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FLOOD

If Noah 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.

How large 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 and stowage.

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.

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