Why Make Noah Build The Boat? (QCCA #29 & 30)

This article is just one in a long series addressing questions posed by agnostic blogger Larry Simons in his article entitled, 31 Questions Christians Can’t Answer. For the rest of series click here. Enjoy!

  1. Why did God make Noah build a Titanic-sized boat when God could have simply spoken a boat into existence?
  2. According to Noah’s genealogy in Genesis chapter 5, Noah’s grandfather, Methuselah, died the exact same year of the flood. Was Methuselah killed in the flood? If so, why would Noah be so faithful to a god that murdered his grandfather? Was Methuselah evil [to therefore to have been included in the evil population God killed in the flood]?

 

We keep continually coming back to the question of why God has done certain things in certain ways when He seemingly has much simpler ways to do those same things or no need to have them done at all. The response is always the same. If this God exists and is the maximally good being in the universe could He not have sufficiently good reason for doing those things in the way He did? This is not a God-of-the-gaps argument, it is a probability proposition. As always, God is assumed in the question, so there is no need to discuss the probability there. I think we can agree that if He is not the maximally good being in the universe there’s no need to even call Him God. Therefore isn’t it highly probable that any action He would take or command to be taken would be intended to do the most good in pursuit of good purposes? Perhaps God made Noah build a boat to test/ strengthen his faith similarly to how He would test/ strengthen Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice Isaac.

The genealogy in Chapter five of Genesis would, indeed, lead us to believe that there was at least one ancestral generation of Noah’s family alive up to the year of the flood. You can find charts on many young-earth creationist websites that will lay out the genealogy visually and understandably. Those charts, however, are almost always scaled in years. You will find little evidence to indicate how or when Methuselah died. Chronologically, it seems clear that he died the same year as the flood, but he could have died three months or three days before. Also, it’s not clear whether Methuselah was a righteous man, at least not in the same way Noah was. We are left with more questions than answers to be sure. Christians can’t even agree whether the creation and flood stories are literal or literary. In the final analysis the overarching principles of God’s love, righteousness, sovereignty, and providence are what’s at play in the narratives. The questions of reality or allegory are wholly separate from the questions of righteousness or injustice.

What questions do you have that you’ve struggled with or that you think Christians can’t answer? Have an idea for the next series of issues/ questions/ subjects I should address? Comment below and let me know.

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