Letter: The true story of Noah's Ark

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The Independent Online
Sir: A couple of years ago, as part of a Bible study course, I asked a group of adults to read the whole story of Noah (Genesis 5:28-9:29) and tell me what they thought it meant. None of the group had any special theological knowledge or sophistication. After much discussion, their conclusion was this: the story shows that God loves the world more than he hates the evil it contains.

While this explanation will naturally be unsatisfactory for various reasons to many people, it does have the advantage of being a faithful interpretation of the scriptural record, and surely offers more hope to any believer than debate about the economics of shipbuilding, pieces of timber on mountainsides, the management of animals at sea, creationism versus evolution etc (letters, 10, 14 April).

Stories survive because they touch on the truth of the human condition, and are open to multiple interpretations. Biblical stories go further, and relate the human condition to the nature and purpose of God. The story of Noah does this. That is why children love it, and adults argue about it. It is a true story.

The Rev CHRISTOPHER SIMMONS

Barlby, North Yorkshire

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