literal interpretation of bible + no evolution + noah's ark = ? - Mothering Forums
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Religious Studies > literal interpretation of bible + no evolution + noah's ark = ?
jennica's Avatar jennica 05:31 PM 04-03-2007
This subject hits very close to home for me, and I wonder how people from religions that interpret the bible literally have justified it. I personally could not in the end, though I tried, and it was one of the many things that eventually led me out of my religion and now I no longer believe that the bible was literal. However, I would like to see what others think of this and if they have some kind of answer to the puzzle.

So, if we believe that Genesis is literal, then we believe that humans were created about 6000 years ago by God, and no evolution was involved in their creation. My religion had publications that showed how false the "theory" of evolution was, and it showed how animals and humans obviously did not evolve.

However, a literal interpretation of Genesis also tells us that during the flood of Noah's day, all living things on the earth were saved in the ark, and every other living thing was drowned in the flood waters. This happened about 5000 years ago.

So now the big question. Obviously Noah could not fit the millions of species we see on earth today in the ark with him and his family, nor would they be able to care for millions of animals for 40 days. So, many people say that the kinds mentioned in Genesis were not divided by species, but by family or whatever. So, there was one feline couple, not house cats, lions, tigers, etc., and there was one or two rodent types, not the thousands of separate rodents we see alive today, and so on. This makes the story of Noah's ark possible because then there were not an overwhelming amount of animals on the ark, and though the animals that were there would not have been cared for properly by only 8 people, it is in the realm of possibility that they may have survived.

But, this means that evolution did indeed take place. Not just evolution that happens very slowly over the course of millions of years, but extremely rapid evolution that happened in only about 5000 years : If we start with one feline pair and from that pair we see all the different species and subspecies of felines around today, that is rapid evolution. Some say, "but look at all the different breeds of dogs or horses or the variations in humans that there are, it is just variations in the same species". But that doesn't make sense, because dogs can all still breed with each other and their offspring can produce offspring, so they aren't even hybrids or sterile creatures that are produced. A Great Dane and a Chihuahua are both dogs and if they could physically mate they will produce a dog, which in turn will be able to breed with other dogs of any breed and produce offspring. My house cats can't breed with Lynx, or Bobcats, or Cougars, or so on, because they are all separate species. If all felines came from one feline, that is evolution, which is what the fossil records show happened.

So, is this type of evolution acceptable, as long as human's are not believed to have evolved? If it is acceptable, then why take so much time disputing the fossil records that show it happening? Couldn't those records be proving the evolution that took place after Noah's Ark landed and the animals somehow made it back to their continents and started evolving into separate and distinct species? How do Christians that believe in a literal interpretation of the bible reconcile this?

lilyka's Avatar lilyka 07:19 PM 04-03-2007
Some of the explinations I have heard:

Ok so he obviously didn't have to take any fish or water reptiles/mammals.

not all food had to be kept on the ark. and food was probably rationed to an extent animals not eating thier full amount.

everyone assumes they were adults but they could have been young animals that didn't take up too much space.

Some species are a product of cross breeding and mutations. This is sorta derived from the whole family not species argument argument but not as broad.

Ok so I am no expert on this and am not sure how it all works together. I believe the Bible literally but I could be wrong. I woudl rather risk being wrong in this direction because in the end it just doesn't make a lot of diffrence. but those are just some of the arguments i have heard from people more invested in proving things and working out all the kinks.
jennica's Avatar jennica 07:48 PM 04-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
Some of the explinations I have heard:

Ok so he obviously didn't have to take any fish or water reptiles/mammals.

not all food had to be kept on the ark. and food was probably rationed to an extent animals not eating thier full amount.

everyone assumes they were adults but they could have been young animals that didn't take up too much space.

Some species are a product of cross breeding and mutations. This is sorta derived from the whole family not species argument argument but not as broad.

Ok so I am no expert on this and am not sure how it all works together. I believe the Bible literally but I could be wrong. I woudl rather risk being wrong in this direction because in the end it just doesn't make a lot of diffrence. but those are just some of the arguments i have heard from people more invested in proving things and working out all the kinks.
Acctually, when the flood waters mixed with ocean water, the water became brackish, or half or more salted. As you probably know, there are a lot of freshwater fish that can not survive in salt water, therefore fish would have had to be taken along, as well as insects that couldn't survive 40 days under water.

Not all food had to be kept on the ark? What do you mean, where else was it kept? The entire earth was filled with water, about 6 miles higher than the highest mountain peek, so where was their food?

And even with some animals a result of cross breeding and mutations, it is still too many animals when you sit down and try to pick them all out (which yes, I did try to do).

Not trying to argue, just wondering
holyhelianthus's Avatar holyhelianthus 09:35 PM 04-03-2007
i.e. fodd- i think she means that they could have eaten a lot of fish.
interesting convo.
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 10:12 PM 04-03-2007
yeah, lots of animals can eat fish and would even be able to take a plunge and catch it themselves.
mshollyk's Avatar mshollyk 12:50 AM 04-04-2007
sounds totally chaotic. how many people would have been taking care of those animals? it must have sucked to have been the poop cleaner-upper.
jennica's Avatar jennica 02:16 AM 04-04-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
i.e. fodd- i think she means that they could have eaten a lot of fish.
interesting convo.
Hmm, I never thought of that. Interesting theory. I just wonder if that would even be feasible though. Only 8 people on board to first catch, and then feed fish to thousands/hundreds of thousands/millions of animals (depending on how many you think were on the ark).

As for the animals on the ark, the religion I belonged to had an actual passenger list that they pulled from a book published in the 1700's, which of course is sadly outdated (a lot of the Australian mammals weren't even classified yet). I wonder if other religions that believe in a literal ark have a passenger list as well? The passenger list I have would make it possible for the animals to fit and be cared for enough to maybe survive, if you factor in some divine help (since it takes hundreds of employees and volunteers to keep a zoo going, and zoo's only house a fraction of the animal species in existence), but it is so small that as I said before very rapid evolution would have had to take place after the flood to get the animals we have today.
insahmniak's Avatar insahmniak 02:27 AM 04-04-2007
You might be interested in reading one of my all-time fav books:Song of the Dodo by David Quammen. It's about island biogeography and in it he discusses some of the details which some religious folk have used in an attempt to make the whole "ark" idea seem plausible.
earthluvinmama's Avatar earthluvinmama 02:35 AM 04-04-2007
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holyhelianthus's Avatar holyhelianthus 02:35 PM 04-04-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by mshollyk View Post
sounds totally chaotic. how many people would have been taking care of those animals? it must have sucked to have been the poop cleaner-upper.
that's what i always thought. and the smell. groooooosssss.
captain crunchy 10:17 PM 04-04-2007
See I am a Christian and quite frankly, I can't explain it.

Jesus is my personal saviour and I follow his teachings -- I just sort of don't get into that other stuff because honestly, it isn't the focus of my personal faith.

It is okay to say ya just don't know...and still follow the teachings of Jesus and call yourself a Christian (yourself meaning me) -- It doesn't cause confliction with me at all because I don't study those things...


Just piping in to let you know not all Christians will fight you to the death to tell you you're wrong Some of us just don't get into it!
cappuccinosmom's Avatar cappuccinosmom 12:42 PM 04-05-2007
I would imagine that if one believes God put together the earth in 6 literal days, and if one believes God actually made everything by hand , then one would also be able to believe that He could work out the details of the flood, speciation, and so on. Without necessarily having to understand *how* He did it.
Attached Mama's Avatar Attached Mama 12:53 PM 04-05-2007
I agree with Captain Crunchy - I don't necessarily have all the answers or concern myself with the logistics of the flood. Just glad I wasn't on that smelly boat

As for evolution. Christians I know don't believe in evolution on a grand scale such as a tadpole eventually became a monkey and eventually became a human. But evolution amongst a particular kind of animal is scientific fact in my opinion. And it occurs *very* *very* quickly. I remember reading a story about some Russians taking a wolf type wild dog and in 10 or 15 years they had tiny little toy breed white dogs from the large black and white ones - just by selective breeding of the smaller and white ones. Yes, that was selective, but imagine what can happen in 5000 years when the breeding is selected by who survives to adulthood in that particular environment etc.

I think of classical evolution as one animal "turning into" a completely different animal, not as evolution of traits among a certain type of animal. And I would imagine that with 5000 years of evolving, then some cats couldn't breed with others. Just my guess.... But they are still cats, not monkeys.

HTH!
cappuccinosmom's Avatar cappuccinosmom 12:54 PM 04-05-2007
Answers In Genesis has a Q&A about Noah/The Flood (and everything else!) from a conservative Christian perspective. I don't know if they are 6 day literalists, though.
kama'aina mama's Avatar kama'aina mama 01:02 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennica View Post
This subject hits very close to home for me, and I wonder how people from religions that interpret the bible literally have justified it. I personally could not in the end, though I tried, and it was one of the many things that eventually led me out of my religion and now I no longer believe that the bible was literal. However, I would like to see what others think of this and if they have some kind of answer to the puzzle.
Please keep in mind that Christians who read the Bible literally are a small minority. It is a modern phenomenon and is largely only done in the US. Most Christians in the US and virtually all Christians in the rest of the world and throughout the history of the Christian movement have viewed various books of the Bible as allegorical, as parables, etc...
merpk's Avatar merpk 01:17 PM 04-05-2007
An MIT/Weizmann physicist's explanation of how neatly Torah and science 'click' in re Creation/the Big Bang.




From the link: "The calculations come out to be as follows:

The first of the Biblical days lasted 24 hours, viewed from the "beginning of time perspective." But the duration from our perspective was 8 billion years.

The second day, from the Bible's perspective lasted 24 hours. From our perspective it lasted half of the previous day, 4 billion years.

The third 24 hour day also included half of the previous day, 2 billion years.

The fourth 24 hour day -- one billion years.

The fifth 24 hour day -- one-half billion years.

The sixth 24 hour day -- one-quarter billion years.

When you add up the Six Days, you get the age of the universe at 15 and 3/4 billion years. The same as modern cosmology. Is it by chance?




If you read the entire article, you'll see it clearly.
jennica's Avatar jennica 01:17 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
As for evolution. Christians I know don't believe in evolution on a grand scale such as a tadpole eventually became a monkey and eventually became a human. But evolution amongst a particular kind of animal is scientific fact in my opinion. And it occurs *very* *very* quickly. I remember reading a story about some Russians taking a wolf type wild dog and in 10 or 15 years they had tiny little toy breed white dogs from the large black and white ones - just by selective breeding of the smaller and white ones. Yes, that was selective, but imagine what can happen in 5000 years when the breeding is selected by who survives to adulthood in that particular environment etc.

I think of classical evolution as one animal "turning into" a completely different animal, not as evolution of traits among a certain type of animal. And I would imagine that with 5000 years of evolving, then some cats couldn't breed with others. Just my guess.... But they are still cats, not monkeys.

HTH!
I think what your talking about is adaptation, not evolution. The wolf/dogs were still wolf/dogs in the end no matter the size or color that they adapted to. A lynx and a tiger and two seperate species that can not mate with each other. There are thousands and thousands of examples of this. The fossil records that show the evolution of lynx and tigers, however that happened, would also be valid if one thought that it happened after the flood and not before, yet people fight that any evolution happened and reject those fossil records. And if two seperate species, like a lynx and tiger came from the same species at one point, and that is acceptable, then why is not acceptable that two seperate species, a primte and a human, came from the same species at one point? To accept some evolution, yet reject the fossil records that would prove that evolution, and also reject other types of evolution that the fossil records show, is where my confusion comes in.
jennica's Avatar jennica 02:15 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain crunchy View Post
See I am a Christian and quite frankly, I can't explain it.

Jesus is my personal saviour and I follow his teachings -- I just sort of don't get into that other stuff because honestly, it isn't the focus of my personal faith.

It is okay to say ya just don't know...and still follow the teachings of Jesus and call yourself a Christian (yourself meaning me) -- It doesn't cause confliction with me at all because I don't study those things...


Just piping in to let you know not all Christians will fight you to the death to tell you you're wrong Some of us just don't get into it!
Yeah, that's totally cool. I know some people are Christians and don't believe in a literal interpretation, and some people are Christians and do believe in a literal interpretation but think that it was mostly miraculous thus we don't really need to figure it out. However, my question was to those that, like myself, believed and were taught that science DID back up our literal interpretation and were taught and beleived that evolution in any form just did not happen. My question is directed to them.
jennica's Avatar jennica 02:18 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
Answers In Genesis has a Q&A about Noah/The Flood (and everything else!) from a conservative Christian perspective. I don't know if they are 6 day literalists, though.
I looked over what animal were on board, and yeah, my question still stands. It still would lead to very rapid evolution if we limit our passenger list to what they state.
jennica's Avatar jennica 02:20 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by kama'aina mama View Post
Please keep in mind that Christians who read the Bible literally are a small minority. It is a modern phenomenon and is largely only done in the US. Most Christians in the US and virtually all Christians in the rest of the world and throughout the history of the Christian movement have viewed various books of the Bible as allegorical, as parables, etc...
Yes, I am now aware of that. My question was more out of curiousity in how others justified or solved this puzzle. It seems that no one else really ever thinks about it from the answer I've gotten here. I guess Dh and I think too much
jennica's Avatar jennica 02:26 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk View Post
An MIT/Weizmann physicist's explanation of how neatly Torah and science 'click' in re Creation/the Big Bang.




From the link: "The calculations come out to be as follows:

The first of the Biblical days lasted 24 hours, viewed from the "beginning of time perspective." But the duration from our perspective was 8 billion years.

The second day, from the Bible's perspective lasted 24 hours. From our perspective it lasted half of the previous day, 4 billion years.

The third 24 hour day also included half of the previous day, 2 billion years.

The fourth 24 hour day -- one billion years.

The fifth 24 hour day -- one-half billion years.

The sixth 24 hour day -- one-quarter billion years.

When you add up the Six Days, you get the age of the universe at 15 and 3/4 billion years. The same as modern cosmology. Is it by chance?




If you read the entire article, you'll see it clearly.
My religion also believed in old earth creationism, yet my original question is not answered at all by this belief. See the OP for more info.
Attached Mama's Avatar Attached Mama 02:37 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by kama'aina mama View Post
Please keep in mind that Christians who read the Bible literally are a small minority. It is a modern phenomenon and is largely only done in the US. Most Christians in the US and virtually all Christians in the rest of the world and throughout the history of the Christian movement have viewed various books of the Bible as allegorical, as parables, etc...
This is true... to an extent. I consider myself a literalist, but that does not mean I take *everything* literally. For example, when it says to "beat your child with the rod" I don't take that literally. However, if you pick and choose what to take literally and what to take symbolically then you can make the Bible say anything you want it to -which some people do and are ok with.

However, there are "rules" to Biblical interpretation that most Christian theologians follow. One of them is you can take as symbolic or allegorical what the Bible cleary defines as symbolic in other passages. For example, the rod as quoted above - throughout the old testament portion of the Bible, the word "rod" was used as symbolic of the authority of a tribe or that tribes leader. The flood and Noah's ark are referred to in other areas of the Bible, but always as literal events that took place.


I have a BA in theology - usually useless Hope it's helpful here!
merpk's Avatar merpk 03:35 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennica View Post
My religion also believed in old earth creationism, yet my original question is not answered at all by this belief. See the OP for more info.
"old earth creationism"?

Am not an "old earth creationist," by any means. Assuming I'm understanding what exactly it means. And neither was the article I linked to. Not even close.



Should make clear that my view coincides with that of R' Kook z'l, that the Torah is not a science text, and anyone using it as one is misusing it. But then again, since the OP is trying to reconcile translations and not the original, maybe this thread isn't relevant for my links.




But anyway, for further explanation of evolution as it fits with Torah, see here. It fits in fine.

The main difference between his explanation and the standard secular view of evolution is that his is not random.


kama'aina mama's Avatar kama'aina mama 04:10 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
This is true... to an extent. I consider myself a literalist, but that does not mean I take *everything* literally.
What does that mean then? Do you believe the earth and everything on it was created in 6 days? That the flood destroyed everything not in the ark? The book of Job for pity's sake?

I guess what is clearly symbolic is open to interp... because I think six days is clearly symbolic, but ....
jennica's Avatar jennica 09:13 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk View Post
"old earth creationism"?

Am not an "old earth creationist," by any means. Assuming I'm understanding what exactly it means. And neither was the article I linked to. Not even close.



Should make clear that my view coincides with that of R' Kook z'l, that the Torah is not a science text, and anyone using it as one is misusing it. But then again, since the OP is trying to reconcile translations and not the original, maybe this thread isn't relevant for my links.




But anyway, for further explanation of evolution as it fits with Torah, see here. It fits in fine.

The main difference between his explanation and the standard secular view of evolution is that his is not random.

Oops, I totally forgot to read the link : I'll go back to it when I have the time.
Peri Patetic's Avatar Peri Patetic 10:43 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
yeah, lots of animals can eat fish and would even be able to take a plunge and catch it themselves.
But what about herbivores?
Attached Mama's Avatar Attached Mama 11:14 PM 04-05-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by kama'aina mama View Post
What does that mean then? Do you believe the earth and everything on it was created in 6 days? That the flood destroyed everything not in the ark? The book of Job for pity's sake?

I guess what is clearly symbolic is open to interp... because I think six days is clearly symbolic, but ....
The "rules of interpretation" do solve a lot of issues - they definately establish the "orthodoxy" of Christianity ie the things that make a person a Christian. They help to answer a lot of questions.

There is a place in the Bible that says that to God "a day is as a 1000 years and 1000 years as a day" so it is within Biblical context to interpret the 6 days of creation as symbolic. I think it actually happened in 6 days tho because that particular verse doesn't actually reference creation - but that is open to individual interpretation and it is not going to affect if someone gets into heaven that's for sure

I think the earth was mostly destroyed by a flood - i actually think the "ice age" was not an ice age but the affects were from the flood. But that is based on my cracked theory not an science

I do think the story of Job is literal. Sucked to live in the old testament b4 the era of Jesus and His grace...
steffanie3's Avatar steffanie3 11:48 PM 04-05-2007
Maybe this link would be of more help http://www.answersingenesis.org/home...speciation.asp

And Answers in Genesis is based from a literal 6 day creation.
merpk's Avatar merpk 03:15 AM 04-06-2007
Okay, so no one is reading my link, but will give it over in very brief ... it's not a poetic thing, each day. Remembering that the universe started in one small point, the Big Bang, whammo, it's expanding outward, right? so as it expands, time is perceived differently ... and the time as perceived in the first large chunk is perceived differently in the second, and continuing in the third ... etc., etc., etc.


I never took physics in school, so don't take my word for it. Read my links.




jennica's Avatar jennica 04:52 AM 04-06-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by steffanie3 View Post
Maybe this link would be of more help http://www.answersingenesis.org/home...speciation.asp

And Answers in Genesis is based from a literal 6 day creation.
I read a couple articles and they didn't clear up my questions. They talk about adaptation and how rapidly this can occur, but say that dogs are still dogs no matter how they look in the end, yet site this as an example of how fast animals could have produced the species we have today after the flood

Maybe I'm not getting what they were trying to say, but I totally realize that adaptation occurs quickly. For example, there could have been only two wolves on the ark, and two horses, and all the varieties of wolves/dogs and horses we see today could have come from those four animals.

However, that is not what I am saying, I am saying that in order to fit all the animals on the ark, the passenger list had to be narrowed down so much that all the species we have today could not possibly have been represented on the ark. I don't know an exact number, but there are probably hundres of thousands of species, if not a million. By species, I mean seperate animal kinds that can not interbreed.

Lets just say I'm wrong and there are only 100,000 species. Well, first double that number immediatly because there were at least 2 of each kind. But, there were also 7 each of certain kinds of animals, so then that number is even greater. So obviously, there is not enough room on the ark for all those animals and their food, many of which have very specialized diets. There are not enough people on board to care for them. So, that makes us have to widdle down the number by saying okay, everything in the feline family, and everything in the rodent family, etc., were just represented by one single pair of animals, and later "adapted" to get all the different species we see today. But, that is not adaptation, that is extremely rapid evolution. According to creationists (which are the rules we are playing by here) adaptation or mutation does not result in seperate species that can no longer produce offspring with the original species that it mutated from. Adaptation or mutations simply produce a wide variety of different colored or typed animals within a species.

Is my question clear?
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