Thomas Paine On Biblical Anachronism


 Biblical Anachronism


In addition to the judicious remarks in your twelfth number, on the absurd story of Noah's Flood, in Genesis vii, I send you the following: 

The second verse makes God to say unto Noah, “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female, and of every beast that are not clean, by two, the male and his female." 

Now, there was no such thing as beasts clean and unclean in the time of Noah. Neither were there any such people as Jews or Israelites at that time, to whom that distinction was a law. The law, called the Law of Moses, by which a distinction is made, beasts clean and unclean, was not until several hundred years after the time that Noah is said to have lived.  

The story, therefore, detects itself, because the inventor forgot himself, by making God make use of an expression that could not be used at the time. The blunder is of the same kind, as if a man in telling a story about America a hundred years ago, should quote an expression from Mr. Jefferson's inaugural speech as if spoken by him at that time. 

My opinion of this story is the same as what a man once said to another, who asked him in a drawling tone of voice, "Do you believe the account about No-ah?"  The other replied in the same tone of voice, ah-no.










































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