Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Genesis 8

Sorry for the delay in posting. I wrote the first half of this last week, but then had a few 12 hour work days in a row and my husband got hurt so I had to take care of him all weekend. Not that I mind, but it kept me from blogging!

It's almost discouraging to realize that we're only on the 8th chapter, but I have no time limit and taking it in these small chunks is making it a lot easier to keep up with posting. So we'll continue on, one step at a time, and I'll try not to feel too overwhelmed. I only have to think about one chapter for now! And that's the wrapping up of the flood in Genesis 8.

But God finally remembers Noah and all the animals (Did he forget about them? It usually seems like the implication of "remembering" something is that it was forgotten at some point!) and sends a wind to blow away the waters. Wait, what? If the waters are covering the whole earth, where is the wind blowing the water to? This makes sense from a flat earth perspective, but for a globe it's illogical. However he did it, though, the waters start to recede. Eventually the ark comes to rest on Mt. Ararat.

Given that the there is a specific location given for the resting place of the ark, and given that it wasn't more than a few thousand years ago according to the Biblical timeline, surely we could find evidence of the ark's remains on Ararat? Indeed, various expeditions have attempted this before. None of them have found anything! Well, that's not true. None of them have found anything that didn't turn out later to be a hoax. To be fair, the bible only says that it came to rest on "the mountains of Ararat," which may refer to a nearby peak to the actual Mt. Ararat. Still, nothing has been found on any of them either.

I find it interesting that the ark rests on its mountain on the 17th day of the 7th month, but "the tops of the mountains appeared" only when the water had been receding for 10 months. At that rate, it would take a lot longer to clear the water. Maybe God was tired, or just really laughing to himself about how cranky the Noahs were getting.

Noah sends out birds to see if they can find places to roost or find anything of note. The third bird he sends out, a dove, brings back a fresh olive leaf. This happens about 2 months after the tops of the mountains appear from the water. I don't know a ton about olive trees, but a quick Wikipedia check tells me they flourish in coastal areas and the like. Coastal areas tend to be about sea level. So in 2 months, the water completely disappeared and the olive tree had time to grow and bloom? Or is this an olive tree that survived being underwater for a year? And if it did, how does that fit with God wanting to kill every living thing on earth? (For that matter, what about the fishies? Were they on God's good list? And if so, why didn't he just temporarily give a couple animals gills until the flood had passed? Or just protect them in a bubble? The ark just seems SO unnecessary for am omnipotent god!)

One year and two months and some days after the start of the flood, God finally okays the ark to be emptied. Maybe it's just me, but there's no way I would sit in a dank, smelly, cramped ark for months while I waited for the ground to dry. Nope, I'd sneak out a window and run around in the mud and breathe the fresh air in great big gulps (I know, I'm such a bitter, cheerless atheist). This is probably why I would've been drowned! Noah and his family are so obedient. I can just picture God saying "Good boy! Good boy! C'mon out! Who's a good boy? You are! Oh yes you are!"

So after the ark empties out, Noah builds an altar and...wait for it...sacrifices some of all the clean animals to God. Wait. This is the same God who just killed millions of animals in the entire world, and now he is pleased by Noah killing some of the ones God went through all the trouble to save? I mean, wow, you'd think even God would've been sick of the blood by now. But anyway, apparently these last few animals dying did the trick, and God says that he will "never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth." That's okay, then, because humankind is pretty capable of cursing the ground ourselves, I think. It's the second part that gets me. God, listen, you made them. And if they're evil-leaning from the very start, that means you made them evil-leaning! How are you complaining about this? I was gonna write an analogy about script writers not liking the ending of their own movies, but that doesn't even begin to compare. God is omniscient and omnipotent. Which means he had to have known what was going to happen, he had to have been able to make something else happen, and so what the hell is so pouty about? It doesn't add up.

I don't know how I had so much to say about such a short, relatively uneventful chapter, but I guess I did! And now, hopefully, back to daily updates, at least while I'm at class and not on my ship every day.


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