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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. G to the T

    For as much as people claim to value the words of Jesus, I'm amazed at how rarely he's ever quoted in these forums.

    It's all Paul and the dubious works of his followers. Odd that...

    January 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
    • Austin

      well, i agree with you, but i think that it comes from a general picking of verses indiscriminately.

      there is no conspiracy.

      2 Timothy 3:16 ►

      All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

      ..............how many books of the NT did Paul write? is it 13? he is the largest contributer through the Holy Spirit

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

        considering the violent and destructive history brought on this world by belief in the bible, it is clear it was inspired by satan.

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

          igaftr,

          come on . can you sit here and reject biblical truth and then project anything at all about Satan? what kind of theft is that?

          Satan is god of this world. little g. and he is supernatural.

          January 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • igaftr

          austin
          comeon...don't you see the history of belief in the bible?

          Death, destruction, murder, faster spread of disease, attemted genocides, justification for slavery..all because of belief in the bible.
          40,000 denominations of christianity, and no two interpret it the same...chaos in interpretation..chaos...a tool of satan.

          Look at it closely...since belief in the bible has led to so much negativity...it is EXACTLY what your satan would do.

          The greatest trick satan ever pulled was to inspire the bible and give god the credit.

          More reason to believe evil behind the bible than any good loving master.

          You have been deceived

          January 28, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
      • G to the T

        Thanks for proving my point Austin.

        January 29, 2014 at 7:53 am |
  2. Austin

    Scoffers of the Last Days

    3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."

    5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.
    ...................this is the theory of uniformitarianism coined by Hutton and Lyell in the recent past. actually coined in the Bible way before Hutton and Lyell.

    why all the attention for those two?

    January 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
    • G to the T

      "1 Peter, Chapter 3" Pseudepigraphical. There's no evidence Peter wrote those books and quite a bit of evidence for why it's very unlikely that he could have.

      January 28, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
      • Austin

        no, official cannon

        January 28, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • Mmmmmmm

          Official canon law of who?

          January 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • Austin

          some council. you ever read Enoch from the Ethiopian Canon? that book predates Job, and was found with the dead sea scrolls in the same cave as Isaiah, and it has the term "Son of Man"

          what you think about that?

          January 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
    • Get Real

      There were scoffers galore from day one of your legend hitting the streets, Austin.

      Scoffers in the "last days" - pffft.

      January 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
      • Austin

        what about the theory of uniformitarianism?

        why are Lyell and Hutton famous?

        January 28, 2014 at 4:03 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.

    I can understand God why he will judge the world, and has ever judged.

    The point is that the whole world his a strict hierarchy. Actually nobody has the same rank, there are always differences. At the top are some lousy criminals which keep this system of social darwinism for the sake of their profit, honor and power. Yet, every single ordinary man could escape that system, and join the Christian Church, a place of brotherhood. Yet, the most people are such cowards that they prefere the antichristian system of the world against the system of love of the Church. God will judge the leaders of the bad system and the cowards.

    How many times did Noah invite the people of the old world to join him, and to become a community of loving people without nasty hierarchy. Yet, they prefered the nasty system of contest where everybody tries to get an higher rank in the hierarchy even on the cost of the neighbour. That is anti-love, that is antichristian.

    God will come, and destroy that whole crap.

    January 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
    • G to the T

      "1 Peter, Chapter 3" Pseudepigraphical. There's no evidence Peter wrote those books and quite a bit of evidence for why it's very unlikely that he could have.

      January 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
    • igaftr

      knowlege and reason will come, and destroy all gods.

      January 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        Igaftr, knowledge and reason are rarer that you think, but yes it will come.

        January 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
    • Alias

      Yeah, that whole jesus thing has a problem.
      The bible says god is all powerful. It also says god HAD TO sacrifice his only begottn son for our sins.
      Shouldn't an all poewerful god have had some options?

      January 28, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
      • Neo Atheist

        To sacrifice something is to give something up. god didn't sacrifice anything because jesus came back. Thats not a sacrifice. You lose what you give there is no taking it back.

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

        Ya Alias, he could have left us on our own devices, that seems to work out well. sarcsm

        January 28, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
    • brianP

      So funny that the religious use the same fairytale book to prove that the fairytale is real.

      January 28, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
  4. Doc Vestibule

    My favourite question regarding the Ark:
    How did they manage all that poop!
    How did 8 people manage the daily task of collecting, moving on deck and then dumping thousands of pounds of excrement?
    I imagine the Ark was pretty smelly and that the poor humans spent most of their time shoveling sh1t.

    January 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Doc
      Dung beetles, millions of the little crap eaters. Noah had zero volunteers for crap duty so he smuggled in the beetles for munchies. Jesus it is fun making up this crap, I feel Topher like!! HALLELUJAH!!!

      January 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
      • G to the T

        Now that would be cheating. He was only allowed to bring 2 each of the "unclean" animals.

        January 28, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Doc, people of those days lived with their animals and were so used to the smell it was fragrant to them.

      January 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    I'm just glad this isn't another pope story ...

    January 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Seriously; however, the ravens attacking the doves story was hilarious...

      January 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
      • Science Works

        Wonder if the pope knew it would become some of the best religious comedy on the BB ?

        January 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
      • thinkagain42

        Ah yes! The meek shall inherit the earth, then promptly get eaten......

        February 13, 2014 at 3:55 am |
  6. bostontola

    The story of Noah illuminates one the Abrahamic God morality flaws that I dislike most, the willingness to punish for crimes not committed. All the animals were innocent, yet they were sacrificed, not one other person in the world was worthy of saving. This God also punished 4 generations of progeny of the transgressors. And of course the mother of all injustices, for Eve's transgression, all people are guilty until they bow to this God. There are many other examples of this loose justice in the bibles. I don't want any part of that kind of system.

    January 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
    • Austin

      ya but you are also dismissing the spiritual paramaters?

      is that correct, you are taking the spiritual value out of what God did?

      January 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
      • G to the T

        Do you believe that anyone can truly be irredeemably evil?

        January 28, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • Austin

          Genesis 3:14 ►
          Parallel Verses
          New International Version
          So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.

          the devil counts as someone.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • G to the T

          LOL... maybe. OK how about anybody OTHER than Satan. That's putting the bar pretty low right?

          February 3, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • Austin

      Leviticus 24:16 ►

      anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death
      numbers 19
      20But if those who are unclean do not purify themselves, they must be cut off from the community, because they have defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. The water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, and they are unclean. 21This is a lasting ordinance for them.

      January 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
      • Austin

        also , in stoning the blasphemer, the whole sin of the community was placed on that individual, the individual because a scapegoat for the community. also, in the cow sacrifice the sins were placed directly on "the head of the cow "

        this pointed to Christ as the High Priest.

        January 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • Madtown

        I'm having shrimp tonight. You?

        January 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • Austin

          sounds great! gotta have the sauce.

          January 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
    • sumday

      My answer to comes from reading many other ancient text from many different cultures. To answer your questions consider for a moment that once Adam and Eve sinned they became genetically impure- a corruption of dna if you will and that corruption would be passed down to any children they had. Right before the flood is mentioned there is this strange saying about “sons of god” breeding with human women and creating hybrids- even outside the bible the Greeks and Sumerians believed this. Even the words used in references to Noah are more about genetically being pure. Perhaps the flood was not a response to “sin” as we think of “sin” today (the word sin really means to miss the mark), but more about a genetic corruption of humans and animals.

      January 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
      • Austin

        I hope you are wrong, but you might be right.

        Jude 1:14 ►

        Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones

        this quote is a direct quote from the Book of Enoch, which means the disciples were students of this book./Apostles?

        and this book is chalk full of the confirmation of what you are talking about. "unholy watchers"

        January 28, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
      • Observer

        “sin” as we think of “sin” today"

        This is a standard apology from many Christians. Words don't mean what everyone knows them to mean. The Bible is fine, it's the dictionary that is wrong. Yep.

        January 28, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • Austin

          missed the mark

          Jesus is a bridge.

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

          jesus is a zombie who symbolicly eats brains and turns thinking people into christians.

          January 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
  7. Alias

    Oh I see now!
    There were other arks in different parts of the world.
    That is how the different animals from different areas all survived.
    That also solves the problem of DNA suggesting we did not all come from one family.
    That is how people got to the Americas.
    All you have to do is hoold your breath until you get dizzy and add in whatever you need because the bible didn't try to record everything.
    After all, the bible didn't mention space travel or continents shifting, but according to other post here those happened too.

    Amen

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

      Geneses 10:25- “in his days the earth became divided” before that the earth was 1 land mass. Read Ezekiel for references about space/air vehicles.

      January 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
      • Alias

        Ge 10:25And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan.

        Way to misquote your bible and take it completely out of context.
        This has NOTHING to do with the land moving.

        January 28, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
      • brianP

        You do know you can't use a made up book whose very origins or original text can't be verified or shown not to be edited, can be used to prove the stories within the pages are true, right?

        January 28, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
  8. Science Works

    And they still want to say what – goddidit.

    National Geographic: The Story of Earth HD

    Published on May 5, 2013

    The Earth might seem solid beneath our feet but five billion years ago there was no sign of the planet we call home. Instead there was only a new star and a cloud of dust in our solar system. Over millions of years, a series of violent changes led to the formation of our world and, eventually, the creation of life.

    January 28, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
    • Sea Otter

      Praise Science!

      January 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
  9. AverageJoe76

    Isn't it refreshing to see that it's 2014 and we're still debating whether invisible beings still govern our lives? LOL, guess some things will never change. Ahh .........humans. With all of our technology the majority can't be convinced to let go of their binkies!

    (sigh) I still love y'all.

    January 28, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
  10. Dyslexic doG

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqnI6_DT6YQ&w=640&h=390]

    January 28, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      please, please, please watch this! Ricky Gervais is hilarious!

      January 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
      • brianP

        Loved it!!

        January 28, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
    • Which God?

      Oh my word, that was so funny! Thanks for posting that vid, doG.

      January 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
    • Kendra

      He is hilarious.

      January 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Great stuff doG, thanks.

      January 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
  11. Dyslexic doG

    Sincere question for Austin and Lawrence and Live4:

    If god's design was to have jesus crucified to die for our sins then why do Christians speak so badly of judas when he helped it all to happen. Shouldn't you all be thanking him for getting it done? Shouldn't he be a hero in the bible?

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

      I'd like to know what their opinion on whether Jesus was able to sin or not. If not then how was he a ransom sacrifice? And if he could have sinned making him the equal of Adam, does that mean God would have gone to heII for breaking his own rules? Or is it that he is unable to break his own rules and if he does it that means it's not a sin? And if that is the case, why would Satan attempt to tempt him and offer Jesus things he already owned as God?

      January 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Austin is apparently using a computer at a library. (another lie perhaps? I personally think he's in an asylum for the mentally insane)
      Although if he does manage to get access to a computer, I'll be curious to see how he spins this one and if perhaps he has a 'squish kitty' dream to go with it.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
      • fyi

        I'm pretty sure that he uses the library computer because his own computer's address has been banned here. Pity. He is so entertaining.

        January 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Entertaining is about it. I wonder if he cares that he is viewed as such...almost like a good Stephen King novel.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Dyslexic: jumping in uninvited...

      "You intended it for evil; God intended it for good." (Gen.50:20)
      God's sovereignty does not remove our responsibility. Joseph's life story demonstrates that. And it points forward to Christ, the "ultimate Joseph": who was despised by his own brothers (who only later embraced him), cast out, falsely accused, imprisoned, and who – at the right hand of the king – forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Russ, thanks for trying. I am a little slow and do not understand your answer.

        Did you write Joseph but meant Judas?

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

          @ Dyslexic: read Genesis 37-50. it'll take you about 10 minutes. we're talking about the OT Joseph, not Jesus' adopted father.

          January 28, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
      • G to the T

        "God's sovereignty does not remove our responsibility." It's an interesting take, but it doesn't change the question. If Judas hadn't betrayed Jesus (and if Peter hadn't denied him), there would mostly likely be no christianity...

        January 28, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • Russ

          @ G to the T: it's not "an interesting take." i'm not making this stuff up. it's right there in the Scripture and has been highlighted throughout Christian history by many theologians (Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, etc.).

          and – directly to your question about Judas – Peter preaches directly to that issue in his famous Pentecost sermon (Acts 2). "This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him."

          God's benevolence & sovereignty are so great that even Judas' wicked plan can be flipped for good. that is the heart of the cross – wherein an execution device has been turned inside out as the primary symbol of Christian redemption. similarly things could be said about the empty tomb. at no point does it excuse our evil intent/designs, but it is a testimony to the depth of God's redemptive plan and the transcendence of his grace.

          January 28, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • G to the T

          I don't think you answered the question Russ. Are you saying that God HAD to use wickedness in order for his plan to come together? In addition, you still haven't said what would have happened if he HADN'T betrayed Jesus. I think he had no choice in the matter. I think it's another example where "god's plan" has no issues with violating the free will of his people. Perhaps god "hardend this heart" against him?

          February 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Sorry to interrupt, Russ. Just some quick questions. Is there allegory in the Bible? Divinely inspired fiction? Anything not meant to be taken, if at all possible, as literal truth?

        January 28, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
        • Russ

          @ TTTOO: genre matters. i've argued that repeatedly on this blog.

          whether we're talking about the apocalyptic sections of Scripture or songs or clear metaphors or narrative historical sections, reading for the author's intent is paramount. otherwise, you miss the entire point. obviously, when Jesus tells a parable, he's not telling an historical event. at the same time, if the Gospel accounts (which all present themselves as clearly historical accounts & repeatedly stress that) are read as 'myth' when the blatantly claim otherwise (& do not match the genre, etc.), the same mistake can be made from the opposite extreme.

          so yes, genre matters. and there are multiple genres present on the pages of Scripture.

          January 28, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
    • Science Works

      dog form Austin and ....wake up wake up Ausyin it is only a DREAM !!!

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pgmFAOgm5E&w=640&h=390]

      January 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
      • Science Works

        Excuse me Austin fat fingers. *for*

        January 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Oh no...please no associating Crazy Man Austin with this movie...it looks like it will be far more entertaining than his stories :-).

        January 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • Science Works

          Agree it will be more entertaining than Austin's fairy tale/dreams.

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

      @Dyslexic doG : Shouldn't you all be thanking [Judas] for getting it done? Shouldn't he be a hero in the bible?

      God will use evil people to bring about His will. However, this doesn't mean that these people are heroes. For example, when Israel turned away from God (around 800-600 BC), God used evil to chastise them. However, he subsequently destroyed these countries (Assyria and Babylon).

      Another example (IMO) is Nazi Germany. God used Hitler to shock the world on the 'Jewish Problem'. Afterward, countries that were against Israel in their historical land supported the idea. Yet, the Third Reich no longer exists.

      As another example, assume that you are an artist. To make a unique and valuable work of art, you could make a mold out of clay (normally despised). You would pour in your substance (ex. gold) into the mold until it solidified. Then, you break the mold and dispose of it. The mold had no value except for the casting purposes. Judas was the same – of no value except for temporary usage.

         <><

      January 28, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
      • Austin

        that is interesting. we better become offerings

        January 28, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
      • G to the T

        So much for free will I guess...

        February 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • bushgirlsgonewild

        what a buttload of crap.

        May 13, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
  12. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    There is plentiful evidence of massive volcanic eruptions have had a huge impact on life around the world. No mention of them in the Bible. Just a Flood for which there is no evidence.

    January 28, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      that have had

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

      You are wrong on that. It's been proven that every inch of land that we now have at one time was under water. They have found sea shells on Mt Everest, and many other mountain tops. That could only have occurred if at 1 time that land was underwater. I won't get into timing of it, bc as science proves time is relative. I'll point out that the bible also says that all the land was gathered into 1 place ie a super continent- and science confirms that. Tell me how did those ancient people who had just started “walking upright” know that all the land originally was 1 continent when according to mainstream the continents would have already been separated by large oceans at the time of them writing the story down.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
      • ?

        The seashell theory had been thoroughly debunked. Try again.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          ?
          Debunked by some Christian apologist, who else? References please.

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

          debunked by who? A quick google search will show you that seashells have indeed been found at the top of mountains, so how do you explain that? and how do you claim the theory has been debunked when it is a fact that sea shell have been found on mountain tops?

          January 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Plate Tectonics... 6th grade science tells you why seashells can be found on mountain tops

          January 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • ?

          Exactly, LET.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
      • Observer

        sumday,

        Please explain how people in Noah's time would have ANY knowledge of the multiple continents. They only knew of one continent.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          There were no humans around when Pangaea was the sole continent...

          January 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • sumday

          hmm on the surface you do have a point however if you read on in Genesis 10:25 it says "for in his days the earth was divided". So you have a reference to all of the earth being 1 single continent and then later on a reference that the earth became divided. So to address your comment if all they knew was 1 single continent then why would they later say that the earth was divided?

          January 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          You are trying to rationalize and apologize for information provided by the extant of knowledge known to middle-eastern bronze-age sheepherders. Your book is irrelevant and you appear to suffer from a deficiency in science... further discussion with you is pointless. Auf Wiedersehen

          January 28, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Madtown

          you have a reference to all of the earth being 1 single continent and then later on a reference that the earth became divided.
          ------
          Why do you as.sume this refers to the actual continents of the earth? Reading the pas.sage in context, along with the verses before/after, it's not at all clear that this refers to continental drift.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • brianP

          Someone walked to the end of one continent and assumed that was the end of the Earth. Everyone believed that until Christopher Columbus proved the Earth was round, not flat. I'll bet Noah would be all red faced if he discovered he had missed picking up animals from South America, North America, Antarctica, and Australia. Kangaroos and Koala's are still mad that they weren't saved when the Earth was flooded. They don't even know that they no longer exist. They drowned back in Noah's day.

          January 28, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
      • G to the T

        "They have found sea shells on Mt Everest, and many other mountain tops. That could only have occurred if at 1 time that land was underwater."

        Maybe... but it's because that land used to be flat and at the bottom of the ocean. India crashing into Asia caused Everest to rise up out of the sea to its current (and still growing) height. So if anyting, it's evidence AGAINST what you are saying.

        January 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
    • sumday

      Did you ever consider that those volcanoes happened BEFORE man was created and that is why they are not mentioned? Just saying Genesis 1:28 clearly says “replenish” the earth, and this was right after “he” created man. The story could have only used the word replenish if there had been other life before man that was wiped out. Is there evidence that mankind was around during those volcaneo times? If not then what exactly would be the point of talking about volcanoes activity if it had happened before mankind was around?

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

        Everything happened in just SIX DAYS, remember?

        January 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • sumday

          I get tired of addressing this silly theology- first science has proven time is relative- example a moun has a mean lifespan of 2.1969811±0.0000022 µs (less than a second), yet we can detect them coming from our sun which takes approximately 7-8 minutest to get here. What may appear as 1 day to someone may be millions of years to another person depending on how fast 1 travels. Also the reference for day is simply a cycle of darkness followed by light. According the bibles account our sun wasn’t even created until the 3rd or 4th day, so obviously we can’t be talking about a 24hr day when we didn’t even have a sun to regulate what a period of time a “day” was. There is also a reference in the bible where it says a “day is like a 1,000 yrs and a 1,000 yrs like a day to G-d”- hmm a reference in the bible talking about time being relative long before Einstein proved that time was relative.

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

          "What may appear as 1 day to someone may be millions of years to another person depending on how fast 1 travels."

          This may be true, but the key factor here is HOW FAST ONE TRAVELS. Time is relative to the observer. If you are saying god was traveling away from the earth at near the speed of light, you might have a point but...

          January 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
      • Alias

        So god
        1) created the earth,
        2) filled it with life that he never mentioned again,
        3) killed everything with volcanos,
        4) created man.

        Really?

        January 28, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • sumday

          I never said he killed everything with volcanoes, I simply said the volcanoes activity may have predated man. The bibles entire focus is on humans, it doesn’t say “G-d” did or didn’t have other beings before man, but the word used is replenish which can only mean that there was some type of life before mans creation.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
      • Madtown

        By that standard, why is the creation of the world mentioned in Genesis? Man was not around to witness it.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • sumday

          In Geneses there is actually 2 accounts of creation. G-d tells what he did in his 7 days, then repeats the creation story starting off on the 6th day. Personally I believe we are still in the 6th day of creation. The first account given was “G-d” perspective from his time frame, then the second account picks up from man’s time perspective, but that is just my opinion. Justification for that opinion is in bible references to G-d saying that the generation of Israelites in the desert would not enter into his rest (ie the Sabbath), yet if we follow the literal 7 day theory man would have already experienced “G-d’s” Sabbath. Yet references in the bible make it appear as if “G-d’s” Sabbath is still yet to come which would mean we are still in the 6th day of creation.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • brianP

          Doesn't it seem strange that god was all talkative and ran his mouth on and on and on and on and on, so much that someone wrote it all down in a thick book. But since then he has never said a single word or shown his face to no one?

          And that there has been at least 10,000 more bad things going on since then but yet he has never did nothing to clean things up? Some planes crash and all 300 people die, while in others everyone dies. Sometimes one person out of 200 live, while in others one dies out of 150. In each case some religious person says it was gods will, rather then the random event that it was. And if god has such telekinetic powers to fix mechanical devices like planes or cars, why couldn't he just lift all the animals above the water for noah, or build him a boat?

          January 28, 2014 at 11:21 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        sumday
        Mt Etna is erupting you can see video of it if you chose to do so, lot of people around to notice same.

        January 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • sumday

          Yes but is all life on earth in danger of it? The bible doesn’t tell of every single earth event, only major ones that would affect all life relative to humans. The bible does say in the last days there would be more earthquakes, volcanoes, wars, famine, ect.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • Get Real

          "ect."? ectoplasm?

          Or do you mean "etc." for ET Cetera? I hope you're not going around saying "ecksetera" or "excetera" or something like that!

          January 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    Thanks to modern genetic mapping and DNA analysis, it has been conclusively determined that the entire human race does NOT trace it's ancestry back to 3 breeding pairs of humans 4,000 years ago wherein all the males were 1st order relatives.

    January 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      but what do Christians need with evidence when they have the bible?

      January 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Wait, genetics, that's like evolution, right? That's baaad.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
    • sumday

      Umm DNA does show that all modern humans did in fact come from 1 female, and 1 male and that every race (black, brown, white, yellow, red, ect) and eye color could all come from 8 different people- the exact number of people claimed to have walked off the ark. Science also has shown that every language on earth came from 1 single common language again something the bible claims.

      January 28, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Don't confuse Mitochondrial Eve with her biblical counterpart.
        And she certainly lived more than 4,000 years ago.
        It is not possible to account for current genetic diversity with only 3 mating pairs (Noah didn't have any more kids after the flood) with all of the males being 1st order relatives.
        Look up "genetic drift" and "founder effect".

        January 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        sumday
        Is that you Topher?

        January 28, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
      • G to the T

        I'm not even going to touch the DNA stuff, I'm sure other will...

        "Science also has shown that every language on earth came from 1 single common language again something the bible claims" – This has got to be one of the boldest (and unsupported) statements I've heard in a while. Please, please PLEASE provide any kind of a reference to back this up.

        January 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
  14. tony

    I'm Jesus in his second coming.

    Since no-one can disprove that, I must be whom I say I am.

    January 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      do you have a nail allergy?

      January 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
      • tony

        I have Palm oil.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
  15. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    If I were CNN, I would be embarassed that I posted this article

    January 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Also, is it just me... Or does the guy on this video look like he just escaped an insane asylum?

      January 28, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
  16. 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 2:13 pm |
    • tony

      The flood waters break just before children are born naturally.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      2 Peter 2 or the destiny of the infidels:

      For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

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

        Rainer Braendlein,

        You have a good point for Republicans: Sodom was destroyed because of GREED.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
      • No Evidence

        Pure mythology.... so what?

        January 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
  17. redzoa

    Many ancient cultures have stories of various monsters, i.e. half-men/half-beasts. Are you suggesting that these stories are "smoking guns" for the existence of centaurs and werewolves? Commonality among mythology is not evidence of the veracity of the stories.

    January 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • redzoa

      Oops. This was in response to Vic's post below: "At least, by now, there is enough smoking gun that there was a flood, ark, etc., even if the story is a pliable one."

      January 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Possibly there were centaurs and werewolves, but they didn't survive the flood. You would think merpeople would have, though.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
      • What IF

        "Old Noah looked out into the driving rain,
        Them Unicorns was hiding, playing silly games,
        Kicking and splashing while the rain was pouring,
        Oh, them silly Unicorns.

        There was green alligators and long-necked geese,
        Some hum.pty-backed camels and some chimpanzees,
        Noah cried, "Close the doors 'cause the rain is pourin',
        And we just can't wait for no Unicorns."

        The Ark started movin', it drifted with the tide,
        Them Unicorns looked up from the rock and they cried,
        And the waters came down and sorta floated them away,
        That's why you'll never see a Unicorn, to this very day.

        You'll see green alligators and long-necked geese,
        Some hum.pty-backed camels and some chimpanzees,
        Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born,
        You're never gonna see no Unicorn."

        - The Irish Rovers "The Unicorn"

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

      And some ancient texts speak of other beings mating with humans and creating hybrids. The book of Enoch and Jubilee speak of “cross breeding” and “sinning” against plants and animials. Even the reference to Noah being “pure” in his generation is a reference to him being genetically “pure” more so than him being righteously pure. Now humans which consist of a 3.5lb brain have genetically crossed different species, have created gmo’s (genetically modified organisms) so why do you find it hard to believe that this wasn’t done in the past- unless of course you think that humans are the only intelligent life in this universe? We ourselves are creating new viruses & bacteria and modifying existing species everyday so it is not hard for me to imagine that those “monsters” of myth may have been real- as all those monsters were supposedly originated/created by the “gods”. Why do you assume those “monsters” are just myth and imagination when humans today are capable of creating/modifying living organisms?

      January 28, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
      • G to the T

        "And some ancient texts speak of other beings mating with humans and creating hybrids." We assume they are myths because this type of hybridization is IMPOSSIBLE.

        Otherwise we'd up to our necks in Half-sheeps out in the boonies...

        January 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
      • brianP

        Why would anyone believe something just because it was written down in text? You could just drop a SciFi book written by Arther C. Clarke in some far off land, and the people would just believe everything in it to be true? The bible could just be some manuscript that some writer created to make money. And there is no way you can prove that someone a hundred or five hundred years later didn't rewrite parts of it and passed it off as original. How can anyone believe so deeply in a book when you don't know where it came from or who actually wrote it???

        January 28, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
  18. Kendra

    Interesting article:

    http://m.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/dna-shows-ancient-hunter-had-blue-eyes-dark-skin/2014/01/28/59aebbe4-8812-11e3-a760-a86415d0944d_story.html?tid=HP_more

    January 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
  19. Woody

    "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."

    How could the perfect god that allegedly knows everything that ever was and knows everything that ever will be, louse things up so badly? God should have known these problems would occur, even given the "free will" argument. Why couldn't god just snap his godly fingers and fix everything? I guess it was a lot more fun just to drown everyone. You just gotta love fairy tales.

    January 28, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
    • doobzz

      I wonder why god didn't just stuff a couple of cherubs into his ears to drown out the noise.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
      • wookie noises

        My favorite part of the ark story is assuming that no one else's boats worked..Christians are insane

        January 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • doobzz

          Yeah, I love all the tap dancing. It reminds me of Richard Gere in Chicago.

          January 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
  20. Vic

    The story of the "Flood and Noah's Ark" seems to be like an open source code software that took place and then many different organizations added there own flavor to it — like the Unix Operating System, for example.

    At least, by now, there is enough smoking gun that there was a flood, ark, etc., even if the story is a pliable one.

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

      "UNIX Operating System"

      January 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • igaftr

      no vic...there is no smoking gun of any world wide flood...quite the opposite...there is information PROVING it did not happen. There has been flooding, but not an event of the bible...did not happen.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • Vic

        I believe you missed the article's notion that those various ancient scripts were more concerned with recording the engineering aspect of the event rather than religious. That's pretty testimonial.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • Kendra

          Did you also miss that this find predates the Bible?

          January 28, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • Vic

          I am glad you mentioned that.

          The Bible does not claim it is the only record of such event. Knowledge of God and His creation and relationship with man has been passed down from generation to generation since Adam and Eve. The Bible's record of the story, and others for that matter, is a concurrence on its truth.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • Madtown

          passed down from generation to generation
          ---–
          What methods were used to pass the information down?

          January 28, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • igaftr

          vic
          You read too much into it, as did everyone else.

          An old blueprint for a ship design was found...what connection does it have to Noahs story? none directly at all.

          The ship described would of course sink instantly.

          Leonardo had made plans for very large seige machines, such as a giant balista....problem is that no materials on earth would make it work...the physics just don't allow it....if someone then found this plans for this device, you could CLAIM that it has some deeper connection, but where is any evidence showing it is tied to the Noah myth?

          January 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • Vic

          Thank you indeed for reminding me, I intended to mention that but I forgot.

          Knowledge of God and His creation and relationship with man has been passed down from generation to generation since Adam and Eve, mainly orally; however, apparently, some was written down.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Kendra

          Can't it have been the Bible "borrowed" this story?

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

          The value of the ancient cuneiform tablet found is that it represents recurrence of the story of a Great Flood and Ark, which in the Bible is tied to someone, Noah. Any story telling of such an event implies that someone was involved.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Madtown

          Right, mainly orally. Not a very reliable method at all.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Vic

          The value of the ancient cuneiform tablet found is that it represents recurrence of the story of a Great Flood and Ark, which in the Bible is tied to someone, Noah. Any story telling of such an event implies that someone was involved.

          January 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • igaftr

          Vic
          yes the story is in fact tied to someone...from the epic of gilgamesh....Utnapishtim is the guy who builds the boat and "god" rewards his obedience...yet another story stolen for the bible.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • Vic

          Sorry about that, I thought the previous reply didn't post.

          Well, whether the Bible borrowed the story or not, it approves of it through inspiration, we believe. Like I mentioned, what's important is the moral of the story.

          And yes, passing information orally is not all that reliable concerning the details, it is pretty much like the "telephone" game; however, it seems like the general consensus is that there was a flood and an ark.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • igaftr

          there have been many flood stories...one that encompassed the whole world to 15 cubits over the highest mountian is impossible and absurd.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • doobzz

      Yes, Vic, there is evidence that there were local floods. There is no evidence that one single flood covered the entire earth or any of the other claims associated with the Noah story.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • Vic

        You know, whatever the characteristics of the event were, is not what's important to me as a much as the moral of the story.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic,
          I would have thought that the circu.mstances would be very important. If this wasn't a global flood of God's condemnation of all humanity, except Team Ark, then what is the point of the story? Local floods happen all the time in many parts of the world, should we associate all floods with God's judgement? Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc?

          January 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Vic

          From what I understand, the account of the flood and the ark in all ancient records is an apocalyptic event.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic
          "From what I understand, the account of the flood and the ark in all ancient records is an apocalyptic event."

          Not sure what you are saying. 1) apocalyptic implies global and destructive circu.mstances 2) what ancient records, this tablet is a myth not a National Geographic special.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • doobzz

          And what would that moral be? That your god commits genocide against the innocent and guilty, when it could easily have corrected the proper part of mankind and save the innocent, including those not even capable of "sin", but "god is love"? Cause that's the take home message.

          January 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • dougwhite659

          So, as it is only the moral of the story that matters, there may have in fact been no flood, no animals, and no one named Noah. And the 'moral' may have been based upon the morality of the times, when it was acceptable to own slaves, to kill women if they displease you, to kill neighbors if they 'covet' your wife or other property, to sacrifice live humans to God when he requires such. Wow, no wonder we all want to get more of THAT morality!

          February 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • bushgirlsgonewild

          and the moral o0f the story is what? build a boat because of a hallucinating voice in your head?

          May 13, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
    • G to the T

      Personally, I think I'd be more surprised if cultures near each other didn't share some common mythology.

      January 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
      • Vic

        That begs the question of if they were in conflict, opposed and fought each other to the extent of consequently manipulating original scriptural texts and historical records, to our loss and disadvantage toady.

        January 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Vic

          "..today."

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

          How can you claim your version is the true, correct one, then?

          January 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • Vic

          I am not claiming anything other than that I believe in the moral of the story since I believe in God.

          January 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • G to the T

          Not sure what you mean by that Vic. I was trying to say that any geographically similar groups are likely to have common mythological elements via the process of general interaction between the cultures. It's not like there was a wall. People in these 2 communities no doubt conversed (and if not as much in their later history, there's nothing to indicate it was that way earlier in their development).

          January 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
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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.