Note: The information here is not essential to faith. Different points of view on the matter are held by people with the same deeply-held convictions about the important doctrines of Christianity contained in the New Testament. There are some articles linked to here that claim there is scientific information that backs up the Genesis account of creation and Noah's Flood; but they are open to question, and could be easily disputed. The details of anything claimed to have happened that far back in the past are bound to be unclear and open to question, and so debates on the matter shouldn't bother anyone. The information is simply here for the sake of interest and research.
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The purpose of the Old Testament seems to have been mainly to try to scare lawless societies into behaving decently, giving up the cruel ways the Bible says they were guilty of. Hence much of the gruesomeness, which is at least in part meant to warn people committing cruel and hurtful actions to change.
Genesis chapter 1 (NLT)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was empty, a formless mass cloaked in darkness. And the Spirit of God was hovering over its surface.
3 Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 And God saw that it was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day" and the darkness "night." Together these made up one day.
6 And God said, "Let there be space between the waters, to separate water from water." 7 And so it was. God made this space to separate the waters above from the waters below. 8 And God called the space "sky." This happened on the second day.
9 And God said, "Let the waters beneath the sky be gathered into one place so dry ground may appear." And so it was. 10 God named the dry ground "land" and the water "seas." And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the land burst forth with every sort of grass and seed-bearing plant. And let there be trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. The seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came." And so it was. 12 The land was filled with seed-bearing plants and trees, and their seeds produced plants and trees of like kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 This all happened on the third day.
14 And God said, "Let bright lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. They will be signs to mark off the seasons, the days, and the years. 15 Let their light shine down upon the earth." And so it was. 16 For God made two great lights, the sun and the moon, to shine down upon the earth. The greater one, the sun, presides during the day; the lesser one, the moon, presides through the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in the heavens to light the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 This all happened on the fourth day.
20 And God said, "Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind." 21 So God created great sea creatures and every sort of fish and every kind of bird. And God saw that it was good.
22 Then God blessed them, saying, "Let the fish multiply and fill the oceans. Let the birds increase and fill the earth." 23 This all happened on the fifth day.
24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth every kind of animal - livestock, small animals, and wildlife." And so it was. 25 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to reproduce more of its own kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, "Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. They will be masters over all life - the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals, and small animals." 27 So God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and told them, "Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals."
29 And God said, "Look! I have given you the seed-bearing plants throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given all the grasses and other green plants to the animals and birds for their food." And so it was.
31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way. This all happened on the sixth day.
Genesis chapter 2 (NLT)
1 So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. 2 On the seventh day, having finished his task, God rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from his work of creation.
4 This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When the LORD God made the heavens and the earth, 5 there were no plants or grain growing on the earth, for the LORD God had not sent any rain. And no one was there to cultivate the soil. 6 But water came up out of the ground and watered all the land. 7 And the LORD God formed a man's body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And the man became a living person.
8 Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he placed the man he had created. 9 And the LORD God planted all sorts of trees in the garden - beautiful trees that produced delicious fruit. At the center of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. 11 One of these branches is the Pishon, which flows around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. 12 The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. 13 The second branch is the Gihon, which flows around the entire land of Cush. 14 The third branch is the Tigris, which flows to the east of Asshur. The fourth branch is the Euphrates. 15 The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it.
16 But the LORD God gave him this warning: "You may freely eat any fruit in the garden 17 except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of its fruit, you will surely die."
18 And the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him."
Genesis chapter 2 (NIV)
19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Genesis chapter 3 (NIV)
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"
4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"
10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"
The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
"Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
For anyone who thinks the passage they've just read is particularly harsh on women, visit: Doesn't the bible teach that God cursed women by making them subject/subordinate to men?
Genesis chapter 4 (GWT)
1 Adam made love to his wife Eve. She became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "I have gotten the man that the LORD promised."
2 Then she gave birth to another child, Abel, Cain's brother.
Abel was a shepherd, and Cain was a farmer.
3 Later Cain brought some crops from the land as an offering to the LORD. 4 Abel also brought some choice parts of the firstborn animals from his flock. The LORD approved of Abel and his offering, 5 but he didn't approve of Cain and his offering. So Cain became very angry and was disappointed.
6 Then the LORD asked Cain, "Why are you angry, and why do you look disappointed? 7 If you do well, won't you be accepted? But if you don't do well, sin is lying outside your door ready to attack. It wants to control you, but you must master it."
8 Cain talked to his brother Abel. Later, when they were in the fields, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 The LORD asked Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
"I don't know," he answered. "Am I supposed to take care of my brother?"
10 The LORD asked, "What have you done? Your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the ground, which has received the blood of your brother whom you killed. 12 When you farm the ground, it will no longer yield its best for you. You will be a fugitive, a wanderer on the earth."
13 But Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is more than I can stand! 14 You have forced me off this land today. I have to hide from you and become a fugitive, a wanderer on the earth. Now anyone who finds me will kill me!"
15 So the LORD said to him, "Not so! Anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over."
The LORD gave Cain a sign so that anyone meeting him would not kill him.
16 Then Cain left the LORD's presence and lived in Nod [The Land of Wandering], east of Eden.
Genesis chapter 5 (TEV)1 This is the list of the descendants of Adam. (When God created human beings, he made them like himself. 2 He created them male and female, blessed them, and named them "Human Beings.") 3 When Adam was 130 years old, he had a son who was like him, and he named him Seth. 4 After that, Adam lived another 800 years. He had other children 5 and died at the age of 930.
6 When Seth was 105, he had a son, Enosh, 7 and then lived another 807 years. He had other children 8 and died at the age of 912.
9 When Enosh was 90, he had a son, Kenan, 10 and then lived another 815 years. He had other children 11 and died at the age of 905.
12 When Kenan was 70, he had a son, Mahalalel, 13 and then lived another 840 years. He had other children 14 and died at the age of 910.
15 When Mahalalel was 65, he had a son, Jared, 16 and then lived another 830 years. He had other children 17 and died at the age of 895.
18 When Jared was 162, he had a son, Enoch, 19 and then lived another 800 years. He had other children 20 and died at the age of 962.
21 When Enoch was 65, he had a son, Methuselah. 22 After that, Enoch lived in fellowship with God for 300 years and had other children. 23 He lived to be 365 years old. 24 He spent his life in fellowship with God, and then he disappeared, because God took him away.
25 When Methuselah was 187, he had a son, Lamech, 26 and then lived another 782 years. He had other children 27 and died at the age of 969.
28 When Lamech was 182, he had a son 29 and said, "From the very ground on which the Lord put a curse, this child will bring us relief from all our hard work"; so he named him Noah.
30 Lamech lived another 595 years. He had other children 31 and died at the age of 777.
32 After Noah was 500 years old, he had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Genesis chapter 6 (CEV)
5 The LORD saw how bad the people on earth were and that everything they thought and planned was evil. 6 He was very sorry that he had made them, 7 and he said, "I'll destroy every living creature on earth! I'll wipe out people, animals, birds, and reptiles. I'm sorry I ever made them."
8 But the LORD was pleased with Noah, 9 and this is the story about him.
Noah was the only person who lived right and obeyed God. 10 He had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11-12 God knew that everyone was terribly cruel and violent. 13 So he told Noah: Cruelty and violence have spread everywhere. Now I'm going to destroy the whole earth and all its people. 14 Get some good lumber and build a boat. Put rooms in it and cover it with tar inside and out. 15 Make it four hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 16 Build a roof on the boat and leave a space of about eighteen inches between the roof and the sides. Make the boat three stories high and put a door on one side.
17 I'm going to send a flood that will destroy everything that breathes! Nothing will be left alive. 18 But I solemnly promise that you, your wife, your sons, and your daughters-in-law will be kept safe in the boat. 19-20 Bring into the boat with you a male and a female of every kind of animal and bird, as well as a male and a female of every reptile. I don't want them to be destroyed. 21 Store up enough food both for yourself and for them.
22 Noah did everything the LORD told him to do.
Genesis chapter 7 (TEV)
1 The Lord said to Noah, "Go into the boat with your whole family; I have found that you are the only one in all the world who does what is right. 2 Take with you seven pairs of each kind of ritually clean animal, but only one pair of each kind of unclean animal. 3 Take also seven pairs of each kind of bird. Do this so that every kind of animal and bird will be kept alive to reproduce again on the earth. 4 Seven days from now I am going to send rain that will fall for forty days and nights, in order to destroy all the living beings that I have made."
5 And Noah did everything that the Lord commanded.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the flood came on the earth. 7 He and his wife, and his sons and their wives, went into the boat to escape the flood. 8 A male and a female of every kind of animal and bird, whether ritually clean or unclean, 9 went into the boat with Noah, as God had commanded. 10 Seven days later the flood came.
11 When Noah was six hundred years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month all the outlets of the vast body of water beneath the earth burst open, all the floodgates of the sky were opened, 12 and rain fell on the earth for forty days and nights.
13 On that same day Noah and his wife went into the boat with their three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives. 14 With them went every kind of animal, domestic and wild, large and small, and every kind of bird. 15 A male and a female of each kind of living being went into the boat with Noah, 16 as God had commanded. Then the Lord shut the door behind Noah.
17 The flood continued for forty days, and the water became deep enough for the boat to float. 18 The water became deeper, and the boat drifted on the surface. 19 It became so deep that it covered the highest mountains; 20 it went on rising until it was about twenty-five feet above the tops of the mountains.
21 Every living being on the earth died-every bird, every animal, and every person. 22 Everything on earth that breathed died. 23 The Lord destroyed all living beings on the earth-human beings, animals, and birds. The only ones left were Noah and those who were with him in the boat. 24 The water did not start going down for a hundred and fifty days.
Genesis chapter 8 (TEV)
1 God had not forgotten Noah and all the animals with him in the boat; he caused a wind to blow, and the water started going down. 2 The outlets of the water beneath the earth and the floodgates of the sky were closed. The rain stopped, 3 and the water gradually went down for 150 days.
4 On the seventeenth day of the seventh month the boat came to rest on a mountain in the Ararat range. 5 The water kept going down, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains appeared.
6 After forty days Noah opened a window 7 and sent out a raven. It did not come back, but kept flying around until the water was completely gone. 8 Meanwhile, Noah sent out a dove to see if the water had gone down, 9 but since the water still covered all the land, the dove did not find a place to light. It flew back to the boat, and Noah reached out and took it in.
10 He waited another seven days and sent out the dove again. 11 It returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. So Noah knew that the water had gone down.
12 Then he waited another seven days and sent out the dove once more; this time it did not come back.
13 When Noah was 601 years old, on the first day of the first month, the water was gone. Noah removed the covering of the boat, looked around, and saw that the ground was getting dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
15 God said to Noah, 16 "Go out of the boat with your wife, your sons, and their wives. 17 Take all the birds and animals out with you, so that they may reproduce and spread over all the earth."
18 So Noah went out of the boat with his wife, his sons, and their wives. 19 All the animals and birds went out of the boat in groups of their own kind.
And from another article by Answers in Genesis, in response to claims that the ark would have been so big that without steel reinforcement, the wood would have distorted and collapsed under pressure:
[Some] experts claim ... that if the wood were only 30 cm thick, it could have navigated sea conditions with waves higher than 30 m. Also, the Ark could have been strengthened even further if they didn’t use the plank-to-frame method. For example, they could have used a monocoque (French for ‘single shell’) technique-i.e. where the strength is in the shell itself rather than the frame. Also, adjoining planks could have been strengthened with mortice and tenon joints. This is where one piece of wood has fairly thick projections, tenons, that fit into matching sockets drilled into another piece of wood, mortices, forming a very strong joint. This is labour-intensive, so later ship-builders largely abandoned it. This would not have been an issue for Noah. A simple alternative would have been to use several layers of logs instead of planks. Finally, Noah could have used tropical hardwoods, far stronger than the materials of Bowen’s ‘expert’, and the ancients had techniques of hardening wood even more.
It’s also important to note that the Ark didn’t need to be compromised for streamlining, because it was designed for floating. Also, the Ark lacked any masts, which made wooden ships vulnerable because of the lever arm they provided for wind.
Genesis chapter 9 (TEV)
1 God blessed Noah and his sons and said, "Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth. 2 All the animals, birds, and fish will live in fear of you. They are all placed under your power. 3 Now you can eat them, as well as green plants; I give them all to you for food.
Genesis chapter 9 (NLT)
4 But you must never eat animals that still have their lifeblood in them.
5 "And murder is forbidden. Animals that kill people must die, and any person who murders must be killed. 6 Yes, you must execute anyone who murders another person, for to kill a person is to kill a living being made in God's image.
7 Now you must have many children and repopulate the earth. Yes, multiply and fill the earth!"
Genesis chapter 9 (CEV)
8 Again, God said to Noah and his sons:
9 I am going to make a solemn promise to you and to everyone who will live after you. 10 This includes the birds and the animals that came out of the boat. 11 I promise every living creature that the earth and those living on it will never again be destroyed by a flood. 12-13 The rainbow that I have put in the sky will be my sign to you and to every living creature on earth. It will remind you that I will keep this promise forever. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, and a rainbow appears in the sky, 15 I will remember my promise to you and to all other living creatures. Never again will I let floodwaters destroy all life. 16 When I see the rainbow in the sky, I will always remember the promise that I have made to every living creature. 17 The rainbow will be the sign of that solemn promise.
18 Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, came out of the boat. Ham later had a son named Canaan.
19 All people on earth are descendants of Noah's three sons.
Matthew chapter 24 (GWT)
37 "When the Son of Man comes again, it will be exactly like the days of Noah. 38 In the days before the flood, people were eating, drinking, and getting married until the day that Noah went into the ship. 39 They were not aware of what was happening until the flood came and swept all of them away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes again.
40 "At that time two men will be working in the field. One will be taken, and the other one will be left. 41 Two women will be working at a mill. One will be taken, and the other one will be left.
42 "Therefore, be alert, because you don't know on what day your Lord will return. 43 You realize that if a homeowner had known at what time of the night a thief was coming, he would have stayed awake. He would not have let the thief break into his house. 44 Therefore, you, too, must be ready because the Son of Man will return when you least expect him.
45 "Who, then, is the faithful and wise servant? The master will put that person in charge of giving the other servants their food at the right time. 46 That servant will be blessed if his master finds him doing this job when he comes. 47 I can guarantee this truth: He will put that servant in charge of all his property.
48 On the other hand, that servant, if he is wicked, may think that it will be a long time before his master comes. 49 The servant may begin to beat the other servants and eat and drink with the drunks.
50 His master will return unexpectedly. 51 Then his master will severely punish him and assign him a place with the hypocrites.
2 Peter chapter 2 (NLT)
4 For God did not spare even the angels when they sinned; he threw them into hell, in gloomy caves and darkness until the judgment day. 5 And God did not spare the ancient world - except for Noah and his family of seven. Noah warned the world of God's righteous judgment. Then God destroyed the whole world of ungodly people with a vast flood.
6 Later, he turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into heaps of ashes and swept them off the face of the earth. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people.
7 But at the same time, God rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a good man who was sick of all the immorality and wickedness around him. 8 Yes, he was a righteous man who was distressed by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. 9 So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while punishing the wicked right up until the day of judgment.
Genesis chapter 11 (NIV)
1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."
5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."
8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel -because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
The main Bible pages on this site:
|Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories|
|Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites|
|Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.|
|Or go directly to the next in the series: Science That Backs Up The Bible And Casts Doubt on The Theory Of Evolution?|
|If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.|
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials:
Don't be afraid to question the truth of what a religious authority figure tells you, or even the Bible or other holy books themselves, or certain people's interpretation of them. Nothing to do with religion or the supernatural is so well established in fact it shouldn't be questioned. To find out why caution is a good idea, visit:
Are you up to trying the challenges of the New Testament's moral guidelines, and would you like to know more of what it says about the love of Jesus? Here are some links to Bible quotes about the beautiful ideals the New Testament encourages Christians to try to live up to:
There are a lot of pages on this website with quotations from the Old Testament on them. Many of these are unfortunately rather gruesome, since the main theme of the Old Testament is warnings and stories about how it says societies were punished for mass lawless and hurtful behaviour, even to the extent of having war brought on them by God, that seem to have been designed to scare societies where crime and violence were rampant into behaving more ethically. In case there is any misunderstanding, it should be understood that this website does not endorse war as anything other than a last resort. The position of the website owner can be gleaned from the articles:
Fancy some light relief or laughter therapy? Then go to the first of our jokes pages:
If you have a problem affecting your mental health or well-being, like depression, a difficulty with life-damaging worry, panic attacks, phobias or OCD, marriage problems, an addiction, an eating disorder, recovering from the trauma of sexual abuse or domestic violence, coping with bullies in the workplace, or bullying and teasing at school, trying to lose weight, raising difficult teenagers, caring for someone with a disease like Alzheimer's, wanting to recover from anorexia or self-harm, or grieving for someone you were close to or feeling lonely, and you'd like some ideas on coping or getting past it, visit our Self-help series.
If this is the first page you have visited on this site, this is part of Broadcaster.org.uk, a website about social and psychological issues, what the Bible says about social problems and other topics, and how they affect people's lives today.
Go to the Broadcaster.org.uk home page to find out more.....