Sunday, June 03, 2007

17th Sivan - end of Noah's flood

According to the Talmud in Rosh Hashana (11b) based on the verses in Bereishit (and according to the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer) today is the day that the Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat.

The flood is one of those issues that bible critics love to use as proof that the Torah cannot be true. It is only unfortunate that some 'believers' try and use it as proof that the Torah and Bible are true! I'm not convinced by their evidence.

National Geographic think they have found evidence of the flood. Look at this

Wyatt has found the ark! It proves everything (I'm sure if you look closely you can see the graffiti which says 'Ham is a Meatball'

Oh whoops! No he hasn't!

There is a really good site here which shows all the flaws in believing that the flood happened literally as described - some of his points can be answered easily based on Talmud and Midrashim, some can be answered by the usual 'it was a miracle' answer, but many, if not most, of his points are very valid and require serious thought to deal with.

I was once asked whether we have to believe that the flood actually covered the whole world. Could it not just have covered the 'known world'? (I know that this doesn't really answer most of the issues, because the archaeological record doesn't even support a localised flood, but it does solve some of the problems). I believe that R' Gedaliah Nadel (see previous posting) writes along those lines, that the 'whole world' only meant the known world at that time. There is also a Midrash cited by Tosefot in Zevachim 117a (I think, from memory) which says that the flood didn't happen in the land of Israel. I know it is a long jump, but once you say it didn't actually cover the whole world (and Tosefot there says that 'whole world' is not to be taken literally) then perhaps we can also leave out all the other tricky bits of the world which make the flood difficult to deal with.
I must say, however, that the flood is by no means the most difficult miracle in the Torah to understand, and perhaps it is easier and better just to say 'that is the way G-d did it - don't ask any questions).

I'll leave it to each of you to decide how to deal with it. Just don't base your faith on the flood, and don't lose your faith because of it either!

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