Flood dries up
Turning off the water1 God remembered the boat floating in the water and all the life inside: Noah and all the animals wild and mild. God sent a wind, and the water level began to drop. 2 Underground geysers stopped forcing up their fountains of water. Rainwater stopped falling from the sky. 3 Gradually, floodwater started to drop. One hundred and fifty days after the flood started. 4 Noah’s boat came to a grinding halt somewhere in the Ararat mountain range, five months after the flood started. 5 Floodwater continued to drop until Noah, two and a half months later, could see other mountain peaks. 6 After 40 more days, Noah opened a window he had built into the boat. 7 He released a raven to fly above the flood until the ground dried up. 8 He also released a dove to see if it would find a dry place to nest. 9 It did not. The dove flew back to the boat because the floodwater still covered the ground. Noah brought the dove back into the boat. 10 Noah waited another seven days and then released the dove again. 11 The dove came back to the boat that evening, but this time it carried a fresh olive leaf in its beak. That clued Noah the water was starting to recede. 12 Noah waited another seven days before releasing the dove again. This time the dove did not return. 13 Noah had a birthday during the flood. He turned 601. On that day, ten and a half months after the flood had started, the ground was beginning to dry. So Noah took the covering off the top of the boat, looked outside, and saw the ground was dry. 14 Two months later, the ground was dry enough to walk on. 15 God told Noah, 16 “Leave the boat now. Take your family with you. 17 Release every living thing you brought with you—birds, land animals, and every bug and other life form that creeps and crawls along the dirt. Release them so they will reproduce and fill the world again with critters of every kind.” 18 Noah left the boat, taking with him his wife, his three sons, and their wives. 19 Two by two, all the animals came with him: birds and land critters large and small.
God’s promise: never again20 Noah built an altar to worship the LORD. He killed one of every kind of animal used in sacrifices and he burned them on the altar as an offering to God. 21 The sweet aroma of barbecue delighted the LORD. He said to himself, “I will never again hurt the earth because of humans. That’s in spite of the fact that these people have a perpetual attraction to bad thoughts and behavior, even when they’re kids. Yet I will never again destroy all life because of them. 22 As long as there’s an earth, there will be crops to harvest. There will be cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.”
This is a mountain range in what is now eastern Turkey.
Probably built out of stones found lying around.
These are animals many Bible translations describe as ritually clean—suitable for sacrifice to the holy God. They are also kosher to eat. Most animals were considered ritually unclean. According to the Laws of Moses, Jews were not allowed to sacrifice them to God.
“Noah’s boat came to a grinding halt somewhere in the Ararat mountain range” (8:4). For centuries, explorers have been scouring the tallest mountain there, Mount Ararat (about three miles high; 16,854 ft, 5,137 m). They’ve been looking for evidence of Noah’s Ark—with no verifiable success. What advice would you give explorers interested in finding evidence that the boat did exist?
Most Christians seem to accept the Flood story as it’s reported in the Bible, but other Christians say it sounds like the Flood story got exaggerated as it passed from generation to generation by word of mouth before anyone bothered to write it down. What do you think of the speculation that the Flood simply wiped out communities built alongside the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, since archaeologists confirm that flooding did devastate riverside cities thousands of years ago?
The Iraqi flood story from the Epic of Gilgamesh said the survivor’s boat ran aground on Mount Nisir, about 300 miles (483 km) south of Mount Ararat, and about 20 miles (32 km) from a couple of rivers that branch off the Tigris River. Kurdish people live there today. From a logistics standpoint, that mountain might seem like a far more likely landing spot for a boat that started somewhere in the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley. How much does it matter to you that the anonymous writer of Genesis got the mountain range right?
LIFE APPLICATION. Many of these early stories in Genesis are especially difficult for new Christians to believe. Which piece of advice do you think would best help Bible newcomers approach these stories?
- It’s in the Bible. So just believe it. You don’t have to understand it.
- Put the stories into a pending file. You don’t have to figure it all out right now, if ever.
- Drop and give me 100 push-ups. We’ll see if you believe after that.