Bruce Jones – Is Genesis 1-11 Historical and Accurate?
Written by Teddy on June 18, 2016
Part Six – “The Ark Settles on Mount Aarat”
Now at this point in the narrative Noah has been at sea for over a year and had been waiting for all the waters to recede before stepping back on dry land. One commentary says “There is no indication that God told Noah which type of bird to release. It could be that Noah arbitrarily chose a raven. Yet, the raven is a scavenger that feels quite at home around dead carcasses. After releasing the raven, the texts states that the bird went “to and fro.” It could be that Noah realized he would not get the information he needed from the raven, due to its propensity for dead carcasses, some of which might have appeared in water that had not yet abated. The dove, however, would not have been comfortable landing on such refuse and would have been able to supply Noah with the needed information. We see here that Noah imitates his own search parties to “test the waters” as they say. So finally when the dove finds dry land to land on, he does not come back and Noah knows it’s time to de-board the Ark.
The Design of the flood-the details of Chapter 8 underscores again the Ark was designed by God to preserve both man (and animals to start all over again with Noah and His family. Noah would not be unmindful of that fact so after the Ark is emptied of all its passengers we read that he built an altar unto the Lord which pleased Him. We read “The Lord said in His heart I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake: for the imagination of his man’s heart is evil from his youth, neither will I again smite every living thing, as I have done” The earth was purged for a new beginning.
In chapter nine we see a renewal of the original mandate regarding man’s status. “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”
Now please note that this renewal of the command given in Genesis 1:26-28 is given only to Noah and his sons and if you believe the text they were the only survivors of this flood and as such they alone were given a universal mandate as the only ones who could fulfill it. Must be the rest died in a universal flood. Right?
A new covenant. Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between Me and all flesh on the earth.”
Now again we see God using terms like “every living creature” (4x). “every” (3x), “all” or “all flesh” (5x) which it all inclusive to say the least and leaves no room in the text for a local application. Then it seems more than coincidence that the very first indication of this promise found in Genesis 6:18 is repeated here seven times the perfect number God uses may times in Scripture, Then there is the fact that the word for the “flood” used here is never used for a local flood and is preceded by the definite article to distinguish it as the Flood, not just any flood. And if the promise is for a supposed local flood, God has broken the promise many times since and since God cannot lie it seems clear we are back to seeing a universal flood in this narrative. And here is an interesting provable scientific observation. The rainbow cloud that appears for the first time here is possible only when there are liquid droplets in the air but before the flood the waters above the earth were only water vapor that cannot produce a rainbow. It’s now impossible for enough water to raise from earth’s oceans.
A new commandment Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man. We know one of the characteristics of the time before was that it was “filled with violence” which includes murder when God forbid that any vengeance be taken on Cain for his murder of Abel.
Now to summarize the main points of this extended exposition, here’s a few questions posed by one author that puts the issue of a local versus universal flood in perspective.
- If the Flood was local, why did Noah have to build an Ark? He could have walked to the other side of the mountains and missed it.
- If the Flood was local, why did God send the animals to the Ark so they would escape death? There would have been other animals to reproduce their kind.
- If the Flood was local, why was the Ark big enough to hold all kinds of land vertebrate animals that have ever existed? If only Mesopotamian animals were aboard, the Ark could have been much smaller.
- If the Flood was local, why would birds have been sent on board? These could simply have winged across to a nearby mountain range.
- If the Flood was local, how could the waters rise to 15 cubits (8 meters) above the mountains (Genesis 7:20)? Water seeks its own level. It couldn’t rise to cover the local mountains while leaving the rest of the world untouched.
- If the Flood was local, people who did not happen to be living in the vicinity would not be affected by it. They would have escaped God’s judgment on sin. If this happened, what did Christ mean when He likened the coming judgment of all men to the judgment of “all” men (Matthew 24:37–39) in the days of Noah? A partial judgment in Noah’s day means a partial judgment to come.
- If the Flood was local, God would have repeatedly broken His promise never to send such a flood again.
And here’s a few more ways to ask those questions:
- If the flood were local and only a smaller ark was required why did it take maybe a hundred years for Noah to build it? Why stay in the ark so long for a local flood?
- If the flood were local why did the waters cover the earth for over a year?
- If the flood were local why did God again and again reemphasize that “every living creature” died, and “all flesh” were wiped out, and the waters covered “all” the earth”? By the way the all-inclusive word “all” is used 72 times in a total of 85 verses. And if someone argues that there are times when all doesn’t mean “all” please note all the times God uses all in context to make His point He means all. I personally consider it an insult to Him to put words in His mouth to say not at all.
As I conclude today’s program it’s important to compare Scripture with Scripture that also confirms our conclusions seen in three important texts two of which I close with today. (a) Job 36:8-11 says “Who enclosed the sea with doors on, when I placed boundaries on it and I set a bolt and doors and I said Thus far you shall come, but no further, and here your proud waters shall stop” Then Psalm 104:9 says it again a thousand years later: “Though didst set a boundary that they may not pass over: that they return not to cover the earth.” So no question at all-God was in control.