View Poll Results: Welll?
I was taught that God deliberately caused the Flood to exterminate the evil human race. 111 90.98%
I was taught that God, through Noah, try to save humanity but was frustrated by their stubbornness. 11 9.02%
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  #1  
Old 01-20-2020, 08:57 AM
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People raised Christian: what were you taught about Noah's Flood as a child?


Specifically, were you taught that God deliberately caused the Deluge, or that He merely foresaw that a worldwide catastrophe was coming, warned Noah, and told Noah to warn others (a warning nobody heated)?

I ask this question because I had a conversation yesterday with someone who was always given the relatively sanitized version as a child. Only as an adult, taking non-devotional religious classes in college, did she realize the genocidal implications of the myth?

So I ask again? If you were raised Christian and regularly attended Sunday school or other such religious education/indoctrination, were you taught that Noah's Flood was an act of God deliberately exterminating most of the human race, or that He, through Noah, attempted to save humanity from a disaster He had not caused (and mysteriously could not avert), only to be frustrated by human intransigence?

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Old 01-20-2020, 09:04 AM
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I was raised Church of Christ (very conservative, fundamentalist sect that considers itself the "one true church"). I was taught that God was mightily peeved with peoples' wickedness, and wanted to destroy them all -- except for Noah and his family, who were the only righteous ones. So he sent the flood to wipe the entire world population (sinful humans and all the critters that weren't on the ark) out.

The Church of Christ takes this story quite literally!
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:18 AM
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This is the first I've heard that "sanitized" version, and it flies in the face of what most churches think about God: Things don't just happen without God at least permitting them to happen.

Then again, I also wasn't taught that the Flood was literal truth.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by gytalf2000 View Post
I was raised Church of Christ (very conservative, fundamentalist sect that considers itself the "one true church"). I was taught that God was mightily peeved with peoples' wickedness, and wanted to destroy them all -- except for Noah and his family, who were the only righteous ones. So he sent the flood to wipe the entire world population (sinful humans and all the critters that weren't on the ark) out.

The Church of Christ takes this story quite literally!
^^^ This. Methodist upbringing here, not particularly BiblePoundy. But it's what the book says and stuff.

I always thought God had one fuck of a temper tantrum problem and needed to learn patience with the critters that he created, and if he can't do any better than "Aww to hell with it, throw it all down the drain", he oughta step down and let the snake try his hand at it or something.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:22 AM
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I was raised Roman Catholic. I was certainly taught that God intentionally decided to exterminate most of the human race.

Genesis is pretty clear:

Quote:
5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

...

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

...

4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
There is nothing in Genesis about God warning other people, or having Noah warn them. Noah's neighbors are frequently portrayed as mocking him, but there is no mention in Genesis of any other people other than Noah's family, other than the fact that they were corrupt and prone to violence. (So God decided to deal with them in the most violent way possible.)

Last edited by Colibri; 01-20-2020 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:24 AM
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I was taught that God was so fed up with the evil of humanity that he wanted to wipe them out and start anew. However, there was one human who was good and was raising good children, so God wanted to use him as the new start of the human race.

So option 1 is right in that he wanted to exterminate the evil humans. However, he did not want to get rid of humans altogether. Option 2 is right in that God wanted to save humanity through Noah, and was in fact frustrated with with everyone else's stubborn desire to be evil.

However, it seems that your option 2 is supposed to mean that God didn't cause the Flood. I've never heard of that, and I don't see how such could be supported by Scripture. So I shall vote option 1.

That said, I have heard the idea that Noah was supposed to tell everyone, and they refused to listen. I've seen that in many dramatized versions, mixed in with Noah being ridiculed for making a boat on dry land in the first place.

Last edited by BigT; 01-20-2020 at 09:28 AM.
  #7  
Old 01-20-2020, 09:29 AM
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^^^ This. Methodist upbringing here, not particularly BiblePoundy. But it's what the book says and stuff.

I always thought God had one fuck of a temper tantrum problem and needed to learn patience with the critters that he created, and if he can't do any better than "Aww to hell with it, throw it all down the drain", he oughta step down and let the snake try his hand at it or something.
Are you gonna tell him that, yerself?


Seriously, that is what I always thought. I never really took the creation or flood story at face value. However, plenty of my peers did, or at least seemed to.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:30 AM
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Really, the rainbow story of God saying he would never do it again doesn't work with this sanitized version. I grew up Methodist, Presbyterian and catholic and while the whole God is a dick who tried to destroy humanity is kind of skipped over to get to the saving animals part.

Generally, old testament god was a giant dick from the start. Which is kind of the point to experience god being a dick even to himself and then realizing he shouldn't be such a dick.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:38 AM
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I always understood that the Flood was intentional and not just God acting as a meteorologist for Noah.

That said, I also spent zero time worrying about the theological implications and more time thinking that painting in the Children's Bible of all the animals getting loaded was pretty neat. Not quite up there with Satan tempting Jesus but at least as good as Adam & Eve getting the boot. And, lame as Bible-themed toys are, at least the Ark set probably had lions and elephants.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:42 AM
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I think it was #1 but not sure. It was long ago
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:46 AM
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I feel my last paragraph (added on edit) was not as clear as it could have been.

While I've never heard of anyone saying that God was not responsible for the flood, I have heard the idea that Noah was not necessarily supposed to be the only one saved. I've seen many dramatizations where Noah preaches and tries to get other people to get on the boat with him, and they stubbornly refuse, instead making fun of him.

I could see that as a bit sanitized, as it gives everyone else a chance that they refused. But still the Flood itself was something God made happen to punish the wicked. The only difference is whether they had a chance to save themselves once God told Noah about the flood.

I wonder if this is what that other person was actually told, and they added the idea that God didn't even actually cause the Flood because it sounded reasonable to them based on what they knew.

Last edited by BigT; 01-20-2020 at 09:46 AM.
  #12  
Old 01-20-2020, 10:00 AM
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I got the story that's in the Book.

And I still pretty much believe it- though I believe the Deluge was regional & destroyed the corrupt & violent Nephilim Civilization, which may have spread throughout Eurasia & North Africa. By Nephilim, I don't mean demon/alien/human hybrids- I mean "fallen Adamites who used their superior gifts to domineer & corrupt the surrounding tribes". And while I believe the family of Noah were the core survivors, they may have actually had converts & other people outside what I call the Nephilim Empire could well have survived outside of the Deluge's boundaries.
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I wonder if this is what that other person was actually told, and they added the idea that God didn't even actually cause the Flood because it sounded reasonable to them based on what they knew.

When I asked what she had specifically been taught, my friend said that she had inquired in Sunday school classes whether God intentionally caused the flood, only to be told thatt no, He merely foretold it. I don't think her church encouraged parishioners to read the Bible on their own.
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:45 AM
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I was taught that the flood was definitely intentional. Humans were universally evil and God was just going to wash his hands of everything but realized that Noah was actually decent, so he decided to spare him. Animals two by two, blah, blah, they saw a dove with a branch, blah blah, God promises never to flood the world again. And somehow Jesus dying for our sins is tied into it.
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:55 AM
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Raised Roman Catholic, east coast US, Catholic school from mid-1960s through high school. Taught the story with a deliberate flood to wipe out the infidels. Also eventually taught that most of the Old Testament was allegory and not literal; earth is billions of years old; humans evolved from learlier lower life forms; humans and apes had a common ancestor.

Figured out much later that the OT god had to be more hardcore than competing gods for PR purposes.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:03 AM
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I've seen many dramatizations where Noah preaches and tries to get other people to get on the boat with him, and they stubbornly refuse, instead making fun of him.
I've seen depictions like that but it never really conflicted with my idea that God only really intended Noah to be saved. The whole point is that everyone else was a bunch of jackasses who thought God was a joke and Noah was the only good guy in town. So Noah tries to invite them ('cause he's a good guy), they tell him to piss off and then they drown. Sort of like the Egyptian priests and Pharaoh being unmoved by plague after plague when you'd think someone might have said "Man, these frogs suck; let's kick these guys out before it gets worse".

I don't think/know that Noah made a real attempt to invite people onboard (per the scripture) since I think the Bible says God just told Noah "I'm saving you and your family".

Last edited by Jophiel; 01-20-2020 at 11:05 AM.
  #17  
Old 01-20-2020, 11:21 AM
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Raised Mormon. Definitely intentional extermination by God. Never heard of this sanitized version.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer View Post
Specifically, were you taught that God deliberately caused the Deluge, or that He merely foresaw that a worldwide catastrophe was coming, warned Noah, and told Noah to warn others (a warning nobody heated)?

I ask this question because I had a conversation yesterday with someone who was always given the relatively sanitized version as a child. Only as an adult, taking non-devotional religious classes in college, did she realize the genocidal implications of the myth?

So I ask again? If you were raised Christian and regularly attended Sunday school or other such religious education/indoctrination, were you taught that Noah's Flood was an act of God deliberately exterminating most of the human race, or that He, through Noah, attempted to save humanity from a disaster He had not caused (and mysteriously could not avert), only to be frustrated by human intransigence?

All Creatures Great and Small
The Lord God drowned them All

In short: God killed mankind and a fuckton of animals.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:43 AM
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NB the flood story was ripped off of earlier mythology wherein it is more or less said, depending on the version, that a god like En-Lil wished to wipe everybody out.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:03 PM
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The people who taught it as literal truth taught that God did it to punish the wicked.

It depended on who my Sunday school teacher was that year. Some taught it as literal truth, others taught that it was allegory.

I never could figure out the meaning of the allegory.

If you're not good you'll drown?

We should study carpentry, shipbuilding, and zoo management, just in case?

The majority of the human race deserves to be drowned?
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:11 PM
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Intentional destruction of an evil world, with only Noah and fam being worthy of being saved.
The sanitized version also conflicts with the older Ancient Near East story that the Biblical version was based on--in that one, the (multiple) gods decided to kill humanity because they were too noisy, but one god went behind their backs and warned one human that he thought was worthy of survival.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:11 PM
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I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school. I never got the impression that any of the bible stories were actually factual even though I never heard a nun or priest say they were just stories. I don't believe that those who taught me actually believed it.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:16 PM
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I never could figure out the meaning of the allegory.

If you're not good you'll drown?

We should study carpentry, shipbuilding, and zoo management, just in case?

The majority of the human race deserves to be drowned?
I'm gonna go with "C," Alex.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:25 PM
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I wasn't brought up Christian, but we had a children's storybook Bible in the house and saw The Bible: In the Beginning... when I was six. After the movie, I asked my Dad two questions: Why did God flood the earth? and why did Abraham try to kill (sacrifice) Issac? The answers satisfied my six year old brain. Everyone but Noah and his family were bad and God had to cleanse the earth. And God was testing Abraham's faith.

Like the others, I've never heard that God didn't cause or prevent the flood. This flies in the face of my understanding and belief that Satan has no power other than to influence people unless he's allowed to directly mess with them like Job. Sounds like the person the OP talked to either misunderstood what she was told or had a really weird Sunday school teacher.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:32 PM
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I never could figure out the meaning of the allegory.

If you're not good you'll drown?

We should study carpentry, shipbuilding, and zoo management, just in case?

The majority of the human race deserves to be drowned?
While I agree with (c) on the merits, I think it's closer to (a) since the New Testament also offers the "There's going to be an end and only a select percentage of good people will find salvation" message. Or, alternately, "Straighten up because God isn't taking your shit".
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:32 PM
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I'm gonna go with "C," Alex.
There is also the straightforward message: don't fuck with (the) god(s).

Last edited by DPRK; 01-20-2020 at 12:35 PM.
  #27  
Old 01-20-2020, 12:53 PM
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The people who taught it as literal truth taught that God did it to punish the wicked.
Well, maybe not "punish" so much as "eliminate." Kind of like doing a complete re-install of the operating system.

Certainly, if you take "every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time" as literally true within the context of the story (as opposed to hyperbole), destroying all the people was a reasonable thing to do within the context of the story, regardless of whether the story has any historical truth.
  #28  
Old 01-20-2020, 01:04 PM
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Was brought up Catholic, later became a Christian.
I was taught that basically, but when older, and reading a lot, I read that the human race was tainted and for Jesus to come in a pure body, that was the reason. Also the complete sinfulness of the humans other than Noah.
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Old 01-20-2020, 01:28 PM
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I was raised Catholic. I'm still a practicing Catholic.

Attending Catholic elementary school in the mid-sixties to early seventies, we were certainly taught the story of Noah, as it is told in the Bible, including that God caused the flood. But we were never taught that the story was literally true.

By the time I got to high school (also Catholic), I don't remember Noah ever coming up, although we had regular religion classes. I guess it was just assumed that it was covered in elementary school.
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Old 01-20-2020, 01:51 PM
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Flood was intentionally caused by God to wipe out 99.9999% of humans, with Noah and his family being the only ones meant to be saved. Have never heard of this "alternative theory" that God foresaw a flood coming (as if the Flood were not deliberate.)
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:24 PM
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Yeah, pretty sure it was all handled very superficially in my upbringing i.e. 'Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo' style - what little was said or implied about the people not in Noah's family was, in essence 'they all thought Noah was stupid, and mocked him, and then they got their come-uppance when the rain started to fall'

Last edited by Mangetout; 01-20-2020 at 02:25 PM.
  #32  
Old 01-20-2020, 02:40 PM
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From age 8 to about 13 I attended sunday school at different churches of different denominations, from catholic to protestant ones, including baptist. ( My recently mother, while ostensibly well meaning, was a bit daffy )

I remember it being said the flood was eliminate ( out of disgust ) all but Noah and his family, plus the animals of course.

I distinctly remember one of the sunday school teachers saying that a rainbow in the sky was God's promise that he'll never do that again.
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Old 01-20-2020, 03:02 PM
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I always heard Version I. The only stubborn aspect was brought up be some Irishmen in regard Unicorns or something.
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Old 01-20-2020, 03:14 PM
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I was taught the story that God decided to drown the whole world, but it was also made clear that it was a story.
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Old 01-20-2020, 03:19 PM
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Are there any sects of Judaism that take the story literally? Definitely no one in the family I married into does (except for maybe the ones who became evangelical Christians). What about Orthodox Jews, or various Hasidic sects?
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Old 01-20-2020, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by FriarTed View Post
I got the story that's in the Book.

And I still pretty much believe it- though I believe the Deluge was regional & destroyed the corrupt & violent Nephilim Civilization, which may have spread throughout Eurasia & North Africa. By Nephilim, I don't mean demon/alien/human hybrids- I mean "fallen Adamites who used their superior gifts to domineer & corrupt the surrounding tribes". And while I believe the family of Noah were the core survivors, they may have actually had converts & other people outside what I call the Nephilim Empire could well have survived outside of the Deluge's boundaries.
Whoa, wait, what?

I've never heard the term "fallen Adamite" before or how they'd be (presumably, from context) superior to other humans.

Care to elaborate on all that?
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Old 01-20-2020, 03:43 PM
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I was taught "option 1". I had never heard of the "kinder" "gentler" version until now.
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Old 01-20-2020, 03:46 PM
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Are there any sects of Judaism that take the story literally? Definitely no one in the family I married into does (except for maybe the ones who became evangelical Christians). What about Orthodox Jews, or various Hasidic sects?
You know how it is with Judaism - two people will have three opinions among them.

There are some Biblical literalists among the Jews, although not to the extreme of some Christian sects. Judaism at least allows for allegory rather than absolute literal truth, and there's been several thousand years of commentary and argument about just about every word in their Bible.

I'd look among the Ultra-Orthodox (which the Hasidic are part of) for that sort of belief.
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Old 01-20-2020, 04:02 PM
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Are there any sects of Judaism that take the story literally? Definitely no one in the family I married into does (except for maybe the ones who became evangelical Christians). What about Orthodox Jews, or various Hasidic sects?
The OP is addressed specifically to Christians, so I've been waiting for an invitation. So, thanks for the invitation!

The short answer is yes, Orthodox and Hasidic Jews do take the story literally, with the caveat that the word "literal" can be somewhat flexible if the story in question is viewed as poetry or parable.

But regardless of whether one views the story as truth, fiction, or somewhere in the middle, it seems to me that any intelligent discussion should start with the words of the story itself. And it is pretty clear from several verses that (according to the author of the story) the flood was not merely known to God (so that he would be able to warn Noah about it), but that God caused it Himself:

Genesis 6:7 - "God said, 'I will destroy...'"
Genesis 6:13 - "God said, ... 'I will destroy...'"
Genesis 7:4 - "I will destroy..."

I've given only tiny snippets, and the reason is because I don't want to prejudice anyone towards or against any particular translation. If you don't have a favorite Bible handy, just google it. For example, "Genesis 6:13", and Google will offer you a wide variety of translations.
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Old 01-20-2020, 04:26 PM
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Yep, all as far as memory serves me, it was "God had finally had enough, and decided to clean house, except for the last really good person there was". It was always YHWH's intention to kick ass and make it unnecessary to take names.

The "Noah tried to give people a sign" seems more like a "think of the children" sop and I've heard it at times but even then it has been still that God is intentionally making it happen and garanteeing survival only to Noah & Sons. It seems that it is a sort of conflation with the stories of the warnings of the plagues of Egypt, and the tale of Jonah not wanting to warn Ninneveh about their need to repent.


BTW let's remember that the whole "Everyone is getting whacked, except for the single righteous guy and what close relatives he can convince to come along" game is played again a couple of centuries later with Lot at Sodom, with in this case Abraham pleading "but if there were even only 50, 30, 20 good men..." and the Voice of God saying "even if there were only ten I'd spare the city" but knowing they are doomed (of course the way that story develops, well, erm, it is not something you teach the children...)

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Old 01-20-2020, 04:40 PM
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It's been 40+ years since I last went to church regularly, and I wasn't paying a lot of attention even then But: People went bad and God drowned them all like rats. It always bothered me that God either didn't see that coming and make humans a little more godly by nature, or He set it up that way so he could indiscriminately drown men, women, and babies like rats--unless they happened to be living in the same neighborhood as Noah AND get themselves married into Noah's family. I don't recall hearing anything about the contribution of the Nephilim to the corruption of humanity, and certainly nobody ever told me where the Nephilim came from. Too much info, I guess. They wanted the message to be "Behave yourself, God has promised he will never again drown us all like rats, but He never said he wouldn't burn us all to ash."
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Whoa, wait, what?

I've never heard the term "fallen Adamite" before or how they'd be (presumably, from context) superior to other humans.

Care to elaborate on all that?
Book of Enoch (from Ethiopia, I think). It's an ancient text discovered in 1948. Details the names of the angels who were cast out of Heaven (Grigori, Watchers, devils), and what they did when they landed on Earth. They allegedly delivered a lot of knowledge to humans. When they made babbie with human women, the offspring were The Giants (they make an occasional appearance in The Bible, ya?). Giants don't have the sort of souls that go to heaven, so the souls remain on earth as demons. But anyways, the giants/Nephilim apparently corrupted the humans they interacted with. I may have gotten some details wrong, but in the main, I think that's what FriarTed was talking about.
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Old 01-20-2020, 04:50 PM
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I would say that both were taught together. Man was so evil that God was so angry that he righteously was going to end it all, however God had mercy with one man of faith and decided to save him/family. God complaining about man's stubbornness is common and was taught at many instances.
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Old 01-20-2020, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Quoth SuntanLotion:

Was brought up Catholic, later became a Christian.
How did you later become a Christian when you were already one?

And yeah, I did have the sense, as a child, that Noah tried to warn others, and that they had a genuine opportunity (which they refused) to be saved. I don't know if I got that from Sunday School, or just from general cultural osmosis. But while God might have foreseen (without interfering with) their decision to not be saved, the flood itself was unambiguously a literal Act of God.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by davidm View Post
The people who taught it as literal truth taught that God did it to punish the wicked.

It depended on who my Sunday school teacher was that year. Some taught it as literal truth, others taught that it was allegory.

I never could figure out the meaning of the allegory.

If you're not good you'll drown?

We should study carpentry, shipbuilding, and zoo management, just in case?

The majority of the human race deserves to be drowned?
That Ham saw Noah's sloppy drunk dinger, so that's why black people exist.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:19 PM
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Seems like as time went on God became more likely to give populations more of an opportunity to get their shit together before unleashing his/her wrath. When Jonah warned the people of Ninevah (which he wouldn't even do until swallowed and disgorged by a giant sea creature) that God was mightily pissed off and fixing to wipe them out, they actually pulled out the sack cloth and ashes. Needless to say, Jonah was pissed off that they weren't destroyed and went off to pout.

Anyway, I never heard anything about anyone being given the opportunity to get it together before drowning.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:27 PM
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What Keeve said. Scripture is pretty unambiguous. God could not tolerate the evilness of humanity, so He caused a Flood to kill 99.99999% of them. There is no room for confusion there as far as intent is concerned - nothing to suggest the Flood was an incidental event, or unintentional - it was most definitely meant to kill.

If someone wants to argue that it is allegorical, or that it never happened, that would be one thing. But as far as the words in the text itself, it is 100% intentional, meant to kill.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:41 PM
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God created the flood to rid the earth of evil.

It's interesting that only one family is saved. (Noah)

Same thing in Sodom and Gomorrah. One righteous family was saved. (Lot)
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
I would say that both were taught together. Man was so evil that God was so angry that he righteously was going to end it all, however God had mercy with one man of faith and decided to save him/family. God complaining about man's stubbornness is common and was taught at many instances.
What I found interesting about my friend's story is that she was taught that God only foretold the deluge, rather than actively starting it. that lets God off the hook for genocide, but reduces God's omnipotence sense, in this really sanitize version, God is unable to avert the catastrophe.
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:49 PM
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How did you later become a Christian when you were already one?
I know plenty of Pentecostal Christians who claim that Catholics are not Christian. Though I never shared this opinion, it doesn't shock me to hear it echoed.
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Old 01-20-2020, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Same thing in Sodom and Gomorrah. One righteous family was saved. (Lot)
And then his daughters fucked him.
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