Sunday, 21 August 2011

Was the flood the only way?

Continuing the mini-series on the myth of the flood . . . 

Omnipotent god created the world in 6 days, and being omniscient he knew exactly how things would pan out for his creation.  In spite of that, he gave Adam and Eve free-will and thus gave them the impression that they could only blame themselves for the terrible things that happened in the world.  Since in those times even the wisest people on earth knew less about science than an average primary school child knows today they had no option but to invent stories of creator gods and as the stories were told time and time again they became more powerful.  How did they know that the stories were true?  They just did.  Everyone knew it. 

Let's assume for a moment that there was really a god behind the creation (even though the logic does not support the idea if you think about it carefully, as somehow the creator must have been created).  This all-powerful creator of the world somehow made an error in his plans and humanity lost its way and started worshiping other (even more false) gods.  (See this previous mini-series, A family of Old Testament gods? for other thoughts on that).  People forgot to be subservient to the god who had revealed to them that he had made them.  They got worse and worse and the creator did nothing to nip things in the bud, even though clearly he could have found a way to create a few natural disasters to frighten them back onto the right track.

No - foresight having failed him - this loving creator eventually could see no other way out of the problem than to wipe out most of creation and start again.  Presumably, having put a lot of effort into creating the world he did not want to start again with the whole day and night business, and he skipped the creation of the land and the seas.  I suppose they were good enough to recycle, whereas (Jesus not having been invented yet) the redemption of humanity was beyond the imagination.

On the other hand you could speculate that this loving god actually intended things to happen this way.

Or thirdly - maybe there wasn't a loving god at all and the flood myths are just a vestige of a local disaster which wiped out a few villages or perhaps a city somewhere near the home of the originator of the story, and you know how stories get amplified and exaggerations creep in over the weeks, months, years and ages.  (Incidentally this idea of a localised deluge is more in tune with the version of the story in the qu'ran, and indeed of the Epic of Gilgamesh.  More on those later.)

So assuming that there is some truth in the flood myths, the conclusions can only be that
  • god was not there;
  • god was careless enough to allow things to get to a state where he needed to send a flood; 
  • god deliberately and malevolently set things up so that it was inevitable that he would destroy most of mankind.  
Whichever way you look at it, there can only be one reason to consider worshiping this monstrous deity who made the flood happen - and that is that you are frightened that he will do something like this again

I will leave you with one further thought from my online friend @RosaRubicondior who tweeted:

"If we're all descended from Noah, what are the odds that only one group of descendants remembered the Ark, the flood & Noah's name?"


Hilary said...

4th option: God is real, God created humankind with a free will in the image of God, to love or to hate, to create or to destroy, to believe or to disbelieve chose to hate, to disbelieve...

also, small detail, how come scientists often harp on about it being illogical for there to be a God because He Himself would have to have been created, yet are quite happy with the origins of life and of the Universe to have come from nowhere...always a puzzle scientist's logic :)

Kenny Wyland said...

@Hilary, regarding the 4th option, if God created humankind with a free will allowing them to love or hate, to create or destroy... then why would God wipe them all out for exercising the free will He gave them? That doesn't sound like free will at all to me. "You can do anything you want, but if you do something I don't like, I'll murder you. Isn't Free Will great?"

Regarding science and origins of the universe... my guess is that you get that idea from other religious people telling you about the silly contradictions of scientists. (I could be wrong, just a guess.) The problem is that scientists DO NOT say that. When asked about the origin of the universe, the common answer is that the Big Bang is the theory which fits the evidence at the moment. When asked about what happened BEFORE the Big Bang, they say they don't know. So when you say that scientists claim the Universe came from nowhere, you're setting up a strawman that you can easily dismiss, but it doesn't reflect reality.