How should we interpret the story of Noah?

My new book
Noah’s Flood: Literal or Figurative?
examines the story of Noah and the great Flood, with the aim of reconciling science and faith. I propose that Noah’s Flood was a literal historical event. However, not all land was covered with water; not all humans and animals outside the Ark were killed. Those assertions in the Bible are figurative, not literal.

Four different scientific theories are reviewed, each proposing a different ancient cataclysmic event as the historical basis for the story of Noah and for the flood myths found in many cultures. My conclusion is that the great Flood event was caused by a comet strike in the deep ocean. Such an event would cause vast amounts of water to be thrown into the upper atmosphere and to be evaporated by the heat of the comet. It would cause mega-tsunamis, torrential rainstorms, and more, effecting the whole world. This explains the flood myths found in many cultures.

The last chapter considers other Bible stories, including the seven ‘days’ of Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath, and several passages from the New Testament. On Adam and Eve, I suggest a way to reconcile the theory of evolution with the Biblical text.

Chapter List and Description:

1. Biblical Inerrancy – Our faith in the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture should guide our interpretation of difficult passages.

2. The Literal-only Approach – The strengths and weaknesses of a literal approach to the Noah story.

3. A Fictional Teaching Story? – A criticism of the view that the story of Noah and the Flood is entirely fictional.

4. The Black Sea Deluge Theory – A review of Ryan and Pitman’s theory that the flooding of the Black Sea is the basis for the great Flood.

5. The Postglacial Flood Theory – Teller and Glennie’s theory that the reflooding of the Persian Gulf after the last great glacial melt is the basis for the great Flood.

6. The Youngest Big Impact Theory – Alexander and Edith Tollmann’s theory that an ancient comet impact in the ocean explains the great Flood.

7. The Flood Comet Impact Theory – W. Bruce Masse and Dallas Abbott’s theory that a more recent oceanic comet impact resulted in the great Flood.

8. Noah’s Rainbow – What Noah most likely saw after the Flood was not a simple rainbow, but a vast array of atmospheric optical effects, lasting many days and weeks, caused by an oceanic comet impact.

9. The Combined Approach: Literal and Figurative – A method of interpreting difficult Bible passages, by recognizing that figurative and literal elements are often woven together in the same passage.

10. Implications for Other Bible Passages – the seven ‘days’ of Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath, and several passages from the New Testament.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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