Genesis For The Mildly Curious

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Re: Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Post #71

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Gen 8:1a . . God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark,

Does that mean God forgot all about the ark's passengers until He realized why there was a string tied around His finger? (chuckle) No; it reaffirms that they were always on God's mind. He isn't forgetful. God doesn't need reminding.

But what about Noah's sisters and brothers, and/or his aunts and uncles? Did God think of them too? No. Noah's kin, except those aboard the ark; were all wiped out in the Flood. He and Mrs. Noah may have had other children too; and grand children. If so, then those also perished: and their family pets too right along with them.

Out ahead, at the final judgment, many of us are going to have to watch as our own kin are condemned to eternal suffering; and thrown alive, wild eyed, shrieking, yelping, bellowing, and bawling like little children into the impoundment of flaming sulfur depicted at Rev 20:11-15 and Rev 21:8. We might even be called up as witnesses to testify in the prosecution's case against them. That will be an awful ordeal.


Gen 8:1b-3a . . and God caused a wind to blow across the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were stopped up, and the rain from the sky was held back; the waters then receded steadily from the earth.

The Old Testament Hebrew word that the editors of the NIV translated "receded" is shuwb (shoob) an ambiguous word that can mean draw back, return to the beginning, or simply diminish. The very same word is used in the NIV's translation of Gen 3:19 thusly:

"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

In that example; shuwb indicates that Adam went right back where he came from; viz: the dust.

According to Gen 7:11 the waters of the Flood came from the springs of the great deep and from heaven. So then, I take shuwb to mean that the waters went right back to heaven and the great deep as the Flood dried up so that the waters didn't drain off, they were dried off; which is a good thing because had the waters drained off, they would have caused quite a bit of erosion; but actually, there was nowhere for them to drain; they had to be removed.

Gen 8:1-3 strongly suggests that the Flood's waters were were dried off by the process of evaporation like the way women use blow dryers to remove dampness from their hair after washing. But there's just no way that much water got absorbed by the earth's atmosphere or it would still be here. No, I'm convinced those waters were taken back out into space from whence they came in the first place. How were they pulled back out in space? Well; if I could explain how God got the Flood's waters off the planet with wind power; then I would be able to explain how Jesus levitated off the ground in Acts 1:9. People think walking on water is amazing? Try walking on air.


Gen 8:3b-4 . . At the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters diminished, so that in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.

The Hebrew word for "Ararat" is from 'Ararat (ar-aw-rat') which appears three more times in the Bible: one at 2Kgs 19:36-37, one at Isa 37:36-38, and one at Jer 51:27. Ararat in the Bible always refers to a political area-- a country --never a specific geological feature by the same name.

The Hebrew word for "mountains" in Gen 8:4 is haareey which is the plural of har (har). It doesn't always mean a prominent land mass like Kilimanjaro; especially when it's plural. Har can also mean a range of hills or highlands; like the region of Israel where Miriam's cousin Elizabeth lived.

"At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth." (Luke 1:39-40)

In California, where I lived as a kid, the local elevation 35 miles east of San Diego, in the town of Alpine, was about 2,000 feet above sea level. There were plenty of meadows with pasture and good soil. In fact much of it was very good ranchland and quite a few people in that area raised horses and cows. We ourselves kept about five hundred chickens, and a few goats and calves. We lived in the mountains of San Diego; but we didn't live up on top of one of its peaks like Viejas, Lyon's, or Cuyamaca.

It makes better sense to beach the ark on the soil of one of Armenia's elevated plains rather than up on one of Turkey's ancient volcanoes seeing as how Noah took up agriculture after the Flood. Plus, had he been forced to abandoned the ark atop a mountain, Noah would've lost ready access to an abundant supply of hewn wood that he could appropriate for other purposes. Noah's sons reproduced so we can be fairly certain that Noah's posterity-- which eventually numbered quite a few people --would want lumber from the ark for their needs too.
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Re: Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Post #72

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Gen 8:5 . .The waters went on diminishing until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible.

Gravity assists rain to fall. But to get the Flood's waters off the planet required overcoming gravity enough to get it up off the planet. The mechanical nature of that wind would be an interesting study. Was it a global hurricane, or was it more like a global tornado, or a combination of both: one for evaporation, and one for sucking it all out into the void? Well, whatever; it must have howled and roared like the sound of a thousand World Trade Centers collapsing at once.

Gen 8:6-7a . . At the end of forty days, Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent out the raven;

Although the Raven is listed in Israel's covenanted law as an unclean bird, sometimes it's an excellent choice for assisting in a divine task; for example 1Kgs 17:1-6.

The word for "Raven" is 'oreb (o-rabe') which is not a specific species of bird, but a whole family of birds now classified as Corvids; which includes Crows, Jackdaws, Jays, Magpies, Nutcrackers, and Rooks.

Ravens are classified in ornithology as song birds; although Crows don't seem to carry much of a tune. They're intelligent, sociable, and highly adaptable. Although they don't usually trust Man, they have been known to associate with him in remarkable ways.

One morning I was out in front weeding the yard when some crows down the street were raising a serious ruckus and dive-bombing back and forth across the street. One of them flew to where I was weeding and landed on a streetlight above me and cawed its fool head off; the meanwhile fluttering its wings and leaning forward and rocking as it cawed. Then it flew back and rejoined the others. Then another one, a really big barrel-chested crow, came and landed on our roof. It too cawed like mad (only louder).

Then it occurred to me they might be trying to get my attention. So I walked down to where the others were, and there in a driveway was a fledgling Crow who couldn't fly well enough to get back up in the trees from whence it fell; and a big cat was harassing it. So I brought the young Crow home and put it up on a limb in our backyard and pretty soon the others heard its cries and came to take care of it. We had to assist the fledgling back up to his limb a few more times after it soared down to the food and water we put out for its friends; but eventually its wings became strong enough to do it alone.


BTW: That event took place quite a few years ago and as time went by, young crows began little by little making our backyard their playground and today, it isn't unusual to see twenty or so of all ages walking around out there like chickens in a barnyard helping themselves to the peanuts we put out for squirrels, and pecking cracked corn and sunflower chips out of the bird feeders.

Gen 8:7b . . it went to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.

Ravens will eat just about anything, including carrion; and there was probably plenty of that floating around out there. With all the dead stuff to feast on, the raven could spend the whole day out on its own. However, no tree tops were above the water yet and crows need to get off the ground at night so it probably returned to the ark in the evening to roost. The very fact of its return was evidence to Noah that the waters were still pretty deep out there.

Gen 8:8-9 . .Then he sent out the dove to see whether the waters had decreased from the surface of the ground. But the dove could not find a resting place for its foot, and returned to him to the ark, for there was water over all the earth. So putting out his hand, he took it into the ark with him.

The word for "Dove" is from yownah (yo-naw') which is a general term for either a Dove or a Pigeon. Pigeons are well known for their homing instincts. So why didn't the Pigeon roost up on the roof of the ark instead of letting Noah take it inside? Well . . a Pigeon's nature is different than a Raven's. The big guys are somewhat independent, but Pigeons readily take to human care. That's probably why they are so much more common in cities than Crows; where people can feed them popcorn and bread crumbs.

Pigeons and Doves don't eat carrion; but prefer to forage on the ground for seeds. But bare ground was inaccessible at this point in time. The yownah no doubt became very hungry; and certainly knew Mr. Noah had plenty of grain on board with him back at the ark. Pigeons also prefer a roof over their heads; like docks and wharfs, and bridges and roadway overpasses. It almost seems they were actually made to live in coops; and what better coop than the ark?
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Re: Genesis For The Mildly Curious

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Gen 8:10-11 . . He waited another seven days, and again sent out the dove from the ark. The dove came back to him toward evening, and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf. Then Noah knew that the waters had decreased on the earth.

The Hebrew word for "plucked-off" is from taraph (taw-rawf') which means: recently torn off; viz: fresh. A taraph leaf is alive; which of course the skeptics are only too happy to point out is impossible seeing as how olive trees cannot survive under water very long before they die. But wasn't the Flood itself impossible? (sigh) Some people are just naturally miracle-challenged; what can I say?

Old-world olives prefer a Mediterranean climate, which is pretty good empirical evidence that the ark did not come to rest on the top of Turkey's Mt. Ararat; a snow-capped dormant volcano consisting of two peaks: Lesser Ararat @ 12,782 feet, and Greater Ararat @ 16,854 feet.

Tall mountains like Ararat have what's called a timberline; which is an elevation beyond which no trees grow. The elevation of Mt. Hood's timberline here in Oregon is right around 6,000 feet. So it's a pretty safe bet that the olive tree, from which the dove plucked a leaf, wasn't growing up on Mt. Ararat prior to the Flood. It would've preferred neither the elevation nor the climate.


Gen 8:12 . . He waited still another seven days and sent the dove forth; and it did not return to him any more.

Apparently the dove finally found some dry, bare ground to forage for seeds, and minute gravel for its craw.

Why didn't Noah just look out the window and see for himself? Well; the structural location of the ark's window is a bit of a mystery. For one thing, it wasn't cut into the sides like the windows in an airplane, rather, it was located up on top. The design of the ark's top is itself a bit of a mystery. Apparently the position of the window was such that structural portions of the top obscured Noah' view; allowing him to see the sky but not the ground.
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Re: Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Post #74

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Gen 8:13-14 . . In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the waters began to dry from the earth; and when Noah removed the covering of the ark, he saw that the surface of the ground was drying. And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.

Calculating the duration of the Flood is not only an interesting exercise but also an opportunity to get the hang of prophetic time keeping.

It began to rain on the 17th day of the second month of the 600th year of Noah's life. The Earth was dry on the 27th day of the second month of his 601st year. So, reckoning time according to prophetic months of 30 days each, and not counting the final day, Noah's passengers and crew were aboard the ark for a total of 370 days; which is roughly 5 days over a solar year, and 10 days over a prophetic year.


FAQ: Whence came the so-called prophetic year?

A: The Flood began on the seventeenth day of the second month of Noah's life, and it rained for forty days. Then the rain stopped so the water could begin draining off and leave the ark aground. A period of exactly five months went by. Those five months are recorded as exactly 150 days. If we were to try and use the months of the Jewish calendar, the number of days would not add up to 150. Here's why.

The months of the Jewish calendar supposedly equivalent to the months of the Flood are:

lyar . . . . . . . . 29 days
Sivan . . . . . . . 30 days
Tammuz . . . . .29 days
Av . . . . . . . . . 30 days
Elul . . . . . . . . 29 days
Tishri . . . . . . . 30 days

Using the Jewish calendar, it would begin raining on the 17th of lyar, thus flooding a total of 13 days during that month. Following would be 30 in Sivan, 29 in Tammuz, 30 in Av, 29 in Elul, and lastly 16 in Tishri if we don't count the day that the ark ran aground. The total number of days from the beginning of the Flood until the day the ark went aground, would have been, according to the Jewish calendar, 147; which is three days short of 150.

However, we can safely ignore the Jewish calendar, and just reckon the elapsed time relative to Noah's birthday. The 150 days then average out to five months of 30 days apiece. That doesn't really cause any problems because a dating method of that nature is not intended to mark off the actual passage of astronomical time in a calendar year; only the days of time elapsed during an important event such as the Flood.

So; here in Genesis, very early in the Bible, a precedent is set for specifying the length of a special kind of year: the prophetic year. Since the months in a year of this type are of thirty days apiece, then twelve such months add up to 360 days; which is 5¼ days less than a calendar year.

The prophetic year is sort of like a baker's dozen. Though a baker's dozen is not a dozen of twelve; it is nonetheless a dozen in its own right. As long as students of the Bible are aware of the existence of such a thing as a prophetic year, they won't be tripped up when they run across it in prophecy; for example the one below:

"And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." (Rev 12:6)

"And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." (Rev 12:14)

Those two passages speak of a 3½ year period of exactly 1,260 days. Well, 3½ solar years is 1,274+ days; which is almost fifteen days too many. But if we reckon those 3½ years as prophetic years of 360 days each, then it comes out perfectly to 1,260 days.
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Re: Genesis For The Mildly Curious

Post #75

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Gen 8:15-19 . . God spoke to Noah, saying: Come out of the ark, together with your wife, your sons, and your sons' wives. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds, animals, and everything that creeps on earth; and let them swarm on the earth and be fertile and increase on earth.

. . . So Noah came out, together with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives. Every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that stirs on earth came out of the ark by families.


The word for "families" is from mishpachah (mish-paw-khaw') and roughly speaks of taxonomy; viz: classifications.

Verse 19 strongly suggests that already in Noah's day living things were ranked by type because they came out of the ark according to their species. How they were ranked is uncertain. It may have been according to intelligence, and then again, maybe by usefulness to Man. Some might put the primates first because they are so smart; but I would put a higher value on beasts of burden, and any other creature that best serves Man's domestic needs; I mean, chimps are cute but what were they really good for in Noah's day?

It must have been a stirring sight. Everyone soaking up the sun, stretching their legs, and feeling brisk and cheerful. Like astronauts back from a long, tedious space mission; they were all so happy to be home at last.

No doubt the rats and mice probably were content to remain in the ark where it was nice and cozy, and I bet they eventually moved in with the Noahs after their new home was built.

Many of the smaller creatures, like non winged insects and moles and centipedes, can't really travel very fast so it must have taken them a pretty long time to multiply and spread out; unless they found a way to hitch a ride aboard the larger animals.

The big guys would take a considerable amount of time to get back up to numbers. The gestation period of a meadow mouse is about 21 days and they can have anywhere from four to six babies at a time. At the extreme are the African elephants. Their gestation is about 660 days. So they don't multiply very fast. White rhinoceros take 480 days, cows 284, giraffes 457, zebras 365, moose 240, hippos 238, gorillas 258, and camels 406. Most of the domestic birds-- turkeys, pigeons, geese, ducks, and chickens --all incubate within a month or less.

Critters with the longest gestations usually have the fewest number of babies in a litter-- typically only one; and two at the most. Since many of the clean type animals are of the larger species, and therefore would take longer to multiply, it was wise to take along seven pairs of those.


NOTE: It's sometimes argued that Noah couldn't possibly have carried every kind of insect aboard his ark; but then, he didn't have to. Noah took aboard only the species that came to him (Gen 6:20). Those that didn't come, died out (Gen 7:21-23). However, Insect eggs are pretty tough, and capable of surviving extremes of weather. In point of fact, quite a few birds depend upon insect eggs for food to carry them through the winter. The parents of many of those insect eggs no doubt perished in the Flood, but I have a hunch their species survived by means of the eggs they left behind.

So; how did all the various species end up in their respective environs-- e.g. arctic, rain forests, deserts, and tropical islands? Nobody really knows, but we can take an educated guess.

According to an article in the October 2011 issue of National Geographic, around 56 million years ago, the Atlantic Ocean had not fully opened up and it was possible for animals to migrate from Asia through Europe and across Greenland to North America. They wouldn't have encountered a speck of ice because the earth was quite a bit warmer than today.

We suggested previously that with the knowledge today of the science of plate tectonics, it isn't unreasonable to assume that God simply crunched all the dry land together in order to facilitate migrations to the ark, and left the land that way until the Flood was over and it was time for the animals to go back where they came from.

Sometimes when I contemplate the earth's crust consisting of solid stone like granite, schist, and gneiss; its seems impossible to me that any force could crunch it; but in the hands of the earth's creator, what's solid to me is little more than modeling clay to its maker.

As the planet's topography underwent continual alteration by enormous geological forces, resulting in a variety of global climatic conditions, many species became isolated and underwent some interesting adaptations and mutations in order to become the highly specialized creatures that we find living around the world today.

Classical evolution per se, is, I believe, a spurious fantasy because it discounts intelligent design and an outside source of all life. But Bible students have to allow for a least a degree of genetic and somatic adaptations and mutations or Genesis won't make any sense at all. It is just too unreasonable to assume that the incredible variety of life existing in our world today all existed during Noah's too.

After all, every known variety of Man existing today came from just eight people. If those eight are responsible for producing all the different kinds of human beings in our world today, then why couldn't the creatures aboard the ark have been the foundation for all the varieties of non human life?

So; what happened to the ark? Well; according to the dimensions given at Gen 6:15, the ark was shaped like what the beautiful minds call a right rectangular prism; which is nothing in the world but the shape of a common shoe box. So most of the lumber and logs used in its construction would've been nice and straight; which is perfect for putting together houses, fences, barns, corrals, stables, gates, hog troughs, mangers, and outhouses.

I think it's safe to assume that Noah and his kin gradually dismantled the ark over time and used the wood for many other purposes, including fires. Nobody cooked or heated their homes or their bath and laundry water using refined fossil fuels and/or electricity and steam in those days, so everybody needed to keep on hand a pretty fair-sized wood pile for their daily needs.

There was probably plenty of driftwood left behind by the Flood, but most of that would be water-soaked at first. But according to Gen 6:14 the ark's lumber was treated. So underneath the pitch it was still in pretty good shape and should have been preserved for many years to come.
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