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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. History

    Scuse me but did Noah exist?

    January 28, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
    • JW

      History shows us that Jesus existed. And Jesus spoke about Noah. So yes he existed.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:35 pm |
      • G to the T

        Hearsay

        January 28, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
      • Science Works

        JW do you know how we as species got four limbs ?

        January 28, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
      • Colin

        That is as illogical as saying that Walt Disney existed and he spoke about Mickey Mouse, so therefore Mickey Mouse existed.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:43 pm |
        • jason

          But mickey mouse does exist...

          January 28, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
        • Alonso

          It's worse, since there is no historical evidence that Jesus existed, either, whereas there is historical evidence that Walt Disney existed. Jesus may have been a wholly mythical character or he may have been one of many Jewish messiah claimants whose life story was greatly embellished by later writers, e.g., the unknown writers of the Gospels, so that over time, as more miracle stories were attached to his life by later followers, he eventually came to be regarded as an avatar/son of the god Yahweh on Earth.

          An examination of the development of the Gospel stories shows a progressive mythologizing of Jesus life to make him sound no less impressive than other gods of the time with whom his followers were competing for adherents. Much of that mythology borrows from Greek myths. E.g., the story of the marriage at Cana where he turns water into wine appears to have been borrowed from myths of Dionysus. The stories about bringing people back to life, e.g. Lazurus, the daughter of Jarius, the young man from Nain, give him the power of Asclepius. And, of course, he is another dying and rising god as are many corn and wine gods. Like the first century philosopher Apollonius of Tyana he also supposedly underwent heavenly assumption after death.

          In the Gospel of Matthew there was supposedly an earthquake at his death with dead people coming out of their tombs and wandering around, yet no historian of the time ever noted those events. The Gospel miracle stories are clearly no different than the myths circulating among the adherents of pagan religions of the time.

          And, though traditionally, the Gospels were attributed to followers of Jesus, it is common knowledge among biblical scholars today that is not the case. The Gospel stories were written decades after Jesus would have lived, if they were based even loosely on an actual person and the actual authors, who often contradict one another are unknown. E.g., how did Judas, a principal character in the story of Jesus death, die? Did he hang himself as the unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew relates (Matthew 27:3-5) or did he fall headlong to the ground and burst asunder in the middle as is told in Acts 1:18, which may have been written by the same author as the Gospel of Luke?

          January 28, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
      • wjmknight

        The Gospels are not the literal word of Jesus and were written long after his death. No one really knows what he actually said, and apart from a single brief reference by Josephus, who was a traitor to Israel, there is no record of his birth, life, or trial and crucification in any contemporary source.

        January 28, 2014 at 9:07 pm |
    • Colin

      Probably not. Given that virtually every thing we know about his is myth, even apart from the whole flood story, he is very, very likely a figment of a late Bronze Age Jewish imagination. For example, supposedly he supposedly fathered three children at age 500, was 600 when he built the ark and lived to be 930 (Genesis 9:29).

      January 28, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
      • History

        Re: age 500.

        Is it possible that this was a miscalculation/translation of days/months/years problem?

        January 28, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • Science Works

          Genesis 9:18-9 and Ham ( is he related to the hamster that owns the creation museum ?) father of....

          January 28, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
        • Colin

          No.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
      • JW

        Colin- the bible May be a joke for you, but to be an atheist requires as much or more faith then a believer in God... You deposit your trust In what men say, which in many time has proven to be false!
        What a faithful man are you Colin.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
        • Elise

          Refute what he says. You haven't yet.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
        • Colin

          Actually, the opposite is true. Your entire faith is based on what others have told you about the existence of your god. You did not make him up yourself. Christianity, in all its sects, including the JWs, is based on what others have said or written. You just blindly accept what they say. Most atheists, myself included, require evidence to believe something.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
        • Hamlet

          "require evidence", that from definition say you have no faith.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
        • wjmknight

          You have it wrong. Being an atheist requires no faith. YOU are the one putting your faith in man, since it is man who made up the bible.

          You have to prove that the bible is the literal word of God and that your Judeo-Christian-Islamic deity exists. You cannot do either.

          An athiest has nothing to prove and nothing to disprove.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • JW

          Evidence sometimes becomes mistakes!

          January 28, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
        • JW

          Wjm- yes it does require faith... You learned that in school because some teacher told you so, and because some scientist said so! You deposited faith in mans words!

          January 28, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          JW, You take on faith the imaginings of Bronze Age Middle Eastern nomads and believe them in preference to modern knowledge. That's faith. There's no evidence of a god. The creation myths, including yours, are proven to be incorrect by geology, cosmology, evolution, and more. The bible is predicated on the god's credentials i.e. that it created the universe and all in it in its current state all in six days – yet that is proven to be incorrect. So no credentials – no god.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
        • JW

          Santa- earth was not created in 6 literal days... Since in the bible, a day often represents a period of time. Each "day" could've taken billions of years.

          About evidence of God, study how everything works, and you will see that the complexity and design of things could've not been perfectioned by the random force of evolution.

          Would you say that a house that is built in the middle of a desert came out of nowhere or was a product of evolution? Something so simple as a house?

          January 28, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          JW
          The bible says 6 literal days; it says nothing about interpreting a day as some convenient period.

          The evidence only supports evolution, and many designs are far from perfect – blind spot in human vision, vestigal tail, laryngeal nerve, spine not optimal for bipedal motion, same orifice for breathing and eating, etc. An omnipotent, omniscient being could have done a better job.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
      • History

        There is another flood story, Enki vs Enlil of Sumeria.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
        • Colin

          The Epic of Gilgamesh. The 2 principal authors of Genesis plagiarized it heavily. Today, they would be sued for copyright violation.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
        • fred

          Colin
          The origin of the oral traditions for the Epic and Genesis are from an unknown time. You cannot conclude one came before the other based on evidence.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
  2. Observer

    Jerusalem: elev. 2,474’ Mt. Ararat: elev. 16,854’ DIFFERENCE: 14,380’

    Someone calculated that to cover the distance to the top of Mt. Everest would require 300 INCHES of RAIN PER DAY. That's as logical as the rest of the story.

    January 28, 2014 at 8:20 pm |
    • JW

      Who told you that? The bible just says it rained 40 days and 40 nights and that the water covered all the earth. It doesn't talk about how many inches of rain.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
      • Observer

        JW,

        At a ridiculous MINIMUM, the water rose 14,380 feet in 40 days. That means the water rose 360 FEET PER DAY. Do you have any idea how much rain that is?

        GET REAL.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
        • JW

          I couldn't of been the amout your saying a day... You would need to base you self on how tall was the highest mountain of that time and on the fact that the earth got flooded 15 cubits over the mountains. Impossible to calculate that.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          Not impossible to calculate unless you are claiming the flood event pre-dates the formation of the Himalayas. At 25 ft of rain per hour globally the sheet of rain would have been nearly solid water drowning everything before it even got the chance to fill up.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • Observer

          JW,

          You claim that the flood was only around 4,000 years ago which is NOTHING compared to the world's age of MILLIONS of years.

          Can you find ONE GEOLOGIST who claims that Mt. Everest has risen THOUSANDS of feet in 4,000 years?

          You are just hiding your head in the sand. Math, logic, and geology say you are wrong.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • JW

          Geologists cannot know exactly what was the past, they speak what they think, that's it.
          I personally don't know of any geologist that did such study!

          January 28, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          Mt. Everest is rising by about 5mm per year and has been doing so for the last 10 million years, that is, if you believe actual science, geology and research.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
        • JW

          Mt Everest grows 5mm year... Maybe... Who guaranties that it only has grown 5mm per year for 10billion years?

          January 28, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
        • Observer

          "Who guaranties that it only has grown 5mm per year for 10billion years?"

          Have you forgotten that the ark was LESS than 5,000 years ago according to you? That means that Everest has risen 82 FEET since the flood. Get real.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
        • JW

          Observer- grew only 82 feet?? How do you know that? Where you alive then?

          January 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
        • Observer

          JW

          AT 5mm per year for 5,000 years, that equals 82 feet. Those were the statistics being discussed..

          January 28, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
        • Observer

          JW

          "Observer- grew only 82 feet?? How do you know that? Where you alive then?"

          How do you know the flood occurred? "Were you alive then?"

          January 28, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
      • Happy Atheist

        I believe it's a little thing called math. See above was posted the height on Mt. Everest above sea level, your book says it only took 40 days to cover the earth. I believe the math shows that it would indeed take 600 ft of rain per day or 25 ft per hr. That is all you need to know in deciding whether the biblical flood account is real or actually just a piece of historical fiction. Did a regional flood happen that wiped out many villages and many people? Of course there was, probably a few times, and likely even a major flood event for that area of which many ancient heroic stories have been fashioned. Global flood? No. Ancient land baron rescuing some of his family and domesticated animals from a bad regional flood on a floating barge of some kind? Entirely plausible.

        January 28, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
        • JW

          Yet you believe on the "chimp man"... And that we came from nowhere then that thing that came out of space became a fish, then a reptile then a chimp...

          That is true... Continue being happy.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
        • Happy Atheist

          I believe chimps evolved from the same ancestor, the evidence shows us that. I don't however believe we came from nothing. Some day I hope mankind discovers our origins, but at the moment science has not been able to unravel that answer yet, but I know only one true answer is out there. So far mankind has been unable to prove any of his invented Gods is THE God and thus the religious continue to fight and bicker over who is right. Well until one can prove empirically to all that it has the patent on truth then I will continue to be skeptical.

          January 28, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
  3. Des

    Everyone, be careful of JW. He is back out here frequently on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. Keep pressing him on points like this:

    So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

    January 28, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
    • doobzz

      I don't think many people here actually take JW seriously.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
      • Des

        Yeah, I hear ya. My posts are for the few that might, as well as to try to turn him from his deadly delusions.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
        • Petyr

          Oh, I don't think you have to worry about that. The JW's are a particularly virulent strain of cultiness.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
        • JW

          Nobody needs to worry about JWs, as we are peaceful people and would never hurt our neighbour... The one you should really worry about is Jehovah God, he's the one the world should worry about.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
    • JW

      Des- READ ACTS 15:28,29... AND LET THE SCRiPTUReS "SPEAK".

      January 28, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
  4. Will

    Catholics regard the Flood account as mythological allegory, so please leave us out of this.

    January 28, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
    • New thoughts

      You are a person. Who happens to be Catholic. There is no "Us". There is no "Them".

      January 28, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
    • JW

      I'm surprised how Catholics haven't got red of their bibles... If they don't believe in the bible as a whole... Why should they keep on using what is of interest for them?!!

      January 28, 2014 at 8:27 pm |
      • Ed

        Works for every other Christian sect, likely yours included. All of them are ponzi schemes.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
        • JW

          We believe in the whole bible as inspired by God, that doesn't apply to us!

          January 28, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
        • G to the T

          JW – "We believe in the whole bible [as interpreted by my religion], that doesn't apply to us!"

          There you go. Fixed that for you. Seriously though – doubt is healthy, you may want to consider cultivating it.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
        • JW

          In one time I had my doubts, not anymore.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:56 pm |
        • G to the T

          JW = In one time I had my doubts, not anymore

          Not much point in conversing anymore then. Good luck with that!

          January 29, 2014 at 11:43 am |
      • Elise

        They are RESPONSIBLE for the Bible. Learn some history and don't be a religious bigot.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
  5. Science Works

    #Religious Comedy Scene 6 on the BB

    January 28, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
  6. Serge Storms

    How do you steer a round boat? Are you sure we're not talking about a gigantic inner tube?

    January 28, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Did they have rubber back then?

      January 28, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
    • Vic

      Noah's Ark was not for sailing, it was for floating to escape the flood, just like lifeboats.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
    • Matthew

      It's was probably just meant to stay afloat and keep Noah and the animals safe, not so much to turn and be directed. I think god took care of the steering. #BESTSURVIVALBOATEVERMADE

      January 28, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
    • Happy Atheist

      unsteerable boat floating on a rotating earth supposedly covered in water for 40 days and 40 nights and yet it apparently lands in roughly the same region it started... yeah, that makes sense...

      January 28, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
    • greyvin

      Jesus took the wheel

      January 28, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
      • Petyr

        Of Noah's Ark?

        January 28, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
  7. Observer

    One of the more logical explanations for the flood story is that someone in a flood zone built a boat and put his family and pets on it when the area flooded. After that, the story may have blown up like so many legends do.

    January 28, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
  8. JW

    King Ashurbanipal of Assyria, who established a library of 22,000 clay tablets and texts, claimed: “I had my joy in the reading of inscriptions on stone from the time before the flood.” (Light From the Ancient Past, by J. Finegan, 1959, pp. 216, 217) This may refer to some traditional accounts regarding the global Flood or else to Assyrian records predating some local flood.

    January 28, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
    • Des

      Everyone, be careful of JW. He is back out here on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. Keep pressing him on points like this:

      So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly gang.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
  9. maggie

    many think there is something supernatural about this story. I happen to think it was just a natural event of such proportion that it affected many lives...so many people told the story over and over....that happens today. Great natural disasters are revisited in the news again and again. So are man made ones (chemical/oil spills) Great acts of war/genocide, as well as murder of notable people (Christ, Lincoln, JFK, his bro, MLK, ) etc......I think we should treat the Noah's flood for what it is ...a notable natural event....and leave the hyperbole out of it.

    January 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
  10. JW

    Such an awesome catastrophe ( Deluge ), if it really happened, would never have been completely forgotten. Hence, in many nations there are reminders of that destruction. Consider, for example, the precise date recorded in the Scriptures. The second month of the ancient calendar ran from what we now call mid-October to mid-November. So the 17th day corresponds approximately to the first of November. It may not be a coincidence, then, that in many lands, festivals for the dead are celebrated at that time of year.

    When people celebrate Halloween or the day of the dead, they are without knowing, feeling sorrow for the wicked people that died including the half demon half human gods...Have you thought about that?

    January 28, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
    • Observer

      JW,

      A "deluge" is ANY bad flood. There's been thousands.

      Glad to hear the Bible tells us the date. What YEAR did it happen? How about what CENTURY? What MILLENIUM?

      January 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
      • JW

        What was the year of the flood?

        One pivotal date is 539 B.C.E., the year when Persian King Cyrus overthrew Babylon. Secular sources for the time of his reign include Babylonian tablets and doc.uments of Diodorus, Africanus, Eusebius, and Ptolemy. Because of a decree issued by Cyrus, a Jewish remnant left Babylon and arrived in their homeland in 537 B.C.E. That marked the end of Judah’s 70-year desolation, which according to the Biblical record had begun in 607 B.C.E. By taking into account the period of the judges and the reigns of Israel’s kings, we can determine that the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt occurred in 1513 B.C.E. Bible-based chronology takes us back another 430 years to the making of the covenant with Abraham in 1943 B.C.E. Next we must take into account the births and life spans of Terah, Nahor, Serug, Reu, Peleg, Eber, and Shelah, as well as Arpachshad, who was born “two years after the deluge.” (Genesis 11:10-32)

        We can thus place the beginning of the Flood in the year 2370 B.C.E.*

        January 28, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • Observer

          JW,

          Good; Now you can inform Wikipedia. They are saying "In Israel, there is no such evidence of a widespread flood." but you know better.

          It's probably going to be news for LOTS of historians.

          January 28, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
        • G to the T

          2370 BCE

          So you are trying to say that the flood occured between the 6th and 7th Dynasties in Egypt? During the "golden" age of Ur in Mesopotamia (2747-2398)? 40 years before the Xia Dynasty of China (2030-1556)?

          The time just isn't there for the type of biological/cultural bottleneck you are describing.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
        • JW

          G- how do you know the precise times of those dynasty's?

          January 28, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
        • G to the T

          We know the dates primarily from the writings, artifacts, etc these people left behind. Most of these have been long established (for example the Dynasties in Egypt) and commonly used in classes like those I took in college for archeology/anthropology.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:21 am |
    • Punt

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o3mNDmNv8k&w=640&h=390]

      January 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
      • JW

        Whos that kid? Why should i believe this kid?!

        January 28, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • Punt

          Chris is one of the keynote speakers for the American Atheist convention in Salt Lake City, this spring. Register for the 2014 convention! http://www.atheists.org/con...

          January 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
        • JW

          Punt- I respects what you believe and this kid, but i dont believe in such ideology.

          January 28, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
        • Punt

          No Kidding .

          January 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          The kid has one thing on you...the kid resides according to the 21st century evidence and not according to 1st century primitive man thoughts. We get that you don't agree with this kid, to do so would tear apart your world. You don't care what the facts are, you make your own as you go along thinking you are appeasing a god that doesn't exist and then you go door to door harassing good people spreading your brand of delusions and lies.

          January 28, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
        • JW

          He just a human with his own views and opinions... Whouldnt that make him equal to Moses or another writer of the bible according to you??

          January 28, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
        • Des

          Everyone, be careful of JW. He has back out here often on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. Keep pressing him on points like this:

          So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
        • Des

          Everyone, be careful of JW. He has been back out here often on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. Keep pressing him on points like this:

          So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
        • JW

          Des- copy/paste all the time is too easy!

          January 28, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
  11. monk

    IT WAS CHEST SHAPED

    The Genesis account shows that God determined to cleanse the earth of wickedness by deluging the planet with water. He told Noah to construct an ark in order to preserve himself, his family, and representatives of the animal world through this great Flood. God told Noah to make the ark 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. (Genesis 6:15) According to one conservative estimate, this would make the ark about 438 feet [134 m] long, 73 feet [22 m] wide, and 44 feet [13 m] high. It thus had a gross volume of some 1,400,000 cubic feet [40,000 cu m].
    The Ark’s Design
    The ark was constructed with three decks, which gave it added strength and provided a total floor space of about 96,000 square feet [8,900 sq m]. It was built of resinous—and thus water-resistant—wood, possibly cypress, and was sealed inside and outside with tar. (Genesis 6:14-16) We are not told how Noah fastened the timbers together. But even before relating the Flood account, the Bible mentions forgers of copper and iron tools. (Genesis 4:22) In any case, to this day wooden drive pins known as treenails are used to build some wooden ships.
    The ark had internal compartments, a door in its side, and a one-cubit-high tso′har, which may have been a gabled roof, possibly having openings below it for ventilation and light. The Genesis account makes no mention, however, of a keel or a prow or of any sails, oars, or rudders on the ark. In fact, the same Hebrew word for “ark” is used to describe the pitch-covered basket used by the mother of the infant Moses to keep him afloat in the waters of the Nile River.—Exodus 2:3, 10.
    Good Seakeeping
    The ark’s length was six times its width and ten times its height. Many modern ships have similar proportions, although for them the length-to-breadth ratio is chosen with regard to the power required to move them through the water. The ark, on the other hand, had only to float. How well would it have performed?
    The manner in which vessels respond to wind and waves is called seakeeping behavior. This too is related to a vessel’s proportions. The Bible describes the tremendous downpour that produced the Flood and also says that God later caused a wind to blow. (Genesis 7:11, 12, 17-20; 8:1) The Scriptures do not say how strong the waves and wind were, but likely both wind and waves would have been powerful and changeable, even as they can be today. The longer and harder the wind blows, the higher and farther apart are the waves. In addition, any seismic action could have produced strong waves.
    The ark’s proportions contributed to its stability, preventing it from capsizing. The ark was also designed to deal with the forces that could cause it to pitch lengthwise in heavy seas. Extreme pitching—when each wave lifts one end of the vessel and then allows it to plunge downward—would have been very uncomfortable for the people and animals on board. Pitching also puts heavy stresses on a vessel. The structure must be strong enough to resist the tendency to sag in the middle when large waves lift both ends of the vessel at the same time. Yet, when a large wave lifts the vessel at its midpoint, with nothing to support its ends, the bow and stern may bend downward. God told Noah to use a length-to-depth ratio of 10 to 1. Later shipbuilders would learn only by hard experience that such a ratio can accommodate these stresses.
    Safe and Comfortable
    Because of the ark’s chestlike shape, buoyancy—the force that makes a boat float—would have been uniform from end to end. Its weight too would have been uniform. Likely, Noah made sure that the cargo—including the animals and more than a year’s supply of food—was distributed evenly. Good weight distribution minimizes the additional stress that cargo places on a vessel’s structure. Thus, two main factors contributed to the ability of the ark and its passengers to ride out the global Flood safely—the ark’s divinely originated design and Jehovah’s protective care. God undoubtedly saw to it that the ark came to rest in a safe and suitable location.
    My thorough examination of this subject led me to conclude that what the Bible says about Noah’s ark is realistic and consistent with modern shipbuilding practice. Of course, there are many details about the ark and the Flood that are not mentioned in the Genesis account. I hope one day, after the resurrection, to meet Noah here on earth, right among the families of humans and animals whose existence was made possible by the ark that he worked so long and hard to construct. (Acts 24:15; Hebrews 11:7) First, I will thank him and his family. Then I will ply him with many questions.—Contributed.

    January 28, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I don't know what is more disturbing... your idiotic theory... or the fact that you actually believe your own nonsense.

      January 28, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
  12. children of Israel

    Were living in days of Noah (Genesis 6:12-13) These are days of Lot and Babylon America is worst than Sodom (Luke 17:28-29) What does The Word of God say about science? (1st. Timothy 6:20) God resists the proud, those stuck in their pride. *Genesis 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

    January 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
    • Observer

      children of Israel,

      The people of Israel in Jerusalem were WORSE than those in Sodom.

      January 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
  13. Observer

    The sheer nonsense of the Ark story makes for fascinating analysis as with any science fiction story.

    Where did the water come from? Where did the water go to?

    The humorous explanation from Christians is that it all suddenly started flowing out of the earth, as if there is that much water that could come out without anything replacing it. Any stories about the earth collapsing? Any laws of science that would allow water to come out of the earth, but not allow any of it to return?

    If the water was siphoned in from outer space, where did it come from and go back to?

    January 28, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
    • JW

      The water came from rain...
      Where did it go? No were...its still here on earth!

      January 28, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
      • Observer

        JW,

        Nope. If all the clouds in the sky emptied, the sea level would rise 3 FEET or less.

        January 28, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
        • JW

          How do you know that?

          January 28, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
        • Topher

          It came from more than just clouds, dude. Read the text.

          January 28, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
        • Observer

          JW,

          I read it in Marilyn vos Savant's column or Ripley's Believe It or Not or in both.

          January 28, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
        • JW

          Observer- Have you taught that those people might have it wrong? Why are you sure those people have it right?

          January 28, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
        • Observer

          JW,

          Marilyn vos Savant has the highest IQ of any person in the world. If you can name someone more likely to know what they are talking about, please tell me.

          By the way, if she was WRONG about that, there would be experts everywhere laughing at her.

          January 28, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • JW

          Because that person has a high IQ that doesnt mean that know hes the "mister know it all"...

          January 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
        • Observer

          JW,

          So who is your expert and what do they say?

          January 28, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
        • JW

          Observer- the Noahs flood story is in the Bible...The bible was preserved by God untill this day. Moses the writer of Genesis, leaved long time ago, and certainly had access to information that people do not have today, specially about the Deluge.

          What better source of info can i have?

          January 28, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
        • Observer

          JW,

          Here's the problem.

          One source, the person with the world's highest IQ (and apparently supported by a lack of people screaming about it) says about 3 feet.

          The other source, a book full of errors and contradictions, says 29,000 feet.

          Wonder which is more likely correct?

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

          the bible says 15 cubits. ( A cubit equaled 44.5 cm (17.5 in.) So its 6m ubove the mountains...

          January 28, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
        • JW

          That person doenst even know how was the landscape of that time..

          January 28, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
        • Des

          Everyone, be careful of JW. He is back out here on recruiting missions for his deadly cult and needs to engage you to score himself points for it. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. Keep pressing him on points like this:

          So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
    • Serge Storms

      I never could figure out how Noah managed to collect specimens of the numerous species of insects that live only in the Brazilian rain forest. Dude must have been busy...

      January 28, 2014 at 7:50 pm |
      • JW

        Explain to us how it was?!

        January 28, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Yep, it doesn't make sense but crazy people like our resident harasment professional JW don't have the slightest clue to comprehend how impossible it was nor do they care about actual evidence.

        January 28, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
        • JW

          I do care about evidence. Though an evidence today cannot be an evidence for what happened 4000 years ago...

          January 28, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          The fact remains that the 'evidence' you are relying on is unreliable, very little substantiating data to back it. We expect some of your evidence to be real, even a good Stephen King novel shows an element of truth.
          The bible can be debunked easily and yet no matter how many times this is pointed out to you, you will continue to spin circles with it for fear that accepting anything other than what you have been told all your life will crash your world. It's a weak minded stance to take.
          You go door to door with your cult, recruiting and spreading lies.
          In the end you don't truly care about the evidence, you only care about the story melding with your belief. If you cared, you wouldn't be a believer.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
        • Des

          Everyone, be careful of JW. He is back out here on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. "Harassment professional" is a perfect term to use for him. Keep pressing him on points like this:

          So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
        • JW

          Des- lol!

          January 28, 2014 at 8:20 pm |
        • JW

          Des- read Acts 15:28,29! And let the scriptures "talk".

          January 28, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
        • Des

          Everyone, be careful of JW. He is back out here on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. Keep pressing him on points like this:

          So, JW, answer the question. No scripture spewing; we've read that. Are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

          January 28, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
  14. bostontola

    Why didn't God just kill everybody but Noah and his entourage? You know with that same trick He used to kill all the Egyptian first born.

    The Noah story is curious in it's selected use of supernatural power. It could have rained, everyone drowned except for a few that god saved by any number of means. Bit no, that would seem crazy to people thousands of years ago. Every knows that to survive a deluge, you'd need a ship.

    The flood story was taken for granted by many people across many religions. So they made it make sense to them at the time. They didn't noodle through all the consequences since they didn't even know what was physically possible and what required supernatural intervention. It's pretty clear.

    January 28, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
    • Austin

      He told us what we need to know.

      That you can be saved through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, and His love and forgiveness for Bostontola.

      January 28, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
      • Science Works

        Next UP the pope on the cover of the Rolling Stone .

        January 28, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
      • sam stone

        still groveling before the vindictive pr1ck to be saved, eh?

        January 28, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Oh Austin, you know how morbid that whole washing in the blood of your imaginary friend is? Perhaps your crazed mind won't allow you to see it that way. Are you sure you're using a library computer and not the one at the nurses station at the asylum (it suits your crazed mind and is where you belong)?

        January 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
  15. Austin

    Revelation 21:8

    8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the se.xually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

    “There is no one righteous, not even one;
    11 there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
    12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”[b]
    13 “Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues practice deceit.”[c]
    “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d]
    14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
    15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
    17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f]
    18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]

    19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

    January 28, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
    • Austin

      Romans 5:8

      8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

      January 28, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      More proof that you don't reside in this century and are incapable of thinking for yourself.

      January 28, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
  16. JW

    Such an awesome catastrophe ( Deluge ), if it really happened, would never have been completely forgotten. Hence, in many nations there are reminders of that destruction. Consider, for example, the precise date recorded in the Scriptures. The second month of the ancient calendar ran from what we now call mid-October to mid-November. So the 17th day corresponds approximately to the first of November. It may not be a coincidence, then, that in many lands, festivals for the dead are celebrated at that time of year.

    Other evidences of the Deluge linger in mankind’s traditions. Practically all ancient peoples have a legend that their ancestors survived a global flood. African Pygmies, European Celts, South American Incas—all have similar legends, as do peoples of Alaska, Australia, China, India, Lithuania, Mexico, Micronesia, New Zealand, and parts of North America, to mention only a few.

    Of course, over time the legends have been embellished, but they all include several details indicating a common source narrative: God was angered by mankind’s wickedness. He brought a great flood. Mankind as a whole was destroyed. A few righteous ones, however, were preserved. These built a vessel in which humans and animals were saved. In time, birds were sent out to search for dry land. Finally, the vessel came to rest on a mountain. Upon disembarking, the survivors offered a sacrifice.

    What does this prove? The similarities cannot possibly be coincidental. The combined evidence of these legends corroborates the Bible’s ancient testimony that all humans descend from the survivors of a flood that destroyed a world of mankind. Hence, we do not need to rely on legends or myths to know what happened. We have the carefully preserved record in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible.—Genesis, chapters 6-8.

    January 28, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
    • Observer

      JW,

      MILLIONS of animals times 2 = LOTS of animals. All the animals have diet requirements including koalas needing eucalyptus leaves and carnivores needing FRESH meat. All the animals need EXERCISE. All of the animals need pooper scooping. Yep EIGHT people fed, exercised, and cared for MILLIONS of animals.

      Do some THINKING.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
    • Nate Mullikin

      It proves that anything can be published.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
    • Markin_FL

      A carefully recorded record of a verbal tradition already thousands of years old by then. Pretty authoritative that.

      January 28, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
  17. JW

    It is of interest that the Chinese character for “ship” is derived from the idea of “eight persons in a vessel.” This bears a striking resemblance to the Bible account about Noah and his family, eight persons, who survived the Flood in an ark (1Pe 3:20)

    January 28, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      CMI, you mean? See

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Hanzi_of_Genesis

      January 28, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
    • Des

      Everyone, be very careful of JW. He is back out here often on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. Keep pressing him on points like this:

      So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

      January 28, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
  18.  Dwight

    Oh goodie, so they are bringing Monty Python back!

    January 28, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
  19. Free post-holiday mixed nuts

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

    January 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
    •  

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is3icfcbmbs&w=640&h=390]

      January 28, 2014 at 6:31 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.