I realise I'm a bit late joining in this particular debate, but there's one obvious and important question I need to get off my chest regarding the building of Noah's Ark.
I used to think the whole concept of the story was ridiculous because, regardless of whether or not it was possible to build a boat to house 2 of every species and feed them, etc, it would have been impossible for anyone in those days to travel around the world and collect 2 of every species.
I now understand the creationist argument is that Noah did not have to circumnavigate the world to find 2 of every species, but rather that God safely delivered 2 of every species to the Ark. Brilliant! I'd never have thought of doing it that way!
But that then begs the question: if God was able to lift a pair of Kangeroos out of the Australian outback, a pair of orangutans out of the jungles of south-east Asia, pairs of tapirs and llamas from South America, along with thousands of other species, and deliver them all effortlessly and safely across the globe to Bibleland, why was it then necessary to build an Ark to put them in? God had already found a way of safely transporting them across the oceans! Did God suddenly run out of strength? Was he only able to hold them up in the air for a limited amount of time?
If God has limitless magical power, why didn't he just zap all but 2 of every species with a bolt of lightning? Why bother at all with a flood and a boat?
But then, probably the biggest question of all is, after all the culling, he was still left with a pair of all the same species that he started with - including humans. So what changed afterwards? What was achieved by the whole exercise? Absolutely nothing!!!
JUC writes: The story doesn't make any sense at any level.
Taq says: Sure it does. It makes complete sense as a moral tale about a new god emerging within a cult in Mesopotamia. The relationship between man and this new god were told through age-old stories that already existed in the area, namely Babylonian myths. But in a historical, factual sense, no it doesn't make any sense at all.
But it wasn't a new god, was it? I admit it's been a long time since I read the story, but if I remember correctly the whole idea was that god was angry with mankind and wanted to wipe everyone out except Noah and his family. The story implies that the god and mankind had already been around for some time to get to that supposed state of affairs.
And, as Son says, how was drowning almost everyone a test mankind's faith? If god wanted to get rid of all the sin, surely the way to do it was to either wipe the slate clean and start again with new species, or to somehow magically change the existing species. Wiping out all but a few of every species and then allowing those species to breed again without changing their behaviour (we're still sinners, aren't we?) didn't achieve anything. What is the moral?
I'm quite willing to accept that Noah's Ark and other stories originated in Babylonian myths.
But the story still doesn't make moral or practical sense, even if it were a test of Noah's faith to see if he would build an Ark if he were warned about a flood.
Firstly, and I can't remember the story exactly, but if God told Noah to build the Ark because he was going to make a big flood, Noah was already in dialogue with God, so what was the test of faith? It couldn't have been a test of faith in the existence of God. It could only have been a test of faith in God keeping his word. But surely there are easier and more ethical ways to prove you will keep your word than by flooding the whole world and drowning everything.
And secondly, it still doesn't explain why it was necessary to build a boat to carry all the animals. If God could safely deliver a pair of animals from all over the world across the oceans to Noah, at what point and for what purpose did Noah's boat suddenly become necessary.
And it still doesn't explain why God didn't just zap everything dead, thereby proving himself and his word.