Genesis 7 — The Ark: Decreation, Creation, and Consummation

In this episode we discuss Noah’s ark and the flood judgment which God brought on the world. Amazingly, we see ways in which the entire passage not only reveals the judgment ordeal which took place at the flood, but how God used that judgment to prepare for a new creation which he would sovereignly bring about—one which ultimately leads to consummation through the work of Jesus Christ.

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Proclaiming Christ is an audio program focused upon biblical preaching. In each episode we will discuss the process, method, and goals of preaching biblical texts from a uniquely Reformed perspective. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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Bruce Sanders

4 years ago

You ended this podcast with a call to respond … and to preach Christ.

Luke 3:23-38 presents a chronology of 75 individuals from Jesus to Adam. Reversing the order of the list, if Adam is #1, Noah is #10, Abraham is #21 and David is #34. Genesis 5 identifies 1556 years between Adam and Noah; Genesis 11:10-32 adds 420 years from Shem to Abraham, and in the absence of further specific dates, most Bible students and all Orthodox Jews agree that Abraham lived circa B.C. 2000, and David circa B.C. 1000. Simple arithmetic dates Noah’s flood to circa B.C. 2400.

During the 1990’s, the leader in scientific advancement was Palestinian archeology and the pace of discovery has since continued with amazing results. It is now known that by B.C 3000, Egyptian and Iranian cultures existed in the Middle East, and outside these areas, Greek, Scottish, Romanian and Ukrainian. Chinese and Minoan cultures started circa B.C. 2800. During the times before, during and after B.C. 2400, not one of these cultures reported a catastrophic Noah-type flood. Furthermore, the Human Genome Project does not indicate a Homo-sapien ‘bottleneck.’

During the podcast you theatrically reiterated the water “rising … rising … rising” so that “the mountains were covered” (“mountains” is a misleading translation of Hebrew ‘harim’; the word occurs 61 times in Tanach as low-lying hills). Gen 7:20 indicates the waters rose by only 22 feet (15 cubits).

The description of the Ark is also relevant (Gen 6:14-15). Three floors, 450 feet long (300 cubits) by 75 feet wide (50 cubits) equates to less than 2.3 acres. Farmers listening to this podcast most probably will confirm it is unreasonable to think that thousands of animals (along with required feed and fresh water) can be maintained for more than one year within this limited floor space.

The volume too is a problem. The Ark had to be watertight on all six sides, except for one window 18” below the top for light (Gen 6:16). Whoever wrote this narrative knew nothing of heavier-than-air gases given off by animals … if the animals did not die in a methane explosion, they would have soon suffocated from carbon monoxide poisoning. Ships carrying large numbers of animals need large ventilation systems … the Ark had none.

Your reference to CTC 281 did not help: it confirmed that local flooding initiated several ancient stories about a man and his family who used a boat to save animals … released birds because he could not see if the waters had receded … and when ashore, built an altar. Earth scientists of various disciples have now unearthed proof that local flooding was a problem during rainy seasons, and in one instance, a levee broke (listeners in New Orleans can identify with this). No evidence was found that flooding occurred in all regions at the same time circa B.C 2400.

Without belaboring the facts, Noah’s flood was a local event.

Recently in Britain, 2000 Christians were polled if they believed the Genesis narrative … 17% indicated “yes” (down from 24% in a previous poll); however, when the 17% were told the facts above, the number dropped to 1.9%. Clearly in this networked age, with easy search, the public rejects the Noah story. Your preaching, while well intended, is not winning the day.

My point in drawing attention to this is your call to preach Christ. With religious attendance dropping as a percent of world population (Sikhs, Muslims and Pentecostals being exceptions), there is an increasing need to be a credible witness. Trying to persuade individuals of the veracity of the Noah story, and the ‘Vosian’ typology leading to Christ, are counterproductive. Today, more than ever, we need to stick clearly to the gospel, without disputed distractions or creating guilt in congregants outside the 1.9%.



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