An Atheist Reads the Bible

A godless heathen’s religious experience

Genesis 6

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on December 7, 2007

The Flood

1 When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them,
2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

It’s rather unclear here exactly who “the sons of god” are. The general assumption seems to be that they are angels although, like so many other things in this book that is the basis of all christian belief, it’s not clarified, and not even really mentioned again. Whoever they were though it seems like they had very human traits – nipping down to earth and bedding the best looking women.

And you thought that sort of thing was reserved for false gods like Zeus and Odin!

But really, you’d think the sons of god had better self control than that. I guess they’d been eating from the same tree as Adam. One thing that does seem fairly clear here is that god has no daughters, only sons. Another example of religious misogyny.

The phrase “they married any of them they chose” is rather interesting too. It does tend to imply that “the daughters of men” didn’t have much choice in the matter.

So basically, we have god’s angels popping down to earth to mate with any women they feel like. Bunch of rapists.

3 Then the LORD said, My Spirit will not contend with man for ever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.

And of course god chooses to get upset with mankind about this, or perhaps this is just a huge non sequitur, it’s really not clear. Anyway, god’s fed up with fighting against man and decides to limit his lifespan to 120 years. Still not a bad innings and I’ll be quite happy if I make it that far. I can only assume that at some point he reduces it even further since the average lifespan until very recently was around the 30 year mark.

4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days— and also afterwards— when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

If the “sons of god” are angels then the Nephelim are the children of angels. Nephilim in a number of cases is translated as giants, and it’s not the only mention of giants in the bible.

I wonder why we’ve never dug up any giant Nephilim bones? Or have we? (Note, before you click on that link you should know the full URL is http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/giants.htm)

5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
7 So the LORD said, I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth— men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air— for I am grieved that I have made them.

God’s sons nip down to earth for a bit of rape and pillage, begetting an entire race in the process, but god’s only pissed off with man for … what, precisely? It certainly makes no mention of it here. So far we’ve had a couple of murders in what seems to be several hundred years. Not a bad crime rate really.

8 But Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD.

I wonder what he did?

9 This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.

So did Job, but we’ll get to him later on.

10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
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.

Wouldn’t this be akin to (although significantly more extreme than) Bill Gates ringing me up and telling me that Microsoft Office had got so bloated and buggy that he was going to scrap it and rewrite it from scratch? Noah is so far below the level of supreme being that you have to wonder why god really gives a toss.

14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.
15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.
16 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.

And Noah said unto god, “listen mate, I’m not a boatbuilder, I’m going to need more than a few vague instructions if I’m going to put together something that floats. Preferably a blueprint and a B&Q* discount card.”

And god chose to ignore Noah’s facetiousness and continued with his rant.

17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.
18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark— you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

Assuming that all his sons are married that’s 8 people.

19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.
20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.

“What, even the skunk,” asked Noah.
“Just do what you’re told,” said god, smiting a nearby tree with a bolt of lightning to make his point.

I don’t like to even think about how many species there are, but the suggestion is that there are about 1.8 million. Let’s be generous and assume that insects weren’t included and as they make up 2/3 of that number that takes us to about 0.6 million species (and presumably there were more in those days since we’ve had a few extinctions since then).

So we’ve got a boat, 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high, housing 8 people that between them have to look after 1.2 million animals (two of each remember). What is this, the T.A.R.D.I.S? Even ignoring issues of space and how much weight a boat like that can carry we can add the fact that Noah and family are going to get mighty fed up with shovelling crap overboard so that they don’t drown in it!

21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.

Well at least we know they’re not going to starve, although I’d like to know how they fit the food in the pantry when there’s a couple of elephants shagging at the back and the lions are chasing the reindeer around.

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

Next time we go on holiday I’m going to get Noah round to pack the car.

* For the non-UK people here B&Q is a large DIY chain of the sort that gets very busy on a Sunday afternoon when there’s nothing else to do.

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