Can't God Make Up His Mind?
many of each kind of animal was Noah commanded to take on the ark?
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.
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. Instead
people look at the huge web page packed with text and assume that since so much
is there, the hypothesis (the Bible should be rejected) must be true. The truth
is... these are blind people leading blind people.
So let's start
by seeing what these two sets of verses say:
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
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
Chapter six clearly says to bring two of every kind of
animal and bird.
Chapter seven supplements that by adding six additional
pairs, if the animal is in the category 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.
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 Hebrews, 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 aspects
of what was being said. We saw that in an earlier question in which Genesis one
provides the overview and Genesis two focuses on the details of the creation of
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.
is no contradiction here.
8:4 reports that, as the waters of the flood receded, Noahs 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.
is so simple, can you see it? Click here for