Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Genesis 6

I have the most boring post titles, eh? Oh well, my format lends itself well to that, and it would be entirely too taxing to come up with amusing subtitles every time. So these will have to suffice! Plus, it clears up any confusion about what I'm going to write about (hint: it's Genesis 6!).

Wow, this chapter starts off on a great foot. "...daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose." There is no getting around the fact that just sounds flat-out sexist, and I'm not one of those people who is overly sensitive to sexism. Ah, this is when God hands down the mortal lifespan! He says that because we are flesh we cannot live more than 120 years. That's interesting, because all those people delineated in the previous chapter were flesh too, but they got at least 900 years!

Then there come blatant demi-gods. Remember those myths of Zeus having children with mortal women who end up being the greatest insert-noun-here? Clearly legend, of course. But when "the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them" who go on to become "the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown," then that's just the Biblical truth, and we can't possibly understand nowadays because things were different back then.

So God suddenly realizes that humankind is evil, so he decides to kill not only all the humans but also all the living things of his creation. He is sorry that he ever made them. Yes, let that statement sink in for a minute. The omniscient, omnipotent God who created humankind in his image, later discovers they are evil in their hearts and is sorry he ever got involved. An outcome that he should have known in the entirety from before he ever created them! Anyway, luckily for us modern day humans, Noah wasn't as black-hearted as the rest.

If Noah hadn't found favor with the Lord, would we today be arguing with Christians who believe that we've all been killed, the sensory world is merely a dream created by the devil, and that when we die we will actually "wake up" into the real, heavenly world? Actually, come to think of it, I'm sure there's some religion out there that claims such a thing. I wouldn't be surprised. But here I shall limit myself to merely what is presented before me in this holiest of books, where Noah was saved.

God tells Noah about his plan to flood the earth and gives him exact instructions for an ark. I know there is some debate on the actual length of a cubit (thanks, Google!), but for sake of modern day comprehension, I'll use the "long" cubit of about 20 inches. That makes the ark 2,083,333 cubic feet of volume. For comparison, the Titanic measured in with 4,632,800 cubic feet. So Noah made an ark out of wood and pitch that was half the size of the Titanic. Where did he get so much wood and pitch? That seems implausible.

So God outlines his plan of flooding the entire earth and tells Noah to bring his family (wife, sons, daughters-in-law) onto the ark as well as 2 of every kind of creature as well as every kind of food that exists.

This is almost worse than the creation story! At least then we can assume an omnipotent God who can do illogical things. Here we are asked to swallow the idea that Noah, a mortal man, built an ark half the size of the Titanic, in the middle of the desert (okay, it doesn't say so explicitly here, but this is what I was taught in church and given the Hebrew region seems likely), and then collected every kind of animal and plant onto it. Including animals like the kangaroo or the buffalo, that existed half a world away. Where did they shit? What did they eat? If they ate all the food he brought, how did he refurbish the world?

This makes NO SENSE. There is no brain acrobatic that makes this work. Noah's ark is impossible.

Another question that occurs to me is that God says all of humankind is evil. Then he says, well, Noah, you're okay. So why does Noah get to bring his whole family? It doesn't say that they're righteous. It just says Noah is. Are they getting a free pass from this flood because they're related to the one righteous man? What nepotism! And surely they had friends and neighbors. If Noah was able to influence his family to be righteous, what about them? And how could he do this knowing full well that they were going to be killed? I'd think the moral thing to do here is let God flood the entire earth and be done with it, rather than prolonging this "humankind is evil" crap for nearly six thousand more years.

What an interesting chapter. Demi-gods, impossible boats, and only one righteous man! And if everyone's lineage gets funneled through Noah, how can we go back to the idea that all of Lamech's descendants were musicians? Surely everyone is descended from Noah now, and since Noah descends through Seth and not Cain, no one can be a musician anymore?

Christianity would be doing so much better if someone had edited this book before publication! So far, I'm not impressed!

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