Noah’s Ark Myth

Blessed news!  Plans are afoot to make Noah’s Ark sail forth again!  This time from the hills of northern Kentucky, of all places.  And it is going to cost a mere $155 million to launch, and hundreds of workers to help construction of the theme park where the Ark is to be built.  The fundamentalist ministry that is plotting the launch of the Ark replica is for the stated purpose of proving that “God’s word (as written by 8th century BCE priests) is true.”  It doesn’t hurt that the project is banking that the “Ark Encounter,” as it is called, will be so popular that it will then be eligible for more than $40 million in sales tax rebates.  That’s even a better deal than Noah got.

But consider the dimensions of the Kentucky Ark: according to the teaser publicity for the project, the Ark is to be 500 feet long and 80 feet high, which is said to be the exact dimensions given in scriptures.  But is it?  Debate has long raged over how long the Hebrew cubit meant.  Some scholars say it was equal to eighteen inches, and others insist it was equal to twenty inches.  It is the latter figure used for the Kentucky Ark.

The character of Noah appears early in the book of Genesis, chapter 5, verse 29, taking the stage after an involved accounting of eight hundred years of serious begatting, which culminated with Noah being born to Lamech.  Noah is then the star and hero of chapters 6 through 9, who allegedly saved the seed of all living creatures during a worldwide deluge.  Thus, in a manner of speaking, Noah is simply another Adam who is recast as riding the Creation energies in an episode of re-Creation.  There are, however, much older stories of a widespread deluge from many cultures: the Mesopotamian epic is especially notable, and the priest-authors were familiar with it.  All the many other deluge tales are brushed off as myths, but the priest-written Genesis version is declared to be holy truth.

In the ancient prehistory cultures the Ark actually represented the preserving vessel of qualified pre-physical energies which are carried into their matter fulfillment.  There was never any historical Noah who built a colossal boat at the direction of god.  The “flood” upon which the incoming life forces are borne are the waters (energies) of biological life.  In the larger cosmological understanding this extends to the planetary genes at the stage where they are just beginning to form as visible matter.  Planets are, in their turn, the “Ark” of all life  forms.

This means that the scriptural “Flood” of Noah, like all similar tales among the older cultures, is only allegorical.  To give added evidence that the Noah account is myth, and myth only, the name Noah was taken directly from the Chaldean word Nuah, which served to identify the third person of the Chaldean trinity as well as the third sign of their Zodiac.

For the typical forty days and nights of flooding, Noah and his family are depicted as safely preserved in the Ark.  Drawn upon ancient teachings and their attendant myths, the number four (traditionally disguised with added zeros) symbolized the four pre-physical energy planes through which energy becomes manifest as matter.  The “Flood” is described as occurring in Noah’s “six hundredth year” (Genesis 7:11), which means the energy prototype had reached the stage where it was about to assume visible density, i.e. self-generated identity.

More evidence of the mythic nature of the Noah tale is revealed in the role that a bird, a raven, plays not only in the scriptural version of the Deluge, but in all other similar myths from older cultures.  The raven was the last bird sent out from the Ark, for being a carrion-eathing bird it represents the courser elements that amass as dense matter, and so it did not return to the Ark.

Another bit of evidence that the Noah tale is myth is the scene in which receding waters (of Creation’s energies) leave Noah and his family upon the tip of matter, which is symbolized as Mount Ararat.  This is a name that is traceable to the Aramaic word for earth.  In a real sense the Earth is the altar of life from which there may arise the higher qualities of awareness.  At attainment of mortal life the pre-physical energies are cast off (sacrificed) for the sake of experiencing limited expression so it may qualify itself for higher activity and development.  This is the meaning behind the storyline where Noah, once he reaches “land,” set about building an altar.  Upon this altar he “…took of every clean beast and every clean fowl, and offered (them as) burnt offering on the altar” (Genesis 8:20).  Did the Lord have Noah carry two (or was it seven) of these living things into safety just so they could then be burned up as sacrifice to himself?  Of course not.  The “clean” beasts and fowl represent the desires, emotions and passions that must be offered up if man is to evolve spiritually.

Practically the first thing that Noah did after erecting the altar was to plant a vine-stock, said to have been from Eden.  The vines were mythic, so of course they bore ripe fruit the same day, and by nightfall Noah was drunk from the wine he had made from them.  In other words, he became intoxicated with the wine of life.

Noah at this point of the story symbolizes the Earth in its earliest matter form.  There is as yet no vegetation, so he is said to have been drunk and naked (Genesis 9:21).  The action of two sons, Japheth and Shem (energies in evolutionary movement), covered their naked father, which represents the garmenting of Earth, a condition not possible until it is completely exposed as matter.  In older versions from various cultures this achievement of self-identifying form was understood to have been achieved by severing connection with the primordial energies.  And this is the meaning behind the rabbinical myth of a son castrating Noah as he slept.  In myths of older cultures, untroubled with prudery, the youngest son represented the more advanced creative energies and so was depicted as castrating his drunk/sleeping father—as in Greek myth where Cronos castrated his sleeping father Uranus.

If the “Ark Encounter” planned in Kentucky is built according to biblical description, they will have to first find a lot of gopher wood (Genesis 6:14).  And the only ventilation for the whole three-story structure will be a single window one cubit square—a hole 20 inches square at most.  Lots of luck with that.

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