There’s nothing like a great cup of coffee to start out a Sunday morning. For some odd reason I started thinking about the Flood and Noah’s Ark so I decided to read the story again. I thought that I knew the story well until I read it again – critically.
If you want to follow along open your Bible to Genesis, chapter six is where it starts. Let’s get right into the heart of the story – why God decided to wipe out all mankind including the animals and plant life – every living thing on the earth.
Genesis 6:5-7 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. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 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.”
Genesis 6:9-17 God selected Noah because he was the only righteous person alive. He tells Noah to build this huge ark (boat) and that He will allow him to take his wife aboard along with his three sons and their wives. Then He’s going to flood the earth to kill off everything and start over.
Genesis 6:19-21 God tells Noah to bring two of all living creatures, male and female aboard. Oh, and don’t forget to bring enough food for the humans as well as the animals. I was curious so I looked up how much meat a lion could eat. In a day’s time a lion eats about 11-15 pounds of fresh meat. Using 11 pounds times 370 days 4,070 pounds or 8,140 pounds of meat for the pair. Wow! And that’s just for a pair of lions. I wonder how they kept all that meat from spoiling? Oh well.
Genesis 7:2 Uh, oh. God changed His mind. Now he wants seven of every kind of “clean” animal and a pair of every unclean animal. That’s going to increase the food load! I’m confused again. God didn’t discuss clean and unclean foods until later on in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 but, never mind. As long as Noah what He meant.
Genesis 7:4 God tells Noah that it will rain for 40 days and 40 nights starting in seven days. The writer indicates that Noah was 600 years old at the beginning of this voyage and that it started on February 17th.
Genesis 7:14-24 I think Noah didn’t listen very well because these verses indicate that he only brought aboard “pairs” of all creatures. Or maybe Noah didn’t know the difference between clean and unclean animals. I read it over and over again and there’s no indication that he brought seven of each clean animal. Anyway, the ark was loaded up and God shut them in and the flood waters started – and lasted 150 days, not to be confused with the original 40 days. I’m easily confused.
Genesis 8:3 At the end of 150 days on July 7th the water had gone down and the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. By October 1st, the tops of the mountains become visible.
Genesis 8:6 The story gets a bit confusing here because the writer jumps back in time. He says that after 40 days Noah opens the window to send out a raven. I can’t imagine the stench from animal feces on the ark if there was only one window. But that was per God’s instructions.
Genesis 8:11 Noah sends out a dove and it returns with an olive branch. That strikes me as odd because God wiped out all living things on the earth. Where in the world would the dove get an olive branch? Did the flood not work?
Genesis 8:13-21 The voyage ends. The land is dried up. Noah is now 601 years old and the date is February 27th. They had been on the ark for 1 year and 10 days. God told Noah to come out with the animals. Noah built an alter and sacrificed burnt offerings of the clean animals to God. And God loved the “pleasing aroma” of the burning flesh. Wait a minute. If Noah only loaded the ark with “pairs” of clean animals, he’s in big trouble. Maybe God just created more.
I can’t imagine the look on Noah’s face when they got off the ark. No trees, no grasslands, no plants or animals to eat. Just one big sterile environment. I don’t recall God telling Noah to take some plants on the ark with them – but I’ll double-check. I can’t imagine an earth with no living thing on it. But then again, it’s one of those strange mysteries that God’s good at. What a sense of humor He has. Ha!