Tuesday, January 3, 2006

It's just a flesh wound local flood!

The ‘Local Flood’ chevrah make a case for re-interpreting the word ‘Kol’ to mean ‘all the local’, rather than ‘global’. And I guess they do the same when it says ‘all the heavens’, ‘all the animals’ etc etc. Even though this is not at all implied from the text, let’s give them that poetic license (otherwise known as kefirah) for the moment.

However this still doesn’t help for a number of reasons:

1. The posuk says that from Shem Cham VeYefes ‘all the world was populated’. Even interpreting ‘all’ as meaning ‘all local’ this is very strange. Why would other survivors of the flood, and people from the surrounding unaffected areas not have repopulated the flood zone? Why just three sons of Noach?

2. Even from the perspective of the Bnei Yisrael at Har Sinai, and even from the perspective of ‘Israelites’ at the time of Noach, or Avraham, the globe was larger than Mesopotamia. People knew of the Mediterranean, Egypt and the Far East. There were well established trade routes, and these civilizations, especially Egypt, have long fairly continuous histories and it’s clear that they were not all wiped out by a global flood 5000 years ago. So why would anyone have understood ‘all’ to mean ‘all local’ and found it convincing, or even true from their perspective? It was never true, even from their perspective.

3. God promises ‘never to destroy the entire world again’. However as we know now, there was only a small local flood. It would have appeared devastating to the local population, but wouldn’t have affected anyone in Egypt, southern Mediterranean, the UK, USA and Australia. Plus, since then there have been many devastating local floods, with the Tsunami last year killing 280,000 people alone. So what exactly was this promise about, and did God even keep it?

4. There is a hypothesis that the flood is a myth based on severe flooding circa 8000 years ago in the black sea. Another theory is that it is based on the end of the Ice Age. Of course neither of these theories fit with the dating or genealogies of the Torah, which was one of the big criticisms of Myth/Moshol, so you haven’t gained much by going with these theories. Also the Noach story can’t fit with the end of the Ice Age, since the boat technology and other technologies and social systems mentioned pre-Noach didn’t exist then.

Am I opposed to the existence of a guy called Noach in a boat with a few animals being saved by God? Of course not! However, after looking at all the available evidence, it just seems highly unlikely that the story of Noach is anything more than Myth/Moshol. Once you reinterpret it to fit with Science, about a small local flood with a guy in a boat with some animals, the story doesn't quite make so much sense anymore (not to mention not fitting with the text).

Of course some people say that about Sinai too, so maybe I should just keep quiet.