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  #1  
Old 20th June 2009, 12:24 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default The story of Noah

I'm going to give my interpretation and approach to the story of Noah as an example of Bible interpretation.

Although some persons interpret the story of Noah to be entirely figurative, I would interpret some elements of the story to be literal and other elements to be figurative.

[Genesis]
{6:11} Yet the earth was corrupted before the eyes of God, and it was filled with iniquity.
{6:12} And when God had seen that the earth had been corrupted, (indeed, all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth)
{6:13} he said to Noah: “The end of all flesh has arrived in my sight. The earth has been filled with iniquity by their presence, and I will destroy them, along with the earth.

Literally, the earth was every corrupt; there was very much sin among men.

It is something of a figure of speech to say "when God had seen that the earth had been corrupted" because God knows everything all at once, beyond all time.

The expression the end of all flesh is a figure, referring to the impending death of very many persons. We know that God did not kill all flesh or all persons or the whole earth.

{6:14} Make yourself an ark from smoothed wood. You shall make little dwelling places in the ark, and you shall smear pitch on the interior and exterior.

Literally, there was a Noah and he built an ark.

{6:15} And thus shall you make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.
{6:16} You shall make a window in the ark, and you shall complete it within a cubit of the top. Then you shall set the door of the ark at its side. You shall make in it: a lower part, upper rooms, and a third level.

The size of the ark could be literal, or it could be figurative. The ancient Jews considered numbers to have symbolic meanings. It seems entirely possible, though, that the ark was large and did have three levels.

{6:17} Behold, I shall bring the waters of a great flood upon the earth, so as to put to death all flesh in which there is the breath of life under heaven. All things that are on the earth shall be consumed.

I interpret the extent of the flood and the extent of the death caused by the flood to be a figure. There was a large flood and very many persons died. But it is not necessary to hold that literally all persons died, or that literally every acre of land was covered with water. There is not enough water in the planet to cover the planet entirely with water. The extent of the flood is a figure for the extent of sin, of the justice of God, and being saved only by the ark is a figure for the sole source of salvation: the Church and baptism.
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Old 20th June 2009, 04:31 PM
sammy sammy is offline
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It seems to me that ultraconservatives would tend to the literal and ultraliberals would sway to the figurative and that opacity of the truth would exist in both camps.
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Old 21st June 2009, 03:18 AM
Dan A Dan A is offline
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To me it's similiar to the earth being created in 6 days. It doesn't matter how long it took. What does matter is that God created the earth and all that is in it. Who am I to question the Almighty and His ways? I accept that there was a flood and that Noah built a boat for it.

Jonah in the whale is a bit hard to swallow but the point remains and that is what matters. Finding your stumbling block is easy if you focus only on the block.
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Old 21st June 2009, 02:58 PM
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Literal or figurative matters not. Who would have believed that water could become wine at Cana and that cripples would walk at Bethesda? God could certainly stuff somebody in the belly of a great fish for three days - or years- if He so desired. The morals of the stories stand firm after thousands of years. My eyes and beliefs are in the Lord Who can do all things.
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Old 22nd June 2009, 02:28 AM
Dan A Dan A is offline
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I can't disagree with that.
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Old 23rd June 2009, 12:06 PM
garabandalg garabandalg is offline
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Default Wet June and Noah a good match....

As one living in NYC which is on the verge of breaking the record for rain in June, I can relate to the Noah story at this time.....
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Old 23rd June 2009, 02:58 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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{6:19} And from every living thing of all that is flesh, you shall lead pairs into the ark, so that they may survive with you: from the male sex and the female,
{6:20} from birds, according to their kind, and from beasts, in their kind, and from among all animals on earth, according to their kind; pairs from each shall enter with you, so that they may be able to live.

Again, this is a figure, such that there were many different kinds of animals on the ark, but not every species. Those that were on the ark were present as a figure representing all life on earth: all human life represented by Noah and his family; all animal life represented by a subset of the species on earth. Thus there literally was a Noah and an ark with animals on it. But the extent of the animals on the ark is a figure; a small number of animals were a figure for all the animals on earth.

{7:2} From all the clean animals, take seven and seven, the male and the female. Yet truly, from animals that are unclean, take two and two, the male and the female.

So there were 14 of each type of clean animal, and 4 of each type of unclean animal, NOT one pair (two only) of each species as is commonly said.

{7:4} For from that point, and after seven days, I will rain upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. And I will wipe away every substance that I have made, from the surface of the earth.”

The length of the rain as 40 days is a figure for a long time (weeks, but not years). The effect of the flood at wiping out all life on earth is a figure, represented by the destruction of much life on earth, representing the extent of sin on earth, the extent of God's justice as well as of His mercy.

{7:11} In the six hundredth year of the life of Noah, in the second month, in the seventeenth day of the month, all the fountains of the great abyss were released, and the floodgates of heaven were opened.

The second month is Iyyar, in the spring. Iyyar 17 was the start of the flood.

{8:14} In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was made dry.

The flood ended in the next calendar year, on Iyyar 27, which is one solar year exactly. This might be a figure, or it might be literal.

The Jewish calendar year is lunar, based on the phases of the moon, like nearly all calendars of ancient civilizations. And 12 lunar months is 11 days short of one solar year. Adding ten days to 12 lunar months, and counting inclusively (including the first and last days in the count) gives us one solar year for the flood.
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Old 1st October 2010, 12:14 AM
myLivingBread myLivingBread is offline
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Ron,

how about gen 9:13 what is the interpretation?

{9:13} I will place my arc in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the pact between myself and the earth.

persons who attack scriptures uses this:

"The rainbow is not as old as rain and sunshine (Gen. 9:13):"

I find this answer:

That verse does not say that, or imply it. If there were any rain before the Flood of Noah, it would have been over the seas and at night. No rainbow would have been seen. Genesis 9:13 refers to God setting the rainbow in the clouds, to be seen in the daytime. This is what was new. Rain over land in the daytime was not something that happened before the Flood. The implication here is of the drastic changes the earth had undergone atmospherically from antediluvian times.

http://ldolphin.org/contradict.html
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Old 1st October 2010, 12:27 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myLivingBread View Post
Ron,

how about gen 9:13 what is the interpretation?

{9:13} I will place my arc in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the pact between myself and the earth.

persons who attack scriptures uses this:

"The rainbow is not as old as rain and sunshine (Gen. 9:13):"

I find this answer:

That verse does not say that, or imply it. If there were any rain before the Flood of Noah, it would have been over the seas and at night. No rainbow would have been seen. Genesis 9:13 refers to God setting the rainbow in the clouds, to be seen in the daytime. This is what was new. Rain over land in the daytime was not something that happened before the Flood. The implication here is of the drastic changes the earth had undergone atmospherically from antediluvian times.

http://ldolphin.org/contradict.html

Both the above attack and the answer are foolish.

The rainbow existed before Noah and the Flood. But after the Flood, by the decree of God to Noah, the rainbow has a new meaning. Similarly, water had a new meaning when Jesus established the Sacrament of Baptism. Suffering and death had a new meaning when Jesus died for our salvation.
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Old 1st October 2010, 02:16 AM
myLivingBread myLivingBread is offline
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{9:13} Arcum meum ponam in nubibus, et erit signum fśderis inter me, et inter terram.
{9:13} I will place my arc in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the pact between myself and the earth.

~ This reference to rainbows as arcs in the sky calls to mind the ark of Noah. And it calls to mind the subsequent ark of the Covenant, which held the tablets of the Ten Commandments. And it calls to mind the Virgin Mary, who is the ark of the New Covenant. She will appear in the sky, just as the Book of Revelation says, in the last days, as a further sign of the covenant between God and man.

{1:15} Behold, over the mountains, the feet of the Evangelizer and the Announcer of peace. Judah, celebrate your festivals and keep your vows. For Belial will never again pass through you; he has completely passed away.

~ The evangelizer is Christ and the announcer of peace is the Virgin Mary. This passage indicates that both Christ and Mary will return at the end of the Antichrist’s reign. The name “Belial” refers to the Antichrist.

http://www.sacredbible.org/studybible/OT-39_Nahum.htm
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