Last week, a few people wanted to separate the creation story from the flood story from my poll about Biblical Literalism, so I’ll try my hand at writing a better poll question regarding your beliefs of the creation and flood stories.
Bible, Faith, LDS, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Science and Religion
Look around you look up in the sky look up all around and look at what God has created and we don’t believe that he can flood the Earth?
I don’t believe in a trickster god who hides all the physical evidence of a hypothetical global flood. There is some physical evidence of a number of large limited geography floods. The most popular response in the poll is the one that best fits the scriptural, historical and geological evidence.
On a previous thread, I mentioned that the Bible and other scripture are recounted as a “faithful history”. In the case of the flood, it is entirely consistent to have an entire society destroyed, with only Noah and a few other family members surviving the flood. As far as they know, the whole earth actually was flooded. The history as they knew it is entirely correct.
That modern people discuss the whole earth being flooded, based upon a history from a people who knew only a tiny part of the whole world is somewhat amusing. In fact, the whole earth could have flooded, but no person at that time could have possibly known how much actually had because of the limits of travel and communication.
Also, note that the time the people were in the Ark was much less than the Jaredites were in the barges crossing the great sea. Noah did not circumnavigate the flooded world, which is the minimum requirement for a completely accurate witness of a full earth flood.
Love the comment el oso!
Since there were several large limited floods. from around the world following the ice age, I vote for spider grandmother placing people in hollow reeds as best fitting the evidence that God is an arachnid. Cuz, the web of life and all that.
Are those flying snakes, or dragons with tails on the top left next to the ark?
I don’t believe the stories of Adam and Eve or Noah’s Ark in the literal way they are taught.
Either they are purely fables, or they are a mix of fable connected to a real event. For example, perhaps there was a flood in a limited geographic area and Noah’s family were only the survivors and the “story” evolved from there. As for Adam and Eve, I definitely don’t believe they were the first humans on earth.
So, I guess I would vote for an option of fable possibly tied to a real event, or “I don’t know.”
Lois either you believe the scriptures or you don,t..
“Complete myth” is in the right direction but has negative connotations. I’d go for something like this:
“Real people had real experiences in many places in the world, with floods and other natural disasters, and with opening up new lands for human settlement. Creation stories and flood stories then happen, especially in oral traditions. The biblical stories are examples, of the genre.”
Or — what Lois said.
Suzanne, Sitting here in the Southwest reading Native American mythology in addition to native middle eastern mythology – both flood stories hinged to real events but described from a limited viewpoint, I particularly appreciated your response. As some may not know or look up what you meant I quote:
“Two main versions exist as to the Hopi’s emergence into the present Fourth World. The more prevalent is that Spider Grandmother caused a hollow reed (or bamboo) to grow into the sky, and it emerged in the Fourth World at the sipapu. The people then climbed up the reed into this world, emerging from the sipapu. The location of the sipapu is given as in the Grand Canyon.
The other version … has it that Tawa destroyed the Third World in a great flood. Before the destruction, Spider Grandmother sealed the more righteous people into hollow reeds which were used as boats. On arrival on a small piece of dry land, the people saw nothing around them but more water, even after planting a large bamboo shoot, climbing to the top, and looking about. Spider Woman then told the people to make boats out of more reeds, and using island “stepping-stones” along the way, the people sailed east until they arrived on the mountainous coasts of the Fourth World.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopi_mythology Of course, Spider Grandmother was not limited to the Southwest. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_Grandmother
Because of negative connotations of “myth” in the minds of many, I probably prefer Christian’s formulation for serious discussion.
I’m going with a literal Adam and Eve that lived in Missouri 6000 years ago. I am also going to believe in a very literal world wide flood that happened 1500 years after Adam introduced death into the world and Noah set sail from Missouri and landed in the Middle East. I am going to teach these to my young children as literal. I am very confident that they will never experience any type of a faith crisis if I teach them the words of our holy prophets and scriptures. If they do, I will write them off as tares being separated from the wheat and at least I will still make it to the upper level of the Celestial Kingdom.
On a side note, our gospel doctrine teacher finally got ahold of the essays and said in church a couple weeks ago that God changed the DNA of the Native Americans to test our faith in living prophets.
Zach, I know people who could write exactly what you did as truth and other who could write exactly what you did as satire. Which group are you in?
Given his last paragraph and seeing that Zach appears to be intelligent enough to read and write without too many glaring typos, I’d say satire.
Ron, I think Lois (in essence) said she did believe the Scriptures. She just doesn’t take them literally. (Lois, correct me if I’m wrong.)
I am completely baffled by Biblical literalism, as I am by inerrancy and sufficiency. What possible grounds could anyone have for believing that Biblical stories, especially the OT creation myths, are literally true? I mean, if you came into the deal cold, and just read them without having come from the Judeo-Christian tradition, you’d regard them as useful myths and stories preserved from the oral tradition of a primitive people, which helped them understand the world they lived in and their relationship to the God they worshiped. If you came to worship that same God, that still wouldn’t obligate you to take those things literally, in the face of all (and I do mean ALL) evidence to the contrary.
The only argument in favor of inerrancy and sufficiency, when you boil all the rhetorical bovine excrement out of it, is wishful thinking.
El Oso says it quite well: Noah lacked satellite imagery; he’d have had trouble seeing how big the flooded area was.
Mormons have more skin in the literal flood story that other religions. Protestant literalists want the Bible to mean exactly what it says (to them). But those of us taught the gospel as restored by Joseph Smith have a couple of additional side issues to consider in relation to a literal scriptural viewpoint on the topic of Noah’s flood.
First we have the Garden of Eden and the return of Christ being in Missouri! Think about it. We Mormons also have a long history of a related belief about Adam-ondi-Ahman being a place where Adam worshipped and where he is to return for a great millenial-related wrapping-up conference. We need a world wide flood to get the antediluvian Biblical characters transported from these primordial events into the middle east. Too believe otherwise will require some editing or deletions of several passages in the D & C and rejection of some of Joseph Smith’s linchpin doctrines for which many suffered and even died during the times leading up to the Missouri /Mormon war. Of course, Joseph Smith would never lead the people astray trying to stay and fight in Missouri, or did he?
Second we have the problem of the empty vs populated continent when the Jaredites came to America. And the same problem for the children of Lehi since the last Jaredite is recorded to have died. They are not that many generations removed from the flood and there is nowhere near sufficient time for the western continents to be populated after a world-wide flood at a time anywhere consistent with Biblical chronologies. Yet we have DNA studies with virtually no ancient middle east DNA in native Americans. There would have to be a large originally Asian population growing or migrating here for a very long time to dilute out the DNA of all those the Jaredites, Nephites, Lamanites and Mulekites to the degree that not even a trace of it can be found. Belief in a literal world-wide flood is no longer logically consistent with a literal belief in the Book of Mormon.
The idea that the Clovis culture was the first people to migrate to the western hemisphere is widely considered established and the time is given back at least 10-12,000 BC. This is almost 10,000 years before Noah’s flood. Less strongly accepted is the idea of even earlier migrations back as much as 2 or 3 times longer than that. One memorable example for me was an Archeology conference I attended a few years ago (in the name of a boy scout merit badge requirement) where the Topper site was discussed. Now my daughter is building her new home on the Savannah river within paddling distance to it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topper_Site
We can’t be strict literalists with both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I find it odd in which one the Mormon people want to cling to a literal belief. After all there is a whole lot more archeology supporting much of the Bible in comparison to the Book of Mormon. For example, a local flood is consistent with Noah’s flood involving the Black Sea. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_deluge_hypothesis ). The date is a couple thousand years older but could represent oral traditions. I don’t think we have a single scrap of archeology supporting a Garden of Eden in Missouri. And it might be logically more consistent to take a non-literal approach to both bodies of scripture. Which leads to forgiving Joseph Smith instead of defending him.
Unless you want to believe in the trickster god mentioned by JLM.
In which case BYU actually has a better football team than LSU, but just was bewitched by some hoodoo spell.
In the name of Loki, Amen.
Marcionites were ready to scrap the whole OT, me too. Tower of Babel, talking asses (the animal kind), being swallowed by a big fish, the walls of Jericho, the Book of Job (although this is great literature), wrestling with an angel, parting the Red Sea, turning people into pillars of salt. drowning innocent children, curse of Ham or Cain, the Book of Leviticus, etc. The OT has been used to justify the LDS priesthood ban, slavery, discrimination against the LGBTQ community, etc. Let’s scrap the OT. But lets keep the Books of Job and Eccesiasties.
Mormonism doesn’t need the OT to prosper. And we waste a lot of time studying it. The heart of our Christian belief is in the NT, as far as it is translated correctly.
I see the Old Teatament (especially Genesis, but other books too) as the national mythology of a people who went from underdog to conqueror. They went from oppression in Egypt (one of the world’s superpowers at the time) to destroying several tribes in the area where they settled. They wrote the stories that explained how and why they won.
That’s not to say that “myths” can’t be true. A myth is a story we tell to make sense of the world. Even the theory of gravity is a “myth,” albeit one with lots of observable empirical evidence supporting it. So it’s possible that every word of the Old Testament describes something that really happened. Or it’s possible that an unlikely winner wrote the fictional version of the story that made the most sense at the time.