Noah and the Flood in the Bible and the Quran

The Biblical and Quranic Stories of Noah and the Flood: A Comparative Analysis

Originally Published: January 15, 2014

Updated: February 12, 2020

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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم

“Because of their sins they were drowned and put into the Fire, and they found not for themselves besides Allah [any] helpers.”

– The Quran, Surah Nuh, 71:25

            One of the most famous and enduring stories of the Bible is undoubtedly the story of Noah (Nuh in Arabic), the flood and the ark. As with many other stories found in the Bible, this story is also found in the Quran, and as with the other stories, the Biblical and Quranic versions of Noah and the flood have some similarities as well as some major differences. In this article, we will discuss these differences and why they are significant enough to put the Quran and the Bible at odds with each other. After summarizing the Biblical story, we will analyze it to discuss the irreconcilable problems that plague it. Next, we will summarize the Islamic version of Noah and the flood and compare it to the Biblical one. This comparison will illustrate that the Biblical story cannot be accepted as the true version of the epic story of Noah and that the Quranic story, by lacking any of the difficulties found in the former, is clearly the version that is more deserving of acceptance and far more credible.

The Biblical Story

            In the Bible, the story of Noah is found in several chapters of the Book of Genesis. For the purposes of this article, we will summarize the parts dealing with the events preceding the flood, the flood itself, and some elements of the post-flood story. As such, we will deal specifically with Genesis 6-8, though in the analysis of the story, we will discuss other parts of Genesis as well.

            As the story goes, it had been several centuries since Adam and Eve had fallen to earth and great wickedness had spread therein. In fact, humans had become so evil that God:

“…regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.”[1]

Among the wicked acts that angered God were the sexual perversions between the “daughters of men” and mysterious beings known as the “sons of God”. The result of these sexual encounters was a race of giants known as the “Nephilim”.[2]

            For this wickedness, God decided to destroy the entire, sinful world. The only exception made was regarding a righteous man named Noah, who had “…found favor with the Lord”, since he did not share in the sin that was prevalent in the world.[3] God commanded him to build an ark with exact specifications, and instructed him to take his family and two of every animal on board with him.[4]

Edward_Hicks,_American_-_Noah's_Ark_-_Google_Art_Project
Figure 1 – “Noah’s Ark” by Edward Hicks (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah%27s_Ark)

            Once the ark was built, the cataclysmic flood arrived and destroyed all who were not on the ark. This occurred when Noah was 600 years old.[5] By Noah’s 601st year, the waters had dried and he was instructed to come out of the ark, which had come to rest on the Ararat mountain range.[6] The survivors, both human (totaling eight people) and animal, then repopulated the earth. It was through Noah’s sons (Shem, Ham, and Japheth) that humanity survived the flood and spread throughout the earth once more.[7]

Analysis of the Biblical Story

            In the brief summary above, we can see that the whole world had become sinful and was beyond salvation. In other words, God sent the flood upon an unsuspecting world without warning. As we will see later, this element of the Biblical story differs greatly with the Quranic version.

            Upon scrutinizing the Biblical claims, it should become clear that there are irreconcilable problems that cannot be easily explained. One of the biggest problems surfaces as a result of the chronology of the flood. While Genesis does not provide a specific date for the flood, we can come to a reasonable estimate using the genealogies that are found in the Bible. Based on this approach, the “Young Earth” website “Answers in Genesis” states (as of 2012) that:

“…the Flood began approximately 4,359 years ago in the year…2348 BC.”[8]

The late skeptic C. Dennis McKinsey estimated the same date:

“The flood allegedly occurred around 2348 B.C.”[9]

Hence, we can approximate the date of the flood to around 2350 BC. This being the case, any reasonable person should immediately see the problem: The Bible is obviously wrong about either the flood being global or the exact date of the flood or both.

            If we assume that the Biblical chronology is correct, then the flood could not have covered the whole earth. If it flood occurred sometime around 2348 BC, then there should be no records of surviving civilizations from that time. Yet, this is exactly what we have in the historical record. As McKinsey noted:

“[a]uthentic Egyptian history does not mention a flood even though uninterrupted records were kept from the pharaoh Menes in 3400 B.C. to Darius Ochus in 340 B.C. The flood allegedly occurred around 2348 B.C.”[10]

While there was a flood story in Egyptian mythology, it was not a flood of destruction, so McKinsey was correct.[11] The point is that if a global flood had indeed occurred, then there would have been a gap in ancient Egyptian records. Yet, this is not what historians have found. Therefore, since there is indisputable archaeological evidence of thriving civilizations during the time the flood allegedly occurred, we either must admit that the flood was not global or that it occurred at another earlier time. Since Egyptian records go back uninterrupted to 3400 B.C., the flood would have had to have happened some time before that (if it was global). Hence, the Bible’s chronology is off by at least 1100 years, and possibly even more.

            Both scenarios present a problem for the Biblical version. Since a global flood would have surely destroyed the great civilization of Egypt at the time it allegedly occurred, the Biblical claim that the flood covered the entire world is impossible to defend. On the other hand, if there was a global flood, then the Genesis account is chronologically flawed, since it places the flood in the wrong time period.

            Besides the archaeological and geological problems, the Biblical story has other problems as well. According to Genesis 6:6-7, God came to “regret” that he had created mankind. While most apologists would dismiss such language as merely anthropomorphic descriptions in “the language of man”,[12] or the “manner of men”,[13] this explanation falls short as Yahweh is depicted as engaging in what Neal Walls calls a sort of “trial-and-error or experimental process” throughout the book of Genesis.[14] As Walls observes:

“Genesis 2-11 depict Yahweh engaged in a trial-and-error or experimental process in the organization of the world. Examples include the creation of animals as unsuitable companions to the first human (Gen. [2]:18-20), the necessary expulsion of humans from Eden (Gen. 3:22-24), the need to wipe out creation and begin again after the flood, and additional alterations to God’s created order (Gen. 9, 11). In these chapters God ‘regrets’ or ‘repents of’ his actions in a fully anthropomorphic manner on occasion…Such statements show the influence of a polytheistic literary context on the Genesis narratives even as they describe a single divine actor.”[15]

            Other examples of Yahweh’s seeming lack of omniscience can be seen in Genesis 18:20-21 and Exodus 3:7-9. In both cases, Yahweh has to “go down” or “come down” to see if the sins of the people of Sodom and Gamorrah are “as bad as the outcry that has reached me” or the suffering of the Israelites under the Egyptians is as bad as their cries would indicate. With such clear lack of foreknowledge and omniscience, which is unbecoming of the All-Mighty and Omniscient God, Yahweh’s “regret” is not simply “the language of man” being used to describe his displeasure with humanity. As a matter of fact, it is showing a deity who is not omniscient at all, but rather who is learning by experience as time goes by. This could perhaps explain why Yahweh promised never to send another flood to wipe out all living things (Genesis 8:21), as he seemed to have come to a realization that humanity will always have evil inclinations and sending a flood again would not solve the problem.[16] Needless to say, such a depiction of God is anathematic to Islamic beliefs.

            Another interesting problem with the Biblical story of Noah are the apparent parallels with ancient Egyptian mythology, especially pertaining to his family. According to author Gary Greenberg, in the Egyptian creation story known as the “Hermopolitan Creation myth”, four males and four females (the “Ogdoad” or “group of eight”) “emerged from the primeval flood and crawled onto the first land.”[17] He notes that the four male deities were Nun, Huh, Kuk, and Amen. Of these, Nun “signified the primeval flood” and was usually depicted “standing waist-high in the primeval waters and holding aloft the solar boat that carried other deities.”[18] The interesting parallel with the Biblical story is that there were eight people in the ark, four males (Noah and his three sons) and four females (their wives):

“And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.”[19]

            As for the names of Noah’s three sons, Greenberg notes some interesting parallels with the Egyptian myth as well. First, he notes that the word “Shem” (the eldest son) literally means “name” in Hebrew (so one of Noah’s sons was literally called “Name”, which doesn’t make much sense).[20] In another astounding parallel, “shem” forms the root of the word “shemoneh”, which literally means “eight” in Hebrew, which in Greenberg’s view, “[refers] to the eight Hermopolitan deities that emerged out of the primeval flood”.[21]

            The name of the second son, Ham (“Chem” in Hebrew), who happened to be the ancestor of the Egyptians and the other African nations in the Bible (Genesis 10:6), “derives from the Egyptian word ‘Keme,’ an ancient name for Egypt.” Not only this, but the word “Keme” literally means “the black land”.[22]

            Finally, the name of the third son Japheth corresponds to the “linguistic equivalent of the name ‘God-Ptah’”.[23] Greenberg comes to this conclusion by observing that the name in Hebrew consists of the consonants “J-Ph-Th”, which can be written as “J-Pt”. It just so happens that “Pt” consists of the same letters in the name of the Egyptian deity Ptah.[24] 

            Interestingly, the case that Greenberg makes for Noah’s name having its origins in Egyptian myth is not as strong. Greenberg notes that the Hebrew name “Noach” only contains two letters (“Nun” and “Ched”).[25] As already mentioned, in the Egyptian myth, “Nun” represented the deity associated with the “primeval flood”. The other coincidence that Greenberg notes is that the “Ogdoad” deities in the Hermopolitan myth were depicted as serpents, and in “[i]n early Hebrew writing, the letter Nun evolved from the image of a serpent”.[26] While certainly an interesting parallel, it is not as impressive as the parallels between Noah’s sons and the Egyptian myths.

Ogdoad - Allen Austin
Figure 2 – A depiction of the “Ogdoad” deities. Nun supports the boat carrying the other deities (Source: Allen Austin, The Middle of the Earth: Genesis in Egypt [USA: Xulon Press, 2011], p. 30).[27]

            Finally, there is also an inconsistency in the post-flood narrative concerning the mysterious “Canaan”, who is introduced suddenly in Genesis 9 after the family disembarks from the ark.  After planting a vineyard, Noah got drunk and lay naked in his tent. The second son, Ham, told his brothers about it, and Shem and Japheth then proceeded to cover the nakedness of their father. For some reason, after waking up from his drunken stupor, Noah cursed the mysterious Canaan, who is described as the “youngest son”:

“When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.’”[28]

There is an obvious inconsistency in this story:

  1. Ham is described as the “father of Canaan” in Genesis 9:22.
  2. Ham was the one who discovered his father lying naked in the tent, and told his brothers, yet when Noah woke up, he cursed Canaan, the “youngest son”.
  3. The “youngest” son of Noah would have been Japheth. As Greenberg notes:

“…on all occasions when the Bible mentions Noah’s three sons together, Ham’s name appears in the second place. This would have been a literary formula intended to convey to the reader that Ham was the middle son, not the youngest.”[29]

Other scholars have noted this contradiction as well. Naomi Koltun-Fromm observes:

“Ham was the middle son, not the youngest; Canaan must have perpetrated the humiliation, not his father, though it was Ham who told his brothers.”[30]

Even early Christian scholars described Ham as the middle son. For example, Augustine wrote in The City of God:

“Scripture first mentions that of the youngest son, who is called Japheth: he had eight sons, and by two of these sons seven grandchildren, three by one son, four by the other; in all, fifteen descendants. Ham, Noah’s middle son, had four sons, and by one of them five grandsons, and by one of these two great-grandsons; in all, eleven.”[31]

However, the Bible later describes Japheth as the older brother of Shem, which means Japheth was the oldest (Genesis 10:21). But the NIV translation of the Bible has a footnote to Genesis 10:21, which states that the verse could also be rendered as (emphasis ours):

“Sons were also born to Shem, the older brother of Japheth.”[32]

            So what is going on here? Who was Canaan? Was he the son of Ham…or of Noah? Greenberg offers a solution to these questions, albeit one that Jews and Christians will not like. He notes that in the Hermopolitan Creation myth, the Ogdoad deities collectively gave birth to a child, the god Re (Ra). Re would become the creator deity in the myth and the sun god of Egyptian mythology.[33] In Greenberg’s view, the “Hebrew priests” had to “diminish the influence of the Egyptian Re on the beliefs of early Hebrew refugees from Egypt.”[34] In other words, the confusion around the parentage of Canaan in the Biblical story originated from the Hermopolitan myth, which was one of the main sources of the Biblical story. Greenberg notes that there seems to be a deliberate attempt by an editor to “repeatedly stress that Ham was the father” of Canaan. We can clearly see this in the way Canaan is suddenly introduced in Genesis 9:18. In the NIV, the first mention of Canaan is placed in parentheses:

“The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.)”

The relationship between Ham and Canaan is again restated in verse 22:

“Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside.”

There is a deliberate emphasis on Ham being the father of Canaan, even though later (verse 24), it is written that Noah cursed Canaan after he “found out what his youngest son had done to him”, which implies that Canaan was the youngest son. This confusion, according to Greenberg, seems to be due to the story’s heavy reliance on the well-known Hermopolitan myth.

            The problems discussed above cast serious doubt on the Biblical story. In the next section, we will discuss the Quranic version of the story. We will see that the problems in the Biblical story are not found in the Quranic story.

The Quranic Story

            The story of Nuh (peace be upon him) and the flood is mentioned throughout the Quran, sometimes as long, continuous narratives and sometimes as brief accounts just a few verses long. Nuh (peace be upon him) was the first messenger sent by God.[35] His people had strayed from the true faith of their father Adam (peace be upon him) and worshiped idols. Despite Nuh’s repeated warnings and preaching, they refused to reject these false gods:

“Never leave your gods and never leave Wadd or Suwa’ or Yaghuth and Ya’uq and Nasr.”[36]

After spending most of his life preaching in vain to his people,[37] and when it became clear that they would not believe in his message (besides those few who had already believed), Nuh (peace be upon him) was commanded by Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) to build an ark:

“And it was revealed to Noah that, ‘No one will believe from your people except those who have already believed, so do not be distressed by what they have been doing. And construct the ship under Our observation and Our inspiration and do not address Me concerning those who have wronged; indeed, they are [to be] drowned.’”[38]

Once the ark was built and the flood was imminent, Nuh (peace be upon him) was commanded to bring the believers and two of every animal on board the ark. While most of his family had believed, his wife and one of his unnamed sons had remained loyal to the pagan religion, and were thus among the condemned:

“Allah presents an example of those who disbelieved: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two of Our righteous servants but betrayed them, so those prophets did not avail them from Allah at all, and it was said, ‘Enter the Fire with those who enter.’”[39]

“[But] he said, “I will take refuge on a mountain to protect me from the water.” [Noah] said, “There is no protector today from the decree of Allah, except for whom He gives mercy.” And the waves came between them, and he was among the drowned.”[40]

The flood destroyed the people of Nuh (peace be upon him), leaving only the blessed messenger, his remaining sons and some others who were on the ark, as well as the animals. Once the flood waters receded, the ark came to rest on a mountain called “Judi” and the believers once again set foot on dry land:

“And it was said, ‘O earth, swallow your water, and O sky, withhold [your rain].’ And the water subsided, and the matter was accomplished, and the ship came to rest on the [mountain of] Judiyy. And it was said, ‘Away with the wrongdoing people.’”[41]

Analysis of the Quranic Story

            When reading the Quranic story of Nuh (peace be upon him), some major differences with the Biblical version immediately become apparent. First, unlike the Biblical account which claims that God sent the flood on an unsuspecting and sinful world, the Quran states that the flood was sent upon Nuh’s people only after they had consistently rejected his warnings and refused to shun their idols and worship Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) alone. It is a consistent message in the Quran that even if people are living in sin, God will not punish them until He has given them a chance to repent and sent a messenger to warn them.[42] If they do not, then and only then, will He punish them.

            Second, regarding the alleged global nature of the flood, the context of the Quranic story suggests that the flood was in fact a local one, or at most, affected the region in which Nuh (peace be upon him) and his people lived. It also affected only the people of Nuh (peace be upon him). Some people have argued that the Quran states that the flood waters covered the earth, appealing to such verses as the following:

وَقَالَ نُوحٌ رَّبِّ لَا تَذَرْ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ دَيَّارًا

“And Noah said, ‘My Lord, do not leave upon the earth from among the disbelievers an inhabitant.’”[43]

In this verse, the Arabic word translated as “the earth” is “الْأَرْضِ” (al-ardi), which with the “الْ”(-al) means the planet “Earth” but can also mean “the ground” (see the screenshot below; if there is no “al”, then it can mean land or country).[44]

  Lane - ard (earth)   

       Thus, Nuh (peace be upon him) prayed to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) to destroy all disbelievers in the entire world, which would suggest a global flood. As The Study Quran commentary notes:

“V. 26 is the only verse in the many verses pertaining to the story of Noah to imply that the flood was a universal event…All other Quranic discussions of the flood imply that it is specific and localized.”[45]

However, the context of the verse shows that he was referring to his own people:

“Noah said, “My Lord, indeed they have disobeyed me and followed him whose wealth and children will not increase him except in loss.”[46]

How could Nuh (peace be upon him) have been referring to people in other parts of the world whom he had never met and was never sent to? How could they have “disobeyed” him if they had not even heard him preaching? Clearly, he was praying that all the disbelievers among his people, who had stubbornly refused to listen to him, would be destroyed. It does not necessitate a global flood, since he was sent to his own people and was praying for their destruction after spending most of his life trying to teach them. Some Muslim apologists, such as Bassam Zawadi,[47] suggest that in Nuh’s time, his people were the only ones in the entire world. If this was true, then it only serves to further deny the possibility of a global flood, since a localized flood would have done the job. A global flood would have been unnecessary.

            Furthermore, if we consider Surah Hud, 11:44, we can see that a localized flood better fits the narrative:

وَقِيلَ يَا أَرْضُ ابْلَعِي مَاءَكِ وَيَا سَمَاءُ أَقْلِعِي وَغِيضَ الْمَاءُ وَقُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ وَاسْتَوَتْ عَلَى الْجُودِيِّ ۖ وَقِيلَ بُعْدًا لِّلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ

“And it was said, “O earth, swallow your water, and O sky, withhold [your rain].” And the water subsided, and the matter was accomplished, and the ship came to rest on the [mountain of] Judiyy. And it was said, ‘Away with the wrongdoing people.’”

In this verse, the word for “earth” is simply “أَرْضُ”, without the “الْ” (al-), which means that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) commanded the “land” to “swallow up thy water”. The command was not to the entire Earth. This strongly suggests a localized flood.[48]

            Another objection raised to the local flood theory is that some early Quranic commentators believed that the flood was indeed global. Yet this argument is also weak since it was common for Quranic commentators to rely on Jewish and Christian traditions when discussing the stories of the prophets. This was especially true when both the Quran and the authentic ahadith were silent on an issue. Since there is nothing concrete in the Quran or ahadith to suggest that the flood was global, the opinions of the exegetes cannot be considered authoritative. This is the view of many modern Islamic scholars (though others also believe that the flood was global). According to one scholarly opinion:

“The divine instruction to Prophet Noah was to carry on the ark a pair of every species. Certainly the Prophet Noah complied with this order and put those creatures on the ark. This must be understood as relating to the area in which he was and the practical possibility of implementing Allah’s instruction. We are not told that Noah traversed the whole globe collecting those animals who were not available in his area. Nowhere are we told that couples of species from different climates and faraway geographical areas were guided to go to Prophet Noah’s place in order to be on the ark. Indeed, there is no clear indication that the flood covered the whole earth. It certainly covered the area where the people of Noah lived, so as to exterminate all creatures other than those who believed in Allah and followed Prophet Noah. We cannot tell how big the ark was, but it certainly was big enough to accommodate those believers and a pair of each type of species. May I remind you that in the Qur’an we are told that Noah’s followers were few.”[49]

Another opinion states that:

“…there is no indication or reference in the Qur’an suggesting that the floods overwhelmed the entire planet. The description given in the Qur’an of the flood makes clear that it was of overwhelming proportions, leaving none of the wrongdoers among Noah’s people alive. It does not mention other communities. In fact there are several references that it engulfed Noah’s own people in particular. Take for example the twice-repeated Qur’anic statement: “Do not appeal to Me on behalf of the wrongdoers. They shall be drowned.” (11: 37 & 23: 27) “We saved him together with all those who stood by him, in the ark, and caused those who rejected Our revelations to drown. Surely they were blind people.” (7: 64) The contexts in which all these statements occur are very clear in their references to Noah’s own community to whom he was required to address his message. Hence we can say that the flood punishment was directed to his own people who rejected his faith, after clear evidence had been given to them, and after their long opposition to his efforts and their repeated hurling of abuse and ridicule on him.”[50]

Further below, the same source also questions whether Nuh (peace be upon him) had exactly three surviving sons (as the Bible claims), which is a reasonable question to ask because there is nothing in the Quran or authentic ahadith to indicate how many sons he had or what their names were:

“Nor can we say that all people living today are descendents [sic] of Noah through his three sons. To start with, there were other people saved in the Ark. These could have had children of their own and they would have descendents [sic]. Moreover, we cannot establish with any degree of certainty that Noah had three sons.”

Some people may object to this view and point to some ahadith from Jami At-Tirmidhi which clearly state that the names of the three sons were Ham, Sam, and Yafith.[51] However, there are some issues with these ahadith:

  1. All three ahadith are weak.
  2. Two of the ahadith simply state that each son was the ancestor of a specific group of people (Sam/Shem was the father of the Arabs, Ham was the father of the Ethiopians, and Yafith was the father of the Romans). The ahadith do not state that they were also the ancestors of other groups, such as the Turks, even though they are mentioned elsewhere in the ahadith literature.[52]

Thus, the appeal to these ahadith does not prove that the flood affected the entire world.

Critics may also point to some narrations from the commentary of Ibn Kathir that seem to indicate that only Nuh (peace be upon him) and his family survived the flood, and thus the flood must have been a global disaster. In his commentary on Surah As-Saffat, 37:77 (“And We made his descendants those remaining [on the earth]”),[53] Ibn Kathir mentioned the following:

“Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) ‘There was no one left apart from the offspring of Nuh, (peace be upon him).’’ Sa`id bin Abi `Arubah said, narrating from Qatadah…‘All people descended from the offspring of Nuh, (peace be upon him) .’”[54]

He then mentioned the weak ahadith from Tirmidhi. As for the narration from Ali and Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them), there is nothing that shows that Nuh’s family were the only survivors in the entire world. It could mean that no one from Nuh’s people was left except his family. Therefore, this narration does not prove that the flood affected the entire world. Regarding the narration from Sa`id bin Abi `Arubah from Qatadah, there is no evidence that this hadith goes back to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or to the Sahabah. Moreover, if it is authentic, it still does not necessitate a global flood. Therefore, it is very weak evidence. The fact that there are no authentic statements going back to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which state definitively that the flood was global or that all people in the world are descended from Nuh’s sons demonstrates the weakness of these views.[55]

            Finally, another verse that is often used to argue for a global flood is Surah Al-Isra, 17:3:

“O descendants of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah. Indeed, he was a grateful servant.”

It is argued that the verse is referring to all mankind (“O descendants of those we carried…”), but the context of the verse suggests that it is actually referring to the Children of Israel. Verse 2 mentions the Prophet Musa (peace be upon him), who was a “guide to the Children of Israel”, and verse 3 also refers to the Children of Israel. On this basis, The Study Quran commentary explains that verse 2 is a description of the Children of Israel.[56] In addition, Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani noted in his commentary on verse 2 regarding the Children of Israel that:

“[b]y addressing them in this manner, Allah reminds them [Bani Isra’il] that they are from those who were saved from being drowned in the flood. […] Therefore the Bani Isra’il should emulate their forefather in this respect and express their gratitude to Him by carrying out His commands and following the final Prophet.”[57]

Similarly, Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi stated in his commentary that:

“[v]erses 2 and 3…exhorted the Bani Isra’il to follow and obey the Divine Law. The verses that follow warn and admonish them on their disobedience.”[58]

Hence, this verse does not prove that all people were descended from Noah’s progeny. Even if it did, it could be argued that Noah’s people were the only ones in the earth at the time, so that his progeny became the ancestors of all the nations in the world.

            Since no direct evidence exists for a global flood, we must consider what the available evidence shows. Referring to the Quranic narratives about Nuh (peace be upon him), Islamic scholar M.A.S. Abdel Haleem states that:

“…when one looks at the Qur’anic text itself (in this account and in those of suras 7, 11 and 23), it is only al-mala, the prominent people in the society, who kept demanding that he drive away the ‘worst kind of people’ amongst his followers, and those they have led astray (Q. 71:24-7), who will be punished, not everybody and everything.”[59]

Later, he states the following:

“It has already been observed that in the Qur’anic accounts only al-mala’ and their followers were drowned. This view of the ‘universal’ flood, which is actually depicted in the Qur’an as being specific and localised, has no basis in the Qur’an and is clearly inspired by other versions of the Noah story, such as those related in the Bible and popular religious legend.”[60]

            Finally, Islamic scholar Suzanne Haneef notes that there was a difference of opinion even among the early scholars about the nature of the flood. She states that:

“[t]he Qur’an and ahadith are silent concerning the locus and extent of the Flood, and the early Islamic traditionists also differed concerning it.”[61]

This was also noted by Mufti Muhammad Madani in his commentary. After citing the ahadith about Nuh’s sons from Tirmidhi and Sa’id Bin Al-Musayyib (see notes #51 and 52) as evidence that is usually presented for a global flood, Mufti Madani stated that:

“[o]n the other hand, many commentators are of the opinion that the flood did not spread beyond the boundaries of the region to which Sayyidina Nuh was sent as a Prophet. They say that the flood destroyed only the disbelievers who lived in Sayyidina Nuh’s region. They say that he could not have been sent as a Prophet to the entire human race because this privilege is reserved for Sayyidina Muhammad. Therefore, the progenies of the people living in other regions could well have prospered into the people we see today.

They add that the verse ‘We made his progeny the only survivors’ means that Sayyidina Nuh’s progeny were the only survivors from those who boarded the ark. Of these people, only his progeny lived on.”[62]

So, while many commentators believed the flood was a global one, others did not, and there is no religious obligation for anyone to believe one way or the other. There is no proof that the Quranic story tells of a global flood. In fact, the context strongly suggests a local flood. Since there is far more evidence for a local flood and there is no indication as to when it occurred, the Quranic account does not suffer from the same inconsistencies and difficulties found in the Biblical account.[63] Therefore, the Quranic account is far more credible than the Biblical account.

            In addition, since the Quran or the authentic ahadith do not mention the sons of Nuh (peace be upon him) at all, there are no parallels between the Islamic sources and the Hermopolitan myth. Nor does the Quran denigrate the omniscience and omnipotence of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), as the Bible does with Yahweh. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) does not have “regrets” and is All-Knowing. Thus, in a stunning “coincidence”, it just so happens that the problems that exist in the Bible are not reproduced in the Quran.

Conclusion

            In this article, we compared the Biblical and Quranic versions of the story of Noah and the flood. While similar in some ways, the two stories are worlds apart in other ways. While the Biblical account of God sending a global flood without warning contradicts archaeological and historical facts, the Quranic account suffers from no such difficulties. This is because the latter does not clearly endorse the theory of a global flood, despite claims to the contrary, and instead only mentions the flood story in the context of Noah’s preaching to his own people. Therefore, the claim of a global flood is not tenable, and we must instead endorse the belief that the flood was probably local, affecting only the sinful people of Noah’s nation. The Quran also does not suffer from the Biblical parallels to polytheistic creation myths such as the Hermopolitan myth. Unlike the Quran, the Bible seems to have been influenced by pagan mythology. Given the totality of the evidence, the Quranic story is much more credible and should be given preference over the Biblical story. Therefore, Christians should reject the Bible and consider the Quran as the logical and reasonable alternative. And Allah knows best!


[1] Genesis 6:6 (New International Version).

[2] Genesis 6:1-4. The identity of the “sons of God” has been a matter of controversy among Christians. However, both Jewish and early Christian sources indicate that they were fallen angels. For a detailed discussion of this issue, see the following:

https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/genesis-6-and-the-sons-of-god/

https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/15/1-enoch-and-the-sons-of-god/

[3] Genesis 6:8.

[4] In Genesis 8, however, he is instructed to take seven pairs of “clean” animals and one pair of “unclean” animals.

[5] Genesis 7:6.

[6] Genesis 8:4, 13.

[7] See the “Table of Nations” (Genesis 10).

[8] http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2012/03/09/feedback-timeline-for-the-flood

[9] C. Dennis McKinsey, The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy (New York: Prometheus Books, 1995), p. 220.

[10] McKinsey, op. cit., p. 220.

As a side note, McKinsey’s use of the term “pharaoh” to refer to Menes is anachronistic as the term was not used to refer to Egyptian kings until the New Kingdom period. This is a common mistake which even the Bible makes on numerous occasions. For more on this, see the following article: https://quranandbibleblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/04/the-pharaoh-in-genesis-how-the-quran-and-ahadith-correct-the-bible/

[11] For a summary of several flood myths from ancient civilizations, including Egypt, see the following: http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/12-10-17/#feature.

There is also another myth in Egyptian mythology, known as the Hermopolitan myth, that may have served as the model for the Biblical version of the flood, as will be seen.

The prevalence of flood myths in almost every culture in the world, such as the Mesopotamian flood myth in the Epic of Gilgamesh, has led skeptics to think that the Noah story was simply adapted from the earlier Sumerian myth. However, as Lorence G. Collins (California State University Northridge) notes:

“Because these stories all describe an ancient huge flood in Mesopotamia, it is extremely likely that a huge flood could have occurred” (“Yes, Noah’s Flood May Have Happened, But Not Over the Whole Earth”, Reports of the National Center for Science Education, 29, no. 5 (2009): 38, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299484008_Yes_Noah’s_Flood_may_have_happened_but_not_over_the_whole_earth).

Collins also provides geological evidence for a local flood in Mesopotamia, and also notes the complete absence of evidence for a global one.

[12] Moses Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed, trans. M. Friedlander (New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004), p. 72.

[13] See Benson’s commentary: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/benson/genesis/18.htm.

[14] Neal Walls, “The Gods of Israel in Comparative Ancient Near Eastern Context”, in The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Ancient Israel, ed. Susan Niditch (United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2016), p. 273.

[15] Ibid. There is a typo in the original source. Walls was referring to Genesis 2:18-20 when referring to animals being unsuitable companions for Adam, but the text says “Genesis 3:18-20”. The quote above has the correct chapter.

The text of Genesis 2 clearly shows that God first attempted to find a “helper” for Adam from among the animals. When this did not work, God decided to create Eve:

“The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”

[16] Walls, op. cit., p. 273.

[17] Gary Greenberg, 101 Myths of the Bible (Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2000), p. 73.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Genesis 7:7. This parallel does not exist in the Quranic story because Noah’s wife was an unbeliever and thus one of the people left behind in the flood (see Surah At-Tahrim, 66:10). Thus, the minimum number of people in the ark, assuming Noah had 3 sons, would have been seven.

[20] Ibid., p. 74.

See also: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H8035&t=KJV

[21] Greenberg, op. cit., p. 74.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid., p. 75.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid., p. 74.

[26] Ibid.

[27] According to Austin, the body of Atum (represented by the scarab beetle in the picture) has a parallel with the extra-Biblical tale that Adam’s body was carried in the ark during the flood. This story is also found in some Islamic sources, but not in the Quran and authentic ahadith.

[28] Genesis 9:24-25.

[29] Greenberg, op. cit., p. 77.

While it is probable that Shem was indeed the eldest son, Greenberg’s claim of a “literary formula” is clearly not the rule in the Bible. For example, in Genesis 10:6, the sons of Ham are listed as “Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan”, which would mean that Cush was the eldest son (according to the “literary formula”). However, since Canaan is the only son mentioned in Genesis 9, then he must have been the “eldest” of Ham. Of course, this would only be true IF Canaan was actually the son of Ham, and not of Noah. See the discussion above for why it is probable that Canaan was actually the son of Noah.

[30] Naomi Koltun-Fromm, “Aphrahat and The Rabbis on Noah’s Righteousness in Light of the Jewish-Christian Polemic”, in The Book of Genesis in Jewish and Oriental Christian Interpretation: A Collection of Essays, eds. Judith Frishman and Lucan Van Rompay (Belgium: Traditio Exegetica Graeca), p. 67.         

[31] Augustine, The City of God, Book 16, Chapter 3, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120116.htm.

In the same chapter, Augustine said that the Shem was the elder son.

[32] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+10&version=NIV

See also John F. MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005), p. 27.

MacArthur states that the verse is “better translated as ‘the elder brother of Japheth’ which would make Shem the oldest of Noah’s three sons.”

The website Mechon-Mamre, which provides the English translation of the Masoretic text, renders the verse as follows:

“And unto Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, to him also were children born” (https://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0110.htm).

There definitely was significant confusion about the correct meaning of the verse. The Jewish commentator Rashi admitted:

“I do not know [from the wording of the verse] whether Japheth is the elder of Shem” (https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8174/showrashi/true).

So, instead of going by the verse itself, Rashi instead appealed to Genesis 11:10, which states that Shem was 100 years old two years after the flood, and since Noah was 500 years old when he first had children (Genesis 5:32), that means that Japheth must have been the eldest son. Even if this interpretation was accurate, it only creates a contradiction because the text of Genesis 10:21 should be translated to show that Shem was the eldest son. This contradiction would have been due to the editing process that Genesis, like all books of the Bible, undoubtedly went through.

However, it is not necessarily true that Shem had to be younger than Japheth as per Genesis 11:10. Genesis 5:32 merely states that “after Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (NIV). (The translation from Mechon-Mamre makes it even more confusing and seems to suggest that all three sons were born when Noah was 500 years old [“And Noah was five hundred years old; and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”]) In other words, it is not necessary that his first son was born when Noah was 500 years old. From the chronology presented in Genesis 11:10, if Shem was the eldest son, he would have been born when Noah was 503 years old, since according to Genesis 8:13, the flood ended when Noah was 601 years old. Therefore, when Noah was 603 years old, Shem would have been 100 years old. Neither Genesis 5:32 or 11:10 proves that Japheth was older than Shem.          

[33] Greenberg, op. cit., p. 76.

[34] Ibid., p. 77.

[35] Sahih Bukhari, 60:15, https://sunnah.com/bukhari/60/15.

[36] Surah Nuh, 71:23.

[37] He preached to them for 950 years. See Surah Al-Ankaboot, 29:14.

[38] Surah Hud, 11:36-37.

[39] Surah At-Tahrim, 66:10.

[40] Surah Hud, 11:43.

[41] Surah Hud, 11:44.

[42] For example, see Surah al-Isra, 17:15.

[43] Surah Nuh, 71:26.

[44] See Lane’s Lexicon: http://www.tyndalearchive.com/TABS/Lane//.

[45] The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary, ed. Seyyed Hossein Nasr (New York: HarperOne, 2015), p. 1425.

[46] Surah Nuh, 71:21.

[47] https://www.call-to-monotheism.com/rebuttal_to_sam_shamoun_s_article__does_the_quran_teach_a_local_flood__

[48] Some people may claim that since the ark came to rest on Mt. Judi, then it could only mean that there was a massive, global flood that carried the ark to such a tall mountain. Mt. Judi in present-day Turkey is over 7,000 feet high (https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/mount-judi), but it has also been claimed that it was a mountain near Mosul in present-day Iraq (The Study Quran, op. cit., p. 574). Some people may assume that the ark must have come to rest at the top of Mt. Judi or at some other high point. But the verse simply states that the ark rested on Judi, without saying at what height. For all we know, it could have rested at a very low height. There is no reason to think that it must have been at a very high altitude. As with other verses typically used in favor of a global flood, this verse also presents no actual proof for a global flood.

[49] http://www.islamicity.com/qa/action.lasso.asp?-db=services&-lay=Ask&-op=eq&number=4639&-format=detailpop.shtml&-find

[50] http://islamonline.com/news/articles/3/About-Noah-the-Floods-and-Mankind.html

[51] Jami At-Tirmidhi, 5:44:3231, https://sunnah.com/urn/742640; 1:46:3931, https://sunnah.com/urn/738240; 5:44:3230, https://sunnah.com/urn/742630.

[52] Sahih Muslim, 54:79, https://sunnah.com/muslim/54/79.

Al-Tabari mentioned in his History the following:

“Noah begat three, each one of whom begat three: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Shem begat the Arabs, Persians, and Byzantines, in all of whom there is good. Japheth begat the Turks, Slavs, Gog and Magog, in none of whom there is good. Ham begat the Copts, Sudanese, and Berbers” (The History of Al-Tabari, Vol. 2: Prophets and Patriarchs, trans. William M. Brinner [New York: State University of New York Press, 1987], p. 21).

However, this narration does not originate from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In the narration, Yahya bin Sa’id narrated from Sa’id bin al-Musayyib, who was a prominent scholar from the Tabieen, the generation after the Sahabah (http://islamicencyclopedia.org/islamic-pedia-topic.php?id=1225). Though al-Musayyib was a highly regarded scholar, there is a still a notable lack of definitive narrations going back to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or his Companions that can prove that the flood affected the entire world or that Noah’s sons were the ancestors of all the nations of the world.

[53] The Saheeh International translation adds the phrase “on the earth” in brackets. However, the Quran does not state this.

[54] http://m.qtafsir.com/Surah-As-Saaffat/Nuh-and-His-People

[55] That all people are descended from Noah’s sons could still be possible. As we have seen, there is no authentic statement that indicates how many sons Noah had. What if he had several surviving sons? If he had several sons, and his people were the only ones who existed on the Earth at the time, then it could still be possible that his sons became the ancestors of all future nations and tribes. It is also possible that he only had 3 surviving sons, and all the nations of the Earth descended from them. But this would only have been possible if Noah’s people were the only ones on Earth at the time. Regardless, if Noah’s sons were the ancestors of all nations, that still does not necessitate a global flood. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) knows best.

Ibn Kathir mentioned that there were different views as to how many people were in the ark during the flood. Some said as many as 80, while others said as low as 10 (https://en.islamway.net/article/20963/the-story-of-nuh-noah-ibn-kathir). Al-Tabari also mentioned some views that the number of people in the ark was as low as 7 and as high as 80 (The History of Al-Tabari, Vol. 1: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, trans. Franz Rosenthal [New York: State University of New York Press, 1989], p. 364-366). In one narration. Al-Tabari related from Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that there were 80 people in the ark, including Noah, his 3 sons and their wives, and 73 “sons of Seth” (The History of Al-Tabari, Vol. 1: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, trans. Franz Rosenthal [New York: State University of New York Press, 1989], p. 365). However, the chain Al-Tabari related this narration from included Hisham–his father–Abu Salih. Citing the scholar Al-Suyuti, Waqar Akbar Cheema refers to the chain Abu Salih– Muhammad bin Sa’ib al-Kalbi (Hisham’s father) as “the notorious link…which falls in the ‘chain of lies’” (https://icraa.org/the-age-of-khadija-at-the-time-of-her-marriage-with-the-prophet/). So, this narration, even though it allegedly went back to Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), is not authentic. Other narrations also originating from Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) only state that there were 80 people, without providing any more details. Perhaps among these 80 people were several other sons of Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him)? Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) knows best.   

[56] The Study Quran, op. cit., p. 695.

[57] Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani, Illuminating Discourses on the Noble Quran: Tafsir Anwarul Bayan, Vol. 3 (Karachi, Pakistan: Darul-Ishaat, 2005), p. 254.

[58] Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi, Ma’ariful Qur’an: A Comprehensive Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Vol. 5, trans. Muhammad Shamim (Karachi, Pakistan: Maktaba-e-Darul-‘Uloom, 2010), p. 463.

[59] M.A.S Abdel Haleem, “The Qur’anic Employment of the Story of Noah,” Journal of Qur’anic Studies, 8, no. 1 (2006): 48.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Suzanne Haneef, A History of the Prophets of Islam: Derived from the Quran, Ahadith and Commentaries, Vol. 1 (Chicago, IL: Kazi Publications, Inc., 2002) p. 171.

[62] Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani, Illuminating Discourses on the Noble Quran: Tafsir Anwarul Bayan, Vol. 4 (Karachi, Pakistan: Darul-Ishaat, 2005) p. 351. 

[63] It should also be noted that the Quran and authentic ahadith do not provide any genealogies, like the Bible, that would allow us to date the flood to a particular period. For all we know, the flood could have occurred tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years ago. But the Biblical genealogies leave no doubt as to when the Biblical flood would have occurred, which proves that the Biblical account is false.

35 thoughts on “Noah and the Flood in the Bible and the Quran

  1. Anonymous

    Great article, Faiz.

    You are very correct that there could not have been a global flood during the time period described in the Bible. There is no record of there ever being a global flood.

    You seem to use these facts to come to the conclusion that there was no global Flood, and I agree with you on this, although it took me a while to see this.

    Do you realize though, that by using these same criteria- an obvious lack of either historical or geological evidence that should have indicated that such an event happened- one could also dismiss the account of the moon being split in two, that allegedly happened when the pagans were testing Muhammad, according to the Quran?

    54:1
    The Hour has come near, and the moon has split [in two].

    The story is explained in more detail in the Bukhari and Muslim hadith collections. This happened on the pagans' request, and allegedly they saw a half of the moon on one side of the mountain, and the other half on the other side.

    (4) Narrated Anas bin Malik: The people of Mecca asked Allah's Apostle to show them a miracle. So he showed them the moon split in two halves between which they saw the Hiram' mountain. (Book #58, Hadith #208)
    http://searchtruth.com/searchHadith.php?keyword=moon+split&translator=1&search=1&book=&start=0&records_display=10&search_word=all

    Peter C

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  2. Anonymous

    An event like this (the moon splitting into 2 parts) would surely be seen around the world, not only Arabia. We know that astronomy was around back then, and practiced by different civilizations at the time, including Ancient China.

    Unlike any other country, China is the only place where astronomical observations took place uninterrupted for 4000 years and this surveillance led to many important astronomical discoveries. Special care was taken in China to record the appearance of unexpected events in the sky, such as eclipses, comets or star explosions

    http://idp.bl.uk/4DCGI/education/astronomy/history.html

    Astronomers in China have been recording eclipses, comets, star explosions for some 4 milennia, in a fashion that was “uninterrupted”.

    Other civilizations that were involved in astronomy during the 7th century included the Indians and Japanese. We also know that the Mayas observed the sky and were involved in astronomy.

    Yet, we have total silence from all of these other civilizations. The splitting of the moon would have been something observed by everyone in the world, and it is implausible that the Chinese- who made it a point to record “unexpected events” in the sky, would have failed to mention this.

    Had the moon actually split into pieces as the Quran and hadiths claim it did, someone would have taken note of such an amazing event. There were people across India and China and Japan and other parts of the world at the time who were astronomers and made it their mission to observe and record what was happening in the sky, not to mention millions of others who would have noticed such an event. How is it possible that no one saw such a thing?

    Also, there is no evidence that NASA has seen that the moon at any other point was split.

    Just as one would expect that a global flood would have left us some geological evidence, it is also not unreasonable to expect that the splitting of a satellite the size of the moon would have also.

    Yet, commenting on the claims of some Muslims who claim that some photos of lines on the surface of the moon are “evidence” of it having split at some point in the past, NASA had this to say:

    “My recommendation is to not believe everything you read on the internet. Peer-reviewed papers are the only scientifically valid sources of information out there. No current scientific evidence reports that the Moon was split into two (or more) parts and then reassembled at any point in the past.”

    Brad Bailey

    NLSI Staff Scientist

    June 21, 2010

    http://sservi.nasa.gov/?question=evidence-moon-having-been-split-two

    Take care,
    Peter C

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  3. Anonymous

    I need to take back my comments about China, since there is a 5 hour time difference. It is very likely that the Chinese would not have seen this event.

    However, there is no reason why the Sassanians or Byzantines in nearby Egypt and Syria would not have seen such a sight. We have no records from them about such an event. Even if at that time they weren't into astronomy, it is unlikely that such an event would have escaped everyone's notice,

    India is only three hours of time difference from Arabia, so it would be likely that this event would have been witnessed by Indian astronomers, who we know were engaged in the practice during the 7th century

    – Peter C.

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  4. Anonymous

    Another person who was an astronomer at the time was Stephanus of Alexandria. He was making observations from Constantinople, which would only have been a
    time difference of one hour from Arabia. He made observations of the position of the sun, moon, and other celestial bodies from AD 617 to 619.

    It is well known that Stephanus of Alexandria was the author of a commentary on Ptolemy’s Handy Tables, in which he gave his own examples for the calculation of the solar, lunar, and planetary positions, as well as solar and lunar eclipses calculated for the coordinates of Constantinople. As shown by Otto Neugebauer and H. B. Van Hoesen (1959), the dates of calculated examples in the commentary fall in the years 617 to 619. This suggests that during this period Stephanus was in Constantinople and consistently observed and calculated the position of the Sun, the Moon, and the other planets. Had he not been in Constantinople but Alexandria, he would have used the data of Ptolemy’s tables as they are given for the geographical coordinates of Alexandria without converting them into Constantinople’s coordinates. Consequently, the authorship of Stephanus for the alchemical work should be considered genuine.
    http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Stephanus_of_Alexandria.aspx

    According to Maududi's tafsir, the event happened in AD 617.
    http://englishtafsir.com/Quran/54/index.html#sdfootnote1sym

    There is no record of this event in the works of Stephanus of Alexandria. It is true that, according to Maududi, the event took place very quickly so many people may have missed it. I find it though highly improbable that the entire population of the middle east and parts of the world which could see the moon, would have missed this event, except for Muhammad, his followers, and the pagans he was discussing with.

    According to the tafsir of Maududi, the split was witnessed by a king in Malabar, which we know is in India. His name is not mentioned in the tafsir, but if this event was allegedly seen in India (3 hours time difference), there is no reason it would not have been seen in Constantinople (1 hour time difference). I don't have the name of the king in Malabar who Maududi was referring to so I won't comment more, but if you have more info on that, I'd look forward to seeing it.

    Peter C

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  5. Anonymous

    Part 1. As always not everything we read from secular records can be trusted. You yourself would agree with, this yet when convenient for your argument you accept it. The biblical record is the far superior one for the following reasons. Egyptian history meshes with that of Israel at various points. The date 1728 B.C.E. for Israel’s entry into Egypt, and for the Exodus, 215 years later, 1513 B.C.E. Pharaoh Shishak’s attack on Jerusalem came during Rehoboam’s fifth year in 993 B.C.E.; King So of Egypt was contemporary with Hoshea’s reign (c. 758-740 B.C.E.); and Pharaoh Necho’s battle resulting in Josiah’s death likely came in 629 B.C.E. (1Ki 14:25; 2Ki 17:4; 2Ch 35:20-24) The difference between the above dates and those generally assigned by modern historians amounts to as much as a century or more for the Exodus and then narrows down to about 20 years by Pharaoh Necho’s time. The following information shows why the chronology based on the Biblical reckoning makes the best sense.
    Modern historians rely principally on certain documents in the form of Egyptian king lists or annals. Among these are: the fragmentary Palermo Stone, presenting what are considered to be the first five “dynasties” of Egyptian history; the Turin Papyrus, very fragmentary and giving a list of kings and their reigns from the “Old Kingdom” into the “New Kingdom”; and additional inscriptions in stone, likewise fragmentary. These separate lists and other independent inscriptions have been coordinated in chronological order by means of the writings of Manetho, an Egyptian priest of the third century B.C.E. His works, dealing with Egyptian history and religion, arrange the reigns of the Egyptian monarchs into 30 dynasties, an arrangement still used by modern Egyptologists. These sources, together with astronomical calculations, based on Egyptian texts dealing with lunar phases and the rising of the Dog Star (Sothis), have been used to produce a chronological table.

    Like

  6. Anonymous

    Part 2. Problems of Egyptian chronology. Uncertainties are multiple. The works of Manetho, used to give order to the fragmentary lists and other inscriptions, are preserved only in the writings of later historians, such as Josephus (first century C.E.), Sextus Julius Africanus (third century C.E., hence over 500 years from Manetho’s time), Eusebius (fourth century C.E.), and Syncellus (late eighth or early ninth century C.E.). As stated by W. G. Waddell, their quotations of Manetho’s writings are fragmentary and often distorted and hence “it is extremely difficult to reach certainty in regard to what is authentic Manetho and what is spurious or corrupt.” After showing that Manetho’s source material included some unhistorical traditions and legends that “introduced kings as their heroes, without regard to chronological order,” he says: “There were many errors in Manetho’s work from the very beginning: all are not due to the perversions of scribes and revisers. Many of the lengths of reigns have been found impossible: in some cases the names and the sequence of kings as given by Manetho have proved untenable in the light of monumental evidence.”—Manetho, introduction, pp. vii, xvii, xx, xxi, xxv.
    The probability that concurrent reigns rather than successive reigns are responsible for many of Manetho’s excessively long periods is shown in the book Studies in Egyptian Chronology, by T. Nicklin (Blackburn, Eng., 1928, p. 39): “The Manethonian Dynasties . . . are not lists of rulers over all Egypt, but lists partly of more or less independent princes, partly . . . of princely lines from which later sprang rulers over all Egypt.” Professor Waddell (pp. 1-9) observes that “perhaps several Egyptian kings ruled at one and the same time; . . . thus it was not a succession of kings occupying the throne one after the other, but several kings reigning at the same time in different regions. Hence arose the great total number of years.”
    Since the Bible points to the year 2370 B.C.E. as the date of the global Flood, Egyptian history must have begun after that date. The problems in Egyptian chronology shown above are doubtless responsible for the figures advanced by modern historians who would run Egyptian history all the way back to the year 3000 B.C.E.
    Greater confidence is placed by Egyptologists in the ancient inscriptions themselves. Yet, the carefulness, truthfulness, and moral integrity of the Egyptian scribes are by no means above suspicion. As Professor J. A. Wilson states: “A warning should be issued about the precise historical value of Egyptian inscriptions. That was a world of . . . divine myths and miracles.” Then after suggesting that the scribes were not above juggling the chronology of events to add praise to the particular monarch in power, he says: “The historian will accept his data at face value, unless there is a clear reason for distrust; but he must be ready to modify his acceptance as soon as new materials put the previous interpretation in a new light.”—The World History of the Jewish People, 1964, Vol. 1, pp. 280, 281.
    Absence of information concerning Israel. This is not surprising, since the Egyptians not only refused to record matters uncomplimentary to themselves but also were not above effacing records of a previous monarch if the information in such records proved distasteful to the then reigning pharaoh. Thus, after the death of Queen Hatshepsut, Thutmose III had her name and representations chiseled out of the monumental reliefs. This practice doubtless explains why there is no known Egyptian record of the 215 years of Israelite residence in Egypt or of their Exodus.
    The pharaoh ruling at the time of the Exodus is not named in the Bible; hence, efforts to identify him are based on conjecture. This partly explains why modern historians’ calculations of the date of the Exodus vary from 1441 to 1225 B.C.E., a difference of over 200 years.

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  7. Thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, they reflect your own bias and misunderstandings. For starters, the very fact that you simply plagiarized an article from the “Watchtower Library” in order to defend the Bible shows that you have not done any serious research.

    Second, even if we were to accept your claims about the unreliability of the Egyptian records, you have ignored the fact that Egypt is just one of many nations for which we have historical records from the time in which the alleged “global” flood would have occurred. You ignored what I showed regarding the Third Dynasty in Ur. Are all these records unreliable when we are questioning the Bible? Isn't that a little too convenient?

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  8. The “Watchtower” has deceived you, friend. No serious scholar believes that Egyptian history started after 2370 BCE. Also, the issue of why Israel is not mentioned in the Egyptians sources is not the issue here. I have dealt with that elsewhere. See my articles on the Exodus for a discussion of that.

    You have not presented anything to refute what I have shown regarding the Biblical story of the flood. No evidence exists for a global flood because there was no global flood.

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  9. Anonymous

    Greetings Faiz S.

    Plagiarism: The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.

    Nowhere here did I claim that this work was my own, (Though I wholeheartedly agree with it), any more than you have with the information you have included in your article. The information I used is however, simply the the best researched information available.

    I have done lots of serious research over many years and looked at the, for and the against arguments on a wealth of scriptural interests, from the local library, the British museum, online sources, the same as most people. So far, the bible always proves to be right.

    For instance the so called “serious scholars”, denied the existence of Pontius Pilate, until 1961 when the Pilate stone artifact was discovered. Bible proved true

    Belshazzar of the book of Daniel was dismissed by the so called “serious scholars” until the Nabonidus Cylinder was found. Bible proved true

    There is plenty of evidence to prove global flood. You don't accept that from your research source. That's fine. I do from my research source, which most definitely includes research other than from the Watchtower. But as I said at the top of the article, as always not everything we read from secular records or “serious scholars” can be trusted. You yourself I'm sure well know this and would agree with this, yet when convenient for your argument you accept it, which is clear from the stand you are taking.

    We will have to politely agree to disagree.

    If you are right, then things will carry on just the way they are and it won't matter one way or the other in the grand scheme of things. I'll die, you'll die, nothing we say will matter. Nobody will care what we say anyway. The world will continue to fumble from one disaster to the next as it has done for centuries. The way mankind is behaving he will eventually destroy himself.

    If on the other hand the Watchtower and the bible proves to be right, I know which side I prefer to be on.

    Very best wishes Alan

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  10. Hello Alan!

    You said: Plagiarism: The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. Nowhere here did I claim that this work was my own, (Though I wholeheartedly agree with it), any more than you have with the information you have included in your article. The information I used is however, simply the the best researched information available.

    My response: My point was that you simply copied someone else's work and pasted it here as a response to my article. You provided no link or any other indication that you were quoting someone else. If you had done this on a college research paper, don't you think that you would have been accused of plagiarism? That was the only point I was making. Had you provided a link, I wouldn't have said anything.

    You said: I have done lots of serious research over many years and looked at the, for and the against arguments on a wealth of scriptural interests, from the local library, the British museum, online sources, the same as most people. So far, the bible always proves to be right.
    For instance the so called “serious scholars”, denied the existence of Pontius Pilate, until 1961 when the Pilate stone artifact was discovered. Bible proved true
    Belshazzar of the book of Daniel was dismissed by the so called “serious scholars” until the Nabonidus Cylinder was found. Bible proved true

    My response: This is pretty specious reasoning. The Bible has been proven wrong on many more occasions than it has been proven right. Even if it has been proven “right” in some cases, how does that prove that we should just believe what is says in other cases? You are committing a logical fallacy. By that reasoning, I could argue that since the Quran has been proven right about the existence of the city of Iram (even though historians considered it a fable for a very long time), it means that the Quran is true and we (yourself included) should believe in it. You will have to excuse me, but I simply don't think that you would be so generous! Please correct me if I am wrong.

    You said: There is plenty of evidence to prove global flood. You don't accept that from your research source. That's fine. I do from my research source, which most definitely includes research other than from the Watchtower. But as I said at the top of the article, as always not everything we read from secular records or “serious scholars” can be trusted. You yourself I'm sure well know this and would agree with this, yet when convenient for your argument you accept it, which is clear from the stand you are taking.

    My response: Really? There is “plenty of evidence” for a global flood? Such as? There is plenty of evidence for several mass extinctions throughout the history of earth, like the Permian extinction, but nothing that points to a global flood that wiped out all life on earth.

    If you have some tantalizing evidence for a global flood, please present it by all means. Until then, I see no reason to accept the global flood theory. A regional flood makes far more sense to me.

    Your entire premise, thus far, has been to question the consensus by pointing to a few cases where “serious scholars” were proven wrong. That does not make your point stronger. You are just making a leap of faith.

    You said: We will have to politely agree to disagree.

    My response: Yes, that is usually how these conversations end. I welcome your comments, and am in no way hostile to them. But, I reserve the right to politely criticize you for your beliefs which I believe are wrong.

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  11. You said: If you are right, then things will carry on just the way they are and it won't matter one way or the other in the grand scheme of things. I'll die, you'll die, nothing we say will matter. Nobody will care what we say anyway. The world will continue to fumble from one disaster to the next as it has done for centuries. The way mankind is behaving he will eventually destroy himself.
    If on the other hand the Watchtower and the bible proves to be right, I know which side I prefer to be on.

    My response: I am afraid I don't understand. If I am right, then it means the Bible is wrong and that you will regret your “preference”.

    In case you haven't realized, I am not one of those people who believe that life ends when we die. I am a Muslim. I believe in God and the afterlife. I believe in the prophet Noah (peace be upon him) and the story of the ark. I just don't believe that the flood was global. As I explained in the article, it makes more sense that the flood affected Noah's people only and thus that it was a regional flood. There is evidence for such floods, but no evidence for a global deluge.

    So, if you are wrong, then the Bible is wrong and you will be on the wrong side. If I am wrong, then the Bible is right and I am on the wrong side. In order to determine which is the right side, we need to use our God-given reason, and think very carefully. This is more than a matter of life and death. This is a matter of the eternal destination of your soul and it cannot be taken lightly.

    Thanks you for your comments.

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  12. Anonymous

    Hi Faiz S.

    Your final comments there, we can definitely agree on. And I have never taken these matters lightly.

    I'm not sure though, how much I can defend my points if I'm not allowed to use the research material and copy it to this site. The trouble with me is I don't quite understand this technology, what I can copy, and what I can't. It honestly is an age thing. So I don't want to get into copyright trouble.

    The Watchtower allows us to use it's material, which is why they publish it for us to leave with people, by means of our magazines, books, tracts or to direct people online too jw.org

    I have many Muslim friends and, as you might imagine, we have lots of very lively debates. I would never criticize another persons beliefs or holy writings.

    I have thought very carefully about my beliefs, and have read lots of religious information from all denominations. I have read parts of the Quran and it contains information I can agree with. For instance the Oneness of God. The bible teaches One God. The bible does not teach the trinity. Christendom teaches the trinity. The Quran also contains things that I just can't believe. Hell fire as an example.

    The bible, does not teach immortality of the soul. Christendom does. So according to the bible, no immortal soul, no going to heaven or hell.

    Faiz S, You and I could have many long discussions. I very rarely get into discussions like this online. I came across your site whilst searching for something and I felt the urge to put a point across. So I'm very sorry I used the “We will have to agree to disagree” cliche. But I genuinely think that this is how our discussions would conclude. No matter how much we both think we can prove, there is also an element of faith involved. And my faith is firmly based on the bibles teachings.

    Jesus said in the gospel of John at chapter 13:34,35… From the bible in basic English : ” I give you a new law: Have love one for another; even as I have had love for you, so are you to have love one for another.
    By this it will be clear to all men that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another”.

    This scripture, in my opinion, points in the direction of those within the Watchtower organization. It certainly is not, nor claims to be a perfect organization. But if the day comes when another religious group is seen to be living up to this “new law” given by Jesus, I will take a very serious look into it.

    I must say though I have enjoyed our discussion.

    Very best wishes to you… Alan

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  13. Alan, you claimed that “according to the bible, no immortal soul, no going to heaven or hell”. I don't know how you can say that when references to an eternal afterlife are quite common in the Bible, especially the New Testament. The Gospel of Matthew contains numerous references to hell. It describes place where “there will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12, 13:42 etc.). That certainly sounds like hell to me.

    The Book of Daniel also describes an afterlife and it is described as being eternal:

    “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (12:2).

    So, I can't understand where you got this idea.

    But let's say you are right, and that according to the Bible, there is no eternal soul or heaven or hell. If the Bible turns out to be right (which means that I am wrong), then I still have nothing to worry about. I have nothing to lose by not believing in the Bible. But, if the Bible is wrong (which means you are wrong as well), then you have much to worry about.

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  14. Anonymous

    Hi Faiz.

    OK, There is, everlasting life, but not an immortal soul… According to the bible.

    In a nutshell…

    According to the bible… when God instructed the man at Genesis 2:16,17 He said… And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die… Revised version.

    So if they eat from the tree they, DIE. They don't suffer eternal pain in hell, they don't go to heaven. They DIE

    They ate from the tree SO… They were judged…

    Gen 3:19 in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and UNTO DUST SHALT THOU RETURN… Revised version.

    Adam gave up the opportunity to live forever here on earth. Adam and Eve were told they would die, only, if they ate from the tree. They ate from the tree and they died. Had they obeyed God they would still be alive. There is NO MENTION OF DEATH for Adam and Eve anywhere, According to the bible, other than if they eat from the tree.

    Genesis 5:5  And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he DIED… King James

    Later in the Christian Greek scriptures (New Testament) at Romans 5:12 The apostle Paul reaffirmed mankind's position when he said… Therefore, just as sin came into the world, through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… English standard version

    We inherited Adams sin..

    Then speaking about reconciliation with God, Paul says at Romans 5:18.19 So then, as the one sin (BY ADAM) condemned all people, in the same way the one righteous act (JESUS GIVING UP HIS LIFE) sets all people free and gives them life. 19 And just as all people were made sinners as the result of the disobedience of one man (ADAM), in the same way they will all be put right with God as the result of the obedience of the one man (JESUS)… According to the Good news bible.

    Jesus himself agrees with that statement because as he says in Matthew 20:28 even as the Son of Man came, not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a RANSOM for many.” English Standard Version.

    Jesus speaks about life and death in the gospel of JOHN 5:25-30 I tell you for certain that the time will come, and it is already here, when all of the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen to it will live! 26 The Father has the power to give life, and he has given that same power to the Son. 27 And he has given his Son the right to judge everyone, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Don't be surprised! The time will come when all of the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man, 29 and they will come out of their graves. Everyone who has done good things will rise to life, but everyone who has done evil things will rise and be condemned. 30 I cannot do anything on my own. The Father sent me, and he is the one who told me how to judge. I judge with fairness, because I obey him, and I don't just try to please myself… Contemporary English Bible

    What happens to the condemned… If at their resurrection they choose to continue in the way of sin… Paul at ROMANS 6:23 says… For the wages of sin is DEATH, (and what happens to those who chose to be obedient to God) but the gift of God is, EVERLASTING LIFE in Christ Jesus our Lord… Literal translation of the holy bible

    DEATH… No Hell fire… No heaven

    Where do the obedient ones live, According to the bible.

    Psalm 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalm 37: 29 But the righteous shall inherit the earth, and dwell upon it for ever… Brenton's English Septuagint

    Just like Adam and Eve would have done had they not sinned.

    Obviously there is more, but that is a nutshell account of what the bible really teaches.

    … Alan

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  15. Alan, I am fully aware of the concept of “original sin”. I have discussed that elsewhere.

    But even if “original sin” is the cause of all our troubles (which I don't believe), it does not refute the fact that the Bible refers in many places to heaven and hell and the eternal soul. I already presented some of these verses. How do you explain the verses which refer to a place where is “weeping and gnashing of teeth”? How do you explain the “lake of fire” mentioned in the Book of Revelation? Ironically, Revelation says that the “lake of fire” is the “second death”:

    “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15).

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  16. Anonymous

    Faiz

    Yes the bible certainly does refer to heaven. But nowhere does it say that Immortal souls go there.

    The bible refers to immortality, but not to immortal souls.

    According to the bible, Jesus was resurrected to heaven after being dead for parts of three days and then given immortality. What it doesn’t say is that his, immortal soul, was resurrected to heaven. If his soul was immortal it wouldn’t have died in the first place.

    Act 2:22-24… “My fellow Israelites, listen to these words: Jesus from Nazareth was a very special man. God clearly showed this to you. He proved it by the miracles, wonders, and miraculous signs he did through Jesus. You all saw these things, so you know this is true. 23 Jesus was handed over to you, and you killed him. With the help of evil men, you nailed him to a (cross). But God knew all this would happen. It was his plan–a plan he made long ago. 24 Jesus suffered the pain of death, but God made him free. HE RAISED HIM FROM DEATH. There was no way for death to hold him… Easy to read bible

    (Nothing here about an immortal soul. Nor will any reference, to Jesus resurrection, say anything about an immortal soul)

    The Prophet Ezekiel actually points out what happens to the soul at Ezekiel 18:4 For all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son, they are mine: the soul that sins, it shall DIE. 18:20 But the soul that sins shall DIE… Brenton’s English Septuagint.

    The Contemporary English bible describes heaven as where… The LORD has kept the heavens for himself, but he has given the earth to us humans. Psalm 115:16

    The same verse in the, Literal translation of the holy bible, says… The heavens; the heavens are Jehovah's, but He has given the earth to the sons of men. Psalm 115:16

    The bible speaks about the condition of the dead also at Ecclesiastes 9:5.. Yes, the living know they are going to die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward; they are completely forgotten… Good news bible

    So if the souls that sin die, and the dead know nothing, according to the bible, how can they suffer in an eternal inferno.

    At Revelation 20:14-15.. You rightly point out that it says… And Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire… Lexham English Bible.

    Think about those verses. They don’t say immortal souls are thrown into the lake of fire to be tortured forever.

    Those ones, not found written in the book of life, are ones who will die with no prospect of a resurrection ever again (the second death). Everlasting death, punishment enough.

    Here’s a problem though. In the King James bible it says… At Revelation 20:14-15… And death and HELL were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    The bible in basic English says “death and HELL.”

    The bishops bible says “death and HELL”

    Many other bible versions say “death and HELL”

    SO HOW CAN HELL, BE THROWN INTO, HELL?

    However, many bibles say DEATH and Hades.

    Some bibles say DEATH and the GRAVE.

    Hades (Greek) and Sheol (Hebrew) according to the bible, refer to nothing more than a persons grave.

    The king James bible and other bible translators are using those words (Hades and Sheol), that mean the grave, and are translating them as HELL. I wonder why?

    Death is the opposite to life, and a grave is where the dead are buried. What kind of punishment would be achieved by throwing, Death (a condition) and the Hades ( the Grave) into a place of torment?

    The thought of it doesn’t make any sense. Death and Hades being thrown into the fire simply means, no more death, no more need for graves.

    Continued..

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  17. Anonymous

    Continuation…

    Interestingly another word has been translated into HELL is the word GEHENNA

    Gehenna is associated with a place called the Valley of Hinnom that was used for the disposal of waste matter from the city of Jerusalem. Apparently it was also used as a place for the disposal of the dead bodies of criminals. Gehenna was kept alight and was a place where things burned once and for all. Not a place of mass torture.

    Jesus made reference to Gehenna as a place symbolically as being a place where sinners could be permanently disposed of.

    Matthew 18:9 And if thine eye doth cause thee to stumble, pluck it out and cast from thee; it is good for thee one-eyed to enter into the life, rather than having two eyes to be cast to the gehenna of the fire… Youngs literal translation

    According to the bible, unlike the resurrection from Adamic death (first death) mentioned at (Romans 6:3 and John 5:25-30 referred to in the last reply) there is no mention of a resurrection from the “second death”. So the “second death” simply means, everlasting death, with no chance of life ever again.

    What about the, “Weeping and gnashing of teeth”. In the context of verses around the, weeping and gnashing of teeth, our understanding of this refers to a spiritually dark condition, rather than agonizing souls being tortured by fire.

    You think that “Weeping and gnashing of teeth” sounds like hell. I think if people were cast alive into fire and kept alive while they burned, eternally, you would hear sounds far worse than weeping and gnashing of teeth. I think screaming in absolute agony would be a better description. Really.

    Do you really believe God is capable of torture? I do not and never will. In fact I find it abhorrent in the extreme to attribute wicked torture to God. We find it abhorrent when we hear about temporary torture conducted by man. So does God (see Jeremiah below). So why then would God go on to do worse when someone dies?

    Faiz, you and I agree and the Bible and the Quran say that God is love, God is good, God is merciful, God is a lover of justice, God is wise, God is powerful. I have never read in the Quran or the Bible where it says that God is a torturer. We refer to God as our heavenly father. What loving, good, merciful, wise, just father would punish an erring child by torturing him or her forever? I’ve never yet met a LOVING father who has tortured his children, even temporarily. We would be outraged if we heard of one who did.

    Continued

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  18. Anonymous

    Continuation

    A couple of verses in the bible where God declares His view of unnecessary suffering with fire.

    Both are inspired verses from the biblical book of the prophet Jeremiah. The situation at the time was that the Israelites had stopped serving God and began adopting the practices of the nations around them. They were burning their children to death as sacrifices to false gods. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God told them…

    Jeremiah 7:31 They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, in order to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, something that I had not commanded and that had never even come into my heart… Good news bible

    Jeremiah 7:31 from the Contemporary English bible… At Topheth in Hinnom Valley you have built altars where you kill your children and burn them as sacrifices to other gods. I would never think of telling you to do this.

    Jeremiah 19:5.. The people of Judah stopped worshiping me and made this valley into a place of worship for Baal and other gods that have never helped them or their ancestors or their kings. And they have committed murder here, burning their young, innocent children as sacrifices to Baal. I have never even thought of telling you to do that… Contemporary English bible

    Jeremiah 19:5.. For they have forsaken me and have treated this place as foreign. In it they have burned incense to other gods that neither they, their ancestors, nor the kings of Judah knew. They have also filled this place with the blood of innocent people. They built the high places for Baal to burn their children in the fire as a burnt offering to Baal—something I didn't command, didn't say, nor did it ever enter my mind!… International standard version.

    Another nutshell answer. As I said last time of course there is more.

    … Alan

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  19. Alan, I find your attempts at explaining the obvious references to Hell in the Bible to be quite disingenuous. You claim that Revelation 20 refers not to eternal torment in the “lake of fire” but an everlasting death, because even “death” and “Hades” are cast into it. But you forget that in the very next chapter, the context of the “lake of fire” is shown to be nothing else than a place of eternal torment:

    “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

    Not only that, but if we go back to Chapter 20, we find even more clear evidence of eternal torment:

    “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).

    This is from your own Bible. I am sorry, but your Bible speaks of eternal torment. You may not like it, but there it is.

    By the way, the way I see it, if death was also thrown into the lake of fire, it means that death would cease to exist. In other words, the tormented souls (or bodies or whatever) would not DIE but would instead suffer for eternity.

    As for the “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, your personal opinion aside, whatever “condition” it refers to (whether a “dark condition” – whatever that means – or a condition of agony), what is clear from the context is that it is a place of torment, whether mental or physical. In any case, the “context” shows that it is a place of fiery torment (hence, a physical torment):

    “They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42).

    I don't know about you, but when I picture a “blazing furnace”, I see a place of excruciating pain. Of course, I wish no one will go there, but it's not up to me.

    So again, let me say, that I am sorry to have to tell you, but the Bible (especially the NT) is very clear that many unfortunate people will go to a place of fiery torment that will never end.

    Your philosophical argument that a “loving God” would never punish anyone for eternity is just that, a philosophical argument. Who are you to question God? Who am I?

    God is love, but God is also just and a stern judge. It would be unjust to let murderers and child molesters escape punishment, wouldn't it?

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  20. Alan, it seems pretty clear to me that what God was saying was that He would never have commanded the Israelites to sacrifice their children to Him, like pagans by killing their children to appease their so-called “gods”. Alternatively, He could have been saying that He did not command the Israelites to worship other “gods”, but that they did it themselves. The Quran says something similar in reference to the pagan Arabs and their idol worship:

    “These are nothing but names which ye have devised,- ye and your fathers,- for which Allah has sent down no authority (whatever). They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire!- Even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord” (Surah An-Najm, 53:23).

    How you can conflate this as some sort of proof against the torment of Hell is beyond me. I will say, though, that the Tanakh is conspicuously quiet on the issue of the afterlife altogether, let alone heaven and hell. But the New Testament clearly is not. This is one of the major contradictions between the two books, and it makes me wonder how Christians can regard both as “scripture” when they are so far apart on such an important issue (and there are other issues as well).

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  21. Atheists make a lame excuse that the flood never happened based on the Christian claim that one pair of all species were on the Ark which they say is impossible. I searched Islamic sacred texts and I found this: According to Islamic sacred texts, there were eight animals on the Ark mentioned in Quran 7:143-144 which include goats, sheep, cows and camels. Moreover, Noah peace be upon him and all previous Prophets were local and national Prophets, so the flood was most probably not global, so Islamic narrative is more rational. و عنه: عن محمد بن أبي عبد الله، عن محمد بن الحسين، عن محمد بن سنان، عن إسماعيل الجعفي و عبد الكريم بن عمرو، و عبد الحميد بن أبي الديلم، عن أبي عبد الله (عليه السلام) قال: ” حمل نوح (عليه السلام) في السفينة الأزواج الثمانية التي قال الله عز و جل:
    { ثَمَٰنِيَةَ أَزْوَٰجٍ مِّنَ ٱلضَّأْنِ ٱثْنَيْنِ وَمِنَ ٱلْمَعْزِ ٱثْنَيْنِ….. وَمِنَ ٱلإِبْلِ ٱثْنَيْنِ وَمِنَ ٱلْبَقَرِ ٱثْنَيْنِ }
    [الأنعام: 143-144] فكان من الضأن اثنين: زوج داجنة تربيها الناس، و الزوج الآخر الضأن التي تكون في الجبال الوحشية، أحل لهم صيدها و من المعز اثنين: زوج داجنة يربيها الناس، و الزوج الآخر الظباء الوحشية التي تكون في المفاوز و من الإبل اثنين: البخاتي، و العراب و من البقر اثنين: زوج داجنة يربيها الناس ، و الزوج الآخر البقر الوحشية و كل طير طيب: وحشي أو إنسي، ثم غرقت الأرض ” http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=110&tSoraNo=11&tAyahNo=40&tDisplay=yes&Page=5&Size=1&LanguageId=1

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  22. As salamu alaykum. I think this view raises as many questions as it solves. Fore instance, with a “global” Flood version you are able to backdate it to far prehistorical times, when the earth could be smaller and contain yet not very many people (http://www.answering-christianity.com/adam_90_feet_tall.htm) – carrying maybe only just Noahs folk on itself. Another advantage of this perspective is that it allows muslims who definetely don't wish to deal with the uncomfortable evolutionary account of history to neatly bypass the current vast archaeological evidence for the latest periods documented as when various hominids (half-people which couldn't live 950 years and be physically much bigger like Adam) lived there.

    The further problem – if it was not global and local, then how should we understand the passage about the flood-waters being reached the heights of mountains (as far as I remember there was something like that). The waters must have been anyways as heigh and quite wide to subsequently reach the remotely situated mount Judi.

    Thirdly, Christians have made a good proposition that the frequent presence of flood-narratives in multiple cultures could be well-explained by the awareness of their respective peoples about the disaster which had earlier befallen their ancestors. Thus the “global” version makes the Flood a culturally centered historical event, while a “local” one belittles its authority by making it more reasonable to put it in the common order among all others and assume it's plagiarism-based origins.

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  23. Walaikum as-salaam.

    The idea that the flood could have occurred far back in human history when Noah's people were the only ones on earth actually supports the local flood theory. Think about it. If they were the only ones on earth and lived in a specific geographical area, then what would have been the point of a global flood?

    Regarding the mountains, you are assuming that when the Quran refers to the waters reaching up to the tops of mountains, these mountains were thousands of feet tall. But, there is no reason to have this assumption. A mountain can be just a couple of hundred feet in height. Also, just because the Quran mentions Mt. Judi, it doesn't mean that the ark necessarily came to rest at the very TOP of the mountain. It could have come to rest at some other height.

    As far as other flood stories are concerned, they vary vastly from culture to culture. For example, I discussed the Egyptian flood myth, which doesn't even mention a destructive flood. You would have to explain why there are such variations.

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  24. As salamu alaykum again. I have decided to translate your post and publish it on a blog in Russian. The only thing lacking, which prevents me from starting my job, is your permission and dead links to fatwas. Looking forward to your response!

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  25. As salaam alaikum brother. You can certainly post the article on your blog. As far as the dead links, you can still use the quotes for now. When I have time, I will try to update the links InshaAllah.

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  26. Thanks for your response. I have some questions:

    1. The quote you provide reads:

    “Nor can we say that all people living today are descendents [sic] of Noah through his three sons. To start with, there were other people saved in the Ark. These could have had children of their own and they would have descendents”.

    It appears to be false, since his children were the only ones who survived: “And indeed Noah cried out to Us. How excellent are those who respond! We saved him and his people fro great distress, and We made his progeny endure (75-78). Even “The Study Qur'an” mentions this fact in the commentary to this verse: “As the only line of human beings to survive the flood, Noah's progeny endured”.

    2. You didn't investigate into many commentaries, which were indeed given as authentic reports from the Prophets' companions, besides just the bible-relied opinions on the issue reflected by the Mufassir's “3-rd party”, whose position you perhaps rightfully dismissed.

    Consider for example this piece from my conversation with a student of knowledge. I won't make out many related points which it contains, I suggest you to do it and leave your comment on it:

    Me: Was Nuh upon whom be peace sent to the whole world or only to his nation?
    He: To his nation. His nation was a whole world back then.
    Me: (I retell him the local view, that there was a need to the flood to seize only his sinful folk)
    He: Is there any (islamic) evidence for other folks? The first prophet was Nuh and Allah said “We sent to every nation a prophet” – if Nuh was the first of them, then there would be no peoples besides his one. Ibn Abbas and others said, that people lived in Islam from Adam up to Nuh.

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  27. Our Holy Islam demonstrate us lesson of worship and kind to each other. Quran is our glorious and last book of religious Islam. Quran indicate us to spend our life as indicated by Allah,s solicitations and Muhammad (PBUH), orders. I am doing my commitment to educate the Quran to my Islamic kin. We should must teach Islamic Courses and learn Quran to grasp the Islam and Allah and his Last prophet of Allah Muhammad (PBUH).

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  28. Pingback: Science in the Bible and the Quran – The Quran and Bible Blog

  29. Pingback: The “Baptist Press” and Denisovan Fossils: Does Science Confirm the Bible? – The Quran and Bible Blog

  30. Pingback: The “Baptist Press” and Denisovan Fossils: Does Science Confirm the Bible? – Blogging Theology

  31. Pingback: Updated article – Noah and the flood – The Quran and Bible Blog

  32. Pingback: Noah and the Flood in the Bible and the Quran – Blogging Theology

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