April 5th, 2014
08:56 AM ET

When God plays the villain

Opinion by Joel S. Baden, special to CNN

(CNN) - Most modern people tend to distinguish between the wrathful God of the Old Testament and the merciful God of the New Testament.

In our age, the merciful God reigns - or so we like to think.

But every so often, stories or books or natural disasters summon visions of a wrathful God, and nowhere is that more in evidence than in the biblical story of the Flood, now brutally depicted in Darren Aronofsky’s new film “Noah.”

With our notion of a God who loves us all individually, especially the little children, we struggle with a deity who would wipe out all of humanity. Surely there were many innocent people, children, who died in the Flood?

But let’s be clear: This is our problem, not the Bible’s.

According to the biblical story of the Flood, it was not individuals who were wicked; it was humanity as a whole, a wickedness encoded in humanity’s very nature. Young, old, male, female, “every plan devised by humanity’s mind was nothing but evil all the time,” says the Book of Genesis.

Nor is the Flood intended to eradicate humanity’s wickedness so that we might begin anew as a peaceful species, as the film “Noah” seems to suggest.

In the Bible, Noah and his descendants don’t promise to behave differently after the flood. Rather, God learns to accept their inherently evil nature: “Never again will I doom the earth because of humanity, since the devisings of humanity’s mind are evil from their youth.”

We are who we are.

In fact, according to the Bible, the reason that God accepts human nature is because we are the only species that can give him what he wants — which, in the view of Genesis, is bloody, burned animal sacrifices. (So much for the pro-vegetarian angle of Aronofsky’s film.)

MORE ON CNN: Does God have a prayer in Hollywood?

The God of the Old Testament is not uniquely protective of children. After all, this is the same deity who commands the Israelites to slaughter their enemies, “man and woman, young and old.”

The same God who accepts without comment Jephthah’s sacrifice of his own daughter, who allows children to be mauled by a bear for taunting one of his prophets, who threatens Israel with such devastating famine that they will be forced to eat their own infants.

Innocent lives are rarely a moral problem for Israel’s God.

Consider the debate between Abraham and God over the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham asks his maker, “Will you sweep away the innocent along with the guilty?”

Abraham succeeds in talking God down to sparing the city for the sake of 10 innocent lives. When the city is then destroyed anyway, we are left to surmise that there must have been fewer than 10 good people there. But there might have been nine — and they burned with the rest.

Aronofsky must have recognized our modern moral conundrum: His depiction of humanity outside the family of Noah is almost entirely negative, so that we feel very little compassion for them. Even as they clamber for space on mountaintops as the waters rise.

MORE ON CNN: Noah's Ark discovery raises flood of questions

The one exception to humanity’s general wickedness, a young woman who does not make it onto the ark, stands in for all the innocents swept away in the Flood.

But how innocent is she, really?

The film hews close to the Christian notion of original sin: Noah states quite forcefully that humans have all been corrupted since the expulsion from the Garden.

From that perspective, there are no truly innocent humans, regardless of how innocently they may behave.

In the film, the only real innocents are the animals. They remain so, one character says, because they behave as they did in Eden. Which, of course, is more than anyone can say for Adam and Eve. Notably, Aronofsky does not show any animals drowning or struggling for life, though they also must have.

Again, this is not a problem for the Old Testament: The animals are as inherently guilty as the humans. “All flesh” — animals included — “had corrupted its way on the earth,” we are told in Genesis.

So, we have to separate our notion of innocence — and of God’s nature — from that of the Old Testament authors.

The God of the Old Testament does not love humans; he barely tolerates them. The relationship is not one of affection but one of necessity and of obedience.

We are promised that there will never be another Flood because God wants and needs our sacrifices.

The family of the patriarchs is chosen out of all humanity not because they are somehow more righteous but so that they can exemplify correct obedience for the other nations of the world.

Israel is saved from Egypt not out of love but in order that they will be uniquely beholden to God and will serve him — again, with sacrifices — in the way that God most desires.

Israel’s God is not a beneficent one. He is, in the words of his prophet Nahum, “a passionate, avenging God; vengeful, and fierce in wrath.”

It is not his job to keep us happy and comfortable; it is, rather, our job to make ourselves uncomfortable that he might be appeased.

And yet there is no question that the Old Testament God is not the same God we know and worship today, in modern America.

How, then, do we, who still hold the Bible dear, reconcile our idea of God with God’s actions, in the Flood story and elsewhere?

One possibility is simply to take the Bible at its word: All of humanity, and indeed all of the animals too, was wicked, and even Noah was not entirely righteous but only the most righteous of his wicked generation, as an ancient Jewish tradition stated.

The moral problem is then not why everyone perished, but why — as the movie version asks — anyone was saved at all.

Another possibility is to attribute a shift in personality to the deity: from wrathful to merciful, in line with the division between the Old and New Testaments.

For those who believe in a new dispensation with the arrival of Jesus, this option seems relatively easy. For those who don’t, not so much.

A third choice is to fall back — quite easily — on the essential unknowability of God.

We are not granted the same understanding or perception as is the deity. Which is to say: We have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Whichever of these paths one takes — and there are surely others — we are struggling with the same basic problem, trying to find some solution that will bring the God of the Old Testament into line with our modern God.

In other words, it is our changing concept of God, over two millennia, that is responsible for the moral dilemma. It’s our problem, not the Bible’s.

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 opinions in this column belong to Baden. 

Box office report: 'Noah' wreaks Old Testament havoc on its competitors

A flood of reviews for 'Noah'

Is 'Noah' film sacred enough?

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Art • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Death • Faith • Judaism • Media • Movies • natural disasters • Opinion

soundoff (1,259 Responses)
  1. Chris

    The author raises some valid thought provoking points.

    The biggest question as it relates to the bible, is this:

    Can a person afford to ignore the New Testament and just stick to the Old Testament?

    If we honestly open our hearts, to look for the answer, the answer to that question would be, No!

    We need both the old and the new to have a relationship with Almighty G-d and for our salvation.

    April 10, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
  2. Jonathan


    April 10, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
    • Jonathan

      That is the cutest rendition of the story of Jonah!

      April 10, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
      • Jonathan

        Jonah questioned God, because Jonah was angry that enemies had been spared. When Jonah stopped outside the city to rest, God provided a vine to shelter him from the hot sun. Jonah was happy with the vine, but the next day God provided a worm that ate the vine, making it wither. Growing faint in the sun, Jonah complained again.

        God scolded Jonah for being concerned about a vine, but not about Nineveh, which had 120,000 lost people. The story ends with God expressing concern even about the wicked

        Jonah thought he knew better than God. But in the end he learned a valuable lesson about the Lord's mercy and forgiveness, which extends beyond Jonah to all people who repent and believe. Is there some area of your life in which you are defying God, and rationalizing it? Remember that God wants you to be open and honest with him. It's always wise to obey the One who loves you most.

        April 10, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
  3. Shadrach

    Another possibility is to attribute a shift in personality to the deity: from wrathful to merciful, in line with the division between the Old and New Testaments.

    Actually, it needs to be worded as follows:

    The Bible is about how merciful God is. A merciful God who paid the ultimate price required for mankind's redemption.

    April 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • Shadrach

      John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

      April 9, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
    • Juan Monroe

      The Old Testament is made complete by the New Testament and the New Testament draws from the Old Testament timeline in establishing God's covenant with man.

      April 9, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
    • Hecate

      "The Bible is about how merciful God is. A merciful God who paid the ultimate price required for mankind’s redemption."

      Without the NT, how would you categorize the nature of God?



      April 9, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
    • Sean

      There are consequences for disobeying God and we find that in the bible. What does it teach man – to be careful and walk in obedience. God is just and merciful throughout the bible.

      April 10, 2014 at 9:01 am |
    • Sean

      It was through the historical revelation starting from Adam, Noah, Abraham... and in the fullness of time, His revelation to man was made complete in the bible. God must be revered, exalted and worshipped.


      On another note, people end up playing 'yes man' to mortal beings all the time. Most people have no problem kissing the patooties of their manager, the authorities and all other sinful men.

      Why would they dare have a problem obeying the Creator?

      April 10, 2014 at 9:13 am |
  4. pandeist

    All of the stories from all of Man's scriptures are fully accounted for, and so revolutionarily superseded, by Pandeism, which demonstrates the logical probability of all of these nonuniversal propostions as simply reflecting the miscomprehensions of the limited human mind in attempting to grasp an ultimate underlying reality.

    April 9, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
  5. MadeFromDirt

    More garbage and self-incrimination from Baden. His agenda and bad theology are well-known.
    God never changes. God's love, righteousness, grace, mercy, and wrath are the same today as in eternity past, and will be the same in eternity forward. The Old Testament points to the New Testament, and the NT is built upon the OT; there is no division. The Gospel is the common thread throughout all of Scripture for us. Cutting that thread and putting man's perspective, desires, and needs ahead of God, or positing that is a worthwhile endeavor to contemplate as Baden does, always leads to confusion and darkness in the end.

    April 8, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
    • Akira

      He seems pretty well educated:

      B.A. Yale University, 1999 (Judaic Studies)

      M.A. University of Chicago, 2002 (Northwest Semitics)

      Ph.D. Harvard University, 2007 (Hebrew Bible)

      And, of course, it's his opinion.

      April 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      MadeFromDirt: Do you feel you know more about this topic than this educated man? If so, based on what?

      April 9, 2014 at 5:49 am |
    • MadeFromDirt

      Knowing Christ is not a matter of degrees.

      Study of Scripture through the filter of man's biases results in the type of man-centered ideas proferred by Baden, like "God learns to accept their inherently evil nature", and humans "are the only species that can give him what he wants — which, in the view of Genesis, is bloody, burned animal sacrifices", and "it is, rather, our job to make ourselves uncomfortable that he might be appeased." When the Old Testament is studied with the acceptance of the Gospel that was revealed in its fullness in the New Testament, you understand that Baden's ideas like these are false and deceptive. Baden is an example showing when you start out wrong, you end with nonsense, confusion, and darkness.

      April 9, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • Akira

        He is a thorough scholar of all things OT. Which is where the story on Noah is from. Which Baden seems to have studied in great detail. Making it his life's work, as it were.

        Of course you disagree with him. You study the NT much more.

        April 9, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
      • sealchan

        Is there another kind of idea other than man-centered? God will always appear to change because humans do. None of us is so perfect as to have an imperfect understanding. Given that you openly state that an original text can only be interpreted from the perspective of a later text exemplifies on many levels the kind of misguided arrogance that people who think they have a superior mastery over knowledge of God typically exhibit.

        April 9, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • Hecate

          Very well said.

          April 9, 2014 at 9:19 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Sealchan, God-centered ideas are not man-centered. Your perspective is obviously man-centered, making the nature of God and His Covenants and revelations subject to the shifting cultures and technology of men. But that is wrong; we are the creatures, and nothing about us can ever equal or change our Creator.
          At the time of the Old Testament, God's Covenants were in place for His people of the time, as revealed first verbally from generation to generation, then when Hebrew became a written language, by Moses and the prophets, and through all time the intended audience knew as much about their condition and need for salvation as God wanted them to know at the time. The faithful Jews of the Old Testament looked to a future savior that God promised would arise from their people. God's people didn't know how all the details would fall into place, and they didn't exactly know that He was coming to only set up a Kingdom of Heaven, not a kingdom of the earth and flesh, but they were led by God's grace to trust Him toward their justification, righteousness, and salvation. For those who live today, and as willed by God for His audience in this time, we know the details of Jesus Christ, and so we know that God's revelation of His plan for man's permanent reconciliation with Him was progressive, not a changing one, and so our understanding of the Old Testament is fully informed by the events of the New Testament. God and His plan are the same today as they were in Eden, at the time of Noah, during the reigns of Kings David and Solomon, during the times of Hebrew captivity and exile, and when Jesus walked the earth; only the audiences were different, and each audience has a responsibility to acknowledge what has been revealed in their time. What a wonderful plan and awesome God He is.

          April 9, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
        • Angelica

          The question was asked above: what would you think of God 's nature if there had never been a NT written, Made?

          And I think I will take the opinion of a Hebrew Bible scholar who has dedicated years of his life to the study of Judaism and the OT over some guy who is disgruntled because he desperately dislikes the author and wants to slander him.

          April 10, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Angelica sweetie, your question is hypothetical and serves no purpose in discerning the truth that faces us today. Such questions are a man-centered diversion.

          It is not slander to point out how Baden's opinion is wrong. Baden is correct that man creates a problem for himself when Scripture is misunderstood, but then Baden contributes to that problem by fostering incomplete interpretations that are internally inconsistent with the whole of Scripture and contrary to the glorification of God. But Baden knows there is a paying audience for that sort of elevation of man and so he digs his own pit, and you and the others fall in too, preferring to view our Creator and His Word as pliable to man's actions and wishes, rather than accepting His absolute sovereignty, the inerrancy of Scripture, and our utter helplessness before Him. When God's Spirit is in us, our study of Scripture looks for and finds reinforcement of God's glory (regardless of the time lived in), drawing us closer to Him and His love. When God is not with you, study of Scripture produces man-centered interpretations and exceptions, driving you away from Him. God created us for His purposes, not ours.

          April 10, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
        • new-man

          couldn't have said it any better.


          April 10, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
        • otoh2


          This "God" character primed 'his' "chosen people" for hundreds of years about 'his' future arrival and then couldn't even be bothered to convince those very Hebrews of 'his' presence (neither during the alleged Jesus's life nor afterwards)? 99%+ of the Hebrews living right there at the time and well able to meet, hear or otherwise interact with Jesus did not believe the story.

          Paul had to go peddle his dogma/doctrine to far-flung outliers.

          April 10, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        • sealchan

          @MadeFromDirt, I am a Christian but I have to say, it makes no sense to claim the Bible as the unerring word of God...how can humans not err in reading it? How can humans, who wrote it, transcribed it, translated it, not have erred? There is no unbroken chain of perfection leading anyone to God.

          April 10, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
        • sealchan

          Furthermore, there are contradictions in the New Testament synoptic gospels and between the epistles and acts. Where is the sign of perfection in this? Again I am a Christian and I believe, by faith, in the Bible but I do not believe any work of humans (the Bible) is superior to the reality that God created (the World).

          April 10, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Otoh2, thank you for further demonstrating the erroneous results of taking a man-centered perspective. The Jews' widespread rejection of Jesus actually fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament, most notably Isaiah 53. So the rejection does not cast doubt on the Gospel, it affirms it, except in the minds of the lost. It also makes the early spread of the Gospel in the face of such rejection and persecution all the more amazing.

          New-man brother, thank you for the encouragement, and your ongoing efforts in this service to our King.

          April 10, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Sealchan, something in my reply to you got blocked by the primitive wordfilter and I can't find it this time. So the short version of my reply is to refer you to "The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy". I sense you are searching for deep answers with an open heart.

          April 10, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
        • sealchan

          I read the Wikipedia article on the Chicago Statement...it seems to imply that there exists inerrancy in the original manuscripts which to our knowledge no longer exist...really? That sounds like a dog ate my homework argument to me.

          April 11, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Sealchan, if you are truly curious, you will take the time to read the entire Chicago Statement and exposition with thoughtful effort. It's not too long.

          Regarding your apparent primary concern about the unavailability of the original manuscripts, rigorous and skeptical testing of the consistency of the extant earliest copies of those originals has not jeopardized their accuracy.

          In the bigger picture, it is a slippery and dangerous slope away from God to doubt that the Word of God as available to us now in the entire Bible does not sufficiently provide the explanation of God's nature and grace and the means for our salvation through faith in Christ, and such a situation cannot logically stand anyway. If God did not communicate and preserve His Truth to man who He created in His image, He would not be God. And what man would have the authority to decide where the Bible went wrong, and what gives them that authority? Why would God give such authority to a man to supplement and correct His revelation, rather than providentially preserve it in fullness from the time of its divinely inspired origin? Any man claiming such authority would logically not be of God. This comes back to a man-centered perspective, a desire to step in for God and be equal to Him, and to create our own rules. The bottom line is, when subjectivity enters the analysis, relativity is substetuted for absolute truth.

          April 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
  6. sealchan

    It would not be unreasonable to see the Bible's changing perspective on God as due to the historical context...with God's most ruthless actions taking place in the distant path when, perhaps, natural disasters had greater impact on civilization. In the time of Jesus the Jews suffered through various conquests and cultural disruptions. Today we look on humanity as its own worst emeny, whereas, in the past, perhaps, God (aka Nature) was most to be feared. But lets start finding an orbitting path of debris that comes progressively closer to Earth resulting in its probable destruction and we can return to a more Noah-esque perspective of God very quickly!

    April 8, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
    • sealchan

      Or would scientists who believe we desperately need to increase funding for asteroid detection in the solar system be our modern version of Noah? Do we ignore off-planet colonization at our peril?

      Christians today should be speaking to these practical issues as examples from Scripture. They don't, perhaps, because so many miss the point that they would rather become the complacent that surrounded Noah and assume that so long as there are rainbows we are safe, rather than act for the future to protect what is most precious on this planet, our current Garden of Eden.

      April 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
  7. Salero21

    Good Lord in Heaven!!! Not even in such a place as Hollywood the atheists/evolutionists are having a good day. Only Idolaters and the hom.ose.xuals are still having a good time there.

    April 8, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
    • iamyourgod2014

      Hi Salero21, it's me God. Yep...you are correct. I keep trying to talk to my loyal servants, but those darn (um can you not you that other word please, didn't you read my bible?) atheists are everywhere. Now here is the message I want you to spread (from the bible) The firstborn of thy sons thou shalt give unto me....you got that, and don't be altering it and looking for another meaning. that is what i meant. let me know how it goes.

      April 8, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
    • Hecate

      You're kind of an odd duck, aren't you?

      April 9, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
  8. Salero21

    Whaaat, more Evidence on top of Evidence that atheism/evolution/idolatry are Absolutely, Completely, and Totally out of whack!!!

    April 8, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
    • commonsensed01

      Care to elaborate how this is so?

      April 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Angelica

      Tightly wound, are you?

      April 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
  9. samsjmail

    What a moron god is. He decided to be "merciful" only after he wiped out humanity. He killed all of the innocent first born sons of Egypt instead of just killing the pharaoh.

    If there was an "intelligent designer", clearly it wasn't the christian god. Who do you think it was?

    April 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
    • Salero21

      Your ignorance of Scripture not surprising. You're one more example, clearly a DEMONstration once again of the Absolute, Complete and Total Stupidity of atheism/evolutionism and Idolatry of the Egyptians and their Descendants. Or; is it possible that you evolved/descended from some ape like Creature?

      April 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
      • igaftr

        Not a creature, since there is no evidence of any creatures. Creature implies created, and that cannot be verified.
        We, you included) are descendants of an ape like animal. Your DNA proves it.

        April 8, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • Salero21

          Your DNA may prove it to you!!! Mine does not!!!

          April 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • igaftr

          Yes I know salero, because you completely reject scientific fact and think that belief in something that cannot be verified makes sense.

          Since you claim your DNA does not prove it, you cannot be a human, otherwise, your DNA is proof, verifiable, and undeniable.

          OH, that's right. I do not know what trolls evolved from, so you are probably right.

          April 8, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
      • iamyourgod2014

        Excuse me Salero21, ahem!! God speaking. I never said that in the scripture. Go read it again, and I already told you to stop spreading lies. I meant to murder all the first born children like it says in the bible. Stop misreading my message. ...hang on a second...ya Jesus? ya i know, he should use google more...ok I'll tell him....ummm Salero21, Jesus says you probably won't be allowed in the pearly gates. fyi.

        April 8, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
  10. sealchan

    I think one of the most often made mistakes in Biblical interpretation is to put the cart before the horse, or the Bible before reality. In this case the supposed reality, that is, the great flood, a story from ?Babylonian myth, was likely the reference in this Biblical story. Given that the flood happened (let's assume the author of the story believed it had happened), how would the God of which the story author understood, have handled it? God judged humanity with it seems to be one of the answers. Of course, if you are an atheist you could also understand that if an asteriod were to strike our planet today, we could see it as a judgement of the merits of humanity in the sense of humanities ability to pay attention to the things that it should pay attention to in order to survive a catastrophic planetary collision. Did we know if advance? Should we have? In what sense can humanity understand the value of such a catastrophic event? In many ways the story's sense depends on how much Noah's knowledge was private to him and how much was Noah's knowledge something that others could understand. Also, it seems that in Genesis there is always an emphasis on a single individual and his family having made it past some critical moment. Perhaps this theme guided the author as much as anything.

    April 7, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      How does one make a "mistake" in "interpretation" of a book of fables and myths?

      Different people read it, and have different interpretations of what they think the authors were saying, or trying to say. Take from it whatever you want – just don't say that it's the "Word of God" and expect that statement to go unchallenged.

      April 7, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
      • justpro86

        The accuracy of the Gospels has been supported by archaeology. John's accuracy has also been attested to by recent discoveries. In John 5:1-15 Jesus heals a man at the Pool of Bethesda. John describes the pool as having five porticoes. This site had long been in dispute until recently. Forty feet underground, archaeologists discovered a pool with five porticoes, and the description of the surrounding area matches John's description. In 9:7 John mentions another long disputed site, the Pool of Siloam. However, this pool was also discovered in 1897, upholding the accuracy of John.

        Evidence for Pontius Pilate, the governor who presided over the trial of Jesus, was discovered in Caesarea Maritama. In 1961, an Italian archaeologist named Antonio Frova uncovered a fragment of a plaque that was used as a section of steps leading to the Caesarea Theater. The inscription, written in Latin, contained the phrase, "Pontius Pilatus, Prefect of Judea has dedicated to the people of Caesarea a temple in honor of Tiberius." This temple is dedicated to the Emperor Tiberius who reigned from 14–37 A.D. This fits well chronologically with the New Testament which records that Pilot ruled as procurator from 26–36 A.D. Tacitus, a Roman historian of the first century, also confirms the New Testament designation of Pilate. He writes, "Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus. . . ."

        April 8, 2014 at 9:57 am |
        • kudlak

          Fiction writers routinely describe real locals as the setting of some of their stories, don't they?

          April 8, 2014 at 10:16 am |
        • justpro86

          Its not fiction if you can actually see it LOL

          April 8, 2014 at 10:20 am |
        • kudlak

          We don't know who actually wrote the gospel known as John and, even if we did, you'd have to take his word that he's not being an unreliable author. John is a story, and one that nobody would argue wasn't written specifically to convince people of a certain theology about Jesus. All this proves is that the author of John probably did live in the area.

          April 8, 2014 at 10:34 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Evidence for the existence of King Gilgamesh is found in inscriptions crediting him with the building of the great walls of Uruk, references to him by known historical figures of his time (26th century BCE) such as King Enmebaragesi of Kish and the Sumerian King List that says he ruled for 125 years.
          Archaeological excavations have revealed garden enclosures, specific bulidings, and structures described in The Epic of Gilgamesh – including the great king’s tomb.

          Do you think that this evidence means that Gilgamesh was a superhumanly strong demi-god who visited the Underworld?

          April 8, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • fintronics

          How can a book that contradicts itself be considered accurate??

          Does every man sin?

          1KI 8:46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;

          2CH 6:36 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;

          PRO 20:9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

          ECC 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

          JO1 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
          JO1 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
          JO1 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

          JO1 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

          April 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • Akira

          What website did you steal THIS from, justpro?

          Do you think it's right to steal?
          Do you think God would approve since it is Him you are defending?

          April 8, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • fintronics

          Is it folly to be wise or not?

          PRO 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

          ECC 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

          1CO 1:19: "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."

          April 8, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • Akira

          justpro86 says:

          Its not fiction if you can actually see it LOL

          ...so by your logic, since England exists, the Harry Potter books must be true..

          April 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • joey3467

          and finding Troy proves all of the Greek gods are real?

          April 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • igaftr

          still stealing from websites I see. Yesterday, you kept stealing from godand science.org, and today from probe.org.

          Since you take their stuff directly, without edit, and post it verbatim, you are plagarizing, which is theft.

          Do you have anything to say that doesn't come from those fake science sites?
          Why do you think it is OK to steal in your gods name?

          April 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • otoh2

          Akira & iga,

          I hear ya' about @justpro's plagiarism, but otoh, since those sites don't allow discussion or rebuttal this gives us an opportunity to refute them up one side and down the other...

          April 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • sealchan

        Interpretations can be assessed based on how much of the story and of the author's context that interpretation has a coherent relationship to. Additionally the story of Noah exists as one story within many in a long mythic narrative in Genesis. This is seen in the movie as elements from "neighboring" stories were recruited into the movie script in a way that I thought was well-done and in the spirit of those stories.

        One of the big themes in Genesis is how the one who makes it through is not the smartest, kindest, most honest or the rightful heir...it is very much up for grabs as to who passes and who does not. This same theme should be applied to Noah as it seems to have been in the film.

        April 8, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
    • kudlak

      I suppose that it's possible that a guy over 500 years old would know enough from following the seasons and climate in his little region to predict a major flood, and then just assume that some god put that thought into his head.

      April 8, 2014 at 10:25 am |
      • sealchan

        I wouldn't bet money that the flood actually happened only that the writer's audience commonly believed that it did. Rather I would go with, "stuff happens, some lucky guy and his family knew what to do and survived and now we are all alive because we are descendants from this particular person who was chosen by God". For the audience the problem wasn't so much why did God do this (God does all kinds of crazy violent stuff all the time) but how was it that anyone survived and why? There is, in my view, a lot of intentional moral ambiguity in early Genesis that gets lost in later moralizing perspectives (like Christian or even Deuteronomistic perspective).

        April 8, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
      • sealchan

        One of the points I am trying to make is that the Genesis audience perspective is probably one of constant change and violence and God, behind all of that, is both responsible for the suffering and trying to develop a people that can manage to survive it. I think in many ways it is a "we survived because we survived". That got transformed over the years into a "we survived because we were good to God". Yet no where in the Bible does anyone ever get off the hook. The sun also rises on the wicked is also always true. Its almost like all the rules are an effort to take control in a situation where finally no one or no people have control. The proverbial asteroid scenario once again.

        April 8, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
  11. harleybird

    I made it to paragraph 4 and realized this writer has no clue. First, Parents have to answer for their children. Second, Noah was telling everyone of the impending doom for many many years but like the account says they took no heed and kept eating drinking and marrying. Now if I tell you worst hurricane in history is coming but you choose to not get in the ark and you make they decision for your kids too well then yes they will die with you for the dumb decision you made. As for Lot and Sodom you think there could have been 9 guiltless people? Really? There we none to be found outside of Lot and his daughters. Lot even told his sons-in-law but they wanted to stay in the city so they died too. Silly to think that if Lot had said 9 then the city would have been spared.

    April 7, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
    • observer


      "Noah was telling everyone of the impending doom for many many years but like the account says they took no heed and kept eating drinking and marrying"

      Guess you missed the story. God wanted to KILL EVERYONE but Noah's family. Noah was going contrary to God's actual wishes. He was an immoral loser anyway.

      April 7, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
      • harleybird

        Yep and why did he want to be rid of them? Either way he has the right he is God. And Noah was immoral and going against god? He did just what he was told to do. That's pretty much what we're all supposed to do.

        April 9, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
    • Sue

      Yeah hey harleytwit, either way your god thing looks to be a mass killer and a mean twerp. Not taking heed of him should no way be a death sentence. What an unfair creep your god is. And doing genocide too, he should die with a burning poker up his back side.

      As for harleys too, they totally suck. Mainly just superfat old guys and other wimps ride them now. Honda is way better. If my man got a harley, I'd find a new ride if you get what I mean.

      April 7, 2014 at 7:32 pm |
      • justpro86

        Guess what twit he did not say anything that demeaning just explaining what happened... If you don't like God than why post on a blog about belief? Or are you just flat out trolling... God will judge who he wants and what he wants because he is simply God ...

        God is not the author of evil.8 However, God does reward and punish on the basis of good and bad behavior. Therefore, God does bring judgment and calamity (either directly or through human authorities) on those who rebel.9 God will ultimately judge all people, since rebels will not be allowed in the new, perfect creation.

        April 8, 2014 at 9:46 am |
        • Sue

          I stand by what I said, and you are a spineless coward for worshiping a pathetic, mythical sky creature that "does not allow rebels". justpro, you are a wimp and your god of your tales is a jerk. Stuff it already and grow a backbone.

          April 8, 2014 at 10:09 am |
        • justpro86

          I have a great backbone thank you very much and you should be thanking God that you can simply sit at that computer and are able to breath without God you would be nothing.... My God is real for without God nothing around you would be able to exist... Sure he can be a jerk but him being a jerk is just like a Father beating a rapist of his own daughter... LOL you are pathetic

          April 8, 2014 at 10:19 am |
        • igaftr

          "I have a great backbone thank you very much "

          No you don't, since you steal from fake science sites all the time. I seriously doubt you understand science or even basic math, since what you post is so easily shredded, they do not have valid math, nor any valid science, and misrepresent science and twist logic. You should be able to spot the errors, but instead you, like a coward, post others work, without giving credit, in an attempt to make yourself look smarter than you are.

          April 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • blessed137

        ...The Lord, The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation – Exodus 34:6-7

        The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made mann on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth...but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord...Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and HE WALKED WITH GOD. – Genesis 6:5-9

        April 8, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • fintronics

          More outright contradictions from the book of mythology...

          The sins of the father

          ISA 14:21 Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.

          DEU 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

          April 8, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • blessed137

          All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death.

          The exodus context regards generational curses that lead to death. Take the accound of King David, because of his sin his household was cursed. his children were not put to death because of David Sin but his sin lead to their death.

          the context of the scripture in deuteronomy has to due with the direct death of a sin commited by a person. For example if someone was caught in the act of adultery that person was stoned, not their children.

          April 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • igaftr

          I have not sinned. To "sin" one would first have to show any gods exist, and then you would have to show that I have transgressed in some way against that god. Since you cannot do that, you cannot show ANYONE sins at all. You may believe YOU are a sinner, but that is just believe. How horrible your religion teaches you that you are a bad person.

          April 8, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • blessed137

          The Ten Commandments – The Law
          1) Thou Shalt have no other gods before me
          2) You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or earth below...
          3)You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God
          4)Remeber the Sabbath and keep it holy
          5)Honor your father and your mother..
          6)You shall not commit murder (Hate is murder at heart-1John 3:15)
          7)You shall not commit adultery (Lust is adultery at heart-Matthew 5:28)
          8)You shall not steal
          9)You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor
          10) You shall not covel...anything belonging to your neighbor

          Ignorance of the law is not excuse to break the law. If a lunatic murdered your family and claimed he did not know what he was doing, it does not justify the action.

          April 8, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          That is not any law. That is from a work of men, that has no authority.
          It does not show that "sin" is a valid concept, it is just words from men to men.

          April 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • blessed137

          For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. – Romans 1:20

          All who sin apart from the law will perish apart from the law. – Romans 2:12

          April 8, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • blessed137

          You know why you dont want to belive it is true? Because you love your sin. You love your sinful lifestyle and by telling yourself that their in no God or absolute truth he judges by you can live out your life the way you want and not have to be troubled by knowing that there a day a judgement. You have a sinful nature, You cannot stop sinning and nor do you want to. this scares you.

          This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. John 3:19-20

          You do not have to be judged for the evil you have done. Jesus Christ took your sin upon his self and died the death you deserved.

          Therefore being justify by faith, we have peace with God thru our Lord, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
          It is by grace you have been saved, through fatih, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast – Ephesians 2:8-9

          There is hope for you and all men, It is God's desire that all men be saved. He does not want anyone to perish, Which is why he has waited over 2000 years before the coming of Christ.

          April 8, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • otoh2


          Perhaps those would be **your** reasons for not believing - they are not mine.

          Fact is, in reality, there is not a scintilla of verified, nor even verifiable, evidence that any of your book's promises or threats actually will happen.

          April 8, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • blessed137

          Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The day that you eat of eat you shall surely die. Genesis.

          That was one promise that happened and is clearly understood.

          April 8, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • igaftr

          That is all belioef from an often wrong book.
          Completely baseless and unverifiable.
          When I said that your "laws" are from a book written by men that has NO authority, why then would you keep quoting those men as if that adds to it?

          I suppose you would want me to start quoting from the Silmarillian, as if it has some authority.

          There is something I want you to try, it is called reality....look into it.

          April 8, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • otoh2

          "...one promise that happened..."

          What is your verified evidence that this event actually happened?

          Besides that, (even in storyland) it makes no sense that if they had no knowledge of good or evil, how could they know that disobeying was 'evil' or that death was 'bad'?

          April 8, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • hotairace

          And did Adam and/or Eve die the day the sit the forbidden fruit, assuming for a minute that they even existed, merely to humor delusional believers?

          April 8, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • blessed137

          The evidence is all around you. People die. God was there, and he is here. I know because God knows. The account is recorded in his Word. God said, "do not eat". They ate, They died. They knew what the Lord commanded. Once they ate they saw they were naked and they hid from God. They knew what they had done.

          (since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them – Romans 2:15)

          The only witness was God himself. Just like in the beginning when He created the world, there was only Him. People claim they know what happened even though they were not there. Sadly they assume based on human logic rather than the wisdom of God.

          Since you what to wait till you see evidence of threats, keep this in mind, As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. for in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37-39.

          God is eternal. Past and furture. He has always been, and is. But you will die.

          It is not logic to wait to for His promise to happen before you believe. as it is written "

          How did they know not to rebell? God said, "Do not eat". They knew. They did. They died. Just like you know the Ten Commandments but you break the law, so did adam and eve.

          Besides it is foolish to wait for a threat to happen. Be prepared ahead of time. As it is written

          April 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
        • blessed137

          I am signing off now. It was a blessing to share my faith, the hope I have in Jesus Christ. with you all. Even to the ones who choose not to believe. My God help you find the answers you are seeking. I love you all, God Bless.

          Any more questions, pick up a bible and read it. Pray that God give you the wisdom of understanding.

          April 8, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
      • harleybird

        The next comment said it best but as for Harley's...I have a bird and his name is Harley. Thanks for trying to disparage bike riders though. Stay classy.

        April 9, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • Akira

      Lot and his daughters were hardly without sin. Unless they suddenly became lustful and sinful after the fall of that city. Are we to believe that?

      April 7, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
      • harleybird

        No one ever said Lot nor his daughters were without sin but the men and boys of Sodom were practicing gross sin that stunk to high heaven. Lot was righteous and did his best as an imperfect human to do right. That is all god wants of us. Had those people been doing that hey would have survived. You all seem to just want to be able to do whatever and get a pass or be allowed to do whatever. Such will not ever be the case.

        April 9, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
    • kudlak

      What's wrong with eating and marrying? You may disagree with who has the right to marry, but it still isn't frowned upon, right? As far as drinking goes, Jesus himself drank. Besides, the first thing Noah is said to have done after the flood is make wine and get himself drunk. If he was God back then he must have mellowed out some later on.

      There are dozens of doomsayers today who claim that the end is coming very soon, many of them saying that Jesus is bringing it, like Harold Camping did. Noah would have sounded exactly like them, but you're saying that we should take them all seriously?

      Lot offered his daughters to a ra-pe gang, and they seduced their own father. How "guiltless" could they have been?

      April 8, 2014 at 11:29 am |
      • harleybird

        I never said there was anything inherently wrong with eating drinking or marrying. I don't care who does any of these things. The point is they took no heed to the warnings just like people don't take heed today.

        As for believing every person saying the end is near...you don't have to. Just like the people that were swept away during the flood we can either look around at the world and see that conditions are getting worse and something is going to happen real soon or we can just go on with life and take no heed to the warning signs. Signs that Jesus and Daniel foretold would be occurring in our time.

        Believe or don't believe. You and I both have the right to have our choice.

        April 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
  12. samsstones

    Your daily affirmation that you are a fvcking idiot, thanks for sharing.

    April 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
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About this blog

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