You see, according to Genesis, God killed every living thing outside of Noah's Ark after telling Noah to put a male and female of every species in the Ark and then setting it afloat in a flood for a year or so.
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. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
A little later on, when the flood has subsided, God told Noah to disembark with all the surviving animals onto an Earth from which all living things have been removed.
And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
Okay so far? So, if we go along with this, we know the only things alive on Earth at that point were the humans and the animals which had survived the flood by being in the Ark with Noah. That all seems perfectly straightforward, if a little extreme, and notwithstanding all the technical difficulties.
|Noah was disappointed that no-one turned up for his barbecue.|
And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
No, although it is a puzzle why an omniscience inerrant god would regret doing something and promise not to do it again, that's not what baffles me here. Nor is it the time needed for Noah and his family to catch and kill all the animals needed for the sacrifice.
What baffles me is, if Noah burned one of each of every 'clean' beast - and the Bible is quite emphatic and unambiguous on that matter, leaving no room for doubt - how did the remaining one breed and why are there still 'clean' animals when Noah effectively extinguished those species as a burned offering to God, making a great deal of the effort he put into saving them in the first place, a complete waste of time and effort?
[Update 13 April 2013]
As several people have pointed out, Genesis 7:2-3 talks of seven of each clean beast, which would leave some over for sacrificing. However, Genesis 6 is quite specific that it was two of each clean and unclean and that they be paired male and female. Hence, to use the Genesis 7 defence a Bible literalist would need to implicitly accept that the Bible is at best inconsistent and ambiguous and at worst contradictory, unreliable and thus useless as a source - which is of course true.
So, is any is Bible literalist prepared to use that defence and so argue that the Bible is not the literal word of of an inerrant, omniscient god? Please feel free to use the comment section below if so.