[SRB here: If you have any suggestions for improvement, please share them. I’ll submit this Monday. Thanks.]
Dr. Harold Weinberg addressed three alleged Biblical myths pertaining to the global flood in his article from May 18, 2012. I’m confident that Weinberg is an intelligent man, but he has not shown himself to be much of a Bible scholar to date. His introduction offered one definition of “myth,” but I’d like to provide another from dictionary.com: A myth is “an imaginary or fictitious thing or person.” His recent article contains a strong imaginary or fictitious component; namely, that the Bible contradicts itself! Allow me to explain.
First, Weinberg attacks what he claims to be a contradiction about the number of animals brought on the ark. A careful reading of Genesis 6:19 says “bring two”; it does not say “bring only two,” which is what Weinberg would need to prove a contradiction with Genesis 7:2,3. Noah did bring two of each sort of animal into the ark, and of the clean animals he brought even more so that some could be sacrificed later without causing extinction. The only “myth” here is the careless Biblical interpretation grounded in the fictitious Documentary Hypothesis to which Weinberg evidently subscribes. The Bible has not been edited, let alone by imaginary redactors like J, E, P, D, or any other letter of the alphabet! Jesus taught that Moses wrote the Pentateuch; that’s good enough for me.
Weinberg questions why the animals even needed to be saved from the deluge since God could simply have created more. I’m not in a position to question why God did or did not do certain things—and neither is Weinberg. I’m content to take God at His word, however, knowing that His ways and thoughts are far above my own (Isa. 55:8,9) and that there are some things He has not chosen to reveal to humanity (Deut. 29:29).
Second, Weinberg is confused about how long it rained during the global flood. Initially, it rained continuously for 40 days (Gen. 7:4,12). But, the rain that fell from above was not the only source of the rising flood waters. Water also came from below (i.e., the fountains of the deep were broken up). I don’t find anything contradictory about stating that it rained for 40 days straight but the water levels may have increased for 150 days total; that is, until the fountains of the deep were stopped and any further intermittent rain ceased temporarily (Gen. 8:2). Certainly more detailed information is desired, but there is no contradiction or myth here. The interested reader is encouraged to read my other comments pertaining to the flood at: www.Flood.AudioEvangelism.com.
Third, Weinberg is mistaken about the depth of the flood waters. Genesis 7:20 does not state that the flood waters had a total depth of 15 cubits but that “the waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward” (in other words, the water covered or “prevailed” over everything by at least 15 cubits of water). Some balk at this view because of the amount of water that would be required to cover Mt. Everest, for example. This problem is easily dismissed, however, when one realizes that the global flood itself radically changed Earth from what was likely a single continent tropical paradise into what remains today—seven continents and a much harsher environment. The tectonic activity related to the flood could have produced our modern mountain ranges. There is no proof that there were tall mountains prior to the global flood.
On a closing note, it is interesting to observe that every ancient culture has a flood story of some sort (e.g., Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Hittites, Chinese, etc.). Surely this lends credibility to the factualness of the global flood. As always, I would enjoy discussing these matters in more detail with any interested party.
- Stephen R. Bradd, Clinton Church of Christ