This morning I heard that a church has set the world record for the largest ever scale LEGO model of Noah’s Ark.
This is where science and religion irreconcilably clash on details. The idea that a “scale model” was made is what bothers me, because Noah’s Ark was almost assuredly never actually built.
-Even if all the water vapor in the air spontaneously condensed and it all fell in the form of rain all at the same time, while the polar ice caps and all glaciers melted instantaneously, sending their contents to the sea, the best we could expect would be for the sea levels to rise a paltry 150 feet or less. That much rise would require relocation of many hundreds of millions of humans, but neither drive humanity to the brink of exctinction, nor require the safeguarding of all animal species.
-In order to “flood the world” one would need basically a 29,000 foot rise in sea level to close the seas over the tallest mountains. Even discounting this, you’d still need at least a 5,000 foot rise to flood all but the highest regions. That would require a massive increase in the total amount of water on earth. That much more water would crush the planet, causing major seismological events. And when the floods receded, where would the millions of cubic miles of water go?
-In order for Noah to collect all animal species on Earth in a few weeks time, the continents would have to be connected, else the species exclusively in North and South America would all be unable to reach Noah in the Mediterranean region and would be forced into untimely extinction.
-Were a species of animal to bottleneck down to one female and one male, the genetic damage from inbreeding would be immense. Although its likely all the species would be driven to exctinction by the bottleneck, one cannot discount that some species might survive because they retained enough genetic purity to not kill themselves off before they’d created a small, but stable, population. However, its likely the mutations brought on by such a bottleneck would massively change any species that survived.
-Certain important details seem to be missing from the story of Noah. How exactly did Noah provide meat for the carnivorous species? Did Noah bring on a male and a female zebra (and then a few more zebras as food for the lions)? When the species got off the boat, how did the lions survive until a stable population of herbivorous game could be reestablished upon which they could prey?
I could go on…and on…but the point I want to make here is that the story of Noah is not meant to be read literally, nor is it supposed to be believable. Just like the story of Pandora’s Box, the story of Noah is meant to teach a lesson; that the power of God is infinite, that God’s wrath is terrible, that God is just and fair, and that God is forgiving. It is not meant to be a narrative of events.
What I find terribly interesting is that Noah’s Ark is often the story that defines whether someone is a Bible literalist or a Bible interpretist (my word). So often, it seems the book of Genesis, where stories have clear details that defy both logic and science, becomes the battleground for people who feel any interpretation other than exactly what is written is blasphemy.
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