What Should Be the Lesson from Noah’s Ark?

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.

The Ark is Looking Pretty Cramped

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. 

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5 Responses to What Should Be the Lesson from Noah’s Ark?

  1. Janet says:

    Yikes! I would have to forget all the cute little “Arkie-arkie” songs that I love so well! Perhaps not all of the animals evolved yet, and they weren’t so numerous? As for the mass killing, anthropologists studying the Mayan temple grounds don’t understand why the slaughter occurred. But they confirm that it did.

    • rogerdhansen says:

      Surely, we could come up with cutsy songs about other subjects. Or perhaps we could present Noah’s story as a fairy tale. But what would the moral be: if you are sinful, God will cancel your ticket? It doesn’t even work very well as a fairy tale.

  2. rogerdhansen says:

    My adult daughter said that at her Primary they asked one of the kids what his favorite animal on the ark was. After thinking for a while, he said Nemo. His choice was a popular one.

  3. Sabrina says:

    I would encourage you to visit the website drdino.com and get some valuable information regarding the flood, and that it was real. Dr. Kent Hovind is a creation scientist and has some very profound arguments for believing the story of the flood. His video called, “The Hovind Theory” will amaze you. I am a Latter-Day-Saint, and would love to see Dr. Hovind’s videos shown to our youth which help to dispel Darwin’s theory of evolution that is force fed to our children in public schools.

    • rogerdhansen says:

      Hi Sabrina,

      I can respect your beliefs but you need to have an open mind as far as your children are concerned. They need to decide about things like evolution on their own. I would hazard a guess that most of the scientists at BYU believe in some form of organic evolution. It is important to understand that evolution and LDS doctrine are not in opposition. And that is important for your children to understand. If your children chose to believe in evolution, you don’t want them leaving the church.

      For me, the Book of Genesis is a metaphor. And increasingly as science progresses that will become the belief of the vast majority of members.

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