Genesis 6; 20, “Two of every kind…will come to you to be kept alive.”
Ever tried to picture Noah and the boy’s trying to get a rope around a rhinoceros or mastodon and then try and wrangle them on the ark, while the wives watched from the porch wringing there hands in worry or yelling encouragement? Or ever tried to answer the popular question of how Noah made it to Australia and the Arctic to capture koala bears and kangaroos and polar bears so he could fulfill God’s commands to him?
These are some of the questions and pictures that come into the minds of believers and skeptics alike, along with others about this awe inspiring chapter in the bible told by Moses, about a world wide flood. As unbelievable as many people find the story, there really is an incredible amount of evidence for it, such as the existence of world wide flood stories, massive fossil graveyards and sedimentary rock layers, etc. Some of that evidence can be found on this blog and much more at the Answersingenesis.org site, so I’m not going to repeat it all here.
None the less, as in many historic biblical narratives, Moses only gives us the bare-bone essentials leaving out many details and leaving us with many tantalizing questions. This requires an exercise of faith sometimes, and even many believers would have us write this story off as being more mythological than historical. Jesus, however, appeared to take the story of Noah quite seriously, as in Matt. 24:37, where he warns that “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the son of Man.”
I think because of that, and in the light of modern discoveries of genetics, it is worth giving the bible the benefit of the doubt, and if we look closely at the account and give it a chance, it may prove better able to defend itself than many might imagine.
First of all, we need to remember that the bible is a theistic work that embraces a belief in the supernatural, so unlike a given Darwinian history, the bible can evoke miracles and miraculous aid from it’s God. Not that the Darwinist’s don’t need miracles, they certainly do as their theory demands that laws such as entropy and the law of biogenesis (life comes from life), and those associated with information theory be violated. But they can’t invoke miracles and be consistent, and Moses could.
The next thing is to look at the verse at the heading of this post, Gen.6:20, where it appears that God sends the animals to Noah supernaturally, saying that two of every kind “will come to you”. It also says in chapter 7;8-9, that the animals “came to Noah and entered the ark”. After all the animals entered the ark, Moses say’s, “The LORD shut him in”, so God supernaturally shut and sealed the door. I’m not expecting an atheist to believe that, anymore than I believe that dead matter spontaneously and randomly formed itself into complex biological machines capable of reproduction, for no reason. But I think for believers, this should eliminate pictures of Noah, Ham, Shem and Japheth running around and building corrals and snares to try and catch all the birds and animals that were supposed to be on the ark.
But how did Noah get the kangaroos and platypus ducks from Australia and the polar bears from Alaska? First of all we need to realize that the pre-flood world may not have been identical to the world we know today. We have no real idea exactly what the continents were like before the flood or how the animals were dispersed in pre-flood times. From a biblical stand point we know that Adam named all the basic kinds of animals in the garden of Eden, so it’s not too far fetched to picture that all the kinds Noah needed to put on the ark were still close at hand.
Which brings up another part of the answer to these sometimes perplexing questions. Noah only needed to bring on the ark a breeding pair of each basic kind. For example, today there are over 500 different breeds of pigeons, but all of these were bred from one pair only a hundred years ago. Since all the dog kind can interbreed, from wolves to coyotes to poodles, we can assume they all came from one original pair. We now know that each kind of animal, even each individual animal contains a incredible variety of information, though there are limits.
Noah didn’t have to go out an bring in every variety of bear, only one breeding pair. Polar bears probably didn’t even exist yet and their white fir may be a product of a post flood mutation, like the red hair of Scotsmen. So Noah did not have to go all over the world collecting animals or wait for years for them to migrate to him. After the flood, the various animal kinds migrated all over the world to various ecological niches, probably using land bridges created by the Ice Age to get to the Americas and Australia. Once isolated from other groups of their kinds, these animals would go through genetic drift, rapidly speciating into modern varieties. (a process of horizontal change which leads to a loss of information)
That humans did the same thing is easily shown by the close genetic relationships that exist between all humans. While Charles Darwin and other evolutionists insisted for years that the various human “races” evolved separately from different ape families on different continents, the study of DNA has proven that wrong. Acts 17;26 say’s that God made all men from one blood, or from one man, echoing the Genesis account. If the various human families on different continents had turned out to have large differences in their DNA as Darwins theory would have predicted, that would falsify the biblical account given by Moses. But the fact they have changed so little not only supports the idea that they all descended from Noah and his family, but also that they separated and migrated over the earth a very short time ago.
Never the less, as groups of humans traveled over the earth and became isolated for a time, certain genetic traits became accentuated while others were lost, creating what we call today racial differences. These differences are superficial but still outwardly prominent so that the Japanese, the red haired Irishmen or the dark skinned African and other human families can usually be identified. But like it or not, we are all sons and daughters of Noah, and ultimately from Adam and Eve, and the term race is probably not accurate. So there is no real excuse for “racism”, which was widely promoted by Darwin and his colleagues.
And the story of Noah’s flood is at least as plausible as Darwin’s story, actually far more believable. No matter who you choose to believe, whether Moses or Darwin, all your questions won’t be answered. But for such an ancient story, the Mosaic account of Noah’s flood does surprisingly well in the light of modern science.