WHO AM I?
Noah was the tenth of the pre-Flood Patriarchs, something I didn’t even know was a thing! But his great- great- great- great- great- great- great-grandfather was said to be ADAM, and all of the Antediluvian (pre-Flood) patriarchs were extremely long-lived. Noah died 350 years after the flood, at the age of 950, the last of the extremely long-lived Antediluvian patriarchs. The maximum human lifespan, as depicted by the Bible, gradually diminishes thereafter, from almost 1,000 years to the 120 years of Moses. The idea of 120 doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore, but 950 seems figurative…
Noah is honoured in all the Abrahamic traditions, mentioned in the Quaran, Bible, Torah. He’s seen as one of the most important prophets in Islam, and focuses more on his preaching than simply on the Deluge. Speaking of that, the Flood story shows up all around the world, not just in Mesopotamia, or the Middle East, but India, China, Scandanavian countries, Maya in Mexico and Ojibwa in North America and the Aboriginal Tribes in Australia, although Noah’s Ark is the most well-knows of all of them. It’s a very muddy morass to wade into, timing these mythologies with the scientific knowledge of ice ages and rising sea levels.
I have to say that I chuckle at the idea of Noah being the first husbandman, who planted for the first time, because … well, who else was going to do it? But the Bible does say that he planted a vineyard and commentators in the 4th and 5th centuries and forever afterwards say Noah was the first human to taste wine. This, of course, contradicts the whole Biblical reason for the flood, drunkenness and lust and the evil of mankind, but again, the relationship of God to creation and God husbanding the whole over the individuals is an important lesson to think upon. And Noah learned to partake of wine as a wise man, rather than as a ignorant one.
But we want to know about the Ark, right? Well, I do, because all of the animals. Some stories talk of the animals all sleeping. Ancient Aliens, a delightfully conspiracy minded program that began on the History Channel, talks about cryogenic sleep, or even a DNA bank of plants and animals. It is wonderful fodder for curiosity and imagination, and if it was as big as described, COULD hold all of the plants and animals and insects and fish of the world (but would fish and sea mammals need to be there, or just the ones that eat land things?). The structure of the Ark is similar to a Jewish Temple, so there is a question of metaphor to be considered. Or is that allegory? Basically, it is a microcosm of the universe (as it was seen then): three internal divisions (heaven, earth and the underworld) being three decks, with the appropriate numerological characteristics.
So many interesting currents to surf in this story. Where would you go with it?