As a Christian I feel I should believe the Biblical story of Noah and The Flood, but is it really possible?I have always been a Christian and I have always been brought up to believe that the Bible...

As a Christian I feel I should believe the Biblical story of Noah and The Flood, but is it really possible?

I have always been a Christian and I have always been brought up to believe that the Bible is completely true. And I want to believe it is completely true. But I have difficulty with the story of Noah. I can't imagine how Noah could have fulfilled God's instructions to collect two of every land animal on Earth and build a boat big enough for them all to survive on. Is it actually possible?

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In reference to your post for #6, try to remember that it takes faith to believe the Bible. In fact, it takes faith to believe anything in whole.  I always find it interesting that people easily accept a "theory" such as evolution which has no more scientific proof behind it than Noah's history.

If you truly believe the Bible, you must believe all of it.  There is no picking and choosing, for if you do so, you negate all of it.  This is a difficult stand to take and hold strong to, because we live in a politically correct world of relative truth and situational ethics.

I also find it intriguing when someone argues that religion is simply a journey and that it does not matter which path one takes.  I don't think that you can truly have faith in God's Word and say that we are all going to the same place through different religions.  Of course, everyone should be free to practice his/her religion, but each person who does have religious faith should defend it and realize that if his or her faith is absolute truth, all other religions must be false.  Again, this does not mean that people should go around shoving their beliefs down others' throats or using violence to promote their religion, but it does mean that you should freely adhere to the idea that if your faith says that there is only one way to heaven, then you either believe it or you don't--it's not simply true for you and not for others.

In reference to your last question, you have to decide the answer to that.  I believe that many humans choose to believe that the Bible is just good literature and fiction that man created to show his search for a god.  This makes it easier for humans to write off the truth of the Bible and not have to live by it.  If it is the exact account of God's word to man, then those who wholly believe that must be willing to suffer the scorn of the world, all while knowing that in the end, the literal Bible promises them that it will be worth it.

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In reply to #8, you and I both know that it would be pointless to enter into a debate over this issue.  I do not even share the same definition of "faith" with you; so there is no agreeable foundation upon which an "exchange of opinions" would be beneficial to you or me or, more importantly, to the poster of this discussion.

My post in response to her was to provide some hope and encouragement to someone who seems to be struggling with some ideas with which I personally struggled earlier in life and to let her know that she is not alone in her questions or search for answers.  I do not ask you to agree with me, but it is unwise for you to "wager" that I haven't begun to investigate the decades-long debate over the earth's origin.  I have taken numerous undergraduate and post-graduate classes which have presented this issue from both major viewpoints.  I have read about and studied this same issue for several years and have not capriously chosen my "beliefs."

You also misquote me. I never wrote that "I know" the Noah account is true.  I believe it is true, but again because of your definition of "belief" and "faith," that carries no weight with you, and the exchange of opinions logically ends there.

To chicagogirl, please don't simply give up on your quest for answers.  From a practical observation, I have found invariably that my happiest students, those who are most at peace, even when they come from seemingly horrendous backgrounds, are those who kindly and unashamedly practice their "faith."

mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "Flood Story" isn't a pillar of evidence of God.  Stories don't prove evidence of anything, except storytelling.  A famous critic said, "Literature is the question minus the answer."  Stories raise questions, like the one that started this discussion: "Is the Flood Story true?"  They don't answer them; otherwise, they would be called essays.

Is the "Flood Story" true?  The answer is, of course, "yes."  That doesn't mean it actually happened.  It doesn't had to have happened to be true.  Tim O'Brien said story-truth is truer than happening-truth.  And he's right.  The evidence of the story being true is the fact that it has survived thousands of years.  We have felt it in our stomachs--more than our brains.  It's part of our collective mythology.

A flood, or two floods or a million floods, aren't a pillar of evidence of God either.  Of course there have been catastrophic floods in nearly every culture.  It's inevitable.  There's also been great earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, and volcanic eruptions--none of which prove or disprove anything.  Do you think God wants natural disasters to do his talking for him?

The "Flood Story" is a pillar of evidence in storytelling.  That's why it's survived all these years in nearly every culture.  No one can argue that.


usbummer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe it is nothing more than oral history based on a true event.

The Soviet Union once conducted research on the bottom of the Black Sea (core samples) that revealed a sudden shift in the fossil records from fresh water life forms (as in a lake) to salt water life forms (as in a sudden flood of sea water). Additionally, core samples revealing a sudden shift from land life forms to salt water life forms strongly suggests that the neolithic villages along the Black Sea were wiped out by a sudden flood which enlarged dramatically that body of water.

The plausible explanation of this could be the melting ice destroying a land bridge between the Mediterranean Sea and what is now the Black Sea, destroying said villages. Similar flood stories are recorded in other cultures from this time frame as well.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a saying that many young people learn in youth groups and sports teams: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” In order to believe that Noah could accomplish his incredible achievement, I think it is necessary for a Christian to believe that God can give a person everything necessary to do what God calls him or her to do. I look at the Great Pyramids of Egypt and other ancient structures, and it is almost impossible to believe that they could be constructed without modern technology, but they were. I can’t tell you what to believe, all I can do is discuss the Christian faith underpinnings of belief. You will need to make your own decision. Good luck with your faith journey and remember that struggles make us stronger.

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am not a Christian, but as a Jewish person, I have always been interested in the possible historical authenticity of the Old Testament.  In my reading over the years, I have learned that many cultures have "creation stories" that include a great flood, and that there is some geographical and archaeological evidence to suggest that there may have been a major flood in that area of the world.  But I agree with the previous posts that belief in the literal words of the Bible is not a prerequisite for being a good Christian, Jew, or member of most religions.  The point of religion, I believe, is to help us be better people, people who act humanely, ethically, and respectfully toward others.  

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a difference between fact and truth. Facts can reveal truth, but symbols and parables can also reveal truth, even though they are not factual. Some Christians accept the Bible literally, viewing everything in it as factual.. Some interpret many stories in the Bible figuratively but still believe in the underlying truth of them. Christians can interpret the Bible literally or figuratively and still discover the same truth. I don't think one has to accept every Bible story literally in order to follow the Christian faith. Faith really is a personal journey.

dkgarran eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One piece of compelling historical evidence for the flood is that the same events are referenced in two other ancient texts: Mesopotamia's Epic of Gilgamesh and India's Ramayana. Gilgamesh also refers to a similar Garden of Eden and the plight of Job. The descriptions of the flood are strikingly similar in all three texts and corroborate the idea of the flood.

aliciajones | Student

I believe in the religion of humanity...and the core principle of every religion is compasiion for all beings. Whether the story of Noah is true or not is beside the point. What is important is by selecting two of every land animal, the story emphasises the importance of ecology and the role of animals in it.Noah's story is about hope, compassion, and respect for ecology and the animal kingdom. If religion gives sanctity to this message, there is no harm in believing in it.

check out and

koreanholiday | Student
There flood story is one of the pillars of evidence of God!  Even the Chinese symbol for the word flood is a boat with 8 people.  Chinese legends record a man with 3 sons and wives escaping a flood in a boat.  How did this creep into the Chinese culture long before Christianity existed?  You can google it and find info which is scientific, and historical of two great floods. We can read stories of floods from NEARLY every culture incl. Hawaii & a man by named Nu'u. Another important historical account of a global flood can be found in a Babylonian story in the Epic of Gilgamesh. When the two accounts are compared, a number of similarities are found.



Take the seed of all creatures aboard the ship Gen. 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring. I boarded the ship and closed the door. Gen. 7:1 Come into the Ark
Gen. 7:16 The Lord shut him in.
I sent out a dove . . . The dove went, then came back, no resting-place appeared for it, so it returned. Gen. 8:8 He sent out a dove...But the dove found no resting-place . . . and she returned. Then I sent out a raven . .it was the waters receding, it ate, it flew about to and fro, it did not return. Gen. 8:7 He sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the Earth. I made a libation on the peak of the mountain. Gen. 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord (on the mountain) and offered burnt offerings.
zornac | Student

There have been scientific findings of other floods like it , exept not flooding the whole worlld.    But u just believe what ever u want to belive. u dont need to believe everything in the bible.

frizzyperm | Student

@13 or corroborate that stories can travel from one culture to another. 

frizzyperm | Student

@chicagogirl... my last comment wasn't aimed at you.

I know you want to believe that God cares for you and the world is guided, but, sadly, he doesn't and it isn't.

You have to find your own strength. You can do it. It's painful and it's not as easy as pretending there's a god. But we must accept the facts around us... the world is a random, difficult place to live and it s just a tiny speck in an unbelievably vast universe... then one day we die.

But it is WONDERFUL to be alive and there is so much beauty and things to discover. We are ALIVE. Here and now.  Don't throw your life away on a false promise of an afterlife.

frizzyperm | Student

so.... basically... you are not willing to allow your beliefs to be shackled to the testbed of debate.

You are happy to preach to the uninitiated (chicagogirl) and whole-heartedly encourage her to believe that the christian way is valid and has the equivalence of any other sphere of human intellectual study. But you are not actually willing to defend your beliefs against said human study.

But hey... ain't rainbows preety, Chicagogirl?

chicagogirl | Student

@8 but why can't it all be Gods miracle that viruses and their animals lived together on the ark?

frizzyperm | Student

I always find it interesting that people easily accept a "theory" such as evolution, which has no more scientific proof behind it than Noah's history. -  sreule

ooooooooh, now there's a bold statement. :-)

Serule, I don't believe in evolution; because belief is synonymous with faith, and faith is basically the wilfull suspension of critical thought in order to maintain the plausibilty of an unsustainable opinion.

I know evolution is factual, based on an awful lot of study, research and evidence. (evidence which I'm prepared to wager you haven't even begun to investigate)

You say you 'know' that Noah built a big wooden boat and stored every animal which currently exist on this planet (including all those pesky insects, viruses and bacteria).

Would you care to join me in an exchange of opinions on the story of Noah (the bronze-age desert dweller) who collected every living species of organism, from every continent, and housed them for a year on one rickety wooden boat, without a single one of those organisms dying?

I assume you know that there are many virulent diseases which are fatal, and specific to individual species and which die outside of their hosts. (In other words, for these viruses to be alive today, many pairs of host animals which boarded the ark must have been suffering from fatal diseases... leaving you with a smidge of a paradox.) 

check this out for an opener...

chicagogirl | Student

Thank you for answering my question, I really appreciate it. I'm really lost right now. I look at answers 2-5 and see nobody actually 'believes' the story of Noah and the Ark. All your answers are suggesting I should interpret the stories as 'symbols' or that I should find comfort in the difference between 'truth' and 'facts'. 

You seem to be saying that the bright microscope of modern knowledge is a bit too focused for Old Testament stories and we must make allowances for the fact that the Biblical authors were primitive people. So are the 'facts' in the Bible only real with one eye closed? They are supposed to have been written by GOD!

If we say, "Oh, Noah doesn't really count as an absolutely 'true' story from the Bible, it is just a symbolic parable." Why should I not say the same about the virgin birth or the resurrection???

If the peripheral stories from the Bible have to be put in a soft focus and allowed to be 'sort of true but not really true'; how then can we genuinely believe the Bible when it tells us that Jesus was a God made flesh who was born of a virgin and rose again after death? Is that any less 'symbolic' than Noah and his Ark? Is it any less hard to believe?

I don't understand how people so easily compartmentalize the Bible. Either it is ALL true or surely none of it is???

Is the Bible a symbol of Man's need for God or the exact account of God's word to man?

Please tell me, because I don't know anymore. 


krishna-agrawala | Student

I think to be a good Christian one only need to follow, or at least try to follow, the teachings of Jesus Christ. I am not a christian, and I have not read the either the Old or the New Testaments. But as a Hindu I have learnt that the teachings of Jesus Christ and great leaders of many other religions are in essence same as that supported by Hindu philosophy.

To be a good Christian one need not agree with, or even know, all that is given in holy books. We only need to follow the guidelines provided for our personal conduct.

To light a dark room I only need to light a lamp. I don't need to understand the theory of light, which itself has change considerably during las century or two, and still continues to change with progress of science.