Monday, May 7, 2012

Fact Or Fable? Noah And The Ark; Jonah And The Fish

By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen


 Two well-known Bible stories.
     The Bible has many interesting stories. Two of the most well-known ones are about Noah and the ark and Jonah and the fish. Are these stories fact or fable? Were there really such persons as Noah and Jonah, and the others found in the stories? Did the events spoken of in connection with these persons really happen?
The Bible-believer's view of these stories.
     Those of us who believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God believe that these persons and events are presented in such a manner by the Biblical writers that they are to be understood as facts, not fables. We believe those persons really did exist, and we believe those events really did happen. One of the main reasons we hold this view is because our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, held this view. It is unmistakably clear from the New Testament's Gospels that the Lord himself affirmed the historicity of these persons and events. He did not think they were fables, from which we can learn important lessons. Rather, he looked at them as facts, from which we can learn important lessons. To learn what the Lord said about Noah and the ark, read Matthew 24:37 - 39. To learn what he said about Jonah and the fish, read Matthew 12:38 - 41.
      It is quite significant that the Lord Jesus Christ affirmed his belief in everything in the Bible the theological liberals question or deny. But who are we to question or deny what the Lord himself affirmed affirmed as fact, not fable?
C. S. Lewis said the stories of Noah and the ark and of Jonah and the fish are fables.
      Lewis wrote many interesting books, several of which I have read. But he did not hold a good view of the Bible. That is, he did not hold the view of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, he was wrong about Noah and the ark and about Jonah and the fish.
     The view of Lewis is found in his book called "God In The Dock." In chapter 4, Lewis answered other persons' questions on Christianity. Here (in red) is question 10: "The Bible was written thousands of years ago for people in a lower state of mental development than today. Many portions seem preposterous in the light of modern knowledge. In view of this, should not the Bible be re-written with the object of discarding the fabulous and re-interpreting the remainder?"
     Here (in red) is part of Lewis's reply to this question: "The Old Testament contains fabulous elements. The New Testament consists mostly of teaching, not of narrative at all: but where it is narrative, it is, in my opinion, historical. As to the fabulous elements in the Old Testament, I very much doubt if you would be wise to chuck it out." 
     Then later in his reply to the question, Lewis said this: "Jonah and the Whale, Noah and his ark, are fabulous; but the Court history of King David is probably as reliable as the Court history of Louis XIV. Then, in the New Testament the thing really happens. The dying god really appears --- as a historical Person, living in a definite place and time. If we could sort out all the fabulous elements in the earlier stages and separate them from the historical ones, I think we might lose an essential part of the whole process. That is my own idea."
Jesus Christ was right, and C. S. Lewis was wrong.
    Are the stories of Noah and the ark and of Jonah and the fish fact or fable? The answer to that question is simple: Jesus Christ was right, and C. S. Lewis was wrong: the stories are FACT!