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Friday, May 20, 2016

Insects and Noah's Ark

A question from Christians and skeptics alike is whether or not Noah had insects on the Ark. It's a fair question. Some of us would rather he had left some things off, but even the most irritating insects serve a purpose in the grand scheme of things, including "services" that we may have never heard of.

A fair question from Christians and skeptics alike is whether or not Noah had insects on the Ark. The answer is a dogmatic "maybe".
Image credit: Morguefile / shanblan
Did Noah bring insects on the Ark? The answer is a most definite maybe. There are arguments both pro and con based in Hebrew language, biblical usage, and so on. But it's admittedly educated speculation, and nobody needs to throw down on someone else over it. Creationists have postulated models for how insects and animals may have conducted themselves on the ark. Many can survive without the protection of the Ark, but others probably needed shelter.
In Genesis 6:19–20, God commanded Noah to take representatives “of every living thing of all flesh,” including those “of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind.” Where might insects be included in this list?

It may help to look back at creation. While plants were created on Day Three (Genesis 1:11–13), living creatures (Hebrew: nep̄eš ḥayyâ) were created on Days Five and Six (Genesis 1:20–31). Aquatic, flying, and terrestrial invertebrates, including insects, would likely have been included among them. In fact, the word typically translated bird in these passages (Hebrew: ‘ôp̄ in Genesis 1:20, 21, 6:20) is more literally “flying creature” and applies to more than just birds. The dietary lists given to the Israelites specifically mention bats as flyers (Leviticus 11:19; Deuteronomy 14:18). Flying insects are mentioned in these passages as a separate group—the creeping things that fly (Hebrew: šereṣ hā‘ôp̄; Leviticus 11:20–23; Deuteronomy 14:19–20), suggesting they were considered a particular grouping of flying creatures.

Insects, however, may be defined separately from most land animals in the Hebrew language. Consequently there are arguments on both sides as to whether insects were of the kinds that were to be taken onto the Ark.
To read the entire article, click on "Were Insects on the Ark?"