Thursday, March 5, 2009

GENESIS: Chapters 8 & 9

Chapter 8
Summary:After 150 days of flooding God sends a wind to blow across the waters and floods began to disappear. The boat comes to rest upon the mountains of Ararat, and as three more months went by other mountain tops emerged from beneath the waters.

After another forty days Noah sent out a raven that basically flew around eating the carcasses of the dead animals floating on the water. He also sent out a dove to see if it could find dry ground, but the dove unable to find a place to perch returned to the boat. A week later he released the dove again and this time the dove returned with an olive leaf in its beak. After yet another week he released the dove and it didn't return.

8:21 "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."
Another month later Noah opened the door to the boat's top deck to have a look around and saw that the water was gone, yet he holed back up for another two months until God told him he could leave the boat*. He and his family got off the boat and released all the animals - except for a select lucky few that he picked out for ritualistic animal sacrifices. Noah builds an altar and sacrifices the birds and animals he picked out for the occasion, and this pleases God.

God now claims that he will never again commit mass genocide.
Notes:1.) For those keeping score, Noah, his family, and the animals were aboard the Ark for about 9 1/2 months.
Thoughts:It's hard to really expand upon what I've already commented upon in the previous chapter about the absurdity of the whole Noah's Ark story, but one thing I did forget to mention was factoring in the effect of the flood on plant life, how long it would take to repopulate the earth with the plants that many of these herbivores need to survive on after they're set free from the ark.

The mathematics can be staggering if we try to determine the overall weights of the boat, the animals, and the feed that would be needed to sustain them all for nine months as to whether such weight could possibly even float. Also worth questioning would be how all of these animals were kept, whether in pens or in cages, separated individually or by kinds, or perhaps some were free roaming like the insects and such.

A more thorough look at these sorts of problems can be found at the Skeptic's Dictionary webpage devoted to Noah's Ark at:
Chapter 9
Summary:God blessed Noah and his sons* and told them to repopulate the earth again. He tells Noah that all wild animals, birds, and fish will now be afraid of man* and further expands upon this by reaffirming man's dominion over the animals by telling Noah that they are all there to be used as food - with the stipulation that the animal's blood must be drained first. However, he also tells Noah that any animal or man that kills a man must itself be killed* affirming that murder is to be punished by death.

God promises Noah, his sons, and even the animals that Noah rescued that he will never again commit mass genocide by way of a massive flood. He goes on to say that he is sealing this promise with the rainbow* he put in the clouds, and when God sees the rainbow in the future he will remember his promise to not kill everybody again with a massive global flood. It is then stated that the descendants of Noah's three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth went on to form all the nations of the earth.

9:21 "And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent."
Noah went on in life to become a farmer and planted a vineyard. One night after Noah got pretty drunk and crazy, he stripped down naked and went to sleep it off inside his tent. His son Ham found him in the tent and was aghast to see his dad passed out naked* and went out to tell his brothers. Shem and Japheth grabbed a robe and walked into their dad's tent backwards so that they could cover their father up without having to look at his nakedness. When Noah eventually woke up, and learned what had happened and that Ham was responsible for snitching on him to his brothers, he curses the descendants of Ham's son Canaan (the Canaanites). He curses the Canaanites to become the lowliest form of slaves, and blesses both Shem and Japtheth asking God to ensure that Canaan serves as a slave to them both.

Noah lives on for another 350 years after the flood dying at the ripe old age of 950.
Notes:1.) Yet another example of sexism with the omission of Noah and his son's wives in the blessing.
2.) One would think the animals would be a bit more fearful of God after that whole flood business.
3.) Spoken from a deity that just finished committing mass genocide.
4.) A rainbow is not a physical object, but an optical effect.
5.) Nudity is once again treated as shameful.
Thoughts:In my opinion, one of the biggest problems with the bible is that it promotes exclusionary outlooks (i.e. women are inferior to men, this group of people are "God's people", this group of people - men, women, and children - needs to be destroyed) and the same is applied towards the outlook on animals as well. Animals are basically pawns, not well respected, and God loves to have them sacrificed to him without regard to their suffering. Once again, God encourages Noah and his family the green light to kill animals how they see fit and not just purely out of need or necessity. I realize that this is a personal gripe in regards to animals which some may night agree with me on, but I do think it bears mentioning as it's interesting to draw parallels to what God's views are on people he views inferior to his chosen ones.

God seems to harbor either a jealousy over his exclusive right to murder senselessly or simply doesn't realize that he sets a bad example towards the people he wants to follow him, his tendency to dish out excessive punishment seems to rub off on Noah, who after a bit of excessive drinking punishes his son Ham for what appears to be simply catching a glimpse of his father naked. Actually, I'm not quite sure that I understand what specifically Noah is condemning Ham for (my guess is that it's a no-no to see your father naked) but reacting by basically selling Ham's son Canaan into slavery seems a bit excessive (not to mention ridiculous to make Canaan pay for his father's mistake).

Finally, like his ancestors before him, Noah's death (and his adventure on the Ark at age 600) conveniently ends on a nice and even number with his final age of 950.

1 comment:

  1. "It is then stated that the descendants of Noah's three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth went on to form all the nations of the earth."

    Ah ha! Now I can stop doing my genealogy research. It's pretty obvious who I am a descendant of - the sinner who likes to look at his father naked!