's Ark discovery raises flood of questions

Opinion by Joel Baden, Special to CNN

(CNN) - That faint humming sound you’ve heard recently is the scholarly world of the Bible and archaeology abuzz over the discovery of the oldest known Mesopotamian version of the famous Flood story.

A British scholar has found that a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet from what is now Iraq contains a story similar to the biblical account of Noah’s Ark.

The newly decoded cuneiform tells of a divinely sent flood and a sole survivor on an ark, who takes all the animals on board to preserve them. It even includes the famous phrase “two by two,” describing how the animals came onto the ark.

But there is one apparently major difference: The ark in this version is round.

We have known for well over a century that there are flood stories from the ancient Near East that long predate the biblical account (even the most conservative biblical scholars wouldn’t date any earlier than the ninth century B.C).

What’s really intriguing scholars is the description of the ark itself.

The Bible presents a standard boat shape - long and narrow. The length being six times the measure of the width, with three decks and an entrance on the side.

The newly discovered Mesopotamian text describes a large round vessel, made of woven rope, and coated (like the biblical ark) in pitch to keep it waterproof.

Archaeologists are planning to design a prototype of the ark, built to the specifications of this text, to see if it would actually float. Good luck to them in trying to estimate the weight of its cargo.

So, why does this new discovery matter? It matters because it serves as a reminder that the story of the Flood wasn’t set in stone from its earliest version all the way through to its latest incarnation.

The people who wrote down the Flood narrative, in any of its manifestations, weren’t reporting on a historical event for which they had to get their facts straight (like what shape the ark was).

Everyone reshapes the Flood story, and the ark itself, according to the norms of their own time and place.

In ancient Mesopotamia, a round vessel would have been perfectly reasonable - in fact, we know that this type of boat was in use, though perhaps not to such a gigantic scale, on the Mesopotamian rivers.

The ancient Israelites, on the other hand, would naturally have pictured a boat like those they were familiar with: which is to say, the boats that navigated not the rivers of Mesopotamia but the Mediterranean Sea.

This detail of engineering can and should stand for a larger array of themes and features in the flood stories. The Mesopotamian versions feature many gods; the biblical account, of course, only one.

The Mesopotamian versions tell us that the Flood came because humans were too noisy for the gods; the biblical account says it was because violence had spread over the Earth.

Neither version is right or wrong; they are, rather, both appropriate to the culture that produced them. Neither is history; both are theology.

What, then, of the most striking parallel between this newly discovered text and Genesis: the phrase “two by two”? Here, it would seem, we have an identical conception of the animals entering the ark. But not so fast.

Although most people, steeped in Sunday school tradition, will tell you without even thinking about it that “the animals, they came on, they came on by twosies twosies,” that’s not exactly what the Bible says.

More accurately, it’s one thing that the Bible says - but a few verses later, Noah is instructed to bring not one pair of each species, but seven pairs of all the “clean” animals and the birds, and one pair of the “unclean” animals.

(This is important because at the end of the story, Noah offers sacrifices - which, if he only brought one pair of each animal, would mean that, after saving them all from the Flood, he then proceeded to relegate some of those species to extinction immediately thereafter.)

This isn’t news - already in the 17th century scholars recognized that there must be two versions of the Flood intertwined in the canonical Bible.

There are plenty of significant differences between the two Flood stories in the Bible, which are easily spotted if you try to read the narrative as it stands.

One version says the Flood lasted 40 days; the other says 150. One says the waters came from rain. Another says it came from the opening of primordial floodgates both above and below the Earth. One version says Noah sent out a dove, three times. The other says he sent out a raven, once.

And yes: In one of those stories, the animals come on “two by two.”

Does this mean that the author of that version was following the ancient Mesopotamian account that was just discovered? Certainly not.

If the goal of the ark is the preservation of the animals, then having a male and female of each is just common sense. And, of course, it’s a quite reasonable space-saving measure.

Likewise, the relative age of the Mesopotamian and biblical accounts tells us nothing about their relative authority.

Even if we acknowledge, as we probably should, that the biblical authors learned the Flood story from their neighbors - after all, flooding isn’t, and never was, really a pressing concern in Israel - this doesn’t make the Bible any less authoritative.

The Bible gets its authority from us, who treat it as such, not from it being either the first or the most reliable witness to history.

There is no doubt that the discovery of this new ancient Mesopotamian text is important. But from a biblical perspective, its importance resides mostly in the way it serves to remind us that the Flood story is a malleable one.

There are multiple different Mesopotamian versions, and there are multiple different biblical versions. They share a basic outline, and some central themes. But they each relate the story in their own way.

The power of the Flood story, for us the canonical biblical version, is in what it tells us about humanity’s relationship with God. But, as always, the devil is in the details.

Joel S. Baden is the author of "The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero" and an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden. 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Judaism • Opinion

soundoff (5,820 Responses)
  1. Mathew

    It is funny, because Muslims new that 1400 years ago, it was clearly mentioned in the Quaran that it is a ship.

    January 28, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
  2. Angry Inch

    If I was a god, I would not create things I didn't like or want.

    January 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
  3. Rainer Braendlein

    1. Peter, Chapter 3

    For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

    Noah, his wife and his relatives had to go into the ark, in order to get saved. Today this is baptism as St. Peter tells us.

    We know the gospel that Jesus died and resurrected for us but that is mere knowledge. In order to receive the releasing power of Jesus' death and resurrection we have to be baptized. Through baptism we die for the sin, and enter Christ. In Christ, and dead for the sin, we can love God and our neighbour despite our bad old nature.

    The ark, the baptism, transports us into a new life like the real ark transported Noah and his relatives from the damned old world to a new world.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
    • tony

      Check the signature on the book first.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      If baptism is the new ark, what will save all the animals? They deserve to be saved just as they were last time, right?

      January 28, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      And yet again returning to the 21st century:

      The Apostles' Creed 2014 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      January 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
    • No Evidence

      "As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all – the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them."

      ~J.K. Rowling, "The Man with Two Faces," Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,

      January 28, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • thinkagain42

      Stop with all the mystical bull SH%@%$. If there is a god, I suspect that he does not like any of the religions found here on earth.

      February 13, 2014 at 3:44 am |
  4. tony

    Now we know where the design of "collection plates" came from. Seems like that's the first thing a religious order does.

    Design the collection plate up front. Write the book later.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
  5. MadeFromDirt

    God has not revealed all the details of the flood in Noah's time. While it is entertaining to speculate about things like how widespread Noah's flood was, where the water came from and went, and how the animals were cared for and separated between predator and prey, the emphasis of study should always remain on the purpose of what has been revealed. The purpose of the Bible's account in Genesis is to show that man by his nature turns against the Creator, that God can righteously destroy what He creates according to His will, that He is a God of wrath and punishment against sin, and that He offers salvation because of His grace and by faith.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • tony

      i.e you worship what the rest of us call "Satan".

      January 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • Angry Inch

      God sucks.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
      • thinkagain42

        No... you have to exist before the sucking can commence 🙂

        February 13, 2014 at 3:45 am |
    • tony

      only from your income.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
    • doobzz

      " the emphasis of study should always remain on the purpose of what has been revealed."

      What has been revealed is that god could have corrected the flaws in his "created" humans in dozens of loving, gentle, humane ways, and chose genocide instead.

      Innocent, guilty, no matter. God killed them all, even fetuses, babies, and animals that are incapable of "sin".

      January 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • ME II

      @MadeFromDirt,
      "While it is entertaining to speculate about things like how widespread Noah's flood was,... "

      why speculate?
      "19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.[a][b] " (Gen 7)

      January 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      "God has not revealed all the details of the flood in Noah's time."
      "the emphasis of study should always remain on the purpose of what has been revealed. "

      Yes, and what has been revealed by your God that cannot make mistakes is that according to Genesis the whole earth was flooded. Geologists have proven that a global flood as described in Genesis did not and could not actuall happen. What was revealed in Genesis is the story of a family supposedly rounding up two of every creature and saving them on a boat that they shared for more than a month. Science and math show that task impossible as described in Genesis, both the load of the boat as well as time to build and gather two of every animal on the planet with no explanation for fresh water fish that would have been wiped out by a global flood.

      So the long and short of it is that what the bible does reveal is wrong which proves the bible is not of divine origin but of human origin.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
    • Topher

      All that is pretty clear in the text ... the flood was global ... where the water came from ... how the animals were fed.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
      • tony

        Only in your warped misunderstanding.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
      • Science Works

        Genesis 9:18-9 topher ?

        January 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • Topher

          What about it?

          January 28, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Science Works

          And the sons of Noah went forth ?

          January 28, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • Topher

          And?

          January 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Where the water went...How everyone, animals included, avoided the effects of inbreeding and rapidly developed genetic diversity...How plants survived...

        January 28, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom, Tom, the Other One

          "Where the water went..."

          Oceans.

          "How everyone, animals included, avoided the effects of inbreeding and rapidly developed genetic diversity..."

          Genetics wouldn't have been a problem and their genes would not have the defects we see today since they were much closer to the Creation and a thus "cleaner" genes.

          "How plants survived..."

          Seeds. Just check out the land in Egypt every year after the Nile floods.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • Madtown

          And, all the diverse ecosystems necessary to keep multiple species alive, how did they recreate those?

          January 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Topher
          Where did the fresh water come from?
          By what mechanism did lakes all over the world instantly and simultaneously de-salinate and become full of sea life?

          January 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
      • Observer

        Topher

        "All that is pretty clear in the text ... the flood was global ... where the water came from'

        And where was that? It certainly wasn't enough for EVERY cloud to empty.

        If the water SOMEHOW came from the center of the earth, why didn't water rush back in to obey the laws of GRAVITY or don't they count?

        Was a huge VACCUUM created in the center of the earth that would pull in all the land?

        Get SERIOUS. Do some THINKING for a change.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • Topher

          Observer

          "And where was that? It certainly wasn't enough for EVERY cloud to empty."

          Under the earth, from clouds and from the sky.

          "If the water SOMEHOW came from the center of the earth, why didn't water rush back in to obey the laws of GRAVITY or don't they count?"

          Of course they count. But due to the catastrophic nature of the event, sediment could have easily sealed those openings. Plus the incredible changes to the landscape that were occuring.

          "Was a huge VACCUUM created in the center of the earth that would pull in all the land?"

          No idea what you are talking about.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          topher.
          You aren't accounting for enough water. It would require 5 times the water on earth to flood to a level of 15 cubiuts above the higest mountian.

          It would need to raise the water level 6 inches a MINUTE, on every square inch of the planet for 40 days and nights to accomplish that.

          That would kill ALL of the plants on the planet, and all of the creatures in the oceans, including the most important creatures, the plankton.

          NOTHING on earth would survive, and it would take MILLIONS of years to build back up to where even ONE human would have enough food after such a devestaing thing as described in Noah's myth.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • No Evidence

          It's amusing when Topher confuses mythology with reality..... ridiculous and funny at the same time!

          January 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Topher

          igaftr

          "You aren't accounting for enough water. It would require 5 times the water on earth to flood to a level of 15 cubiuts above the higest mountian."

          True, it says that, but it also says mountains were formed during the flood. If the mountains were quite a bit smaller pre-flood, then this isn't a problem.

          "NOTHING on earth would survive, and it would take MILLIONS of years to build back up to where even ONE human would have enough food after such a devestaing thing as described in Noah's myth."

          First, it's not a myth. Second, Noah was told to take plenty of food for his family and for all the animals. Third, once those animals started reproducing, they could have steak. It was at this point God said we can have meat.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • igaftr

          topher
          "True, it says that, but it also says mountains were formed during the flood. If the mountains were quite a bit smaller pre-flood, then this isn't a problem. "

          False...the geologic record PROVE that is false.

          Then you say god told them to bring food? for over a year on the boat, and then MILLIONS of years for plant life to recover, if at all?
          What did they use to preserve the food? EVERYTHING and EVERY creature would die of starvation. You need the entire food chain to sustain life. Your casual brushing off of the point is a flea punching an elephant... you didn't even try to make a dent in the issue. Where did the fresh water come from...after the flood, where is drinking water?

          You need solid sustainable food sources to last as long as they did....where di it all come from?

          Your explaination is extremely inisufficient, you aren't seeing the scope.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Topher

          igaftr

          "False...the geologic record PROVE that is false."

          How so?

          "Then you say god told them to bring food? for over a year on the boat, and then MILLIONS of years for plant life to recover, if at all?"

          I don't believe in millions of years. It doesn't make millions of years to grow plants. You don't live in the country, do you?

          "What did they use to preserve the food? EVERYTHING and EVERY creature would die of starvation. You need the entire food chain to sustain life. Your casual brushing off of the point is a flea punching an elephant... you didn't even try to make a dent in the issue. Where did the fresh water come from...after the flood, where is drinking water?"

          There are many ways available to them that would have preserved foods. And who is the one who just brushes off statements? Please.

          "You need solid sustainable food sources to last as long as they did....where di it all come from?"

          Cause Noah didn't have time to prepare?

          Your explaination is extremely inisufficient, you aren't seeing the scope.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • igaftr

          topher
          you clearly don't fathom the enormity of it. A world wide flood would kill ALL plants EVERYWHERE.

          How are you going to grow a plant when you have no plants to grow?
          They would be all completely destroyed...nothing left.

          The oceanic conveyer belt, which is the reason the oceans can regulate themselves and in turn ALL of the waether on the planet....the flood would have interupted that, and it would not be able to recover. They would have frozen to death on the ark, frozen solid in ice, due to the incredible change in salinity.

          Do you know how much food you eat in a year? How much fresh water you need? Multiply that times the other people, then all of the animals.

          what did the animals eat...many would eat the other animals, so how many additional animals were brought on for food? the story just says food, but food animals need food and water too.

          OR....you can just realize it is a silly myth..and has nothing to do wiith reality.

          January 28, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Nope, all shown to be impossible by science.
        I look forward to the day your child tells you the truth because he/she cared enough to pay attention in school. You'll be whining and looking like a fool.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
  6. Angry Inch

    See how we are? Comb your hair.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • Angry Inch

      We have to keep bars on our windows.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
      • Dumb Troll

        I like pizza!

        January 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
  7. Laura

    I'll be honest, as a geologist, a skeptic, and a Christian I have yet to see any proof that God DOESN'T exist. There is argument on both the scientific and faith sides that the two are mutually exclusive but this is not necessarily the case. When I follow an analytic path to try and explain certain phenomenon the end result usually leads to more questions which current science cannot answer logically. Evolution is often used in an attempt to discredit the Bible since the Bible states the world was created in 7 days. But a day is a human construct. The value we give a day is an arbitrary value that means nothing unless it is compared to something else. What the Bible states as a day may actually be millions of years. Another argument is over the big bang. But my question always is how the matter came to exist in the first place? Matter cannot spontaneously spring into existence. Whether or not we believe that Noah's flood existed, scientific evidence has pointed to a catasrophic flooding event around 7500 years ago by the discovery of fish fossils on mountains and flooding evidence in the stratigraphic column.

    In the end, I don’t think that either “side” will win the proof argument. The Bible says that God gave us free will to choose to follow Him or not. If we believe and we’re right than we lived a full and righteous life and are hopefully rewarded by an eternity in heaven (which I’ve heard is supposed to be a nice place). If we believe and we turn out to be wrong, then we’re just dead as a doornail like everyone else. Either way, no harm no foul. If we do not believe and we turn out to be right then we’ve lived a full and fun life and we’re dead as a doornail again. If we do not believe and turn out to be wrong then there’s a high probability of going to hell (which I’ve heard is unpleasant). Due to the lack of evidence proving with absolute certainty one over the other, I’d rather choose the road that doesn’t have the 50% chance of going to hell. It hasn't led me wrong yet.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
    • Angry Inch

      You are incorrect.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
    • Colin

      "Whether or not we believe that Noah's flood existed, scientific evidence has pointed to a catasrophic flooding event around 7500 years ago by the discovery of fish fossils on mountains and flooding evidence in the stratigraphic column."

      Geologist my ar.se !!!

      January 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
      • Laura

        Sorry if it's changed. I can only remember what they taught me in my program at college.

        January 28, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • Colin

          And what college was that, and what exactly was your degree?

          January 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • Sea Otter

          It takes more than 7500 years for a skeleton to become a fossil... you are NOT a geologist... and if you are than you should have failed

          January 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          So you lied and are not a geologist after all. Taking a course doesn't mean crap if you fail to comprehend the evidence. Now feel free to join the 21st century and stop lying for your imaginary friend...that is rather immoral.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Sea Otter : It takes more than 7500 years for a skeleton to become a fossil.

          It takes less than 200 years for bone to become petrified. A cowboy's foot petrified in his boot. Google 'petrified bone in boot'. So, your claim of 7500 years has been falsified.

             <><

          January 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • G to the T

          L4H – Looked it up. They're modern bones in a boot made in the 1950's with mineral deposits AROUND it (basically, filled in the empty space in the boot around the bare bones). It is not a fossil.

          Did you ever think it was odd the flesh and bones supposedly fossilized so fast but the just as organic leather boot is almost completely preserved?

          January 28, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
    • doobzz

      "I have yet to see any proof that God DOESN'T exist"

      You can't prove a negative. You can't prove that there ISN'T a fountain of youth on Pluto either.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
    • What IF

      Laura,

      1. If you are a scientist you should know that the default stance when an hypothesis has not, nor cannot, been proven is to WITHHOLD belief.

      2. Your second offering is another tired repeti.tion of Pascal's Wager - thoroughly refuted since the 17th century (where have you been?)

      - What if the real "God" is Allah, or Vishnu, or Zeus, or Quetzalcoatl, or any of the other of thousands which have been dreamed up over the centuries? Some of them are very jealous and vengeful and will relegate you to nasty places for not worshiping them. You'd better cover your butt by believing in ALL of them and fulfill their wishes and demands.

      - What if the real "God" prefers those who use logic and reason and punishes you as a silly sycophant?

      - What if the real "God" detests those who believe something just to cover their butts in eternity?

      January 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @What IF : If you are a scientist you should know that the default stance when an hypothesis has not, nor cannot, been proven is to WITHHOLD belief.

        What evidence was used to prove the hypothesis of evolution?

           <><

        January 28, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
    • G to the T

      While I appreciate the sentiment of the first half (the inadvisability of certainty), your second half is just Pascal's wager.

      You have no way of knowing that the god/religion (2 different things keep in mind) is the right one. It may very well be that Christianity is a test and only those who see through it will be blessed in the afterlife. It could be that the Muslims are right and you will be the one in hell as an infidel. OR you could come back as a dog or a sea lion if the Hindu's are correct.

      I have no problem with faith per se, but Pascal's argument was fundamentally flawed.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • Observer

      Laura,

      "But a day is a human construct. The value we give a day is an arbitrary value that means nothing unless it is compared to something else."

      A day is the period of time it takes for the earth that God supposedly created to revolve one time. Was that a "human construct"? Was that "arbitrary"? Wasn't God involved at all?

      January 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      What evidence do you have that unicorns don't exist?

      January 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • Jake

      "I have yet to see any proof that God DOESN'T exist."

      If you are really a scientist, you must be a pretty bad one if you think that's a logical statement. You don't just start by assuming stuff exists unless you can prove it doesn't.

      True science and religious belief are not compatible.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • Honey Hush

      Laura honey you ain't no geologist, a liar yes. Sea shells in the Himalayas and Andes mountain ranges are there because of plate tectonics not some flood. If you studied high school geology you would know this.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • ME II

      @Laura
      "I'll be honest, as a geologist,...
      Whether or not we believe that Noah's flood existed,
      scientific evidence has pointed to a catasrophic flooding event around 7500 years ago by the discovery of fish fossils on mountains and flooding evidence in the stratigraphic column."

      How do you reconcile these two items? As a geologist I would have thought that subsidence and uplift would have explained sea life fossils on mountains.

      Where did you study geology?

      January 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @ME II : As a geologist I would have thought that subsidence and uplift would have explained sea life fossils on mountains.

        That is one possible explaination. A worldwide flood is yet another. What makes you lean toward the former?

           <><

        January 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          Because a worldwide flood, in any time frame involving humans, is unsupported by the evidence.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @ME II : Because a worldwide flood, in any time frame involving humans, is unsupported by the evidence.

          Fallacy of argument from ignorance – whether this is true or not, it doesn't support your 'subsidence and uplift' theory. Second, the evidence that you've rejected (i.e. ocean fossils on mountain tops) could support a worldwide flood.

             <><

          January 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          You said, "That is one possible explaination." implying a possible acceptance of standard geologic understanding.

          Therefore I was simply explaining why I wouldn't accept a worldwide flood. In other words, standard geology via plate tectonics sufficiently explains sea fossils on mountain tops, whereas a worldwide flood is not supported by the evidence. Mind you, I'm not saying that there is not evidence for a worldwide flood (ignorance), which there isn't, but that the evidence we do have does not support a worldwide flood.

          January 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
    • Madtown

      But a day is a human construct
      ---
      The bible and all religions are human contructs as well.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
  8. Angry Inch

    See just how far you can get. I'm a lady, don't remind me of...

    No one say no.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
  9. Science Works

    Bummer looks like someone is at it again as some of the BEST religious comedy disappears from the script.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • Topher

      Cowards

      January 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
      • Angry Inch

        I got to be unstoppable. You don't like?

        January 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
  10. Jesus' Beloved

    Mr. Baden, I'm glad this is an opinion piece. Seeing that you actually teach the OT, I feel your students are greatly short-changed. Teaching the Bible without the Holy Spirit is like a taxi driver flying a commercial airline.

    If you head over to the NT you will find in the Book of James this incredible gem: "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and IT WILL BE GIVEN to him.

    But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

    Blessings to you and your students; for their sakes at least, I sincerely hope you ask God for wisdom.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      You'd think I'd be used to the absolute arrogance of bible or Koran believers by now, but it still manages to shock me when it's this prevalent in an opinion.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
      • Jake

        It truly is astonishing that they are able to write things like that with a "straight face". It's as if they actually think what they're saying is sane.

        January 28, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
  11. Angry Inch

    I’m a creator. I know what the stakes are. Passion.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Hedwig?

      January 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
      • doobzz

        Dang, Doc, you beat me to it.

        January 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • doobzz

      So sorry, Hedwig.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • Angry Inch

      Wear your wigs with pride!

      January 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
  12. Live4Him

    The newly discovered Mesopotamian text describes a large round vessel, made of woven rope, and coated (like the biblical ark) in pitch to keep it waterproof.

    Woven rope is highly flexible, unlike a wooden structure like Noah's Ark. Even covered with tar, it would be highly susceptible to leakage – especially under the load that it would have needed to carry. Considering this load, what is the probability the rope would have parted under that load, resulting in the 'ship' sinking immediatly?.

    So, given the likelihood of the sides flexing and thus allowing water to surge in, and the high probability of the rope breaking under the load, this doesn't appear to be a viable candidate for an ark.

       <><

    January 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Neither is the Biblical model.
      The dimenstions given in Genesis exceed the maximum size for a wooden vessel. It would have broken apart too.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        I think you're forgetting how the big invisible sky wizard can chant a magic spell or three and deceive the entire scientific community with contradictory evidence....just like evolution....He plants all that evidence for evolution, but it really didn't occur.

        January 28, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Doc Vestibule : The dimenstions given in Genesis exceed the maximum size for a wooden vessel. It would have broken apart too.

        What is the largest possible size for a wooden vessel? What's the scientific data to support your posit?

           <>&lt

        January 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Due to hogging and sagging, the practical limit on the length of a wooden-hulled ship is about 300 feet.

        The actual history of the longest wooden ships bears testament to this limit. The Wyoming was 329.5 feet (100.4 m) long and 50 ft 1 in (15.27 m) wide, the largest wooden schooner ever built. It needed its pumps to keep it afloat, and eventually it sank.

        According to Genesis 6:15, Noah's ark was 450 feet long and 75 feet wide.
        Also note that the water in a massive, rapid, global flood would have been violently roiling.

        January 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
  13. Rev. Rick

    I don't know what the big deal is about taking "breeding pairs" of animals on board the ark. The ark was not even necessary. God could recreate any species that was lost with the wave of his divine hand. Wasn't that how he created Adam and Eve? So why not replace animals in the same way. Seems like God made Noah go to a lot of trouble for something He (God) could have done a lot easier anyway. Hmmmm. Makes you wonder if the whole story is made up! Hmmmmm.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • RB

      Hebrews 11: 7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
      • Rev. Rick

        By quoting scripture, all you did was prove my point.

        January 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • doobzz

      Likewise, there were many other options available for god to correct the human species that he created. He could have sent angels to curb and teach the wicked, he could have been more selective when choosing whom to kill and limit it to the guilty, he could have used a rainbow as a sign that he needed to chat with them about their behavior, and I'm sure that anyone here can think of dozens of alternatives.

      Instead, God chose genocide as the best option. He chose to kill every living thing, innocent and guilty, including fetuses, babies, children, animals and plants, who were incapable of "sin".

      So many options, yet God chose genocide.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
      • G to the T

        Always had a problem with this issue, even back when I was a believer. Are we to believe that these people were irredeemably evil? Doesn't that go against everything that judaism/christianity stand for?

        January 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • doobzz

          It certainly throws a wrench in the "God is love" machinery.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
    • Observer

      God sent an angel who killed 185,000 people so a few angels could have quickly accomplished what the flood did without killing MILLIONS and MILLIONS of animals for no reason.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
  14. Cami Jim

    The Book of Mormon (a volume of scripture used concurrent with the Bible by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) includes an account about an ancient group of people who traveled in a round vessel, guided by God, to the Americas right after the tongues were confounded at the Tower of Babel. http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/1?lang=eng

    January 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Lullaby

      Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
      Sailed off in a wooden shoe —
      ...
      ...

      Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
      And Nod is a little head,
      And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
      Is a wee one's trundle-bed.
      So shut your eyes while mother sings
      Of wonderful sights that be,
      And you shall see the beautiful things
      As you rock in the misty sea,
      Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three

      January 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
  15. doobzz

    The title of this article is incorrect. This is not a "Noah's ark discovery". It's a Mesopotamian ark discovery. Why is it so difficult for the CNN Belief Blog writers to write accurately?

    I understand the need for a catchy title, but using deceptive ttiles to lure readers is really sketchy.

    Just like the "Pope takes on internet trolls" and the rephrased "Pope: The Internet is a 'gift from God.' But watch out for the trolls", in which the pope doesn't say anything about "trolls". Sleazy journalism, more befitting the National Enquirer.

    Although it IS a refreshing change from Pope-a-palooza and Abortion Channel.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
  16. Happy Atheist

    "The Bible gets its authority from us, who treat it as" having authority", not from it being either the first or the most reliable witness to history."

    But the authority Christians tend to assign the bible both require it to be the first and the most reliable of which it is not and thus must be seen as human in origin and fallible.

    January 28, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • Alias

      That was the best part of the article.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
  17. Observer

    The Noah's ark story might qualify as one of the earliest works of science fiction.

    January 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • Fan2C

      Yes. Those old stories of the supernatural are early examples of the sci-fi, fan-fic (fantasy fiction) and horror genres (along with a lot of historical fiction). Those ancient Hebrew guys certainly had a flair for the dramatic.

      January 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
  18. Charm Quark

    I wonder why Bill Nye would agree to debate Ken Ham in the creation museum, a venue that will probably have a very biased crowd, the likes of Topher, L4H, LofA, etc? And from the comments of our creationist friends they and probably Ken Ham will not believe anything that would conflict with their truth. Seems like a futile exercise.

    January 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • Science Works

      Searches related to Insti-tute for Creation Research

      answers in genesis

      January 28, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • Topher

      I WISH I were going.

      And whether the crowd is more biased one way or the other was up to who bought the most tickets. It sold out in 2 minutes. And unless you want to argue telephones have evolved, there's no way to tell if a caller is a Christian or atheist.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
      • doobzz

        "I WISH I were going."

        Me too.

        How are you this morning, Topher?

        January 28, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • Topher

          Freezing. How are you?

          January 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • doobzz

          I'm good. Sorry, but it's another sunny day in the 70s here in SoCal.

          My family in Chicago and northern Ohio are going stir crazy in the cold.

          January 28, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • Topher

          Yeah, I've got some serious cabin fever going. At least spring training starts in less than a month.

          January 28, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • doobzz

          Cubs, White Sox, or another?

          January 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • Topher

          White Sox ... and after the season we had last year, bonus points for me for admitting it. 😉

          January 28, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • doobzz

          I'm a Cubs fan, so I don't trash talk anyone, lol!

          We're losers, and we LIKE it. That is the Cubs fan motto.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • Topher

          Dude ... now I have to evangelize you on baseball? Come on over to our side. 😉

          January 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • doobzz

          No. Never. I was indoctrinated at age seven at my first Cubs game by my father, who bought me candy and hot dogs, and let me bang the wooden seats up and down to start rallies going. Stuff my mother would have fainted if she had seen me doing. Nice girls didn't yell and bang seats up and down. Lol.

          Boy, I miss my dad.

          January 28, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        Topher
        The technology used in telephones has progressed/evolved especially the mobile devices, catch up. In the Munk Debate "is religion a force for good in the world." Tony Blair on the yes side, Christopher Hitchens for the no side, they polled the audience before and after the debate, I hope they do the same at the Ham-Nye debate. We will then know if the audience is biased, one way or the other. BTW Hitchens won the debate with Blair, I encourage you to view it, although your incapable of learning anything you may find it entertaining.

        January 28, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • Topher

          Charm Quark

          "The technology used in telephones has progressed/evolved especially the mobile devices, catch up."

          They didn't evolve. We changed the design. Unless now you are arguing phones have genetics and give birth.

          January 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          Why wouldn't you look up the definition of a word before stating that someone is using it incorrectly? Sorry but your comments are getting denser every day. BTW by denser I do mean stupid, so you won't have to look it up.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          I am pretty sure you are sulking and claim an ad hominem attack yet again.
          evolved.. develop gradually from a simple to more complex form (the company has evolved into a major chemical manufacturer) Hint companies do not have genetics or give birth in the manner you are referring too.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
  19. tony

    I am beginning to suspect that Topher and L4H are non-de-plumes of Michelle Bachmann

    January 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
    • Science Works

      Or maybe Ham cronies ? (creation museum)

      January 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • Science Works

      Which is also tied to the ICR – Inst-tute for Creation Research. if not mistaken.

      January 28, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • ?

      One look at their eyes and you'd be able to tell.

      January 28, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
  20. tony

    Ancient Religious writings, no wait, just the genuinely beieveable ones called "scriptures":-

    Would have us believe that man is created in gods image. So that must include those chest enhancing n-ipples on men.

    Which would rather suggest that there are female versions of the same god who need to feed baby gods. . .

    January 28, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
    • Adrian

      We are in the image of God as in eternal. Our body is mortal but our soul lives on forever.

      January 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
      • cjeddie

        um no they don't it gives us comfort to believe it does but there's no proof of that just blind belief

        February 11, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
    • Marineway

      The "image" is in our freewill. Yours to make fun of and mock, mine to worship and believe.

      February 7, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
      • dougwhite659

        ...and as more and more of your society 'believes' instead of reasoning, your society becomes more and more backward, until it eventually disappears outside of perhaps a few curiosity-inducing hermit-like communities (like the Amish!). Good luck with that!

        February 21, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • SDCinNS

      No understanding of what the Bible concept of "image" means.

      February 8, 2014 at 10:20 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.