This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice (conflictofjustice.com). Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.
“Science has proven that there was no worldwide flood 4,500 years ago.” (CES Letter)
|Worldwide Flood? – A lot of what we think about Noah is mythology that people have assumed over the years. It is a very ancient story that is found in just about every ancient civilization on earth, and with many consistent details. At the turn of the ice age with vast amounts of ice melting, there was lots of flooding around the world. Science has confirmed these large floods. My opinion is that Noah experienced a large regional flood.|
The Hebrew word for “earth,” erets, applies to a specific piece of land. This is also how the word “earth” is used in the Book of Mormon. I don’t think the entire globe was covered at one moment with water, but over time with large local flood events, and that the animals in Noah’s ark were a small percentage of surviving animals around the world.
I see nothing in Genesis to contradict this. Look at what the scriptures actually say. Noah and his people built a large raft and survived a flood with a bunch of animals, each animal representing a category of life “after his kind.” The point of the story is not whether the entire globe was covered at a single time in a flood 4,500 years ago. The point is to teach a moral story of obedience and redemption from wickedness.
“Do you really literally believe in the flood story where 600-year-old Noah built a massive ark with dimensions that equate to about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet deep?” (CES Letter)
|Yes. I don’t see what is so difficult to believe about an old man’s family building a large raft. The significance of the ark’s dimensions is that they are the same as Moses’ tabernacle and the Jerusalem temple. Each regional flood story talks about different dimensions of the raft that correlate with their own local watercraft or sacred structures. The point of the Genesis story is not the size or shape of the ark, but that it relates to the temple.|
Two Of Every Creature?
“That Noah and his very small family took two of each unclean creature and seven of every clean creature and all the food and fresh water that would be needed on board for 6 months? ” (CES Letter)
|The scriptures do not say that Noah took two or seven of every creature. It says they took “of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort… of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind.” I don’t interpret this to mean two of every single species. As we learn from the LDS temple, the animal kingdom is not scripturally divided into species, but general kinds of animals: birds, creeping things, elephants, lions, etc. What we learn from the scriptures is Noah took representative male and female animals from each “kind” of animal.|
Repopulate After The Flood?
“And that after the flood, Noah and his family released the animals and they, long with Noah’s family of eight repopulated – via incest – the entire planet?… What would the herbivores eat after the flood subsided? ” (CES Letter)
Scientists have been surprised by how quickly an ecosystem is able to regrow and flourish after forest fires and volcanic eruptions. Life finds a way, and in fact, large devastating events can be healthy for a region.
It is hard to imagine, if we are going off of children’s cartoons like Ice Age and Land Before Time, but we know for a fact animals did flourish quickly after the great ice ages and meteor crash. Is CES Letter denying that herbivores were unable to survive after disasters wiped out plant life when a meteor crashed into earth? Isn’t it generally accepted that large disaster events have happened and that animals survived?
Seperate Faith & Science – Unfortunately, a lot of myth has woven into our understanding of Noah’s ark. Nature worship has always been a popular form of apostasy, and superstitious apostates have always used Noah’s ark as a basis for their corrupt tall tales.
CES Letter‘s questions assume a phony mythological model that indeed sounds rather unreasonable, according to our modern scientific data. But this is the case only if you are using scientific data to fit a religious model. Why do we need to do this? This is what flat-earthers and anti-evolutionists do. Instead, how about we just investigate science for what it is and stop trying to superstitiously confirm religious faith with physical science? How could science possibly prove or disprove whether an old man’s family built a large raft and survived a flood with a bunch of animals?
The truly ironic thing about atheists who argue against Noah’s ark is that they tend to believe in modern climate change. Isn’t it generally agreed that global warming is a reality? Isn’t it generally agreed, furthermore, that mankind’s “sins” are to blame? Hasn’t this led to hysteria among extreme environmentalists–who are effectively nature worshipers–such as Al Gore’s prophesy that the polar ice caps would be completely melted by 2016? It is truly crazy that atheists sneered at the Noah’s ark narrative yet believed the North Pole would completely melt in under 10 years.
So if we are to truly treat the Noah’s ark story “literally,” we need to go by what Genesis strictly says and disregard the myth that has been attached over the years by hysterics. A good first step is to disregard anyone who says “science has proven” anything.
History is whatever the historians write. Isn’t that the saying? It is interesting that the skeptics who appeal to science so much claim science can prove history? Isn’t history by definition something that we can’t know for a fact? You weren’t around to see what happened, so you assume based on the best evidence you can find. Like everyone else, Mormons gather the best evidence we could find and make reasonable, logical conclusions. It is truly an act of blind faith to assume science proves an old man’s family 4,500 years ago didn’t create a large rafts and bring a bunch of animals aboard!
CES Letter displays their ignorance of basic science:
“How did the carnivores survive? There would not have been nearly enough herbivores to sustain the carnivores during the voyage and the months after the ark landed.” (CES Letter)
|This question falsely assumes there are as many carnivore species and herbivores. Actually, there are many more kinds of herbivores than carnivores. “On the whole, herbivores speciate more than carnivores.” This is why when you walk into a forest you see lots of birds and squirrels, but not a lot of mountain lions. So the ark would have been filled with some types of carnivores and lots of types of herbivores. It would not have been hard for Noah’s family to store some food for the carnivores.|
Would God Wipe Out Populations Of People?
“Am I expected to believe in a god who would wipe out the entire planet like that? Kill millions of women and innocent children for the actions of others? What kind of a god is this?” (CES Letter)
CES Letter deceptively makes an ethical argument immediately after attempts at scientific, logical arguments. Has science proven or disproven whether God would wipe out populations of people? It is purely a question of ethics, which is something science cannot place under a microscope and study. CES Letter tries to illogically imply some kind of scientific basis for their moral beliefs.
It is also rather condescending for CES Letter to imply that women and children are incapable of deserving punishment. “Kill millions of women and innocent children for the actions of others?” What, women don’t sin now? Teenaged children don’t sin? Why assume that the women who perished in the flood were incapable of making decisions that led to the punishment?
It is illogical to describe the Creator of the universe as a genocidal killer–like atheist Socialist Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, or Chairman Mao. Because God created everything. He set the plan of existence in motion, and life and death are part of the plan. Everyone needs to die sometimes, and natural disasters sometimes kill people. This is simple reality.
Skeptics must recognize that death is something to be accepted. So what is their alternative solution? What is their plan? A world where we all die by “chance” and death is not part of an over-arching plan of exaltation for eternal happiness. In this reality, it is easy to rationalize why some need to die for the greater good. CES Letter‘s questions imply that justice ought to be meted on a class basis–such as men, women, or children. This approach has historically led to crimes against humanity, as we saw in Chairman Mao’s great famine which wiped out millions.
If you read the literal narrative in Genesis, you find that it wasn’t innocent women and children who died in the flood. It also wasn’t millions of people. The land was saturated universally with wickedness and natural disaster wiped them out. It’s as simple as that. We don’t live in a cartoon world where you get second or third chances. There are consequences for wickedness. Today, there may not be great natural disasters that wipe out the wicked, but there are natural consequences that go along with sin. But the good news is death is not the end, but just one more step in our eternal journeys.
What would CES Letter‘s alternative ethical model be to Noah’s ark?
CES Letter Logical Fallacies
|Falsehood||CES Letter incorrectly characterizes the population that died in Noah’s flood as women and children who died because of the sins of others. CES Letter incorrectly assumes there “would not have been nearly enough herbivores to sustain the carnivores” in the ark. CES Letter incorrectly characterizes the “literal” story of Noah from the bible as two or seven of every “creature.” The Genesis story says two “of every sort,” not of every species. CES Letter incorrectly characterizes “millions” perishing in the flood. If you take the timeline and genealogy line literally as described in Genesis, there is no way mankind could reproduce that quickly.|
|Argument From Ignorance||We know and are told very little details of what happened. CES Letter claims there is an “abundance of evidence against” the story. But where? They present zero evidence against it.|
|Strawman||The LDS understanding of Noah’s ark is different than mainstream Christianity, and CES Letter seems to mingle the two. CES Letter seems to copy the typical atheist talking points against mainstream Christianity and assume they apply to Mormons.|
|Red Herring||CES Letter asks how “Noah’s family of eight repopulated – via incest – the entire planet?” All mankind can count Noah as a common ancestor, but there is nothing in Genesis that indicates the entire human race around the globe was wiped out in the flood. Even if they were, CES Letter seems to assume that later commandments against incest were being broken, but there was no commandment against marrying cousins at the time, so this issue is moot.|
|Repetition||CES Letter repeats parts of their argument. CES Letter repeats this argument on p.68.|
|Guilt By Assocation||This question unfairly associates Mormons with mainstream Christian narratives.|
What kind of God would wipe out an entire civilization in a flood? This is a good question, and it is unfortunate that CES letter poisons the well with their fake science and lies, a dishonest frame. But it is a great question about justice and ethics that I believe each person needs to figure out for themselves. Mormons do not believe that millions were killed in the flood, or that they were innocent women and children, but we do believe that natural disasters have wiped out wicked people. What kind of God would do this?
It is really a question of universal salvation. If you believe salvation should be guaranteed for everyone, then you would be outraged at the thought of people being killed by catastrophes. But if you believe that salvation depends on merits, you would believe that there are natural consequences that people reep for their behavior.
Universal salvation has always been the core belief system of those who corrupted the Noah’s ark story with their myths. Nature worshipers and apostate Christians of the Dark Ages promoted blind faith so that the masses would be profitable economic producers. Salvation was universal for all feudal serfs who plowed their masters’ fields and had holy water poured on their foreheads as babies. They taught the people that people were wiped out by floods whether they deserved it or not. Mormons are different. A person must choose baptism and it must be a token of their actual faith. We plow our own fields. We accept the consequences.
I detect class-warfare in this argument, with some classes of society being victimized by the misdeeds of other classes–specifically women and children victimized by men. We are tempted to ask, “Why did Noah get chosen to survive while all these innocent people died?” This goes back to the idea of “original sin,” which feudal lords taught to their workers. If faced with a sin that you didn’t commit and you can’t reconcile, universal salvation is the only possible answer. In a Socialist society, you are lumped by class and suffer for the misdeeds of others in that class. In a Socialist society, God doesn’t pick and choose which class deserves to punishment, a dictator does. Natural consequences don’t happen because of sin, but by sheer chance, and there is nothing you can do to help your fate. There is no repentance. So which is worse? A flood that punishes the wicked or a flood that just kills everybody no matter what?
Which system of justice is superior, social justice or divine justice? It is edifying to compare the benefits of each order of justice, but it is unproductive to subvert this important question with fake science and bad logic.