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Author Topic: The Exodus  (Read 10644 times)
BayGBM
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« on: November 18, 2007, 08:38:48 AM »

I admit, Iíve always been fascinated with the Exodus story: the 10 plagues brought on Egypt because Pharoah would not free the children of Israel, the pillar of fire, and the parting of the red sea.  The last one is pretty incredible (more on that later), but I have personally seen a pillar of fire big enough and hot enough to block an attack as mentioned in Exodus and dramatized in the movie the 10 Commandments. 

Fire pillars can occur when intense heat warps weather patterns and form a kind of tornado.  Essentially what you get is a small tornado made of fire.  Several of them formed during the recent fires in southern California!

To refresh your memory the 10 plagues are as follows:

1.  rivers and other water sources turned to blood or blood red.  Exodus 7:14-25
2.  the city overrun with amphibians (frogs).  Exodus 8:1-15
3.  the city overrun with lice or gnats.  Exodus 8:16-19
4.  the city overrun with flies or beasts.  Exodus 8:20-32
5.  a disease killing Egyptian--but not slave--livestock.  Exodus 9:1-7
6.  boils on the Egyptians--but not the Hebrews.  Exodus 9:8-12 
7.  hail mixed with fire.  Exodus 9:13-35
8.  locusts.  Exodus 10:1-20
9.  darkness on the Egyptians--but not the Hebrews.  Exodus 10:21-29
10.  death of the firstborn--for the Egyptians but not the Hebrews.  Exodus 11:1-12:36

What do you make of the 10 plagues?  Do you think they or some version of them happened?  Do you think they were natural disasters, divine intervention, or all made up?  Skeptics and science writers have noted and explained in some detail that there are natural explanations for all of the plagues.


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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2007, 03:35:49 AM »

I admit, I’ve always been fascinated with the Exodus story: the 10 plagues brought on Egypt because Pharoah would not free the children of Israel, the pillar of fire, and the parting of the red sea.  The last one is pretty incredible (more on that later), but I have personally seen a pillar of fire big enough and hot enough to block an attack as mentioned in Exodus and dramatized in the movie the 10 Commandments. 

Fire pillars can occur when intense heat warp weather patterns and form kind of tornado.  Essentially what you get is a small tornado made of fire.  Several of them formed during the recent fires in southern California!

To refresh your memory the 10 plagues are as follows:

1.  rivers and other water sources turned to blood or blood red.  Exodus 7:14-25
2.  the city overrun with amphibians (frogs).  Exodus 8:1-15
3.  the city overrun with lice or gnats.  Exodus 8:16-19
4.  the city overrun with flies or beasts.  Exodus 8:20-32
5.  a disease killing Egyptian--but not slave--livestock.  Exodus 9:1-7
6.  boils on the Egyptians--but not the Hebrews.  Exodus 9:8-12 
7.  hail mixed with fire.  Exodus 9:13-35
8.  locusts.  Exodus 10:1-20
9.  darkness on the Egyptians--but not the Hebrews.  Exodus 10:21-29
10.  death of the firstborn--for the Egyptians but not the Hebrews.  Exodus 11:1-12:36

What do you make of the 10 plagues?  Do you think they or some version of them happened?  Do you think they were natural disasters, divine intervention, or all made up?  Skeptics and science writers have noted and explained in some detail that there are natural explanations for all of the plagues.


I've seen parts of these specials. What I find ironic about it is that, at one time, skeptics and some science writers (as you call them) swore up and down that the Exodus never happened. Now that they can't deny it, they're trying to marginalize it.

It's not that there are no natual explanations, per se. I would label them natural disasters, guided by supernatural force. These things occured when and how Moses said they would, as God told him. And they didn't stop, until Moses either called them off or Pharoah threw in the towel.

You mentioned the movie, The Ten Commandments. You will recall the scene where the priests tell Pharoah that the people have turned from the Egyptian gods. Pharoah shouts back at him "WHAT GODS??" and state that the prophets and priests invented to gods to prey upon the fears of men. After hearing a report of a mountain spewing red mud and poisioning the waters (the so-called natural explanation for the river turning to blood), Pharoah claims that the calamites now befalling Egypt were ordered of themselves, not of any god, and refused to release the Hebrews.

Notice another thing about the plagues. They pummeled Pharoah's land and his people. But, as long as they don't affect him personally, he remains defiant. It's when the plague of the firstborn strikes, killing his son, that Pharoah finally caves and releases the Israelites. And why would God use such plagues?

Recall another scene from the movie, in which Pharoah's priests and soldiers try to convince their ruler to free Israel. Pharoah asked whether fear rules Egypt or he does. One of his generals begs, "We fear no army of the earth, but can we fight plagues with swords? Israel left Egypt in freedom and with much of Egypt's loot, without lifting one sword or losing one man in combat.

Thanks for the info about fire pillars. I didn't know that. Such occuring (i.e. during the wildfires in CA) would be a mere natural occurence. Such occuring, when an angry Pharoah and his army are chasing some 600,000+ of his former slaves, whose trail is blocked by the sea, would be a supernatural occurence.

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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2007, 01:02:03 PM »

MCWAY, thank you for your thoughtful reply.  Your memory of lines from the film is impressively accurate.

The pillar of fire holds a particular fascination for me because just hearing it described, reading about it, or seeing it in a movie, I never would have thought something like that could be possible.  But I have seen it--I have even seen two separate fire pillars merge into one bigger pillar--and my only reaction was, ďoh my god!Ē  Shocked


Assuming they all happened, what I find most interesting about the plagues is that there ARE natural explanations for them.  To me, that makes them much more compelling than simply thinking that god waved a magic wand making them happen.  In addition, if one accepts them as natural phenomena then several of the plagues are interconnected and logical, again, making them more compelling/believeable.

1.  skeptics and scientists note that the Nile turning red could have been caused by volcanic activity in the region (Santorini is believed to have erupted around this time.  Lots of ash from this volcano has been found in the Nile region).  Silt from the volcano could turn the Nile river red and make the water undrinkable.  This is just one of several scientific explanations for the river turning red.

2.  if the riverís water became toxic then frogs would have left the water for dry land over running Egypt (and eventually die).

3. & 4. the absence of frogs (which normally feed on insects) would  cause the fly and lice population to balloon and over run Egypt.

5. the huge rise in flies, lice, and other insects could cause the spread of diseases among livestock bitten by the disease carry insects, thus wiping them all out (pestilence).

6.  the boils among people could also be caused by insect bites.

7.  fiery hail seems like a more supernatural plague.  It destroyed virtually all the Egyptian crops thus cutting off their food supply in the short term.  But volcanic activity can bring brimstone in addition to ash.  Depending on the severity it can also change weather patterns and occasionally produce hail!

Again, the scientific explanations for these plagues make them (or some version of them) very believeable.
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2007, 01:35:28 PM »



   is there historical proof that all these things did happen? aside from the Bible as a reference?
 
 
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2007, 03:00:53 PM »

   is there historical proof that all these things did happen? aside from the Bible as a reference?

Probably not the kind of proof you would want, but you should know that the Hebrew Bible is not simply a religious text it is also an historical one.  http://www.amazon.com/Bible-as-History-Werner-Keller/dp/0553279432

The Hebrew Bible enjoys an unusual place among researches like historians, archeologists, medical anthropologists, Egyptologists (yes, that is a real academic specialty), etc, in part, because it is one of few texts that take us so far back in time with regard to things that are literally verifiable such as its many geographic references, for example.

There was an ancient Egyptian civilization.  There was (and still is) a Nile river.  Ancient Egypt did build pyramids, they did create artwork that we still have in museums today, they did own (Hebrew) slaves, etc.  These, and similar, verifiable facts give the Hebrew Bible much of its credibility with regard to the ancient world.

Again, this probably doesnít represent proof of the kinds of events you asked about, but as I said previously, the Santorini eruption did leave ash in the Nile valley that has been accepted as historical proof of its eruption in 1500 B.C.  Scientists and historians who study the ancient world use methods that many people would not normally think of or accept as proof.  For example, climatologists have discovered that layers upon layers of ice in the polar caps effectively record air quality going back centuries.  By digging deep into the ice and studying what they find at a given layer, they can tell you what the air was like on earth say 2000 or 20,000 years ago.  Would you accept that as proof of their claims about air quality centuries ago?

There are skeptics who still do not believe in dinosaurs because we have no "proof."  These skeptics do not accept the discovery of fossilized bones as proof dinosaurs existed.  Do you?

Alas, not everything can be proven to every oneís satisfaction, but today, we DO understand, for example, that frogs would leave river beds if a river became toxic, that frogs primarily feed on insects... that without frogs the insect population in given region might explode to unprecedented levels, and that insects can & do transmit diseases to livestock and people, etc.  These things were not understood in the ancient world but they are described in Exodus in such a way that they make perfect sense given what modern science has taught us.


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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2007, 06:34:12 PM »

Good posts, BayGBM!  I still believe that they were natural disasters initiated by divine intervention as the Bible says, but your posts are very interesting!

As for archaeological evidence of Exodus, we may find such very soon.  There is an Israeli archaeologist already working on it.  It takes time.  For example, it took an Israeli archaeologist 30 years of searching before he found king Herod's tomb in Palestine, and that's with the help of Josephus' ancient works.
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2007, 07:40:39 PM »

Loco, critics and skeptics would dismiss you as a religious nut for seeing the ďhand of godĒ in any of this, but the fact that you are able conceptualize the plagues as natural disasters indicates that you are not simply a religious nut.  Faith and rational thought are not always incompatible.  I think this episode in the Bible is one such instance. 

The story of the rainbow is another.  You will recall that god gave Noah the rainbow sign; no more water, but the fire next time.  That is to say, the rainbow is intended to remind mankind of godís promise that he will never again destroy the earth with a great flood.  We will certainly experience rain, storms, regional or compartalized flooding but never again will all of mankind be destroyed with a deluge.  Appropriately, the rainbow sign always appears in conjunction with water.  It makes sense that after the Flood, rain and water were seen as terrible threats.  The rainbow was meant to allay the fears people associated with water.

btw, in addition to heavy and light rain, rainbows can appear in mist created by a waterfall or the mist from waves at a beach.

Skeptics rightfully point out, however, that rainbow mythology is not limited to Biblical canon.  Many faiths and belief systems have an explanation for the rainbow, where it comes from, and what it signifies.

That said, I think most of the scientific community agrees that the earth was once flooded/covered with water.


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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2007, 07:52:17 PM »

Back to the plagues of Egypt.

The order in which they occur supports the veracity of the story.  In the Ancient world, people didnít have the knowledge base to connect these dots but today we do . . .

Think about it.  It makes sense that after the river became toxic, frogs would leave the river and die (for lack of water), then the number of insects would swell to unprecedented numbers because their natural predators (frogs) were gone.  Tainted with disease these insects bite livestock, infecting them and killing them off.  People, too, are bitten resulting in boils, etc.  I donít remember over what period of time these plagues are said to have occurred.  Obviously, it wasnít one or two days, but over a period of weeks or months it is not hard to imagine these events unfolding.

Even for a modern atheist, the outline of this narrative makes too much sense for it not to be true.  Scary!  Undecided
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2007, 08:28:29 AM »

BayGBM, do you have any religious affiliation?
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2007, 10:40:57 AM »

Interesting thread Bay, and beautiful pics thanks Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2007, 07:54:48 AM »

The sheer number of plagues is also (meant to be) very compelling.  If one, two, three, or even four bizarre things had happened against Pharaoh and the Egyptians it would be relatively easy to dismiss them as historical freaks of nature or coincidences, but ten

Even today, thousands of years later, would anyone argue that ten examples could be discounted as coincidence?  If someone wins an Olympia once, a cynic might say he got lucky.  If he wins three times, one might call it bias on the part of judges, the legacy effect, etc.  But if he wins ten times in a row that is inclined to make a believer out of you and posterity. 

That has been the effect of the Exodus account.  Many of the traditions and customs which came out of that account are still held as sacred today among followers of the faith: the Passover, the Ten Commandments, etc.

Notice, too, that the plagues arguably become more intense.  They begin with something passive--but dramatic--that gets every oneís attention (the Nile turns red) and then build to a crescendo.  In some cases, the Hebrews are specifically warned about the plagues so that they can take action to protect themselves.  They are warned about the Nile so they collect and save water knowing that fresh water will soon be unavailable.  They are warned about the death of the firstborn so they can mark their door posts with the blood of the sacrificed lamb which saves their own first borns from death.  Scary!  Undecided
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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2007, 09:01:34 AM »

The sheer number of plagues is also (meant to be) very compelling.  If one, two, three, or even four bizarre things had happened against Pharaoh and the Egyptians it would be relatively easy to dismiss them as historical freaks of nature or coincidences, but ten

Even today, thousands of years later, would anyone argue that ten examples could be discounted as coincidence?  If someone wins an Olympia once, a cynic might say he got lucky.  If he wins three times, one might call it bias on the part of judges, the legacy effect, etc.  But if he wins ten times in a row that is inclined to make a believer out of you and posterity. 

That has been the effect of the Exodus account.  Many of the traditions and customs which came out of that account are still held as sacred today among followers of the faith: the Passover, the Ten Commandments, etc.

Notice, too, that the plagues arguably become more intense.  They begin with something passive--but dramatic--that gets every oneís attention (the Nile turns red) and then build to a crescendo.  In some cases, the Hebrews are specifically warned about the plagues so that they can take action to protect themselves.  They are warned about the Nile so they collect and save water knowing that fresh water will soon be unavailable.  They are warned about the death of the firstborn so they can mark their door posts with the blood of the sacrificed lamb which saves their own first borns from death.  Scary!  Undecided

There is no archaelogical evidence of an Exodus, stop talking about it unless you want to talk about mythology.
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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2007, 09:22:48 AM »

There is no archaelogical evidence of an Exodus, stop talking about it unless you want to talk about mythology.

Why do so many people on the internet think it is appropriate to try to police other peopleís conversations?  I started this thread to dialogue with other people interested in the topic.  If you are not interested, you are obviously free to look elsewhere.  Presumably, you have better things to do with your time (the gym for example) than read and post on boards/topics in which you are not interested.
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« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2007, 09:28:29 AM »

Amen !
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2007, 06:27:59 PM »

Why do so many people on the internet think it is appropriate to try to police other peopleís conversations?  I started this thread to dialogue with other people interested in the topic.  If you are not interested, you are obviously free to look elsewhere.  Presumably, you have better things to do with your time (the gym for example) than read and post on boards/topics in which you are not interested.


So whether or not the Exodus is mythological or not is of no interest to you? You wish to discuss the Exodus as something fictional then?
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« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2008, 11:00:05 AM »


2.  the city overrun with amphibians (frogs).  Exodus 8:1-15

It can happen...
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8bc_1210874023


Frogs invade Rosedale neighborhood

Bryant and Laura Loke said thousands of tiny frogs that have invaded their Rosedale neighborhood.

They said on any given day, the little critters can been seen hopping their way through yards, and even into homes.

As the old fairy tale goes, you kiss a frog and it will turn into a prince.

For these folks their new visitors are nothing but a royal pain in the behind.

They're small. they hop, and their new home is this neighborhood off Calloway Drive.

Some travel in large groups, while others prefer to double up.

It's been going on for about two weeks now and folks who live here at getting a little jumpy as their frog friends hop and swim from house to house.

Bryant Loke said, "You'd see cars go by, and see them slinging up frogs like they were rocks."

The frogs have been migrating from a drainage sump in the area, and have literality spread out through this entire neighborhood.

Residents like Bryant Loke and his wife Laura admit their amphibious friends have overstayed their welcome.

Down the street Lorenzo Gonzalez welcomes the wandering frogs into his yard, but was surprised to find out they werent just passing through.

Gonzales said, "Hundreds of thousands of them came out of the sump one morning, but they work their way here. We got a lot of them but it's not an epidemic."

Gonzalez said his family wont try to get rid of the frolicking frogs, they're almost part of the family.

Gonzalez said, "We like them. The kids like them. We have to fish them out of the pool sometimes, but it's not that big of an inconvenience."

Meanwhile, Kern Mosquito and Vector Control in Bakersfield said they don't deal with infestations like this one, and say more than likely the frogs will either die off, or find another place to live.

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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2008, 10:40:29 PM »

Back to the plagues of Egypt.

The order in which they occur supports the veracity of the story.  In the Ancient world, people didnít have the knowledge base to connect these dots but today we do . . .

Think about it.  It makes sense that after the river became toxic, frogs would leave the river and die (for lack of water), then the number of insects would swell to unprecedented numbers because their natural predators (frogs) were gone.  Tainted with disease these insects bite livestock, infecting them and killing them off.  People, too, are bitten resulting in boils, etc.  I donít remember over what period of time these plagues are said to have occurred.  Obviously, it wasnít one or two days, but over a period of weeks or months it is not hard to imagine these events unfolding.

Even for a modern atheist, the outline of this narrative makes too much sense for it not to be true.  Scary!  Undecided

Read Israel Finkelstein and his masterwork...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Finkelstein

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts...

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_Unearthed

There is ample archaeological proof that the Exodus never happened, no hundreds of thousands of jews wandering through the desert and the Bible is not a book of history; it is pseudo-history.

When you begin with the premise that the tall tales of Exodus are true and then look for explanations of them...well I could reread the Epic of Gilgalmesh (which the Bible plagiarised from) and look for 'scientific' explanations for the events contained in it, all on the assumption that it is a historical book.

Moreover your Christian 'friends' here praising you, particularly the fundies like MCWAY, believe you are the embodiment of sin because you are a homosexual. Not the most objective minds here, eh?



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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2008, 11:39:21 AM »

Read Israel Finkelstein and his masterwork...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Finkelstein

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts...

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_Unearthed

There is ample archaeological proof that the Exodus never happened, no hundreds of thousands of jews wandering through the desert and the Bible is not a book of history; it is pseudo-history.

And there is ample archaeological proof that such has occured. I linked the site the last time you brought this up. And, we have extra-biblical documentation of the Exodus (i.e the works of Josephus).

http://www.ensignmessage.com/archives/exodusscptcs.html

http://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/exodus.htm


When you begin with the premise that the tall tales of Exodus are true and then look for explanations of them...well I could reread the Epic of Gilgalmesh (which the Bible plagiarised from) and look for 'scientific' explanations for the events contained in it, all on the assumption that it is a historical book.

That's another tired diatribe that is easily refuted. Moses didn't borrow the Genesis flood account from the Babylonians' Epic of Gilgamesh or anywhere else.

Perhaps, you can explain why the Genesis account has the ark with a length-to-breadth (width) ratio of 6:1, which is ideal for stability for cargo vessels; whereas the Gilgamesh account (from which the Jews allegedly borrowed) has the so-called ark in the shape of a CUBE, which no naval architect in his right mind would design.


Moreover your Christian 'friends' here praising you, particularly the fundies like MCWAY, believe you are the embodiment of sin because you are a homosexual. Not the most objective minds here, eh?


What does homosexuality have to do with the Exodus account? Plus, it's safe to say that BayGBM knows the Christian point of view, when it comes to that issue.
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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2008, 11:57:54 AM »

Perhaps, you can explain why the Genesis account has the ark with a length-to-breadth (width) ratio of 6:1, which is ideal for stability for cargo vessels; whereas the Gilgamesh account (from which the Jews allegedly borrowed) has the so-called ark in the shape of a CUBE, which no naval architect in his right mind would design.

I saw on the news some time last year that some guy (he might have been a retired carpenter) built an arc according to the measurements and specifications in Genesis.  Do you know anything about that or seen any news/links about it?
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2008, 12:07:39 PM »

I saw on the news some time last year that some guy (he might have been a retired carpenter) built an arc according to the measurements and specifications in Genesis.  Do you know anything about that or seen any news/links about it?

I have not. However, I've seen reports on scientists who have done experiments with scale models of the Ark and noted how stable such a vessel would be, even under the most brutal of conditions.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v8/i1/noah.asp

Granted, the Ark wasn't a "boat", in the pure sense of the word. Boats are designed to navigate from point A to point B, in the water. With the world completely covered in water. Noah has no place to go. All the Ark has to do is stay afloat and not capsize.

I do find it interesting that the ancient Chinese word for "boat" is comprised of three characters, which translated means "eight-mouth (as in 'mouths to feed')-vessel".

How many people were in the Ark? EIGHT (Noah, his wife, his three sons, and his three daughters-in-law).
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« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2008, 12:21:21 PM »

I saw on the news some time last year that some guy (he might have been a retired carpenter) built an arc according to the measurements and specifications in Genesis.  Do you know anything about that or seen any news/links about it?

Hey BayGBM!  This might be what you are thinking of:

Replica of Noah's Ark in Netherlands Opens Doors to Visitors
http://www.getbig.com/boards/index.php?topic=191610.msg2634712#msg2634712

But this Ark is only one-fifth the size of Noah's Ark.  However, the builder is planning on building a full size replica of Noah's Ark in the future.

Here is another interesting thing from CNN.  They have seen something that seems to be shaped like a boat on Mount Ararat, but they think it is too big to be a boat.  I don't know if that really is Noah's Ark, but if it is, of course it's big.  It's supposed to be.    Grin

CNN reports on two mountainous sites where Noah's Ark might be
http://www.getbig.com/boards/index.php?topic=191201.0

And here is more on the size of Noah's Ark:



Thinking Outside the Box
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n2/thinking-outside-the-box
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« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2008, 12:25:34 PM »

I do find it interesting that the ancient Chinese word for "boat" is comprised of three characters, which translated means "eight-mouth (as in 'mouths to feed')-vessel".

How many people were in the Ark? EIGHT (Noah, his wife, his three sons, and his three daughters-in-law).

Hey MCWAY!  This is the second time that I hear this interesting stuff.  The first time I heard it from one of my college physics professors years ago.  She is Chinese.  She made the reference to Noah's Ark and the flood too.
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« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2008, 09:38:10 AM »

Hey BayGBM!  This might be what you are thinking of:

Replica of Noah's Ark in Netherlands Opens Doors to Visitors
http://www.getbig.com/boards/index.php?topic=191610.msg2634712#msg2634712

But this Ark is only one-fifth the size of Noah's Ark.  However, the builder is planning on building a full size replica of Noah's Ark in the future.

Here is another interesting thing from CNN.  They have seen something that seems to be shaped like a boat on Mount Ararat, but they think it is too big to be a boat.  I don't know if that really is Noah's Ark, but if it is, of course it's big.  It's supposed to be.    Grin

CNN reports on two mountainous sites where Noah's Ark might be
http://www.getbig.com/boards/index.php?topic=191201.0

And here is more on the size of Noah's Ark:



Thinking Outside the Box
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n2/thinking-outside-the-box

That's it!  Cool.  Thanks for that info!
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« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2008, 09:40:59 AM »

BayGBM, are you familiar with the "other" Exodus, the "ex-gay" group?

They tried to get some publicity here on campus but were booed/laughed away...
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loco
Getbig V
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Posts: 9006

Getbig!


« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2008, 10:26:57 AM »

That's it!  Cool.  Thanks for that info!

You are welcome!
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