was a just and respectable old gentleman of some six hundred
years of age, how is it that we find him getting intoxicated--becoming
drunk--as recorded in (`Gen 9:20`).
<ANSWER>--How true are the words of the poet-- "The
evil that men do live after them; The good is oft interred with
their bones." But one instance of straying from the path
of rectitude and sobriety in a long life of fidelity to the
principles of righteousness will stand out with startling distinctness
and will be the subject of more consideration than all of the
individual's noble acts and traits combined. However, we shall
not leave Noah defenseless, but will call attention to the fact
that his intoxication was after the flood and was wholly unintentional.
The flood wrought great changes in the atmospheric conditions
of our earth; to our understanding the deluge was produced by
the precipitation to the earth of an immense quantity of water
which previously had surrounded the earth at a distance as a
cloudy canopy. The dissolution of this canopy or envelope of
water not only produced the flood, but altered the conditions
of nature so that storms, rains, etc., resulted, things which
had never been before. (`Gen. 2:5,6`.) Another result, we believe,
was the development of an acidulous condition of the atmosphere
tending to produce ferment, which directly affected human longevity,
so that according to the Scriptures the average of human life
decreased from eight and nine hundred years to one hundred.
This ferment from the changed atmosphere, affecting the grape,
generated "mold," and hence the alcoholic condition
which produces drunkenness. According to the record, Noah's
drunkenness was the result of the first vintage of grapes after
the flood, and it evidently was contrary to all of his experiences
preceding the flood. We are justified, therefore, in supposing
that this one instance of Noah's having been intoxicated was
the result of ignorance respecting the changed character of
the grape product fermented.
was Noah's Ark, and how did it compare with modern vessels as
to size and capacity?
<ANSWER>--The Bible (`Gen. 6:15`) gives the dimensions
as follows: Three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits broad and
thirty cubits high. The length of the cubit is variously estimated.
The modern cubit is 18 inches, linear measure; the sacred cubit
of the Jews is 21.88 inches. According to the latter the ark
was 547.3 feet long, 91.2 feet wide and 54 feet high. The capacity,
2,730,782 cubic feet. Tonnage, 81,042. It is impossible however,
to do more than merely to estimate the dimensions as no one
can be absolutely sure as to the length of the cubit according
to which the ark was constructed. There are some modern vessels
of greater length than the ark, but the capacity of the ark
was three times as great as any vessel afloat. It provided plenty
of room for Noah and his family and pairs of all the 244 species
of animals, taken in, as scheduled by the Buffon, together with
all supplies needed for the long voyage. The design has been
found in actual practice to yield the best results for safety
Are we to
accept a literal flood, or does `Gen. 6`, `7`, `8`, give an
account of a spiritual flood? (R.E.)
<ANSWER>--Scientific thought is coming more and more into
harmony with the Scripture teachings as to the occurrence of
an actual flood at about the time indicated in the Genesis account.
From the latest investigations and researches, the conclusion
has been formed that this earth was, in times remote, a part
of the sun, and that it was thrown off, or detached from the
central orb in the form of gas. In course of time, this whirling
mass would cool and condense, and resolve itself into solids
and liquids with the central mass as a nucleus around which
several canopies or rings, similar to the rings of the planet
Saturn, were developed. These would condense and in turn would
eventually be precipitated to the earth one by one. Science
and the Bible agree that there were six of these "canopies,"
and these, coming to the earth in their regular order, formed
the six creative "days" or epochs as narrated in the
first chapter of Genesis; the last one, being of water, brought
about the deluge, or Noah's flood.