Noah’s ark, manna, and a convenient device for ignoring the inconvenient point

Noah’s ark, manna, and a convenient device for ignoring the inconvenient point March 17, 2013

So shortly after writing a post about how the last thing the world needs is another bunch of Christians building a life-size replica of Noah’s ark, I learn that — you guessed it — yet another church is building a replica of Noah’s Ark.

This time it’s John Hagee’s church in San Antonio, Texas. Hagee’s son, Matthew (whose singing is much better than his theology), says the purpose of the $5 million project is to convince people “to say it happened,” because clearly the question of historicity is the only thing that matters in the story of Noah. And because building a replica proves something happened, just like the way Peter Jackson proved the existence of Rivendell.

And what else should Hagee’s Cornerstone Church spend $5 million on? I mean, it was either this or else waste all that money on something like feeding all the poor children in San Antonio for a year.

Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk posted this promotional poster from Cornerstone’s website:

If you can’t read the image, it says:

Cornerstone Church invites you to attend the unveiling of its newest addition, a 28,400-square-foot Noah’s Ark-inspired building!

The Ark boasts true-to-size animatronics animals, custom-designed wall murals, synthetic trees and grasses, LED shooting stars, custom wood-plank carpeting and more. The building will host the children’s church Sunday school as well as Mother’s Day Out program. With its unique, stimulating, and larger-than-life elements, the Ark experience will truly bring to life the famed Bible story and be an inspirational adventure to all who enter.

  • Continuous Tours
  • Carnival Rides
  • Biblical Puppet Shows
  • Story Readings in the classrooms by Sunday school teachers in Bible costumes
  • Moon Bounces, Face Painting & Balloon Clown Artists
  • Hot Dogs, Roasted Corn, Kettle Corn & Cotton Candy

I am dazzled by this. It’s so appalling that it almost wraps all the way back around into a kind of delight.

Here’s more from the delightfully appalling/appallingly delightful Christian Post article:

“I want them to say it happened,” Executive Pastor Matthew Hagee told “The Ark was real. Salvation is real. What God desires for Noah, God desires for me. For Noah, it was a boat. And for me, it was Jesus Christ.”

… Hagee, son of founding pastor John Hagee, described The Ark, saying it has vestibule entrances with outdoor scenes of the ship’s hull, crafted with alder wood panels. At one vestibule will be a talking macaw playing host.

Each of the animals in the central area of the hull – from a tortoise, sheep and zebra to a rhinoceros, lion and elephant – will be named for a great church figure from history, as a springboard to lessons on John Bunyan, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Charles Wesley and others.

Nine of the 16 creatures will be animatronic, created by Animal Makers, a Southern California firm that specializes in robotic animals for Hollywood movies. Some are new, and some were formerly leased. The rhino, for example, had a short appearance in the John Cusack film 2012.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find any church with animatronics,” Michael Chanley, executive director of the International Network of Children’s Ministry, was quoted as saying. “It communicates so much value to the family, ‘We don’t just want your kids to come here and learn. We want them to experience God,'” he said.

You’ll recall that the Apostle Paul rebuked the church in Corinth for not having animatronics. That communicated such contempt for the family, and it denied children the chance to experience God the way one only can in a sacred space like the Hall of Presidents.

I’m not sure that moon bounces, kettle corn, or a talking macaw named Hudson Taylor will really help to achieve Matt Hagee’s goal of convincing visitors of the historicity of Noah’s ark. But those carnival touches — Chaplain Mike calls it the “Disney-ization of Christianity” — serve the same purpose as that preoccupation with proving the historicity of a story that never itself demands such an interpretation. The whole point of both of those is to distract from the whole point.

Fundies and inerrantist evangelicals like to pretend that they take the Bible more seriously — and more “conservatively” — than other Christians, and yet they’re always willing to go to outlandish lengths just to avoid engaging the meaning of the text. Read them the story of Noah and they’ll start talking about the carrying capacity of all those cubits, reciting arcane non-facts suggesting that the hydrological history of the Grand Canyon “proves” there was a global flood in antiquity, or whatever else they can come up with to change the subject and avoid dealing with the actual story the text actually gives us.

The story of Noah is one of many in Genesis where, as Tim O’Brien wrote, “absolute occurrence is irrelevant.”

“Did exactly this actually occur precisely in this way?” is probably the least interesting, least insightful, least helpful, least edifying, least inspirational questions one could ask about this story. Those who make it their first question, and their most important question, seem to be trying to hide, to evade, to distract themselves from actually engaging the actual story on its own terms.

They’d rather talk about historicity — by which they mean cubits and kettle corn.

Cara Sexton has a nice, rambly post up this weekend on being a rich Christian in an age of hunger. It’s titled “On Hoarding Manna.” The reference there is to a story from Exodus 16, in which God miraculously provides bread from heaven for the Israelites in the wilderness:

When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. … Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.'”

The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed.

And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over until morning.” But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul. And Moses was angry with them.

Sexton’s reference to this story tackles its meaning head-on. She doesn’t flinch from the implications of it and she wrestles with those in her post.

Her approach is very different from that of the literalist evangelicals I’ve heard preach and teach from this passage. For them, the key thing was, as Matthew Hagee put it, “to say it happened,” to believe the manna was real — that the above story from Exodus 16 is a historical account of actual events. That was what they preached on and taught about. That was the first question they brought to this passage and the thing they treated as most important.

With manna as with Noah’s ark, the whole point of this obsession with historicity seemed to be to distract from the whole point of the story.



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  • Alanlionheart

    From the already created man as in Genesis 2

    21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So you also go by the Genesis 2 account that all the animals were created after man?

    Observe Genesis 1, wherein all the animals are created, followed by the simultaneous creation of man and woman.

  • Alanlionheart

    Not at all Ellie
    There is no contradiction between ch 1 & 2 as some seem to imply
    As you say, Genesis 1 is the creation account giving the order of events etc culminating in the creation of Adam

    Genesis 2 picks up the account and develops it.
    The creation of man and woman simultaneously as you state did not happen otherwise Genesis 2 would certainly contradict Genesis 1

  • EllieMurasaki

    Imply? I’m flat-out stating it. Genesis 1: plants, then animals, then man and woman simultaneously. Genesis 2: man, then plants, then animals, then woman.

    There’s a midrash to the effect of the Genesis 1 woman was Lilith and the Genesis 2 woman was Eve, but, one, to accept that as removing the contradiction you’d have to accept that Jews know something about the Torah, and two, it doesn’t remove the contradiction between ‘plants and animals before man’ and ‘plants and animals after man’, just the one between ‘man and woman simultaneously’ and ‘man before woman’.

  • I understand how tempting this belief is… not just about death, but more generally that Creation was only meant to contain those things which are comfortable for us, and that the stuff like death, the stuff that scares us and that our limited understanding rejects, wasn’t meant to be part of Creation in the first place.

    We see this sort of belief not only in theology, but in all kinds of situations where people live under governing systems that appear capricious to our understanding. It’s sometimes more comfortable to believe that the Creator is not in control, than to believe that the Creator makes capricious or cruel choices. And from certain perspectives, making death and suffering and inequality a part of Creation certainly does seem capricious and cruel.

    Of course, the problem with this is that we’re making our own human judgments of what is comfortable, what is right, what is good, what is justified, what is cruel, what is capricious, and we’re presuming to judge Creation by that limited human standard.

    From a secular perspective, this is fine. An atheist sees a world in which the only moral standards are those inside mortal minds, and it makes sense from that perspective to judge Creation by our moral standards, and set out to correct the moral flaws in Creation.

    From a Christian perspective, it’s more difficult to manage… one ends up judging God’s Creation by human moral standards (like “death is wrong”) and the result is strained, requiring lots of argumentation and sophistry to support.

    It’s no surprise Christian theodicy is difficult. The whole idea of Man sorting through Creation and saying “Yes, we accept this, good job God; no, that’s bad… um, I guess that wasn’t really part of Creation, that was just something we threw in there that God couldn’t correct for”… that whole exercise is inherently difficult.

  • The whole “If they can interbreed they are definitionally the same species and hybrids are always sterile” thing is a taxonomical definition that predates our current understanding of genetics, and hybrid fertility has more to do with the number of chromosomes than arbitrary species lines (Not all interspecies hybrids are sterile. Beefalo and Wholphins are both fertile, and as far as I know, no one is claiming cows and bison are the same species, nor dolphins and killer whales. Plants are completely different too).

    And I’m partial to the mnemonic “Ken, Please Come Over For Gay Sex”

  • So the bible doesn’t say the actual literal things that it says?

  • Alanlionheart

    If you read the text in its correct context there isn’t a problem as some would have us believe

  • EllieMurasaki

    Plants. Then animals. Then “man and woman he created them.”

    Man. Then plants. Then animals, because “it is not right for man to be alone”. Then woman, because none of the animals were suitable partners.
    The Bible contains contradictions, Alan. Your life will be much simpler once you work through the ramifications of having admitted that.

  • Alanlionheart

    I can see the problem marrying up the Biblical “kind” with the more scientific labelling but it looks to me as if we are in agreement on this aspect.
    Thank you for the clarification
    But I wonder, since we have only got back to the “family”, whether we will part company when we consider the other bits like “Kingdom” etc :)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Noah is supposed to have been only, what, five thousand years ago? That’s only a few evolutionary heartbeats. The only way ‘two of every kind’ and that timespan can be reconciled given current biodiversity is if the Ark was a whole fuck of a lot bigger–or if the world never flooded to begin with.

  • Alanlionheart

    Your thoughtful consideration of my well being Ellie is greatly appreciated. Thank you :)

    But I hate to disappoint.

    I don’t see the problem. Genesis 1 gives us a brief account of God’s creative work culminating with its completion in 6 calendar days and His pronouncement that it was very good and God’s Blessing was upon it.

    Ch 2 carries on, starting first with the reminder that God’s work was completed then it veers off to focus in on the Garden, its purpose and how God created Eve out of Adam’s side.

    So in Ch 1 we have God telling us that He did it and lays out His mandate for mankind to be blessed and to prosper. In Ch 2 we have God showing us how He started it off with the creation of Eve out of Adam and the role she was to play.
    This also reminds us how important marriage is in that Adam was complete until Eve was taken out of him and created as a separate person and how when joined together in marriage they become as one flesh again.
    What is also important in these early chapters is God’s Blessing. Here we see that the couple were naked and not ashamed. This is because they were covered by God’s Glory. Being made in God’s image they shared in His Glory in every sense of that word. When they sinned, they became naked because they lost God’s Glory have sold out to a lie. The close relationship with God was gone and the bond between God and Adam was dead not because of anything God had done but because of what Adam had done. This is why for example Moses was not allowed to see God face to face. Pre fall, Adam did, Post fall even he could no longer see God face to face because of sin.
    Under the new covenant we as Christians have, that glory has been restored because we are no longer sinners but people who have been recreated in the glory of God just as Adam was.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You aren’t even bothering to read my posts anymore, are you.

  • Alanlionheart

    I most certainly am reading them. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with you does it?
    I also looked up Lilith and read that the story is a myth. In any case it cannot be true otherwise Genesis is most definitely wrong. Two women did not sin, only one and that was Eve not Lilith

  • EllieMurasaki

    So you are asserting that, one, there are no contradictions in Genesis when there CLEARLY ARE, and two, you know more about Genesis (part of the Torah) than the entire history of Jewish rabbis do (when they’ve had the Torah longer than Christianity’s existed).

    Nice arrogance you’ve got going there.

  • AnonaMiss

    So the judgement of God is a judgement we brought upon ourselves in rejecting Him.

    If the story of Noah’s Ark were literally true, newborn babes would have been among the people that God judged for rejecting him.

    You asked me earlier why I didn’t ask God about this incident and hold Him accountable for it. I said it was because I thought it was a story, a parable, something that was true on a teachings level but not on a historical level.

    But if you believe this is true on a historical level – have you asked God about it? Have you held Him accountable? Have you confronted Him with the deaths of the innocents you believe He has killed in cold blood?

    How did He answer you? Did He display shame? Regret? or did He just tell you that His ways are not ours, and that He will show you why it was necessary, when you are in heaven? Because if you’re accepting that kind of answer, well. There’s a word for a relationship in which one party threatens judgment on the other, refuses to be questioned, and refuses to be held accountable for their actions: abusive. How can you have a right relationship with an abuser?

    I’m not suggesting, by the way, that God is abusive. I’m suggesting that God would have to be abusive for the genocide stories to be literally true, and therefore since God is not abusive, they are not literally true. I think God may be saddened by your idea that He would ever have done these things that you ascribe to Him.

    How do you think the bridegroom feels to know that His wife, the love of His life, truly believes that if she misbehaved – or if she left Him – He would cast her into the fire? That she believes He has murdered His previous wives for doing so? Wouldn’t He be distraught? Wouldn’t He be mortified? Wouldn’t He doubt her love, doubt her willingness, doubt that she really wanted to be with Him, and that she wasn’t just acting to save her own skin? How can anyone have a right relationship in such a situation!

    Some serious marital counseling material there, is all I’m saying.

  • Alanlionheart

    Ellie, I agree that there are differences of emphasis but certainly no contradictions. For a concise refutation in detail I can do not better than refer you to this site
    The author certainly explains the issue better than I can and I think you over emphasise the rabbinical point.

  • P J Evans

    So Lilith is a myth, but Eve is true.
    Yet there’s exactly the same amount (and type) of evidence for both.
    You’re *so* not making your case.

  • Alanlionheart

    This is never an easy type of issue to respond to especially when straw man arguments are used such as innocent babies.
    The point is who is right? God or you?
    I am reminded about the analogy of the potter and the clay in many places in the Bible, but this sums it up Isaiah 29:16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘You did not make me’? Can the pot say to the potter, ‘You know nothing’?
    You seem to misunderstand the exceeding sinfulness of mankind and the righteous judgement of God. When Adam fell all mankind fell from then onwards. All mankind is born into sin because of what Adam did. Thankfully there is a redemption and that is through Jesus. But if we wilfully reject Jesus as Saviour then who is to blame if God’s judgement falls on those who reject His solution.
    You seem to think that our salvation is an anything goes issue. But it isn’t. God has set the terms which we either accept or reject. there is no other way.
    What you are also missing is that God is Love. But because He is Love He cannot by His own standards ignore sin. He warned Adam right at the beginning if you do this you will live, but if you do that you will die. Adam thought he knew better than God and chose his own way and so died and we have inherited his genes so we too die unless we repent.
    This is not rocket science, it is the way it is not because of God but because we fail to admit we are wrong and so suffer the consequences. If we did right as God directs then we and our children would live.
    It’s the same choice God gave the Israelis in the desert, Choose Blessing or cursing. If you choose Blessing then this will happen. If you choose to be cursed then that will happen.
    What do you think they chose?
    They chose to be cursed
    Nothing changes and many of us never learn

  • Alanlionheart

    Lilith isn’t even mentioned in the Bible so all you have is an unsubstantiated assumption mentioned in books on mythology :)

  • Lilith appears in the Talmud, in various translations of Isaiah 34:14 and in the Dead Sea scrolls. Why should Lilith’s existence be myth when there is exactly as much evidence for her existence as Eve’s?

  • P J Evans

    You seem to not understand anything but what you were told as a small child, most of which isn’t in the Bible, and the rest of which is taking stories literally that were never meant to be taken that way.

    If you believe that Jesus is the Savior, then consider that Jesus was sent so that God could save *everyone*, living and dead. It’s God becoming human, and finding out what humans feel and do, *including dying in agony*.

    We all are sinners, but also we all are *redeemed*.

    God is love, and therefore God DOES NOT throw people into hell; hell is something each of us can choose for as long as we feel the need to be in it.

    (Also, what the hell are you talking about sin being genetic? That’s plain lying. Especially since Adam *did not exist*.)

  • Romans 5:18 would seem to support this.

    Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.

    The focus on original sin, although based on a view of scripture, is largely owed to Augustine of Hippo, who wasn’t so much concerned about the eating of the apple as he was that Adam and Eve did the nasty. Scripture itself only refers to Adam’s actions leading to death. Augustine, based on his readings, decided that death was a consequence of sin and therefore linked the ideas of sinfulness, sex and death.

  • Alanlionheart

    With respect Ellie I disagree

    You seem to be so locked in to evolutionary time scales that you fail to see what’s happening in the real world.

    Simple maths will tell you that it would take hardly any time to repopulate the world after the flood and speciation would happen quite rapidly and still does so I understand

    Take this as an example:

    If a generation is represented by 20 years, and earth’s population doubled each time, by the 23rd generation there would have been over 30 million people from the original 8
    Animals reproduce much faster and in greater numbers so I don’t see the issue the same way at all

  • EllieMurasaki

    Back up those “simple maths” with citations from biology experts. Biology 101 textbooks (the ones that talk about evolution and not creationism) will do.

  • If you’re actually interested in relying on observation, mathematics and science as a source of data (which I encourage and applaud), you may want to do some reading on minimum viable population in addition to the research you’ve already done on speciation and population growth rates.

  • AnonaMiss

    I am not questioning the potter, sir. The potter tells me that He is Love, and based on my experiences with Him I believe it; and so I disbelieve the stories other pots tell about the time that the potter slew a whole village in cold blood, down to the last child, because the adults there were wicked.

    You accuse the potter of killing the entire population of the earth save one family, babies and all. I am defending the potter from this accusation, and I am rebuking you for slandering him. Is it so much better for a lump of clay to slander the potter, than to question Him?

    Innocent babies is not a straw man argument. If a global flood actually happened, destroying all people on earth except for one family, then a large proportion of those God killed with it were less than 5 years old. Remember, in pre-industrial societies, there are far more children than there are adults. This image is for Afghanistan in 2005, but it conveys the general shape of the age distributions of a society without access to modern medical care: . In ancient times, the distribution would be even more skewed, because in modern Afghanistan, at least many medicines exist for conditions which in antediluvian times would have been a death sentence.

    So if the global flood happened, it killed more people between the ages of 0-4 than it did people in any other 5-year age interval. Did the infant too young to walk “choose to be cursed?” Did the suckling “reject salvation,” even as his mother held him desperately above the rising waters?

    God said he wouldn’t destroy Sodom if he found 5 righteous men within its walls. But though it was a large city, with many more than 5 infants in it, the story tells us that he destroyed it anyway. Tell me, which do you think is more likely: that God forgot about the infants in Sodom? Or that a storyteller forgot about the infants in Sodom, because he was telling a story/teaching a lesson in which the existence or non-existence of infants in Sodom was incidental?

    Saying that the flood happened, historically literally happened just as it is told in the Bible, requires that you believe God murdered innocent babies, too young to understand, let alone to choose. So which is it? Did God murder innocent babies? Or is the tale of the flood a parable, not a history?

    (He is always listening.)

  • I don’t think salvation is an “anything goes issue”. I just think you’re wrong about what terms God has set. I refuse to believe in a God who is less kind, less forgiving, less generous than I am. Shall I believe that I can find it in my heart to love and welcome into my home people that the creator of the universe can’t bring Himself to love and welcome into His?

  • Alanlionheart

    Lilith is part of Jewish folk lore

    This may help explain better than I can

    It also arises out of an incorrect understanding of Genesis. God doesn’t make mistakes and He Blessed his creation and commanded it to be fruitful and multiply
    To say that Lilith was Adam’s first wife is ridiculous and has no basis in fact in the Bible
    The fact that it is described as Jewish folk lore speaks volumes

  • Alanlionheart

    There is a modicum of truth in what you say. 2 Peter 3:9
    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
    But note first God is patient, second as you say He is not willing that any should perish and third that ALL should come to repentance.
    If God was going to do as you say, why would He need to be patient? After all It’s a done deal isn’t it?
    And what’s this about “repentance”?
    Why do we need to repent if we are all going to heaven anyway?
    Indeed why would Jesus need to die, sent to the cross by His Father, so that the way of salvation could be opened up for all people?
    When we examine your post it is full of inconsistencies.
    So in case I’ve got it wrong, please explain with appropriate Biblical references your line of thinking and where for example does it say in the Bible that we are all redeemed?

  • Alanlionheart

    With respect Ellie, why would I do that and reinforce your skewed thinking?
    Are you not able to think outside the evolutionary box to see the silliness of an aspect of evolutionary thinking/teaching.
    If my maths is wrong then double the generation period and factor in death.
    And don’t forget we are talking about animal repopulation and speciation not human

  • EllieMurasaki

    With respect Ellie, why would I [step outside the brick-walled box imposed by my own skewed thinking] and reinforce your [scientifically accurate within the limits of your understanding of biology] thinking?

  • Alanlionheart

    There are a number of accounts in the Bible where babies have been killed. The Bible tells it as it was without apologising for it. Herod killed babies to try to wipe out the Jewish Messiah Jesus, Pharaoh killed babies to try to prevent Moses from growing up to redeem Israel from slavery, David’s son from his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba died.
    Did God organise all these deaths?
    No, they arose out of disobedience or rebellion against God. And the Bible is consistent about this where is says that the wages of sin is death. It we choose to sin then death will follow in one form or another.
    There are also a number of accounts in the Bible where we read that a person “and his family” were saved.
    The Bible tells us that if there is one Christian in the family the whole family is sanctified.
    This is a sombre subject and as I said earlier it is not an easy one. But the fact remains that parents have an awesome responsibility before God to care for their children and this includes getting themselves into a right relationship with God.
    I’m sorry to contradict you about babies because they are not innocent, they are born into and tainted by sin. If you need evidence for this you only need to take account of one of the 10 commandments that talks of the sins of the parents being visited on the children to the 3rd or 4th generation then look at the families you know of and see if it is not true.
    The truth is we see it all the time, children take after their parents and are impacted by them and usually end up following their traits.
    If you want to blame someone for the death of babies in the historical flood then you need look no further than their parents who were given ample warning of what was to come and could or even should have done something about it.

  • Alanlionheart

    Ross, God is Love personified so He is infinitely more Love than you could possibly imagine.

    He has also given mankind everything we need through Jesus so that as Christians we can reflect His love towards everyone.

    The problem is not God but us.

    What you fail to understand is that by rejecting God we also reject His love and as I said earlier God wants us to have a relationship with Him and is not willing that any should perish.
    But that relationship is on His terms not ours.
    So if I am wrong about God’s terms then please show me from the Bible

  • EllieMurasaki

    the Bible is consistent about this where is says that the wages of sin is death.

    Who decided that? Because if it was God, then your attempt to blame anybody but God fails, and if it was not God, then there is some power greater than God and your attempt to convince us that God is greatest fails.

  • Alanlionheart

    Nice one Ellie :)

  • EllieMurasaki

    God is Love personified so He is infinitely more Love than you could possibly imagine.

    Which brings us right back to the problem of, how is it that I am more loving than Love is?

  • Most people see this as monstrous behavior. If committed by any human on the planet, it is seen as monstrous behavior; if our ethics are inferior to God’s, then God’s ethics should preclude monstrous behavior. You can scream “infinite complexity!” to the heavens for all I care, but murdering an infant for the sins of a parent (much less their great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents) strikes me as the kind of behavior one would attribute to Satan.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Seen the Good Guy Lucifer meme? I forgot the link, sorry, and it’s probably something not-work-accessible for me anyway.

  • Sure. Romans 5.

    13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

    15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

    18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

    I see nothing adding qualifiers to who is and isn’t worthy of life. That sort of behavior springs from Simon Peter, Paul and Augustine, not Jesus.

  • is what you’re looking for, I think.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That’s the one, thanks.

  • The_L1985

    John 3:17. I have it memorized. “For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

    I see nothing in the entire Bible that would preclude the following idea of Hell and Heaven:

    People go to Hell and stay there until they repent. For some, this may well be eternity; however, there are those who would undergo true repentance in that time and ascend to Heaven. This is pretty much the way Jews perceive Sheol.

    Remember, the only people that the Bible describes as automatically being damned forever are the Devil and the Beast. That’s it.

  • The_L1985

    There are currently about 100 panthers living in Florida. That’s a far cry from 2. Yet they are showing evidence of degenerate mutations from inbreeding, because they are descended from only 20 panthers that lived here in the 1970’s. (20 is also a lot more than 2.) Panthers have to be introduced from other states for breeding in order to keep the Floridian panther population healthy.

    And then there’s the blue parrot from the movie Rio, which was actually based on a true story. One male and one female left in their entire species. The male was released into the wild in hopes of replenishing their kind. He meets and mates with the female, and they have chicks. (This is where the movie ends.) After 2 or 3 generations, however, the species went extinct anyway, because there was no way for the chicks to reproduce without sibling or parental incest, and repeated incest can cause nasty, life-threatening mutations within just a few generations.

    One male, one female. Gee, that sounds a lot like the supposed condition of every species in the Flood story! Even the humans were all close blood relatives except for the sons’ wives, who married into the family. Thus, the offspring that Noah and his sons might have had after the Flood would automatically have to commit incest for several generations in order to have any children. Which is bad for the exact same reasons.

  • The_L1985

    So, Isaiah 34:14 and the Dead Sea Scrolls aren’t the Bible anymore?

  • AnonaMiss

    Allowing people free will, and then them deciding to kill someone, is one thing. Killing someone yourself is quite another.

    No one was given warning of the flood except Noah, in the story. God told Noah about the flood. Everyone mocked him for building an ark.

    A newborn baby hasn’t had the time to be influenced by its parents’ behavior.

    If the sins of the father are visited upon the son, does God cast those who die in infancy into Hell, before they have committed crimes of their own?

    You would rather accuse God of killing babies because of the wickedness of their parents than admit that one of the stories in the Bible is a parable rather than a history. This isn’t even inconsistent with inerrancy! The Bible contains plenty of parables, stories that aren’t literally true – the sheep and the goats, the good Samaritan, the prodigal son – but you don’t consider their presence in the Book to make it ‘errant’.

    Repent of the slander you have leveled against God, and direct your worship and faith once more towards the living God, and not towards the dead pages of a book.

  • cyllan

    [Content notification: abusive relationships]

    Someone who is seeking a relationship with you, but who will only reward you with their love you if meet some arbitrary, and often impossible standard and who will punish you “for your own good” of “because you leave me no choice” when you fail to meet this standard is an abuser, and you should run from them as far and as fast as possible.

    “You must believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord” is exactly as arbitrary as “Dinner needs to be exactly at 6:00, and should be beef instead of chicken” particularly when the person making this requirement leaves contradictory indications as to what zie expects for either a belief system or dinner. “Pick this one particular religion out of all these competing belief systems” is no different than “pick the correct package of meat out of the freezer for my dinner tonight.” Failure to correctly guess the desired outcome should not result in hell or a belt, and the fault lies squarely on the person delivering the abuse and not on the abused.

  • Eric Crawford

    for those interested in the “cubits and kettle corn” however, there’s a good overview here on the historicity of the events and the literature