Can't God Make Up His Mind?

How many of each kind of animal was Noah commanded to take on the ark?

Noah's ArkHUMANIST QUESTION: According to Genesis 6:19-22, God ordered Noah to bring “of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort . . . into the ark.” Nevertheless, Genesis 7:2-3 relates that the Lord ordered Noah to take into the ark the clean beasts and the birds by sevens, and only the unclean beasts by twos.

This is so simple that I'd be embarrassed bringing it up as a contradiction. One thing to keep in mind. The people who post these things are not interested in truth. One common tactic is to post so much that nobody will actually read it... but instead people look at the huge posting and assume that since so much is here, there must be truth. The truth is... these are blind people leading blind people.

So let's start by seeing what these two sets of verses say:

And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.” Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did. - Genesis 6:19-22

You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female; also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth. - Genesis 7:2-3

Chapter six clearly says to bring two of every kind of animal and bird.

Chapter seven suppliments that by adding six additional pairs, if the animal is in the cartegory of being a "clean" animal, and to also do this for birds.

For example, if my wife is asking me to pick up some groceries on the way home from work, and she says, "Please pick up one gallon of each type of milk... and please get three gallons of 2% milk." Is there any problem with that? Is there any contradiction in what she said? No. what she wants is as clear as a bell and easily understandable. Effective communication has been accomplished.

BTW, that's one simple way to determine if there is a contradiction. Contradictions result in confusion and unclear communication. If you can read something, and easily understand what the author was trying to communicate, there is no contradiction.

Some Historical Background

Although it is not needed here, in some cases it is helpful to know the historical setting and culture in which the statement is being made. For example, for the Hewbrews, a common approach to explaining something was to provide a broad description first, and followed by a more detailed one that focused on the most important aspect. We saw that in an earlier question in which Genesis one provides the overview and Genesis two focues on the details of the creation of humanity.

In the example we are looking at here, the broad view is that of two animals of every kind. The detailed view focuses on those animals used for sacrifice and food... the clean animals and birds. An additional six pairs are needed because some will be sacrificed and some will be eaten.

There is no contradiction here.

Next question...

Genesis 8:4 reports that, as the waters of the flood receded, Noah’s ark rested on the mountains of Ararat in the seventh month. The very next verse, however, says the mountaintops could not be seen until the tenth month.

The answer is so simple, can you see it? Click here for the answer.

 


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