A friend sent me the following description of an event that happened recently in her local LDS Church Junior Sunday School:
Sunday in Primary was about Noah and the Ark. [The teacher] had an even number of boys and girls come to the front of the room. Then she hung a sign around their necks that said “Lion” or “Tiger” or “Giraffe”, etc. Then she had [the boys and girls] pair off so that there was a “boy” lion and a “girl” lion. Then they stood up there and she talked about how wicked the earth was and how Noah built a big ark and that the girl and boy animals were able to have babies. One little kid (apparently smarter than the rest) asked about how big the ark would have to be to fit every animal in the world. She said it was a miracle.
Anyway, there is so much wrong with this story, that it is hard to know where to start. There is no doubt that the Noah story is very colorful metaphor. But few LDS Church members, who have actually given it much thought, believe that there was a literal flood for the following reasons:
- There is not enough water to cover the whole earth,
- The ark couldn’t have been big enough to hold all the animals,
- History, geology, etc. fail to remember a universal flood,
- The hypothetical Noah (or anyone else) didn’t live to be nearly a thousand years old, etc.
But there is a much bigger issue: the wrath of God. The concept of God killing all the Earth habitants and starting over is morally unacceptable. Should we really be teaching this concept to our young children? It is time to quit teaching the Book of Genesis in any context (except literary and comparative religion) in our Sunday Schools; it is not compatible with contemporary Christianity, and it is certainly not compatible with modern-day science and social science. Biblical literalism, when it comes to the OT, is frequently problematic.