Questions From Readers
● The April 15, 1957, Watchtower states, in paragraph 29 of page 236: “On the very day that the flood broke from the distant skies Noah and the seven members of his household went into the ark into which they had already brought specimens of all the birds and animals.” How can this be true, when Genesis 7:10 says that after Noah and his family entered the ark “seven days later it turned out that the waters of the deluge came upon the earth”?—R. F., United States.
Jehovah tells Noah to go into the ark, taking with him his household and seven of every clean beast and two of every unclean beast, and then Jehovah informs him: “For in just seven days more I am making it rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights.” (Gen. 7:1-4) To load the ark with hundreds of animals of the right kinds would take time. Doubtless with Jehovah’s help the necessary animals had been gathered preparatory to embarkation, and now it was time to load the ark and make final preparations. Jehovah allowed seven days for this, Noah carried out the instructions, and from the time that he started “seven days later it turned out that the waters of the deluge came upon the earth.”—Gen. 7:6-10.
Then we read: “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on this day all the fountains of the great water canopy were broken open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And the downpour upon the earth went on for forty days and forty nights. On this very day Noah went in, and Shem and Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, and the wife of Noah and the three wives of his sons with him, into the ark.” On the last of the seven days the work of loading was completed and Noah and the seven other human creatures with him entered the ark, to remain there until after the flood came and subsided. “After that Jehovah shut the door behind him.” Jehovah told them to enter seven days before the flood came, which allowed time for loading. When this loading was done and Noah and his household went in for the final time, on the seventh day, Jehovah shut the door, shortly before the rain started.—Gen. 7:11-13, 16.
Hence The Watchtower was harmonious with the Bible in saying Noah and his household went into the ark “on the very day that the flood broke from the distant skies.” Incidentally, what might seem at first glance to indicate a contradiction in the Bible account actually supports the Bible. It is incredible that anyone just making up a story would contradict himself within the compass of a few sentences, saying first that an event occurred seven days before and later saying it occurred on the same day as something else. Such a clash would be obvious. But when two such statements do appear, and yet are easily harmonized when the true situation is understood, it clearly demonstrates that no studied effort is being made to compose a deceptive fable.
Jesus settles the matter, saying: “Until that day when Noah entered into the ark, and the flood arrived and destroyed them all.”—Luke 17:27; see also Matthew 24:38, 39.