Noah's Ark and Monogamy
NCW 69: August 2000 - January 2001
Q. There have seen a number of articles in this journal about God's marriage laws and in particular the relevance of polygamy today. I would like to point out that in the new world founded by God after the flood it was with four monogamous couples, and that polygamous families were not represented. Does this not indicate the Lord's preference for monogamy, as in the original creation of the first couple?Even the animals were put on the ark in monogamous pairs
A. A very good point but once which I do not feel takes into account the circumstances and prophetic types that Yahweh is trying to show us both in the Eden account and the account of the survivors on the ark. Let's consider some of the data we have:
(1) As explained in the article, Were Adam and Eve a Prototype of Human Marriage? (NCW 66:53-58, January-February 2000), the purpose of the Adam-Eve pairing was not to provide a model of the ideal of marriage but to establish the general rule, viz. that monogamy is the general model of marriage for 90-95% of the human family, though not necessarily the exclusive one (Ibid., p.56);
(2) We may extend the General Rule principle to Noah's family too for in many ways Noah was starting a new world just as Adam was. Interestingly, Adam and Eve were not created with children - they had to make them after the Fall - and Noah, though his three sons had wives, brought no children with them on the ark - they had to make them after the flood. But why eight souls after the flood and not two? Why not a younger Noah and a young wife? Or why didn't his three sons have small children with them? Were they young newly weds, or were they older? And if older, did their children reject their grandfather's message as it seems that most of his other relatives did?
To begin with, we note that eight is the number of the resurrection (Yah'shua/Jesus being resurrected on the symbolic 'eighth' day) and that the ark event is a type of salvation and resurrection.
Secondly, whether we like it or not, only eight souls responded to the salvation message - four men and four women - making the possibility for polygamy impossible and totally removing its need...in those circumstances.
Thirdly, we find a type of polygamy hinted at in the pairings of animals in the ark. Every animal species was represented by a male-female pair, the vast majority of animals. But for every clean animal there were seven representatives, for sacrifice and for food. So it's not strictly speaking correct to say that the animals were also arranged exclusively in monogamous pairs!
Polygamy in the human family resumed after the flood just as it did after the expulsion from Eden and was legislated for in Yahweh's Law as a minority practice for those especially called into it. As with monogamy, both the righteous and wicked entered it - both the called and the uncalled - and for entirely different reasons. As with the Creation story we cannot argue a monogamy-only case because of Yahweh's holy laws but we most certainly can say that monogamy is the general rule. Just as with virgin births, salvation of a remnant, three persons in a unitary Godhead, etc., there are occasionally positive exceptions to general rules. And polygamy is one of them.
Finally, if the ark family was supposed to be a type of the future world then not only would polygamy be excluded but small children also. The fact that there were no polygamists on the ark doesn't mean there were never to be any more again anymore than the absence of small children meant that there were never to be any more of these either.
This page was created on 19 January 2001
Last updated on 19 January 2001
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