Noah Story

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Noah Story Empty Noah Story

Post  Shad on Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:26 pm

This is an example of Bible interpretation.

The story of Noah

[Genesis]
{6:11} Yet the earth was corrupted before the eyes of God, and it was filled with iniquity.
{6:12} And when God had seen that the earth had been corrupted, (indeed, all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth)
{6:13} he said to Noah: “The end of all flesh has arrived in my sight. The earth has been filled with iniquity by their presence, and I will destroy them, along with the earth.

Literally, the earth was every corrupt; there was very much sin among men.

It is something of a figure of speech to say "when God had seen that the earth had been corrupted" because God knows everything all at once, beyond all time.

The expression the end of all flesh is a figure, referring to the impending death of very many persons. We know that God did not kill all flesh or all persons or the whole earth.

{6:14} Make yourself an ark from smoothed wood. You shall make little dwelling places in the ark, and you shall smear pitch on the interior and exterior.

Literally, there was a Noah and he built an ark.

{6:15} And thus shall you make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.
{6:16} You shall make a window in the ark, and you shall complete it within a cubit of the top. Then you shall set the door of the ark at its side. You shall make in it: a lower part, upper rooms, and a third level.

The size of the ark could be literal, or it could be figurative. The ancient Jews considered numbers to have symbolic meanings. It seems entirely possible, though, that the ark was large and did have three levels.

{6:17} Behold, I shall bring the waters of a great flood upon the earth, so as to put to death all flesh in which there is the breath of life under heaven. All things that are on the earth shall be consumed.

I interpret the extent of the flood and the extent of the death caused by the flood to be a figure. There was a large flood and very many persons died. But it is not necessary to hold that literally all persons died, or that literally every acre of land was covered with water. There is not enough water in the planet to cover the planet entirely with water. The extent of the flood is a figure for the extent of sin, of the justice of God, and being saved only by the ark is a figure for the sole source of salvation: the Church and baptism.

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Noah Story Empty Re: Noah Story

Post  Shad on Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:27 pm

{6:19} And from every living thing of all that is flesh, you shall lead pairs into the ark, so that they may survive with you: from the male sex and the female,
{6:20} from birds, according to their kind, and from beasts, in their kind, and from among all animals on earth, according to their kind; pairs from each shall enter with you, so that they may be able to live.

Again, this is a figure, such that there were many different kinds of animals on the ark, but not every species. Those that were on the ark were present as a figure representing all life on earth: all human life represented by Noah and his family; all animal life represented by a subset of the species on earth. Thus there literally was a Noah and an ark with animals on it. But the extent of the animals on the ark is a figure; a small number of animals were a figure for all the animals on earth.

{7:2} From all the clean animals, take seven and seven, the male and the female. Yet truly, from animals that are unclean, take two and two, the male and the female.

So there were 14 of each type of clean animal, and 4 of each type of unclean animal, NOT one pair (two only) of each species as is commonly said.

{7:4} For from that point, and after seven days, I will rain upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. And I will wipe away every substance that I have made, from the surface of the earth.”

The length of the rain as 40 days is a figure for a long time (weeks, but not years). The effect of the flood at wiping out all life on earth is a figure, represented by the destruction of much life on earth, representing the extent of sin on earth, the extent of God's justice as well as of His mercy.

{7:11} In the six hundredth year of the life of Noah, in the second month, in the seventeenth day of the month, all the fountains of the great abyss were released, and the floodgates of heaven were opened.

The second month is Iyyar, in the spring. Iyyar 17 was the start of the flood.

{8:14} In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was made dry.

The flood ended in the next calendar year, on Iyyar 27, which is one solar year exactly. This might be a figure, or it might be literal.

The Jewish calendar year is lunar, based on the phases of the moon, like nearly all calendars of ancient civilizations. And 12 lunar months is 11 days short of one solar year. Adding ten days to 12 lunar months, and counting inclusively (including the first and last days in the count) gives us one solar year for the flood.

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