Following the King & I project: Genesis 8-10

The current bible reading is Genesis 8-10 – A Fresh Start for Man?

The Noah flood story began in the earlier reading and finishes up in this one. Here is a place where I must separate myself from other skeptics and atheists. I have often heard a condemnation of this story as brutal and repulsive, and if it is considered as a literal story then I think that’s sensible. Upon encountering someone who accepted the story as fact, history, and a claim to God’s goodness, I would be compelled to point out to that person the massive numbers of human deaths and the grimness of innocent animals dying when they had done no wrong.

But as a piece of mythic storytelling, the Noah flood story works. It’s no different than any other piece of mythology or legend from the ancient world. Go read the Greek and Roman legends and myths, and you’ll see that there is little difference between the savagery there and that found in the Bible. So, why not the damnation of the Greek myths from skeptics and atheists? I can only imagine that it’s because we don’t have people claiming them as history, so we treat them like the mythology that they are. We see them as another piece of ancient storytelling and we accept their violence and idiosyncrasies for the ancient literature that they are. So I must separate myself from the skeptics and atheists who universally denounce the story, and can only agree with them when encountering those who would claim the Noah flood to be a historical event and a demonstration of God’s love.

At the end of chapter 9, Ham sees Noah naked and his descendants, the Canaanites, are forever cursed. This looks like more ethnic cheerleading to me. “Look, those Canaanites are a rotten bunch of SOBs and deserve everything they get because they screwed up and were cursed a long time ago.” As a literal story it makes little sense, but as a big “screw you!” to another ethnic group it makes sense within human nature.

Remember when I posted that there were lots more lists of the patriarchs to come? Chapter 10 fulfills that promise! There’s not much to say about this, but I did learn that Nimrod was “was a mighty hunter before the LORD” (10:9) So he was, was he?

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