The water that swamped the earth (either two-dozen or thirty-thousand feet feet of it) just “turn back” and “return” to where they came from, and 150 days later, they are gone. Even if you ignore the implausibility of an entire world covered with between 22.5 and roughly 30,000 feet of water, and argue that the “return” of the water refers to evaporation and absorption and not some magical, miraculous disappearance of water, five months seems like an impossibly short amount of time for water levels to return to normal. When Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, it took between two weeks and a month for the water to recede, with water depth of between 3 and 11 feet.
* Let me say again that I feel silly making such a comparatively minute criticism of such an obviously ridiculous story, but if people in the Bible universe believe this to be true, I feel compelled to speak on their terms. After all, the simplest and most accurate criticism of the Bible would be a brief sentence: This whole thing is complete bullshit. But I’m shooting for a more in-depth critique, which will sometimes require me to suspend one area of disbelief to make a point about an internal inconsistency.
The boat comes to rest on the mountain of Ararat “in the seventh month, in the seventeenth day of the month” which seems strangely specific, and then the waters continue to recede until the tenth month, when on the first of the month on the tenth month, the tops of the mountains appear. I return to my earlier point, about the waters receding. If it took them more than two months to recede from the point where the boat was resting to the point you could actually see the mountains, it looks like the waters are receding around ten feet per month. If the boat was 45 feet high and sitting pretty low because of its payload (let’s assume half-submerged, which would be substantially more than modern crafts, but we’ll give the Bible the benefit of some fuzzy numbers) then it touched town 22.5 feet under water. Two and a half months later, they can see the mountains, i.e. the bottom of the boat, meaning the water retreated 22.5 feet in roughly two and a half months, or about 10 feet per month. If the water receded for 150 days, the water level at the end would only be about fifty feet lower. So the math doesn’t make any sense, again.
After we hear that the boat has touched down, and then two and a half months later the mountains are visible, we go back somehow to Noah at the end of the flood, forty days after it started. A bird he sends out finds no dry land. A week later he sends it again, and it has an olive leaf, which inexplicably still exists even though everything alive was supposed to be destroyed. Then Noah waits another week, sends the bird out again, and it doesn’t come back. He assumes that this means the bird went and set up shop somewhere on dry land, not that it died. No word on why he didn’t just look out the fucking window he sent the bird out to see if there was land. Obviously, it wouldn’t matter if there was dry land available within a bird’s flight of the boat. He would need dry land directly around the boat to, you know, get off the boat. It reminds me of that stupid fucking TV commercial with Zooey Deschanel they debuted with the iPhone 5, where she’s standing in her living room asking Siri if it’s raining outside. “Look out the fucking window, Zooey, and stop trying to sing. You suck.” Says the Siri I wish existed.
More digression, back to the Bible. Everybody disembarks and Noah makes an altar and IMMEDIATELY KILLS ALL THE CLEAN ANIMALS HE BROUGHT WITH HIM (verse 20). What the fuck?! He schlepped around these animals for the greater part of a year, saved them from extinction, then he immediately burns them up as an offering to the God that just killed everything else on Earth. And God loooooves that shit.
21and Jehovah smelleth the sweet fragrance, and Jehovah saith unto His heart, `I continue not to disesteem any more the ground because of man, though the imagination of the heart of man [is] evil from his youth; and I continue not to smite any more all living, as I have done;
The sweet smell of death convinces the reluctant deity not to smite all of existence again. Put that in needlepoint and hang it in your kitchen.
That is the most fucked up moral to a story I have ever come across. This story will never be the same for me. Let me summarize my version of Noah’s Ark.
God regretted making people because they were doing some things that he told them to do, but he had just not been specific enough. He decided to kill everything on Earth, and possibly destroy the Earth itself, but decided to save one guy and his family. He fails to elaborate on what this guy is doing to spare his family and the human race from extinction. They get on a boat and float on a sea of death. The death soup is so pleasing to God that he is, apparently, still on the fence about whether or not he will do it again sometime. Thankfully, the first thing Noah does when he gets off the boat is to slaughter and burn some of the creatures on the boat, thus wiping them off the face of the Earth forever. God is psyched. The end.
P.S. When I was doing some research about buoyancy , something occurred to me. Aside from the impossibility of fitting between 2 and 14 of every animal on earth on a ship that only has 101,250 square feet, the weight of the animals seems to be a huge problem. Noah’s boat seems far too narrow to provide sufficient displacement for buoyancy. If any physicist ever reads this blog, can you do me a favor? Use the density of the wood used in the Ark and the stated dimensions to find out how heavy of a payload it could carry. My gut is not very much, since the boat is fairly narrow, but I would be psyched if someone could actually figure that out for me.
1 And God remembereth Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle which [are] with him in the ark, and God causeth a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subside,
2 and closed are the fountains of the deep and the net-work of the heavens, and restrained is the shower from the heavens.
3 And turn back do the waters from off the earth, going on and returning; and the waters are lacking at the end of a hundred and fifty days.
4 And the ark resteth, in the seventh month, in the seventeenth day of the month, on mountains of Ararat;
5 and the waters have been going and becoming lacking till the tenth month; in the tenth [month], on the first of the month, appeared the heads of the mountains.
6 And it cometh to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah openeth the window of the ark which he made,
7 and he sendeth forth the raven, and it goeth out, going out and turning back till the drying of the waters from off the earth.
8 And he sendeth forth the dove from him to see whether the waters have been lightened from off the face of the ground,
9 and the dove hath not found rest for the sole of her foot, and she turneth back unto him, unto the ark, for waters [are] on the face of all the earth, and he putteth out his hand, and taketh her, and bringeth her in unto him, unto the ark.
10 And he stayeth yet other seven days, and addeth to send forth the dove from the ark;
11 and the dove cometh in unto him at even-time, and lo, an olive leaf torn off in her mouth; and Noah knoweth that the waters have been lightened from off the earth.
12 And he stayeth yet other seven days, and sendeth forth the dove, and it added not to turn back unto him any more.
13 And it cometh to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first [month], in the first of the month, the waters have been dried from off the earth; and Noah turneth aside the covering of the ark, and looketh, and lo, the face of the ground hath been dried.
14 And in the second month, in the seven and twentieth day of the month, the earth hath become dry.
15 And God speaketh unto Noah, saying, `Go out from the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee;
16 every living thing that [is] with thee, of all flesh, among fowl, and among cattle, and among every creeping thing which is creeping on the earth, bring out with thee;
17 and they have teemed in the earth, and been fruitful, and have multiplied on the earth.’
18 And Noah goeth out, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him;
19 every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl; every creeping thing on the earth, after their families, have gone out from the ark.
20 And Noah buildeth an altar to Jehovah, and taketh of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and causeth burnt-offerings to ascend on the altar;
21 and Jehovah smelleth the sweet fragrance, and Jehovah saith unto His heart, `I continue not to disesteem any more the ground because of man, though the imagination of the heart of man [is] evil from his youth; and I continue not to smite any more all living, as I have done;
22 during all days of the earth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, do not cease.’