ABC:Genesis 6

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Verse 5

ThinkingAtheist claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments:[1] The EvilBible also makes this claim.[2] Don Morgan of Infidels also claims there is a contradiction here.[3]

Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

God was pleased with his creation.

Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

God was not pleased with his creation.

Apparently the critic skipped the whole "Garden of Eden" part of the Bible. God originally was pleased with creation, then Satan and mankind rebelled to do evil, corrupting His creation. So God wasn't pleased. Logically if God was pleased and then stopped being pleased you would assume something changed with those involved, just as a parent may be pleased with their children when they are born, but can become displeased when they act naughty. There's no contradiction here, just a critic who can't think critically.

Verse 6

Jim Meritt of Infidels includes on his "List of Biblical Contradictions" the question, "[Does] God change?"[4] The EvilBible also makes this claim.[2] Don Morgan's list also claims this is a contradiction.[3]

Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

1 Samuel 15:29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

Jonah 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Genesis 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
20 Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.

Perhaps the best answer is that provided by CARM, "When God says that He does not change, He is speaking about His nature and character. But this does not mean that He cannot change how He works with people throughout history."[5] For a similar passage to Malachi 3:6, see Psalms 89:34 - "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." Here it is explained why the "sons of Jacob are not consumed" and what change is being discussed.

Psalms 89:29 His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.
30 If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;
31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;
32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.
33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.
34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.
36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.

Clearly God by saying "I change not" as seen in the above passage is referring to His covenants with Abraham, Jacob, and David to preserve a lineage as His chosen people. It is for this reason that God numerous times when disgusted with Israel did not wipe them off the face of the planet (which judging by his frustration levels expressed numerous times, He would certainly have liked to do). Instead as God promised David, He used punishments (v. 32) but He refused to break His covenant that David's seed would endure for ever. (v. 36)

This can also be seen from the following passage with Moses where God ends up "repenting" for punishing Israel's idolatry of the golden calf:

Exodus 32:11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

God does not change His covenants and promises, and this is repeated throughout the Bible:

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Lamentations 3:22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Nonetheless, God can be seen numerous times to change His mind or regret His decisions. (e.g. Ge. 6:6; 1 Sam. 15:11,35; Jon. 3:10)

While God does not regret doing wrong (since God does not sin or do wrong), He can be seen to regret justifiable punishments enacted on evil human beings. (e.g. Ex. 32:14; Deut. 32:36; Jg. 2:18; 2 Sam. 24:16; 1 Chr. 24:15; Ps. 90:13; 106:45; 135:14; Jer. 26:19; Am. 7:3-6; Jon. 3:10)

Some of the confusion may be caused the archaic usage by the KJV of the word "repent" which is used to mean God simply being sorrowful, even for executing just punishments, and usage of the word "evil" which is used simply to mean a harsh punishment. See for example its usage in Jeremiah 18:8-13 where God says He will "repent of the evil" He does in punishing evil nations as long as they turn from their evil, and that if they do evil then He will "repent of the good". In KJV-speak, verse 12 even continues with "Thus saith the Lord; Behold I frame evil against you... return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good."

Jeremiah 18:8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
11 ¶ Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.

Unfortunately, the KJV's continued popularity results in confusion over archaic wording that is centuries out of date. Perhaps people forget that words in the English language meant different things when the KJV was translated in 1611 than they do now, over 400 years later.

Verse 14

ThinkingAtheist claims Genesis 6:19 is wrong, and makes the following comments:[1]

Genesis 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

Answers In Genesis posits that Noah gathered "kinds" of animals and not all "species," an estimated 16,000 pairs, which raises a few animal-related questions:

  • How, exactly, did eight extreme senior citizens load, manage and care for 32,000 animals?
  • What about specialized diets (bamboo for the giant panda, meat for the carnivores, fresh vegetation for the herbivores)?
  • Who cleaned each stall and shoveled the tons of daily excrement through the huge ark’s single window?
  • How did they separate the predator and prey animals? Did the lion lay with the lamb?
  • How do you explain the acquisition and loading of animals not indigenous to the Middle East (many separated by oceans), like the polar bear, the sloth, the crocodile, the fruit bat, the anaconda, etc? And how did the penguins and other cold-climate creatures survive in the blistering desert heat?
  • Wouldn’t freshwater rains from the sky have made the saltwater deadly to ocean marine life? And wouldn’t saltwater have proven equally toxic to all freshwater fish? If water boiled up from beneath the earth’s crust, wouldn’t water temperature changes in the delicate ecosystem have also had a deadly effect?
  • Dinosaurs on the ark. Did they exit the boat and THEN get hit by a comet?

1 - Answers In Genesis actually says 16,000 would be the maximum, and that as few as 2,000 would be required. According to AiG, "In the book Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, creationist researcher John Woodmorappe suggests that, at most, 16,000 animals were all that were needed to preserve the created kinds that God brought into the Ark... Creationist estimates for the maximum number of animals that would have been necessary to come on board the Ark have ranged from a few thousand to 35,000, but they may be as few as two thousand if the biblical kind is approximately the same as the modern family classification."[6]

If each core species were considered a kind, one dog species, one cat species, one bird species, and all of these simply microevolved to become the varieties we see today, there would indeed need to be very few pairs overall. The kinds appear to be a bit broader nonetheless, given that there were both ravens and pigeons (Genesis 8:7-8) but 16,000 appears to be indeed a maximum and likely well in excess of the actual number required.

2 - Human beings were structurally quite different in body structure before the Flood as evidenced by the hominid skeletons we've recovered. A number of antedeluvian artifact locations around the world attest to something unusual about the people and the society, e.g. Stonehenge, Easter Island, and the pyramids. It's possible they had physical strength or technologies we haven't given them credit for. After all, many ancient creatures are simply larger versions of today's, there were giant elephants (mammoths), giant sloths (megatherium), giant dragonflies (meganeura), giant bears (arctodus simus), giant sharks (megalodon), giant snakes (titanoboa), giant crocodiles (sarcosuchus), giant pangolins (manis gigantea)... well, you get the idea. Many extinct creatures were simply much larger versions of today's species.[7]

We recently discovered that dragonflies at least grew so large because of an oxygen canopy; oxygen levels 50% greater than today's levels (30-35% oxygen levels compared to today's level of 20%) resulted in them growing larger to avoid oxygen overdose.[8] Anyway, my point is that ancient species are always seen as bigger, stronger versions of their modern-day equivalents, possibly because of those greatly increased oxygen levels, so it seems quite plausible ancient humans were likewise stronger as well. After all, given the average human lifespan at the time is recorded as being around 900 years (Genesis 5) you would expect them to be somewhat more physically adept than modern humans, and more suited for the physical task of caring for many animals.

Even apart from that however, the fact that the animals were directed enough by God to know enough to go into the Ark suggests they were being directed to some extent to take care of themselves in some measure. See e.g. Numbers 22 where God allows a donkey to speak - God has control over all living intelligence, and the fact that God exercised control in directing them into the Ark suggests the animals were obeying God's commands, and would to some extent take care of themselves. To take the Bible account at face value, one must assume the animals themselves were cooperating in the voyage.

3 - The Bible does suggest there were such specialized diets. Genesis 6:21 specifically states all types of food were to be brought to feed the animals, "take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them." The Bible also says extra "clean" animals were taken on board, 7 of each, as opposed to the regular 2 of each, as a food supply. (Genesis 7:2-3). Clean animals are part of what Judaism considers kosher dietary law, as seen in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. So clearly God did plan for diverse feeding of the different species on board the Ark.

4 - How the excrement problem was handled we can only hypothesize but since there were three stories to the Ark (Genesis 6:16) perhaps the Ark was just designed so excrement would fall to a lower level? Whatever the case, the animals themselves may have assisted in moving the excrement (point 2) and it is not necessary to assume the humans handled it alone.

5 - The Bible says the Ark was composed of rooms (Genesis 6:14) so there is no reason to assume predatory animals were housed with their prey, although again, extra animals were brought on board to serve as food, presumably for other animals. (Genesis 7:2-3)

6 - The Earth originally had just one landmass, a supercontinent called Pangaea, before the Flood. The catastrophe which broke up Pangaea would of course most logically be, for a Bible-believer, the Flood. Perhaps the "fountains of the deep" breaking up referred to in Genesis 7:11 refers to the seismic activity that caused the breakup and subsequent continent drift of Pangaea. Whatever the case, animals were originally on a single continent. Furthermore, ancient Earth was originally much warmer than it is today. Why this was is still debated, but those original kinds were all of similar climate before the Flood altered the antedeluvian environment.

7 - Much of ancient marine life was extinguished simultaneously as recorded in the fossil record. Scientists have finally acknowledged an ancient catastrophe did occur but prefer to believe there were many such catastrophes, and have given them names such as the Permian-Triassic extinction event (estimated to have killed 90% of all marine life),[7] Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, and Triassic-Jurassic extinction event. The fossil record contains considerable evidence of mass marine extinction in the past.[9]

8 - Since so many other animals simply are smaller versions of their ancient selves, why assume the dinosaurs ever went extinct at all? They may have simply become much smaller; today's reptiles. This process may have actually begun in the Garden of Genesis went God punished the 'serpent' by forcing it to go on its belly in the dust, which is arguably the main difference between today's reptiles and the dinosaurs of old. Dinosaurs were able to tower above ancient life because of differences in their hip structure.[10] Some basilisk and horned lizards today resemble the dinosaurs of old, for example. The brachiosaurs (Biblical 'behemoth,' Job 40:15-24) may be the giraffes of today, which body type they most closely resemble.

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 Bible Contradictions. TheThinkingAtheist.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Thiefe, Chris. Biblical Contradictions. EvilBible.com.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Morgan, Donald. Bible Inconsistencies: Bible Contradictions? Internet Infidels.
  4. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Internet Infidels.
  5. Does the Lord Change or Not? Christian Apologetics Research Ministry.
  6. Ham, Ken & Lovett, Tim (2007, October 11). Was There Really a Noah's Ark & Flood? Answers in Genesis.
  7. 7.0 7.1 CNRS (1969, December 31). Mass extinctions: 'Giant' fossils are revolutionizing current thinking. ScienceDaily.
  8. Than, Ker (2011, August 8). Why Giant Bugs Once Roamed the Earth. National Geographic.
    Geological Society of America (1969, December 31). Raising giant insects to unravel ancient oxygen. ScienceDaily.
  9. Lessons for today in ancient mass extinctions. Understanding Evolution. University of California Museum of Paleontology.
  10. University of California Museum of Paleontology Berkeley. Morphology of the Dinosauria.