Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Noah, Dead or Alive.

Here's a funny thing:

And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.

Genesis 7:23

And yet:

And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

Genesis 8:10-11

So, are olive trees not living substance?

You'd have thought the creator of life would know what's alive and what's not.

Or is this just another example of how a legend of a local flood was badly grafted onto a made up story of a frightening god who would do terrible thing to those who didn't obey the priests and the petty despot kings they worked for?


  1. Unfortunately, I get your point, but this is not a strong argument. 1. There is an unknown time lapse from Gen 7:23 to Gen 8:11 allowing for waters to recede and life to renew. 2. The olive tree is very hardy: drought-, disease- and fire-resistant, it can live to a great age. It's root system is robust and capable of regenerating the tree even if the above-ground structure is destroyed.

  2. Manks.

    In fact the Bible is quite explicit on the matter; all living substances were destroyed, so there was nothing to regenerate from.

    Genesis also spells out the number of days the ark was afloat and how many days it was before the passengers disembarked.

  3. So, obviously I had to go back and read the account of Noah and you are correct, there is a detailed account attesting to the amound of time the Ark was afloat. I'm more than happy to concede the point. Using the timeline mentioned throughout Gen 7:10 - Gen 8:5 we could assume the flood lasted 5-8 mos.

    But the argument is the olive branch, the life it represents and what you see as contradictory in Gen 7:23.

    [Gen 7:23 So the Lord destroyed every living thing that was on the surface of the ground, including people, animals, cratures that creep along the ground, and birds of the sky. They were
    wiped off the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark survived.]

    Four things to consider:
    1. The word 'survived' at the end of the verse translates "a remnant that escapes judgement". Remember the flood was a judgement and that's why 'unclean' creatures were wiped out. Was the olive tree under judgement too that it should be "destroyed"?
    2. If taking a literal stance, the verse states "every living thing that was on the surface of the ground". Could be argued that a plant is not on the surface. Subjective, I know.
    3. I stated in my previous post that the olive tree is incredibly resilient even if the above ground is destroyed, the root system can survive.
    4. Even if the olive tree was completely destroyed, God says in Gen 8:22 that planting time and harvest will not cease, so in essence the olive tree could grow again if once destroyed.

    Let me know your thoughts...

  4. Might have just been a dead olive branch?

    I don't understand why God decided that all living things needed to be destroyed... except oceanic creatures. Obviously they're better than us land dwellers.

  5. Nothing in the story of Noah says that it covered the entire planet. That's something that people added to the idea later, and then claimed it was in the bible the entire time.

    1. Water which covered the highest mountain would pretty much cover the entire earth I would think. Admittedly Genesis' author thought that was only 15 cubits, but that's another matter.

  6. for clarification of biblical timeline:
    Genesis Noah`s 600th year(7:6)
    2nd month and 17th day when main flood started fountains of deep opened(gen7:6).
    Ark rested on 7th month on the 17th day of the month(gen8:4)
    tenth month mountain tops seen(8:5)
    a further 40 days elapse sends out raven and a dove both come back empty handed
    week later(8:10) dove come back with olive leaf.
    further 7 days sends out dove which does not return.
    (8:13) removes covering of ark to view the ground in the 601st year 1st day of the first month.
    (8:14) highlights that this event whether you believe it or not lasted for around 12-14 months.
    It also highlights that plant seeds would have been in the earth buried as they normally are.
    The ark rested on Ararat Mts on the 7 month leaving a further 6 months for plant life/saplings to start growing again.


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