So I’m going to disect the story in the bible about the global flood. It’s been done before and by people better than me, and I’ll link to them at the end of this post.
I apologise if you’re atheist, because you’ll probably find this utterly boring and ridiculous, but you never know when you might come across someone who believes it!
This is something that I think is quite important. The reason being that anyone who is a bible literalist will believe that what is written down is an account of actual events. A lot of Christian religions’ official stance is that the flood story is factual. This provides us with an interesting situation wherein if the flood story is shown to be outrageous and impossible, then that opens the way to the rest of scripture to face that same scrutiny.
Once you realise that, it doesn’t take long for the rest of the pins to fall. Of course, it really is a futile effort because there’s always a magic get out clause…I’ll try and address it in a logical manner, but hey, you can’t fight against blind faith, no matter what.
From the beginning
This story starts really early in the bible, I mean, in the first book! The whole series of events are covered from Genesis 5:32 - 10:1. (I shall be quoting from the NIV bible, because hey, it’s as good as any other.)
Genesis 5:32 - AKA Old man Noah
32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.
Cool…WAIT…HOLD UP… 500 years old, 500 YEARS OLD??? Yes that’s right, humans were closer to the perfection of Adam and Eve (another story for another time) so they lived longer, and hey at 500 years old you’d expect your sperm to be nothing but dust particles, but not Noah, he was going strong!
What do we actually know about that time period? Well a 2007 research paper which includes analysis on skeletal remains shows us that the life expectancy of the Neolithic period (about 10,200-4,500/2,000 BC) was around 20 years of age. Life expectancy in the Bronze age (around 3000-1200 BC) was something like 30 years.
What seems more reasonable to you? A 500 year old pimp-daddy hunter gatherer, or maybe that the story is a bit of a fabrication?
Moving right along…
Genesis 6:1-8 - AKA Hot angel all-angle sex
1 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
So hey, this is a bit of an aside, but God created his angels with sexual desire, his asexual (Matthew 22:30: “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven”) beings want to come and rape the hot women (or men, but sometimes you just want to offer your daugters up for some good old angel rape - Genesis 19:8). Anyway so yeah they turned into men and started banging heaps of chicks and because they were magical their kids were angry giants. Sounds a bit like the bible writers were projecting their bedroom fetishes into their writings.
Ohhh and this is where we learn why people now only live to be 120 years old instead of 500, I guess we should forget about the actual bone evidence now.
God was mad, the God of love was SO mad, in fact that he wanted to murder every single thing he had made, in cold blood, those children and animals had to pay, luckily for everyone on earth, God liked Noah and he’ll save them all…or will he?
Genesis 6:9-13 - AKA Slaughter those babies
9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.
Uh-oh, it doesn’t look like all those babies will be spared after all, see ya little ones, kittens, puppies and joeys. You are all corrupt, every. single. one. of. you. What’s that? You haven’t even said your first words yet? I’ll murder you to spare you corruption! You haven’t taken your first step yet? Well don’t worry, I’ll kill you in case you become violent.
I guess Noah was the only one that could ever possibly be a good guy…out of the whole entire world…
Makes sense? Totally.
Genesis 6:14-16 - AKA An old old wooden ship
14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.
So make a 3 decker wooden boat about 137m long, 23m wide and 14m high, with a wind tunnel (air gap) about 45cm high under the top roof and one door on the side, cool.
One of the longest wooden ships ever known is the Vasa (47.5m), which is cool because I’ve been to the Vasa Museum in Sweden and seen it personally. It’s great! Anyway that’s still a huge amount short of the 137m ark…which is really unfeasable because without major steel or iron reinforcement, the wood flexes and leaks.
Hell even Johan’s “full size” recreation is made out of metal…I guess he couldn’t stick too closely to the biblical story.
Also, the Vasa sunk on it’s maiden voyage…oops.
Genesis 6:17-7:16 - AKA Lettuce in for 370 days
This is a long block:
17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
7 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
OK, God really is hell bent on destroying everything…Except for 2 of every kind of animal, or was it 7? Here’s where it gets even more interesting…
Firstly, this sounds quite familiar, there are flood stories from Sumeria (tablet dated 1600 BC) and Babylon (Epic of Gilgamesh tablet dated 700 BC), which predate the biblical one. The oldest copy of Genesis is from the dead sea scrolls, which dates from about 100-1 BC. There is a nice table for comparison found here.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s address The animals themselves.
OK so let’s assume for a moment you’re a believer, and then let’s assume you don’t believe in evolution, and also for the sake of continuity, let’s assume like Jehovah’s Witnesses you DO believe in microevolution (animal “kinds” can become other “types” of the same animal). Even then, the most conservative christian estimates assume a bare minimum of 2000 (x2 or x7) animals. That excludes a lot though, aquatic, amphibious, insects, and heaps more…but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt (really??)
We have about 9453 m2 of floor space to work with (that’s because there’s 3 levels remember?). That literally is only 2.3 acres. I grew up on a property with 2.5 acres…so I know how ridiculous the idea of 4000+ (remember that’s some crazy made up small number) to 1,300,000 creatures on there is. We had a horse, a dog, a cat, and I reckon we could have had a cow too if we wanted, also we had a few chickens.
Elephants are one of the biggest guys coming on to the ark, them, rhinos and hippos…they’re all going to need a LOT of space, the bare bare bare minimum per elephant is about 37m2 (that really is cruel, they will go crazy, the normal elephant home area is 640,000 acres, not 0.009 acres). Elephants eat from 100KG to 200KG of food, PER DAY. That means for 2 elephants, you would need to bring along 74,000-148,000 KG of food, JUST FOR THE ELEPHANTS. Just go give you a really quick idea, iceberg lettuce typically is about 22cm wide and tall and about 700g (I’m being generous here). So you’d need 105,714-211,428 head of lettuce, taking up 1125-2251 cubic metres (5116-10232 square meters) of space JUST FOR THE ELEPHANT FOOD! OMG.
That’s a lot of lettuce!
You really can see how insane that is…what about the amount of work for 8 people, looking after 2,000-1.3million animals? Cleaning their feces, keeping them free of lice, but not completely free of lice because some of the lice have to survive the journey.
What about the insects? why do they get ignored? They obviously need to survive, spiders, ants, bees, butterflies…most of them wouldn’t live long enought to survive the journey.
How about all those animals together? Do they each get a cage (made out of what, by the way? Every thing you add, makes this whole enterprise a lot heavier). All the predators will need to be fed prey, which means you’d have to violate God’s command, and bring extra to feed them. Lions tend to eat a lot, and they want fresh, bloody meat.
This could go on, and on, and on, and on, the logistics are completely impossible.
One kind of animal dies, and then boom, sorry God, that animal no longer exists…
Genesis 7:17-8:22 - AKA it stinks in here
17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
8 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.
6 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.
13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”
18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though[i] every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
Let’s think about this. Church of reality have kindly done the math which basically equates to 13cm of rain, per MINUTE for 40 days and 40 nights. WAT???? Even the biggest storms can’t even come close to that. There is no way that the ark could stand that kind of constant battering without splintering to pieces.
What about the geological effects? After that kind of pummeling the whole could look like a giant marble, all smooth and shiny, HA. This kind of rain would cause huge gushing surges of water everwhere, strong enough to move giant boulders and crush everything.
This would have completely destroyed the delicate ecosystems present in the sea and every river and lake, making it all a semi-salty mess of debris and dirt, you can kiss goodbye to every fish, crocodile, whale, crustacean, and marine plant, algae, etc. There is no way they would have survived.
What about plant life? Do all the trees, forests, bushes, grasses, survive being underwater for up to a year after being pelted with rain like they’ve never been and exposed to raging torrents of water, uprooting every one of them? Hardly.
Not to mention it’s going to take years and years and years (probably never, actually because of rain) for all those waters to go into the clouds and recede the amount they’d need to to have the sea level as it is now! If it was anywhere near the speed in the bible again, it would have huge, devestating geological consequences.
All of this would leave huge, steaming piles of evidence, so much evidence that you wouldn’t have to make things up, it would just be so damn obvious that not a single person could deny that it happened, we can tell so many things by looking at rock formations and layers and fossil placement and valleys and lakes and salt lakes, and none of it point to there ever having been a global flood.
I hope some of the animals survived the journey, and man must it have reeked in there after such a long time cooped up.
So let’s let the animals out, eat a few of them and sacrifice a few more, we have plenty to spare.
All the animals, in all the remote parts of the world, including ones that are completely isolated, and you can’t find ones like them anywhere else, just happened to go to the right places, all the weird Australian marsupials just decided to move to Australia together, I guess they made their own ark and crossed the long distances required to get to Australia…Kangaroos of Noah’s day were so much more clever.
I’m getting tired, so I’ll finish right up…
Genesis 9:1-17 - AKA We don’t understand how light works
1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.
6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind. 7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”
AHA, we are at the end of our journey, the animals worked it all out, they got where they needed to go and God promises never to kill everyone with a flood again (by flood, other means are OK though).
Let’s keep this simple, rainbows are a direct result of water reflecting and refracting through the rain droplets…you can see them also when you splash water, in waves and at waterfalls. (Do you remember making rainbows with the hose as a kid?? It’s that easy!) WRONG…God changed the way light works, so before that glorious moment, if you got a prism, the light dispersed out of it in shades of gray.
And there you have it, if you’ve made it this far I really commend you, because I almost didn’t. There’s so much more I could have covered, and so much more detail I would have loved to have gone into, but this already turned out insanely long.
The story does have a happy ending, Noah’s grandsons and granddaughters had lots of incestuous sex (just think House Targaryen, but without dragons) and Noah himself lived to 950 years of age. WHAT A GUY!
In summary, a flood happened, in fact they happen all the time, and sometimes they’re really bad, and if you don’t know of any / many other people and villages, it would seem like your whole world, and maybe the guy saved his dog and wife by creating a makeshift pontoon. The story was told to his kids and they told it to their friends in the new town and it got changed over and over…or maybe that specific event never happened and it was just a good re-creation myth and a good device to illustrate the power of god a, then god b, then god c, then the biblical god Yaweh.
Noah’s Ark Part 1:
Noah’s Ark Part 2: