ABC:Genesis 7

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Verse 1

TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage in the section "Can Man Be Righteous?", and makes the following comments (italicized):[1] RationalWiki also claims there is a Bible contradiction here.[2]

Genesis 7:1 ¶ And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

Noah was righteous.

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Job was righteous.

Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous.

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Some men are righteous, and their prayers are effective.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

Christians become righteous.

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

No one is righteous.

The simple answer is that there are two kinds of righteousness, Biblically, and Paul himself makes this plain. In fact, the entire book of Romans has as perhaps its major theme the contrast between the righteousness of the Law which noone measures up to, and the righteousness through faith which comes by trusting Jesus. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a self-centered righteousness based on our works by which none will be justified because none are good enough in themselves, and a God-centered righteousness based on trusting Jesus to save us where it is God's righteousness that is credited to our accounts.

Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 3:19 ¶ Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

There is no contradiction here. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a righteousness according to the Law of works that nobody but Jesus measures up to, and a righteousness of faith where God credits righteousness based on trust in Jesus.

Romans 4:1 ¶ What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Verse 2

Jim Meritt of Infidels.org claims the Bible contradicts itself concerning the Ark, commenting "The flood story is really two interwoven stories that contradict each other on how many of each kind of animal are to be brought into the Ark--is it one pair each or seven pairs each of the 'clean' ones?"[3]

Genesis 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

Genesis 7:9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.

Jim Meritt like other critics who've claimed this as a contradiction is just entirely ignorant of the whole kosher concept of Judaism and what clean/unclean meant in the Torah. As seen from the Mosaic Law, clean animals were those allowed for EATING. Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 are dedicated to explaining which animals specifically were considered clean and unclean. God declared some things clean and others unclean apparently for purposes of keeping Israel from infectious diseases by having them avoid animals and situations likely to cause diseases, e.g. not touching the blood of what is unclean or the clothing of infected people, even unclosed jars in diseased areas were considered unclean. (Leviticus 5:2, 7:26, 12:4-7, 13:59, 15:2-33, 19:14-15)

Leviticus 11:46 This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:
47 To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.

Leviticus 7:19 And the flesh that toucheth any unclean thing shall not be eaten; it shall be burnt with fire: and as for the flesh, all that be clean shall eat thereof.

Judges 13:4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:

Acts 10:14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

In other words, to be perfectly clear, all animals were being brought in pairs of two except clean animals which were brought in pairs of 7 for purposes of FOOD, though whether that was for Noah or the other animals is unclear. Thus 'clean' animals were the exception because more were needed as a food source. I'm sure any Jew familiar with kosher could have told Meritt this as well.

Verse 6

TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments:[1]

Genesis 7:6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.

Eight Bronze-Age humans over 500-years-old built a watercraft the size of a football stadium with only felled trees and pitch?

Why not? Since humans at the time lived over 900 years with regularity (Genesis 5) they were probably stronger and sturdier than humans today, and had much more time to work on the Ark. After all, we are not told how long Noah spent building the Ark, it could have been a century or three.

Furthermore, don't forget that if the Bible is right about the timeline and dinosaurs did coexist with early humans, then Noah might have harnessed their might for use in constructing the Ark. Maybe that could explain why early monuments like Stonehenge and the Easter Island statues could be constructed, perhaps there were rare cases where dinosaurs were used as part of the labor. Noah had the aid of animals it would appear, which were doubtless directed by God to enter the Ark, and thus those same animals could have helped construct the Ark.

Verse 19

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

Genesis 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

This would require steady, planet-wide rainfall at the rate of 6 inches per minute, 360 inches an hour, for 40 days and 40 nights, covering Mount Everest under 22 feet of water. How, exactly, did Noah measure this for the record? Where has all of the water gone since? And why is there no legitimate geological evidence of a global flood?

Rate of Downpour

That is not the rate of rainfall required, first of all. The rain was just one of two sources of water, and possibly not even the main one. The other was the "fountains of the great deep" breaking up.

Genesis 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

Science by the way has recently begun confirming the Earth has a large amount of water inside. It was first discovered from experiments in 2002 simulating the Earth's structure that there is quite possibly more water deep underground than in all rivers, lakes, and oceans combined.[4]

"Based on what they witnessed in their lab, the researchers concluded that more water probably exists deep within the Earth than is present on Earth's surface—as much as five times more. 'Our results suggest that the lower mantle can potentially store considerable amounts of water,' said Motohiko Murakami of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where the experiments were conducted."
-National Geographic[4]

Then in 2007, scientists discovered from seismograms that a huge amount of water existed below east Asia that is at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean.[5] However, the lead researcher, Michael Wysession, denied that it is a literal ocean but more likely moisture-containing rocks.[6] In 2009, analysis of electrical conductivity in the Earth's mantle provided further evidence that large amounts of water exist in the Earth's mantle.[7] There is also a huge body of water underneath the Sahara Desert trapped since the Ice Age called the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer, which holds 150,000 cubic kilometers of water, roughly 30 times more than the entire world uses.[8]

Needless to say, there is plenty of water that could come from underground during a global Flood, and rainfall rates could be far less extreme.

Evidence of the Flood

Aside from flood legends worldwide that agree even on very minute details like what birds were sent from the Ark (dove and raven)[9] there is plenty of geologic evidence supporting a global Flood. Early science abandoned Catastrophism in favor of Charles Lyell's theory of Uniformitarianism, that rather than huge catastrophes altering the geologic record, Earth today is the result of gradual, uniform, evolutionary processes.[10] Modern science now recognizes that it was wrong to have done so, and acknowledges a mass catastrophe did cause the simultaneous extinction of ancient life, though it prefers to believe there were numerous catastrophes over hundreds of millions of years.[11] There is considerable evidence from the geologic record that the majority of life was instantly, catastrophically wiped out at the same time.

"Somehow, most of the life on Earth perished in a brief moment of geologic time roughly 250 million years ago. Scientists call it the Permian-Triassic extinction or 'the Great Dying' -- not to be confused with the better-known Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction that signaled the end of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Whatever happened during the Permian-Triassic period was much worse: No class of life was spared from the devastation. Trees, plants, lizards, proto-mammals, insects, fish, mollusks, and microbes -- all were nearly wiped out. Roughly 9 in 10 marine species and 7 in 10 land species vanished. Life on our planet almost came to an end. Scientists have suggested many possible causes for the Great Dying: severe volcanism, a nearby supernova, environmental changes wrought by the formation of a super-continent, the devastating impact of a large asteroid -- or some combination of these. Proving which theory is correct has been difficult. The trail has grown cold over the last quarter billion years; much of the evidence has been destroyed."
-NASA[12]

Cubit Measurement

Logically, the 15 cubits (possibly around 22 feet) mentioned in v. 20 is approximately the distance at which the mountains could no longer be seen, because they were too deeply underwater. Furthermore, the author nowhere says all mountains or specifies Mt. Everest.

Apparently the Ark was passing by mountains, perhaps which Noah was very familiar with, and he marvelled at how they were covered until they were no longer seen (presumably past 15 cubits). Thus it's mentioned here. The text in no way requires an assumption this spoke for the entire planet's mountains or that a precise measurement was made.

Noah was perhaps watching from the ship's window until the mountain tops were covered by water and gradually disappeared from sight, submerged too deeply to be visible (past 15 cubits).

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-contradictions.
  2. RationalWiki Editors (2019). "Biblical Contradictions." RationalWiki.
  3. Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harder, Ben (2002, March 7). Inner Earth May Hold More Water Than the Seas. National Geographic. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/03/0307_0307_waterworld.html.
  5. Than, Ker (2007, February 28). Huge 'Ocean' Discovered Inside Earth. LiveScience. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/1312-huge-ocean-discovered-earth.html.
    Washington University in St. Louis (2007, February 11). Earth Mantle 'Ocean': 3-D Seismic Model Of Vast Water Reservoir Revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 18, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070210171556.htm
  6. Lovett, Richard (2007, February 27). Huge Underground 'Ocean' Found Beneath Asia. National Geographic. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070227-ocean-asia.html.
  7. Oregon State University (2009, August 19). Water in Earth's Mantle May be Associated with Subduction. Retrieved from http://phys.org/news169906990.html.
  8. Science Serving People. Great Lakes Beneath Their Feet: Probing North Africa’s Oldest Water Treasures. International Atomic Energy Agency. Retrieved from http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Booklets/Ssp/great_lakes.html.
  9. Northwest Creation Network. Flood Legends from Around the World. Retrieved from http://www.nwcreation.net/noahlegends.html/.
  10. "Uniformitarianism:Charles Lyell." Understanding Evolution. University of California Museum of Paleontology. 08 May 2013 <http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/history_12>.
  11. CNRS (2010, February 11). Mass extinctions: 'Giant' fossils are revolutionizing current thinking. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 18, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100210171413.htm
  12. NASA Science News (2002, January 28). The Great Dying. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved from http://science1.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2002/28jan_extinction/.