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The story of Noah’s Ark begins in chapter six of Genesis. My grandsons would tell me that Chapter six was afraid of Chapter 7 for good reason. Why? Because 7-8-9.
Noah’s Ark has been built anew in Williamstown, Kentucky by Ken Ham. It has been built to shore up the shaky faith of Biblical literalists who are swimming in a secular America. They are at great risk because if anyone ever convinces them that the Earth is over 6,000 years old or that dinosaurs weren’t vegetarians the Bible’s imperfection will cause their faith to wither away.
According to Genesis 6-7-8, Noah was the last of the Earth’s multi-centenarians before God got fed up with people and decided to rain on their parade. Noah’s father, Lamech, was 182 years old when Noah was born. Lamech would live on another 595 years. He died at age 777 five years before Noah launched his Ark. Noah would out do his father and live to be 950 years old. He needed that time. Unlike Ken Ham Noah didn’t have cranes, internal combustion engines or tempered steel.
God’s plan was to purge humanity of evil and save Noah’s three sons along with two of every animal that crawled on or flew over the face of the Earth. The voyage was no picnic. The menagerie was penned up in the Ark not just for the flood’s forty days and nights but for one year, one month and seventeen days. They couldn’t disembark until the flood waters dried up.
The inerrant Bible is precise. Flood waters towered fifteen cubits (about 22 feet) over the tallest mountains. That’s 22 feet above Mt. Everest. The Bible is not clear where all this water came from but by comparison the melting of the Antarctic Ice cap will raise the ocean a piddly 230 feet. Six thousand years ago God lifted the ocean up an additional 28,821 feet above that. I’m not sure what Noah and the animals ate for the year. Maybe that’s where God got the idea for manna. At least the dinosaurs weren’t eating the other animals. They were vegetarians. I know this because the Bible spells this out in Genesis, Chapter 1 verses 29-30. At creation all animals only ate green vegetables.
This would have come as a surprise to William Buckland. He’s the man who dug the first dinosaur out from the Flood’s sediments in 1819 during President Monroe’s Era of Good Feelings. Buckland’s megalosaurus had impressive meat shearing teeth better suited for Triceratopsians than guavas. I imagine that explaining the flood was simpler before this discovery. It hasn’t put a damper on the Ark Experience however. Ken Ham’s animatronic vegetarians loom over visitors who shell out $40 a pop to tour his Ark. I am a little confused by this because Cain was a “keeper of sheep” and he was Adam’s son a few generations prior to Noah. Cain probably only used his sheep to make stocking caps which might help explain why God preferred Able’s veggies.
Mr. Ham’s target audience is the evangelical community which has been politicized in my lifetime turning to my old party, the Republicans, as a more Godly choice.
I do find it ironic that people willing to abandon their holy book over a single “error” so blithely support a President whose claims would shame a snake oil salesman. Inerrancy is not a problem in the Oval Office. It’s the spit and glue that holds the White House together.
The story of the flood is the story of God’s promise to or “covenant,” with his people. After the waters subsided God promised never to kill off them off again. Judging by the evangelical impatience for a rapture I’m not sure that covenant was worth the parchment it was printed on. Finding some new means of killing off mankind is the kind of loophole only a Donald Trump could appreciate.
There is one more small point worth considering - Ken Ham’s ancestry.
There has long been a Christian tradition that Noah’s three sons - Ham, Shem and Jepheth, populated Africa, Europe and Asia. Ham was Noah’s black sheep both literally and figuratively. He is said to have peopled Africa. After the voyage Ham blundered into his Dad’s tent and found him naked and drunk. His brothers Shem and Jepheth averted their eyes and covered their father giving their descendants in Europe and Asia a leg up while God announced that for all generations Ham’s progeny would be the slaves of Shem and Jepheth’s descendants. Generations of American slave holders used this as their excuse for keeping African slaves. In my childhood some southern Baptists were still preaching this. It was their justification for ignoring the Constitution of the United States. They once detested the Republican party for its part in the Civil War. But they were shrewd and took over the party of Lincoln.
Bring on the rapture.
Harry Welty is a small-time politician who also pontificates at www.lincolndemocrat.com