Board index Noah's Ark & the Flood

What were carnivores eating after the flood?

Postby Punny Penny » Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:56 am

What in the world were carnivores eating after the Flood? Every time a predator kills, a whole species dies off. And then after all the prey is gone, carnivores follow up shortly, too, because of their inability to digest plants. I'd really love to hear you would explain to a sceptic like me why, under these conditions, there are still even any animals around.
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Re: What were carnivores eating after the flood?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:01 am

I don't believe the flood was global, but a massive regional event. This is where a little more probing beyond the simple words of the text is beneficial.

What does "all" mean? In Gn. 41.57 (same book, same author), we read that "all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe in all the world." Was Brazil experiencing famine? Did the Australians come to Joseph? No. "All" means the countries of the immediate vicinity in the ancient Near East.

Also, Deut. 2.25 (same author): "I will put the...fear of you on all the nations under heaven." Did that include the Mayans? The people of Madagascar? I don't think anyone would argue that this refers to more than the nations of Canaan, and perhaps a few others.

There are plenty of other references like this throughout the Bible (Acts 17.6; 19.35; 24.5; Rom. 1.8). We have to give serious consideration that quite possibly "all" doesn't mean "global".

Also, the flood didn't have to be global to accomplish God's purposes. God was dealing with Canaan and the surrounding neighbors. God was dealing with Noah's context. A flood in South America would be totally inexplicable to the people there, as well as patently unfair (which the Bible teaches that God is not). Noah was a preacher of righteousness, but not to the people of Africa, China, Australia, and the Americas. The language of the Noah story is normal for Scripture, describing everyday matters from the narrator's vantage point and within the customary frame of reference of his readers.

But what about "covering the mountains"? Again, a little detective work (rather than superficial reading) can be of value. First of all, the high mountains were not generally considered mountains, but pillars holding up the firmament. When they talk about mountains, they are referring to the local geological shapes, not the Alps and Himalayas. And what does "cover" mean? The Hebrew root is *ksh*, and is used in a wide variety of nuances:

- A people so vast they "cover" the land (Num. 22.11)
- Weeds "cover" the land (Prov. 24.31)
- clothing (1 Ki. 1.1)
- Overshadowed (2 Chr. 5.8; Ps. 147.8)

We even do the same thing now. We say, "My arm was covered with mosquito bites" if we have a dozen bites on it.

In Job 38.34; Jer. 46.8; Mal. 2.13, "covered" is figurative. If Gn. 7.19 is read in the same way, it suggests that the mountains were drenched with water or coursing with flash floods, but it doesn't demand they were submerged.

What about "15 cubits above" (Gn. 7.20)? The Hebrew reads "15 cubits *from above* (*milme'la*) rose the waters, and the mountains were covered." It is therefore not at all clear that it is suggesting the waters rose 15 cubits higher than the mountains. It can mean "above"; it can mean "upward" or “upstream". If this were the case in Genesis, it would suggest that the water reached 15 cubits upward from the plain, covering at least some part of the mountains.

What about all the animals dying? Again, we have to define "all", but based on what I previously said, it could easily refer to "all" the ones within the scope of the flood, not necessarily global destruction. Again, look at Gn. 2.13, where the river "winds through all (same word as Gn. 7.21) the land of Cush." Does it mean every square inch of it? Not likely.

Genesis 7.22 says, "Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died." I know hhis could have been expressed in multiple ways, but I don't fault the writer to choosing what he did. "All" not only denotes the scope of the physical flood for the intended population, but it can also connote the completeness of the judgment. If he had said something like "as far as the eye could see" it might be assumed that the judgment was less than accomplished. That wording would have been less adequate for the situation, in my opinion. to point was to express the completeness of the judgment on the target audience, and "all" expresses that, though it obviously leads to other misunderstandings as well. We do have to entertain the thought that the ancients understood quite well the intent of the text, but through the millennia it got lost in "Enlightenment literalism", and we are the victims of the misunderstanding. It's time to get back to seeing the event through ancient eyes.

Besides, we have to look at a few other things.

1. A global flood is totally out of character with all of God's other miracles in the Bible. It's not His m.o.. It's not the way he does things, and it doesn't fit His pattern of working.

2. A global flood is unjust, and God is not unjust. What fits the Biblical description of God is that God judged the people who were worthy of judgment, who had been warned, and who had adequate opportunities to change their ways. A global flood doesn't fit this picture.

I hope that helps.
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Re: What were carnivores eating after the flood?

Postby Punny Penny » Sun Oct 02, 2016 12:10 pm

A + for effort! :)

In other posts you declared in the past that you believe in the Bible and at the same time, also in evolution, right? You're not a creationist? I can infer that from you caring about all the hypothetical folks in Australia, the Americas etc. which, according to many other speakers in the Creationists faction weren't even in existence at that time - only inhabited places were in the Middle East.

Also, you declare God as fair and just because the purging was only restricted to a small section of Earth, yet all the living animals like cows, chickens, foxes, cats, dogs etc. were perished too when they painfully suffocated in the waters.

> And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. Gn 7, 23

But that's fine, as you Christians believe God is the ultimate judge. I heard many other interpretations different from yours which claim that the Flood was INDEED global, that's also how Jewish scholars read the text. I came not to argue about God's righteousness however, and only wanted to remark that your way of seeing things isn't necessarily one everybody of your religion agrees on.

Also, why going through all the work of building a gigantic boat, supplying it with tons of animal fodder, taking care of a multitude of radically different species over six months (a logistical impossibility, it appears, especially without the means of refrigeration, but that's not the point ..) when none of them were ever actually in danger of becoming extinct by the Flood as you claim?
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Re: What were carnivores eating after the flood?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:44 pm

I do believe in evolution, but I am a creationist. God made everything that is, but it was a process, not a point in time. The Bible is full of God doing things by progression and in the course of time. The Bible itself is the story of God working through history, gradually putting together his plan, forming a people, sending messages, and finally sending his Son, creating the Church, etc. Why should creation itself be any different? It's no threat to biblical theology to posit systematic progression in God's work.

> Also, you declare God as fair and just because the purging was only restricted to a small section of Earth, yet all the living animals like cows, chickens, foxes, cats, dogs etc. were perished too when they painfully suffocated in the waters.

There are consequences to human behavior beyond the guilty individual. A few guys decide to fly planes into the World Trade Centers, and thousands of innocents die. Human sin affects more than just the sinner, and can wreak havoc on the innocents around him or her also who get caught in their whirlpool of trouble. Warfare is like this: people get killed when bombs are dropped. The world of the flood was also like this. Human evil had far-reaching effects.

> I heard many other interpretations different from yours which claim that the Flood was INDEED global, that's also how Jewish scholars read the text.

I know mine is not a majority view, but it should be. : )

> why going through all the work of building a gigantic boat...?

Noah was living out a parable that God was using to represent many different truths, and as such the ark represented other realities. Some of those are:

1. The ark was shaped like a coffin, and so Noah was “subjected to death” and then “risen out of the tomb.” This motif shows up again in the story of Jesus.

2. The deluge of water represents baptism, and again, the idea of being saved from death. This motif shows up again in what Christianity is (Romans 6.1-4ff.)

3. Being saved through the storm is a spiritual truth; running away from danger is not.

There are plenty of people in the Bible whose literal lives are also parables for the rest of us: Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Jonah, even the nation of Israel. Noah is the same. God instructs him to do the ark thing because of all it's going to represent.


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