Problems with the Noahic Covenant and its Context

Did a Noahic Covenant actually exist?  The constant reflections upon the Abrahamic and Sinaitic covenants — we rarely stop hearing about them whenever it is possible to mention these — are totally absent in the case of the Noahic covenant.  The New Testament never mentions it.  This is, I believe, best explained in affirming that the Noahic Covenant is a post-original, scribal innovation.

This views is buttressed by the fact that it does not have the ordinary structure of the other covenants found in the Scripture — divine condescension [God comes down to earth], representation [in the representative persons of priests, prophets, kings, etc], stipulations [commands and prohibtions to be obeyed], sanctions [blessings or else curses depending on obedience] and inheritance [or else being cut off].

Why was this covenant necessary? This question is not as easily answered well as one might first suppose.  God could have simply promised it without an oath on his part — letting His Yes be Yes or His No “no” — without a covenant.  This covenant is suspiciously the only one with no stipulations for the other [human] party to keep (or else not).  Where are the stipulations, and when does anyone in the Scripture ever violate them — as we humans are wont to do?  Who are the representatives appointed to administer its terms?  There are none apparently.  This strongly suggests that there was no such covenant.

According to Genesis 8.20, Noah offered a burnt offering BEFORE he was told by God it was “now okay to eat the animals” (9.1-3).  The Lord did not reprove him for it.  Just the opposite. This is highly problematic, just as is the illegal offering of Abel – the illegal execution of an animal (4.4-5) for his offering.  This shows that priestly persons have doctored up the original account.

Recall that the covenant memory of the People holds that Daniel “a man highly esteemed by God” (3 times he is so called in the book bearing his name) eats only vegetables and forbears to eat the Babylonian meat.  Moreover, when the Israelites “lust” or crave meat (quail), the Lord becomes very angry with them.  In the longer “Protestant” New Testament, James identifies the source of their wars as “lusting” and killing — he does not specify killing PEOPLE, but only killling.  It is highly unlikely that James had people in his audience who killed other people, and craving or lust does not go with that idea.  James means that like the Israelites, they lust for meat and unlawfully kill animals.

The Passover scene, known as the last supper, we have seen to be a literary accretion.  This would have falsely lead early Christians to get up, kill and eat what Peter would not — animals.  There is no good proof that Jesus attended the Jewish feasts in a participatory way so as to eat animal meat. And it very well could have been an added innovation to have the Lord miraculously providing “fishes and loaves” instead of merely miraculous bread — like the Joseph of Genesis (prophetically-obtained grain) provided as an early picture of the Messiah.

Early Christians, as Tertullian mocked the practice, were being thrown to the beasts (as a divine judgment which judgment begins with the house of God, sometimes thrown to lions like the apocryphal account of Daniel.  They were eating the forbidden animal meat and killing (as James says), probably following the apocryphal Genesis 9 “animal caveat,” (a fake never mentioned again in the Bible), and the accretive “last supper” account.

The text of 9.3 seems to botch the account it reflects upon, forgetting to mention the fruit trees altogether, but only has the Lord to say that he now gives animals for food as he did the herb of the field.  But this is put together with the fruit trees in the original account, but absent in 9.3.

The many leviticisms (clean animals, 7.2; burnt offerings, 4.4; 8.20) in this account are never explained — either to Noah by God or by the narrator to us.  Another puzzling feature of the Flood Account is that it waxes super-numerical with no precedent or explanation for this “accountant’s revolution” — the calendar excess of mentioning the trivial timing of everything that transpires (stuff never mentioned again in the Bible) and the boring dimensions of the Ark (in case we need to build one?  What happened to the rainbow promise that we won’t need one (?), except in case we need to join the extreme canoeing team.  This quantity overload disappears with chapter 9, never to be heard from again.

Other problems attend the doubtful flood account.   The bizarre prefix of chapter 6. 1-9 ends with God shortening the human lifespan to 120 years, only to be defied by the genealogical longevity foundin Genesis 11.  Ming the quahog clam lasted 450 years and you can too — maybe.

I shall continue my studies in this regard later — if the Lord wills.


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