Thursday, April 29, 2010

Noah’s Ark and the Flood Story

With the supposed discovery of Noah’s Ark, we have to ask, “Did it really happen?” In other words, is the story of Noah’s Ark a truly historical event or a myth? If it’s a myth, how does that affect our faith? If the artifact recently discovered on Mt. Ararat in Turkey can be shown to be the Ark, then that will go a long was towards verifying that there was such a boat.

I know some will disagree with me, but I have no problem believing that the Noah’s Ark story is a “sacred myth” that conveys a truth from God. Just as Jesus’ parables (which were fictional illustrations) make a point, so might the Noah story. The historical accuracy of a biblical story is irrelevant – it’s the truth that it conveys that’s important. Remember, the Bible isn’t supposed to be a history book or a scientific text book, but a book that transmits God’s messages to us through human intermediaries in ways that are easily understood by people from ancient to modern times.

I also don’t have a problem believing the Noah story as being historically accurate – a depiction of a real event. There have been flood stories in many ancient cultures around the world, indicating that something must have happened. A layer of sediment has been found around the world around the estimated time of the flood indicating something worldwide must have occurred.

Either way, we shouldn’t let the debate over these Old Testament stories get in the way of our faith. For Christians, it is important that we understand and believe the basics, which these stories convey to us. What are the basics? We find them in the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. For example,

We believe that God made heaven and earth (although we don’t exactly know how).

We believe we are all accountable to God for our actions, and God will judge us.

We believe Jesus came to earth to pay the penalty for our wrongdoing so we could have the kind of relationship with God for which we were created.

We believe Jesus went willingly to the Cross to fulfill his purpose in coming to earth, he died, rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father.

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