Thursday, May 21, 2009

Was Noah Confused?

When I hear the voice of Professor Bart Ehrman in the many allegations he makes against the Word of God, sometimes I want to weep, other times I want to laugh. Some of the objections he raises I would imagine his students must roll their eyes at. For example, he seems confused about the number of animal Noah took with him on the ark, so he poses the question, Does Noah “take seven pairs of all the ‘clean’ animals, as Genesis 7:2 states, or just two pairs, as Genesis 7:9-10 indicates?”[1]

Well I’d like to pose a different question, does it seem logical to suppose that an author gets confused within the span of a couple of sentences, or it’s more likely that Professor Ehrman is straining at gnats and swallowing a camel? Is his question legitimate or has he once again created a problem out of whole cloth?

Now I don’t mean to pick on him, but he’s a great poster boy for not knowing how to read the Bible in any sense. I mean he is not only a professor gone wild; he’s a wooden literalist on the left. He is stuck in a fundamentalist paradigm.

He has once again created a fictional problem. Why? Because if you go to the text you find out that Genesis 7:9-10 does not say that Noah is to just take two pairs. So Ehrman steps up this straw man by the very language that he uses. I can’t judge his heart, but I got to think he’s smarter than that.

If he really wants his question answered, all he has to do is ask one of his conservative students to simply read the context for him, because several verses back God says to Noah, “You are to bring into the ark two of every living creatures, male and female.” (Gen. 6:19). Now in Genesis 7:2-3, he adds further instruction, “take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and it’s mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and it’s mate. And also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.”

Now together these verses provide a sufficient answer to the question. So what’s the problem? And why is it that Bart Ehrman can go on Jon Stewart, CNN, or PBS and write these books and reasonable people fall for his continuous barrage that the Bible is just riddled with mistakes? Why do they buy this? Well they buy it because they’ve never heard the other side of the story. That’s one of the many reasons I wrote my new booklet The Bible Under Siege. It counters the Bart Ehrman’s of the world. To help equip you counter the attacks, I encourage you to get a copy. You can do so either by going to our website at or by calling 1-888-700-0274.


[1] Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them) (New York, Harper One, 2009), 10.


Chuck said...


I am often times confronted by the types of men who Paul said bewitched the Galatians. These men know enough to confuse the masses because the masses are truly lost. However, my heart truly weeps for the Christians who fail to study as they should. These brothers and sisters hear what sounds logical to them, but because they have not been like the Bereans in their studies they do not know they have been given fools gold.

Good article hank. I wrote an article called "Scratching Those Itchy Ears" two weeks ago and If you ever wanted to read it, I would be honored. After the Holy Spirit I give credit for most of my knowledge for the truth of God's word. i will not be disappointed if you do not. I understand you are a very busy man who the Lord is using greatly. But if you do, here is the URL.

God Bless you and yours, your brother in Christ;
Chuck Ness (OneVike)

Unknown said...

Mr. errorman really seems to be a fool's fool. I would hate to have him as an employee. "Now I don't understand mr. Noah. Did you want 2 each or 7 each. 'Cause first you said 2 then you said 7. You're contradicting yourself and I just don't understand."

Boris said...

Almost everyone is familiar with the story of Noah’s ark. Some people believe that this story is a literal account of an actual worldwide flood and some people think it is probably an allegorical folktale and are quite skeptical about it being an actual account of any worldwide flood. No geologist has ever found any evidence for a flood like the one described in the Bible in the geological record so geologists would be among the people skeptical of any worldwide floods especially since geologists claim that eight times the amount of water that is now on the earth would be the amount needed to cause such a flood. Historians and archaeologists also fall into the skeptic category because they know that Egypt’s first Dynasty dates back to about 3100 BC and there is much archaeological evidence to show that no major flood happened after the start of Egypt’s first dynasty. Students of mythology and folklore say they easily recognize the story of the deluge in the Bible as a rather clumsy attempt to combine the Mesopotamian flood myths with the Egyptian Creation and primordial flood myth, so they also would be skeptical about the biblical flood being a literal account of anything. Bible scholars surprising agree with the folklorists here and say that the Hebrew priests rewrote their more sophisticated neighbors myths and replaced the foreign gods in the stories with human type figures in order to encourage monotheism among the Israelites. That is a lot of skeptics. Some of us though, might be skeptical about all this skepticism and of course some people are skeptical and even a little suspicious about skeptics who are skeptical about scientific facts that might be stated in the Bible such as the universe being created in just seven days or man and animals being made from dust and a woman from a rib not to mention this worldwide flood.
We know the Flat Earth Society and some Bible literalists have no problem explaining where all the extra water that was need to cause this catastrophic flood went because they know the world is firmly established it shall never be moved (1Chron 16:30) and on a foundation (Job 38:4) with deep sunk bases (Job 38:6) and we know John of Patmos saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth (Rev 7:1) so the extra water just rolled off the flat earth until land reappeared. Of course most of the less unrealistic Bible literalists (which may or may not include people like John Hagee and Tim LeHaye) might point to the fact that some of the water came from all the fountains of the great deep (Gen 7:11) and say that the water probably went right back down the fountains to wherever it came from.
From the Masoretic text we know that the flood occurred 1656 years after the birth of Adam but since the Bible doesn’t give an exact date for the Exodus it is hard to determine what year Adam was born. Some people go by the calculations of seventeenth century Bishop Usher, which date Adam’s birth in 4004 BC or early Jewish traditions of 3761 BC. Estimates for the date of the flood date from 2348 BC to 2105 BC -1 but since historians and archaeologists say the flood had to have occurred before 3100 we know as most of us have suspected all along, that the estimates for the age of the earth and the appearance of the first man have been grossly underestimated by the Creationists. Judging from archaeological information in the Near East that date the flood at least 1000 years earlier than most estimates, we know that Adam was probably born in about 4800-5100 BC and the earth is quite a bit older than some of those hard line Creationists think it is. Of course astronomers would argue that while this estimate is somewhat closer to theirs, it still off by about 4.5 billion years or so which might also put a few astronomers in the above-mentioned group of flood skeptics.

Anonymous said...

How does Noah know which animals are clean or unclean if they are not delineated until the Mosaic Law given?

And why would anyone hate to have an employee who would ask for clarification if he was unclear on his employer's directions?