Can the Bible be God's Word?
You are reading Can the Bible be God's Word? by Steve McRoberts
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Chapter 1: Genesis

Gen:1:1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Gen:1:2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Gen:1:3: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Gen:1:4: And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Gen:1:5: And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

The first verse of the Bible tells us that God created the heaven and the earth "in the beginning". The earth is described as having darkness on its "formless" depth. But we are not told how something formless and void could possibly have depth.  Depth is a property of an object which has at least three dimensions.  Such an object cannot be void and it must have a form.

According to the above verses, the following were in existence before the end of the first day:

        God

        God's Spirit

        Heaven

        Earth

        Water

        Light

        Darkness

        Goodness

        Words ("Day" and "Night")

But a few verses later we are told that it was not until the second day that God created the heaven:

Gen:1:7: And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
Gen:1:8: And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

If God created the heaven and the earth "in the beginning" on or before the first day, it cannot be true that he did not create the heaven until the second day.

But this isn't the only contradiction here.  A later verse speaks of the "day" (singular) in which God created the heaven and the earth:

Gen:2:4: These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

According to the above verse God created heaven and earth in a single day, so how could it be that God created the earth on or before the first day (Gen. 1:1-5) , and didn't create the heaven until the second day (Gen. 1:7-8)?

Now let's apply some common sense to the first five verses of Genesis.  We are told that on the first "day" God created light and "separated it" from the darkness (as if light somehow had been mixed with darkness.) He called the light "day" and the darkness "night". Then we read, "there came to be evening and there came to be morning, a first day." But how could there be night and day? God just finished defining these terms for us as light and darkness, not day and night as we define them today. Our night and day are not universal things; the universe doesn't go black and then light up again at regular intervals. Such a concept as we have of day and night could not have possibly come into the picture yet, since they refer to the period when a certain spot on a planet is either turning into or out of the light of the star it orbits. The star which the earth orbits wasn't created until the fourth "day":

Gen:1:14: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
Gen:1:15: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
Gen:1:16: And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
Gen:1:17: And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
Gen:1:18: And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
Gen:1:19: And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

In short: it makes no sense to speak of the first three days of creation since days could not have existed until the sun was created (which the Bible claims somehow occurred on the "fourth day").

From a universal perspective (such as God would have) it would always be both day and night concurrently.

An attempted explanation of this "day and night" business is to say that each "day" refers to an epoch of time of a thousand years or more. But this leads to other problems: such as how do we account for plants (created on the third "day") thriving for a thousand or more years before a single ray of sunlight reached the earth? The "each day is an epoch" theory also conflicts with what the writer says about "evening" and "morning". In what sense would a period of a thousand or more years have an "evening" and a "morning"?

The writer had just finished describing the creation of physical light and the naming of it "day," and physical darkness as "night"; it is quite a stretch of our credulity to claim that the very first use he puts these just-defined words to refers to something else entirely. It seems obvious to me that the writer of these words could only think in terms of his own surroundings, and imagined God as being subject to day and night, just as he was. (This is a fault we will detect in many subsequent passages throughout the book.) The writer didn't conceive of the earth as turning, of course, but of the light and darkness as traveling around the earth next to one another (hence the strange notion of "separating" the light from the darkness). Since this writer could see light before he saw the sun in the morning, he concluded that lightness and darkness were not dependent on the sun. Therefore, God didn't have to create the sun until the fourth day.

In an attempt to resolve these difficulties we could argue that the sun was already created before the first day as part of the 'heavens'. And that on the fourth day God simply allowed the light from the sun and moon to penetrate the earth's atmosphere for the first time. But then we are still left with the disturbing question of how God separated that first light from darkness, and how that first, second, and third day and night are to be accounted for. Where did the light and darkness occur? And where did it occur all at once so that one period could be called day and another night?

If other planets were already receiving light from stars, it follows that these planets contained day and night at the same time, one on either side of their surface. So 'day and night' could still not be thought of in any universal regularity so that God, overseeing all, could say, "It's night now" or "day now". It is always day somewhere and it is always night somewhere even if you only take into consideration our own planet earth.

Gen:1:11: And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Gen:1:12: And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen:1:13: And the evening and the morning were the third day.

Gen:1:20: And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Gen:1:21: And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen:1:22: And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
Gen:1:23: And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Gen:1:24: And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
Gen:1:25: And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen:1:26: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Gen:1:27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

So, according to the first chapter of Genesis, the order of creation was:

1.      Vegetation (3rd day)

2.      Animals (5th & 6th days)

3.      Man and woman (end of 6th day).

But in the second chapter of Genesis we find a different order of creation:

Gen:2:4: These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
Gen:2:5: And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
Gen:2:6: But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
Gen:2:7: And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Gen:2:8: And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Gen:2:9: And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Gen:2:18: And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Gen:2:19: And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
Gen:2:20: And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
Gen:2:21: And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
Gen:2:22: And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

This shows all of creation occurring on one day ("in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens" -- verse 4).  It shows the order of creation as:

1.      man

2.      vegetation

3.      animals

4.      woman

A clear contradiction of the order in the first chapter.

Here is the order of creation from the first two chapters of the Bible to make it clearer:

Gen. 1

 

Gen. 2

Verse

Item Created

Day Created

 

Verse

Item Created

Day Created

11-13

Vegetation

3rd

 

7

Man

1st

20-25

Animals

5th & 6th

 

9

Vegetation

1st

26-27

Man and Woman

End of 6th

 

19

Animals

1st

 

 

 

 

22

Woman

1st

If we claim to believe in the Bible, how do we answer the following question:

Was man created before the vegetation and the non-human animals, or after?

If we answer, "Before," then we have made it clear that we do not believe the first chapter of Genesis, and therefore we do not believe that the Bible is the inerrant "Word of God."

If we answer "After," then we have made it clear that we do not believe in the second chapter of Genesis, and therefore we do not believe that the Bible is the inerrant "Word of God."

If we make any other answer, then we have made it clear that we don't believe in the first two chapters of Genesis, and therefore we do not believe that the Bible is the inerrant "Word of God."

 

In Gen. 1:20 (quoted above) we are told that God formed all of the fowl out of water. But in Gen 2:19 we are told that God formed every fowl of the air out of the ground.

Gen:2:19: And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

Gen:2:16: And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
Gen:2:17: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

According to Genesis, the man eventually ate the forbidden fruit, but he did not die that day, in fact he lived on for hundreds of years afterwards (Gen. 5:3-5). So God was wrong.

Gen:3:7: And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Gen:3:8: And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Gen:3:9: And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
Gen:3:10: And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Gen:3:11: And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

Why would an omnipresent, omniscient God ask such questions as "where are you?" and "who told you?" An all-knowing God would know these things without having to ask. If he was feigning ignorance for some reason, then he was practicing deception (i.e. "lying"). Since the Bible tells us that God cannot lie (Num. 23:19; Heb. 6:18) this alternative is not possible.

Gen:3:21: Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

Unless we are to believe that God materialized these skins out of thin air (which would mean he created something after "resting from all of his creation"), then this represents the first murder of innocent animals. God had not given the first human couple permission to kill animals, he told them their food was to consist of vegetation:

Gen:1:29: And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Gen:1:30: And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

According to Genesis, even the carnivorous animals (which we now know could not have survived on a vegetarian diet) are confined to eating vegetation at this time. It is not until after Noah's flood that God gives people permission to eat animals (Gen. 9:3). So it was God that committed the first killing on earth, and that just for the sake of skin coats to cover the first couple's nakedness. What need was there to do this? Evidently they had been warm enough without such coats prior to this, and they had already "covered their nakedness" with sewn-together fig leafs back in Gen. 3:7.

The way the account is written indicates that the author thought there was something evil in nakedness. The first thing the couple noticed after eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was that they were naked, and they immediately made clothes for themselves out of fig leafs. This implies that being naked is evil, but they hadn't realized it until eating the forbidden fruit opened their eyes. But why would nakedness be evil when that is how God created them? After creating them, God declared that his creation was "very good" (Gen 1:31), not evil. If their being naked truly was evil, then God had already permitted evil in the world before humankind ever sinned. In fact, not only had he permitted it, he had perpetrated and perpetuated it by creating them naked and not clothing them immediately.

Gen:3:22: And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

This implies that the man did not know the difference between good and evil prior to eating the forbidden fruit. If that was the case, how could God expect him to know that it was "wrong" (or "evil") to disobey him? If he did not know the difference between right and wrong it would hardly be fair to punish him for doing wrong.

It seems that the magic inherent in the "tree of life" was more powerful than God! Why else would God have to take measures to prevent the man from eating it (and thus gaining everlasting life)? This indicates that the man could've easily gotten around the sentence of death by eating from the tree of life if God had not taken steps to physically prevent him. The magical tree would've thwarted God's intentions: winning out in a battle of the wills, the tree would've proved greater than Almighty God!

Gen:3:24: So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Where is this garden, this tree of life, these Cherubims, and this flaming sword today? The Bible does not tell us that these were ever removed from the earth, and yet, with most of the earth explored and all of it photographed by satellites, we have never stumbled upon them. If God removed them at some point, or destroyed them in the flood, then why didn't he just remove them immediately instead of guarding them?

Gen:4:2: And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.Gen:4:3: And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
Gen:4:4: And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
Gen:4:5: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Since people were not allowed to eat animals at this time, Abel must have "kept sheep" simply for the purpose of clothing. That being the case, I wonder how and why it would have occurred to Abel to kill sheep and cut out their fat and "bring it to the Lord" as an "offering". Why would he assume that God would want such a thing brought to him? God supposedly had created live sheep with fat to protect their internal organs. If he had simply wanted just the fat, presumably he would've just created a lump of fat and been done with it. It's hard to imagine why Abel would've thought that killing God's creation and dissecting it would be pleasing to God.

In what sense can it be said that the brothers "brought" their offerings to God? If God is everywhere, then it makes no sense to transport an object from one place to another in order to "bring" it to God.

It is probable that the writer of this account, once again, was projecting the ideas of his own time on the past. Under the Mosaic Law (instituted centuries after the alleged events in this chapter of Genesis) people "brought" animal "offerings" to the priests of God serving at the temple. The writer of this chapter of Genesis must've forgotten that the Mosaic Law had not yet been given at that time. He probably also imagined God as still walking about the Garden and the brothers bringing their offerings to him there in person.

Gen:4:7: If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

The last sentence of the above verse seems to make no sense in this context. It would seem that "sin" is being personified and is said to desire Cain, while Cain will rule over sin. If Cain did not "do well", then he would not be ruling over sin, but sin would be ruling over him. It seems to be the result of some very sloppy work by some ancient copyist who lost his place and mistakenly copied (with errors) the last phrase from chapter 3, verse 16:

Gen:3:16: Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Gen:4:13: And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.Gen:4:14: Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.

At this point in the narrative, the only other people on the earth were Adam and Eve. Where were all these other people that Cain worrieed might find him and slay him? It was only after this event that Eve bore another son:

4:25: And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.

Gen:4:15: And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

Later, the God who "does not change" (James 1:17) commanded that murderers must be killed (Num 35:16-19). But here, God promised to protect a murderer!

How could vengeance be taken "sevenfold" against the killer of Cain? Would God kill this person seven times? Or is God threatening six members of the man's immediate family? The first alternative is ridiculous, the second alternative flies in the face of what God supposedly said in Ezekiel 18:20 about no one having to die for the sins of another.

What sort of mark on a person would say to you, "Don't kill this person or God will take vengeance sevenfold"? A large tattoo consisting of these words might work today, but back then reading and writing probably hadn't been invented yet. It's hard to imagine why such a mark would be needed, though; according to Genesis there were very few people on the earth during Cain's lifetime and they were all closely related to him (he was either their son, brother, or uncle). You'd think they'd recognize him and know what he'd done and about God's protection of him without a "mark".

Gen:4:17: And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

Where did Cain's wife come from? After Seth, the account tells us that Adam fathered "sons and daughters" (Gen 5:3,4), so evidently one of Cain's sisters (or possibly one of his nieces) had sex with him. In fact, other than the immediate offspring of Adam and Eve, all other children would've had to have been the result of incest. Either God had originally meant for Eve to directly give birth to the entire human population and God's plan had gone awry (which would be impossible if God were perfect), or incest had to have been part of the Divine Plan from the start. Since the Bible elsewhere portrays God as condemning incest as a sin (Lev. 18:6,9), neither alternative seems plausible, and the whole story falls apart.

God told Cain that he would be a "fugitive and a vagabond in the earth" (Gen. 4:12) but here we see Cain "settling down": he got married, had a son, and built a city. Hardly the lifestyle of a fugitive and vagabond! Evidently, God was wrong again.

Gen:4:20: And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
Gen:4:21: And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

So, if I were to live in a tent or raise cattle, you could point to me and say, "That fellow there is a descendant of Jabal." But if I were to take up the organ you could point to me and say, "That fellow there must be a descendant of Jubal." We know that this is completely ridiculous; there are people of various ethnic descent all over the world who dwell in tents. It makes no sense to say these people all are descended from Jabal while others of the same ethnic descent are not descendants of Jabal because they don't happen to dwell in tents.

Gen:6:2: That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

Elsewhere we are told that Jesus is the "only" begotten son of God. (1 John 4:9) So how could there have been sons (plural) of God as related here? At least one of these scriptures must be wrong.

There is no indication in Genesis that God thought there was anything wrong with his sons marrying the daughters of men. He had issued no decree against such marriages, and he evidently did nothing to prevent them or to counsel those contemplating such marriages.

Gen:6:3: And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

After reading this statement limiting the human life span to 120 years, we read of Noah (already 600 years old) living on for an additional 350 years, and dying at the ripe old age of 950 (Gen. 9:28,29)! In chapter eleven it is recorded that some of Noah's descendants (who hadn't even been born yet when God said humans wouldn't live beyond 120 years) had lives hundreds of years long.

An attempt to harmonize these verses is to look at Genesis 6:3 as a prediction of the flood: God was saying that he would wipe out mankind 120 years from the day he made the announcement. 

One problem with this harmonizing attempt is that the verse states that the end of man's life will come after 120 years due to the fact that man is "flesh": not because man is wicked.  Yet, the reason for the flood is given as due to man's wickedness.

Humankind had always been "flesh", and God would've always known that.  So why would the unchanging God decide (after Adam and others had lived hundreds of years) that humans should only live 120 years because they were "flesh"?

Gen:6:5: And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

This cannot be true. At best it could be called a gross exaggeration. If a parent's thoughts were exclusively and continuously evil they would never have reared their children. It takes patience and love to rear children. If people were as evil as Genesis claims, then they would've strangled their babies the first time they cried, and the human race would've died out long ago.

We also know that no city could exist if people were so evil; they could not make the compromises necessary to live together. God had to have been wrong again.

Gen:6:6: And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

We know that a perfect being would never repent of any of his perfect actions, and would not grieve (since he could foresee and forestall any incident which would cause him grief). Other Bible writers agree with this:

Num:23:19: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Genesis says that God repented. Numbers says that God cannot repent. Is it possible to believe both of these statements? If not, then it is impossible to believe the Bible as a whole.

Gen:6:7: And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

According to the above verse, God also repented having made the beasts, the fowls, and the "creeping things". He declared that he would wipe them all off the face of the earth because of man's evil thoughts. But why would a God of justice punish the innocent? The non-human animals were not thinking evil continuously: why were they to be punished for man's evil? God had declared all of his creation "very good". Was he wrong yet again?

God promised to destroy man, beast, creeping thing, and fowl. He did not specifically mention the creatures of the sea, rivers, or lakes. The method God chose (drowning) might not affect aquatic animals. If this is true, why were these spared? Had the mountain goats been evil while the barracuda had remained sinless? Are we to believe that there was exactly one sinless couple in each species, and Noah somehow knew which these were and brought them into the ark?

If God had just wanted to destroy humans, why didn't he just release one of his plagues, or any disease that would only affect humans (previously inoculating Noah and company, of course)? Why murder innocent animals?

And why murder children, infants, and pregnant women? Could babies have been thinking evil continuously? We might argue that these all had "inherited" sin from Adam and Eve (the "original sin" dogma), and so deserved death from God. But the following statement contradicts such an idea:

Gen:6:9: These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

If the imperfection of "original sin" touched all people (so that it would be justice for the "God of love" to murder babies) then how could it be that Noah was "perfect"? The "original sin" doctrine insists that there can be no perfect people, as the following verses show:

Rom:3:10: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Rom:3:23: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Rom:5:12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

1Jn:1:8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

 

Gen:6:13: And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

God said that he was going to destroy the earth along with all flesh. Since the earth is still here, it looks like you guessed it God was wrong again!

Gen:6:14: Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.Gen:6:15: And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

Gen:6:16: A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

A "cubit" was approximately 18 inches. That would make the ark 450 feet by 75 feet, by 45 feet high. This would give them 33,750 square feet on each floor for a grand total of 101,250 square feet. Noah was to provide one 18-inch window on one floor of this giant ark, other than that, it would be sealed tight with pitch.

Shipbuilders do not construct ships of this size out of wood. They use metal because wooden ships of such size fall apart from their own sheer weight. The slightest rocking of the ark along its length would've cracked it and sprung a fatal leak.

I would like to see any very old man together with his three sons and their wives build a seaworthy ark of these dimensions using only gopher trees, pitch, and the most primitive of tools.

Gen:6:17: And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

This brings us again to the question of the aquatic life. If such animals survived the flood outside of the ark, then everything in the earth did not die. Later, when recounting all the creatures God murdered, the writer carefully avoids saying that any of his victims were fish or other aquatic animals:

Gen:7:23: 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.

At some point, however, the saltwater of the sea would've mixed with fresh-water and upset the delicate ecosystems of both sea-dwelling and fresh-water dwelling creatures. Any bottom dwellers, used to a certain water pressure, would've died under the additional 5,000 pounds per square inch of pressure that the extra five-mile depth of the sea would've caused. The only real survivors would have been those aquatic species capable of living in the brackish water of gulf areas (where fresh water pours out of rivers into the sea). However, even these are suspect since the deluge may have created a temperature change in the water drastic enough to kill all. This means that Noah would've had to have at least two very large aquariums aboard the ark!

Gen:6:19: 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.
Gen:6:20: 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.
Gen:6:21: And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

Now we have a bit of a problem. Although the ark sounds large, it would not have been large enough to house 2 of every species of animal and insect along with a year's supply of food for each of them. A very conservative estimate of the number of species of animals and insects follows:

4,000

Mammals

2,500

Amphibians

6,000

Reptiles

8,700

Birds

20,000

Fish

750,000

Insects

 

 

791,200

Total species

[Editor's Note: this total is far too conservative. There are 1.5 million known species at present, with an estimated 50 million unknown species (i.e. known to exist but not yet classified.)]

If Noah had gathered two of each, that would mean he was dealing with 82,400 animals and 1,500,000 insects. The ark had floor space of 101,250 square feet. (We're interested in square footage rather than cubic feet since piling the animals atop one another would create more problems than it would solve.) Disregarding the insects, that's slightly over one square foot per animal, except that it doesn't leave any room for the food and fresh water (or for the humans to walk around to deliver them). You could possibly pack some of the smaller animals into a square foot of space apiece, but you'd run into a problem trying the same experiment with apes, buffalo, hippopotamuses, and elephants! In addition to that, we haven't left any room for the one and a half million insects. Once we add them back into the equation we find that Noah had to squeeze 15 creatures into every square foot of space!

Although Genesis indicates that all of the carnivorous animals were somehow able to survive on a vegetarian diet, we know that's impossible. Their digestive systems require the flesh of other animals. If they were originally herbivores and God miraculously transformed them into carnivores after the flood, then God deliberately changed the natural world from a peaceful place to a place of constant killing, "red in tooth and claw". Hardly the act of a loving God who 'cares about each sparrow'.

On the other hand, if we assume that the carnivores were created as carnivores from the beginning, then how could they have survived for a year in the ark? They would've killed and eaten the other animals in order to survive. If Noah had taken only two of each species into the ark, the animals that the carnivores fed upon would've become extinct and would not be with us today. It cannot be argued that Noah took extra animals as food for the carnivores, because as we've already proven, there wasn't enough room for the animals that were being saved, much less for additional animals to serve as food.

Then there is the matter of waste. You'll recall that the ark was sealed tight with pitch. All of these animals had to regularly urinate and defecate. Let's say that of the 8,000 mammals, only half produced an appreciable amount of urine. Let's be conservative and say that each of these 4,000 animals produced one pint a day. That amounts to 500 gallons of urine a day (slightly over 2 tons). If straw were provided to catch this, the straw would soon be saturated and in need of changing. If it were changed, it would soon run out. If no straw was used, every animal would soon be wading through urine. Under such conditions, disease would soon wipe them all out.

There were eight people aboard to attend to the feeding and the cleaning-up after all of these animals. There was an 18" window on one floor in which to bail out the urine and pitch the excrement (there would've been at least 2 tons of excrement a day). Since that window had to provide the entire ventilation for all three floors and for all of these animals, it's unfortunate that it also had to double as the "potty". Waste would have had to have been pitched out in an almost constant flow! Each of the eight humans on the ark would've had to lift and pitch half a ton of waste a day, every day. If they all worked 16 hour days, and gathered 20 pounds of waste every 20 minutes (gathering it, carrying it up to the floor with the window, tossing it, and returning for more) they might've just been able to pull it off. The only thing is, they wouldn't have had time to feed the animals! After about a week of such an existence in the fetid atmosphere of the dark, hopelessly overcrowded ark, I think I would've pitched myself out that little window!

If all the animals that we see today had their ancestors on that ark, and then were released after the floodwaters subsided on a mountain in the Middle East, how did the funny little platypus make its way to Australia? It can't swim such great distances as a voyage from the Mediterranean to Australia would entail. It's a slow little creature, and quite unique. No one has ever found a trace of him or his ancestors anywhere along the route from Mt. Ararat to Australia. He is found only in Australia, just like the koala bear and the kangaroo. How can we explain it, or the many unique species to be found on the Galapagos Islands? It's inconceivable that any of them could've made it there in one generation from the Mediterranean. So there should be populations of them, or fossils or bones of them scattered all along the route; but there are none. Furthermore, it's clear that many of these animals never could have lived in the climate of the Mediterranean. The koala, for instance, lives off of fresh eucalyptus leaves only; he can't live off of anything else. The koala does not drink water; all of his water intake comes from the moisture in the fresh eucalyptus leaves. Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia, not the Middle East. How would Noah have kept a eucalyptus tree alive in the ark for a year without sunshine? How would he have kept the fruit bats supplied with fresh fruit for a year?

Are we to suppose that Noah or his sons traveled to Australia, the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica (for the penguins), the Arctic (for polar bears), Africa (for lions), and so on? Are we to imagine that in each location they captured a pair of each unique animal and a year's supply of their unique food, and brought them back to the Middle East? Are we to further imagine that they returned them to their homes after the flood?

Since no one in the Middle East at that time even suspected that such lands existed, God would've had to have given Noah a geography lesson (which he didn't see fit to pass on to his descendants who remained ignorant of these other lands). God would also have had to teach Noah how to build a sea-worthy vessel, how to navigate, what strange animals to look for, how to capture and feed them, what food supplies to gather and how to preserve them, etc. I don't think 8 people today, with all of our modern transportation, steel cages, dart-guns, and know-how could accomplish this feat in a lifetime. The animal-gathering process is as impossible to believe as the flood itself!

It cannot be argued that the animals walked to the Middle East on their own, because, given their traveling speed, the pair of sloths from South America would've had to have started their 6,000 mile journey long before the Biblical date for the creation of the world! Also, along the way, the vast majority of the animals would've starved (given their unique diets) or died of exposure (given their adaptation to their home climates).

According to Genesis, the flood took place only 1,656 years after creation. To give you an idea of how recent that was, the Bible shows us that Noah's grandfather, Methuselah, was 113 years old when Adam finally died, and Methuselah died the year of the flood (possibly due to the flood and a very unconcerned grandson).

Given that, I wonder what happened to the dinosaurs? Had they already become extinct before the flood? If so, how could they have been a perfectly "good" creation of God's to have lasted such a short time? If they all were drowned in the flood, then Noah failed to carry out God's command to gather "of every living thing of all flesh", and the Bible errs when it says, "every beast after his kind went into the ark" (Gen. 7:14). Nor can we say that the dinosaurs became extinct after the flood; the Bible tells us that the flood occurred less than 4,500 years ago. Archaeologists tell us that dinosaurs roamed the earth no more recently than 65 million years ago.

So, the dinosaurs could not have become extinct before, during, or after the flood. Yet we know they became extinct, therefore the flood could not have happened.

Gen:7:2: Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
Gen:7:3: Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
Gen:7:4: For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

Uh-oh! At first God told Noah to only gather two of every animal (Gen. 6:19). Now, with only seven days remaining, God told Noah to get seven of every "clean" animal and seven of each species of bird. Talk about deadline stress!

Since it's impossible to divide seven into an equal number of males and females, it's possible that what was meant was fourteen of each of these animals: seven of each gender. This is, in fact, how the Catholic's New American Bible translates the verse:

Gen. 7:2 Of every clean animal, take with you seven pairs, a male and its mate; and of the unclean animals, one pair, a male and its mate.

Of course, Noah wouldn't have had a clue as to which animals were "unclean" and which were "clean". The idea of animals being clean (edible) or unclean (inedible due to religious taboo) wasn't given until centuries later in Moses' time (Lev. 11). In Noah's day all the animals were considered "clean". This is proven by what God said to him after the flood:

Gen:9:3: Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

So the writer of this part of Genesis was once again imposing standards of his own day upon the distant past. It is as if I were to present you with a "true story" about the first president of the United States, and you were to read in this document:

"George Washington's mother was watching her favorite soap-opera on television when she heard the sounds of an axe chopping at her favorite cherry tree."

You would know that the document was written hundreds of years after George Washington's time by someone who was ignorant of the fact that the past was different than the present. You would also know that what the document related was not true.

Adding five more birds of each species means that 43,500 more birds had to have been captured in seven days and squeezed into the already impossibly overcrowded ark. Birds, of course, would be amongst the hardest animals to catch since they could so easily and quickly fly away from their would-be captors. But somehow Noah and company managed to travel the world once again and round up all the exotic species of birds (five more of each) and return home within seven days! Discounting the travel time (we'll assume they somehow traveled while they slept), we'll imagine that each of the eight people, worked 16 hours a day. In order for each individual to capture their quota of 776 birds a day (from 155 different species), they would have to capture a bird every minute and a quarter. Somehow they found time to gather five more of every "clean" animal as well, gather more food for all these tens of thousands of additional birds and animals, and make it back home in time for the flood!

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