Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Whales (Probably) Can't Eat Humans, but Do They Know That?

Liz Klimas shares the video of two humpback whales who don't seem to know--or care--that they're about to get a couple of swimmers stuck in their baleen:


Could a whale, or perhaps some other sort of "great fish" (the Hebrew word isn't species-specific), have literally swallowed Jonah? It's extremely unlikely, but of course that's why it would have been such an impressive event if it happened.

Some Bible mavens say that we shouldn't try to read the book of Jonah as literal truth but should accept it as a little comedy about prejudice. That interpretation works. Others say that if we don't believe that the story of Jonah could be literally true, we don't believe that the story of Jesus could be literally true, or that God has any power to change the way the laws of creation work. This web site is not dogmatic. At least I find it easier to believe that Jonah survived 72 literal hours stuck in an air bubble in a whale's baleen, or in the strangely hypo-acidic stomach of an extremely sick fish, or whatever, than to believe that Obamacare could work.