The Problem with Biblical Literalism, Part Two

(I actually wrote this one first as more of a rant, so I may repeat myself.)

Biblical literalists make me want to slam my head into a wall.

I just read some comments regarding the new “Ark Encounter” exhibit in Kentucky. People are vehemently arguing that dinosaurs lived at the same time as humans, saying science has changed theories several times, while the Bible never changes (ignoring of course the differing interpretations and teachings done in churches). They claim death did not exist until Adam sinned. So, dinosaurs were still around [again, ignoring 1) the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs, 2) the extinction would have killed Adam and his descendants, and 3) the earth is not 6,000 years old].

Literal death. Did not exist. Until sin.

No.

Spiritual death, yes.

Otherwise, Jesus would have made us literally immortal with his sacrifice. I’m pretty sure we are all still physically dying, yes?

Our spirits die (read: rend from God) because of sin. Jesus paid the bounty to the devil to restore our spiritual immortality alongside our creator.

Now, did God originally intend for us to live on earth longer than 100 years? Perhaps. The Bible supports this theory. But arrogance through sin shortened our mortality.

While Christians interpret literally to “prove” science wrong, atheists often are biblical literalists as well, for the opposite reason — to prove Christians are ignorant.

And, unfortunately, the atheists are successful. One pointed out for the Flood to cover the entire earth, it would have had to cover the Himalayas. Sea creatures would have died at that reach of the atmosphere.

This is true! But such mockery only works if the Bible is entirely literal. This is not true.

The flood covered the entire known world. God inspired the writers of the Bible, but humans communicating with other humans, that far in the past — they didn’t know the Himalayas existed, and obviously did not mention it. Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, is a flood plain. What with the Tigris and Euphrates rivers overflowing, along with the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Caspian Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Black Sea, forty days of intense rain could easily have flooded the land mass. And all of humanity likely lived within that area at that time.

Besides, what if the Ark had drifted out into the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea?

Much of the Old Testament is the history of the Hebrews. History is recorded by those who experience the events, not objective third parties who interpret evidence millennia later. Those who were there described it as the whole world because that is what they observed. As such, that became the oral tradition and eventually written word.

The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. — Genesis 7:18-20, NIV

The waters covered all the high mountains the witnesses knew about. Fifteen cubits is roughly twenty-three feet. “More than” is ambiguous but does not necessarily include all heights taller than twenty-three feet; most likely it referred to mountains that were only a few cubits taller that could not be reached to measure.

The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible. — Genesis 8:3-5, NIV

Ararat is a region, not a specific mountain. The ark may have landed on a lower ledge or hill rather than the very top of a mountain. We don’t know how rapidly the water receded either, only that it did so steadily. It is not heretical to doubt the flood covered the entire world or the highest mountains. In fact, knowing the context and geography helps align our faith with science, rather than ignorantly disputing what God is revealing.

Also worth noting is that the writer (assumed to be Moses) records Noah’s age to be over 600 years old. As I mentioned above, sin shortened our mortality. Oral tradition may have exaggerated his age. Whether we were meant to live over 1000 years, whether God blessed Noah with a longer life due to his righteousness, or whether “year” is a completely different length of time than what we use today is up for debate. Our year is based on the earth’s revolution around the sun, which was not even considered a scientific possibility until centuries after Christ. All explanations are possible.

The Real Noah's Ark

More information about the flood (historical/mythological correlative evidence):

https://ncse.com/cej/8/2/flood-mesopotamian-archaeological-evidence

http://www.isciencetimes.com/articles/6746/20140128/noahs-ark-round-mesopotamia-flood-cuneiform-instructions-mathematically-accurate.htm

https://newrepublic.com/article/116287/babylonian-tablet-describes-noahs-ark-pre-bible

God bless with mother earth’s bliss.

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