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Noah sends out a raven, presumably to find land. The raven flies to and fro. What an exciting verse Genesis 8:7 turned out to be. In the next verse, Noah will send out a dove. While the sending of the raven seems rather innocuous, religious folk actually read a lot into the whole raven/dove debacle. Searches through religious literature will show interpretations like:

  • Matthew Henry's commentary claims that the raven symbolizes the carnal heart of people, feeding on carrion instead of looking for solid ground.
  • John Wesley said that the raven flew out and returned to the ark several times, while others claim the raven never returned.
  • Cyrus I. Scofield believed that the raven represented the old style of life—before the flood—thus, it couldn't find anything. However, the dove represented the new style of life, which is why it eventually finds the olive branch.
  • Many commentators mention that ravens are unclean because they eat carrion, and therefore not worthy of finding land. Evil bastards!
  • Chapter 11 of the Sanhedrin claims the raven got in a verbal argument with Noah because he was jealous that only two ravens were included in the ark, while there were seven doves!

This is the kind of stuff you see when people worship a book. They obsess over every minor detail so much that they read pages into a single meaningless sentence. They can't possibly hope to know the reason for the raven being sent out before the dove, so they make up a whole bunch of crap and tout it as truth. Those of you who have attended church will recognize this formula. A preacher will read a verse from the bible, and then drone on and on for hours about what it means.

Perhaps not every single verse of the bible is meant to be life-changing. Maybe Noah picked the raven first for the same reason that I ate a cherry Jolly Rancher before I ate a sour apple Jolly Rancher (i.e., no reason whatsoever).

Yes, I'm aware of the irony in writing several paragraphs about a single sentence all the while saying it's foolish to write several paragraphs about a single sentence. It's because I'm just so avant garde.

Quoth the raven: Happy New Year!



Ray writes:


Where did the Raven get the scarf? And happy new year? Finally, I can probably guess, but what happened to the rest of the arc. You seem to have left alot of it out in the comic TAG.

Not that I would be surprised if it's bottom half had been broken by now.

Either way, I doubt either a raven or a dove is suited to finding a land.

I'm not an ornithologist, but I would've sent a pigeon if I were trying to find land.

TheAlmightyGuru writes:


Woops! Had a little bug that made this comic show up a couple days early. It's fixed now.

Gordon writes:


Im going to astound everyone here by pointing out that Ravens were used by the vikings to find nearby landmasses when on sea voyages.

Essentially a raven cant land on water so will either fly towards nearby land or return to the boat.

I an confused by the dove though.. Im happy to accept any theories.

Mr-know-it-all writes:


The dove has the same basic idea than the raven, it will either look for land or go back. Almost all birds will do that, even if they could "land" in the water, it will still look for land, so if your bird doesn't return it can mean that there's land nearby, or that it died. Unless you are sending an outright aquatic bird, that would be foolish of you.
Then again, you should not wait 'till the bird is missing in action to declare it did find land. A bird FLIES, so it therefore has a wider range of sight than you. If you see the bird going in any given direction, you go in that direction. A bird finding land and coming back to tell you it's not really likely, unless it was heavily trained for it. So now Noah is an expert bird trainer.

That being said, I do know why the raven got sent first. Ravens are better! A raven has more chances of actually surviving whatever may happen in open sea, and better eyesight/flight range. Specially in partially dark enviroments.

Bobsbert writes:


Lovely Harry Potter reference.

Tmowlee writes:


Now I want a Jolly Rancher.

Veritas writes:


Ravenclaw! Of course!

Veritas writes:


Oh right, Quoth =/= Qouth... Maybe that should be fixed...

TheAlmightyGuru writes:


Fixed! Thank you.

Katy writes:


Ravens are awesome, incredibly intelligent and wonderful mimics. Check YouTube for videos of "talking ravens" to see what I mean!

Paul writes:


Sounds like a standard 'good and evil' motif. The raven is black (evil) and didn't return when it found land. The dove is white (purity and goodness) and returned with a branch to tell Noah there was land there. Cos it's so good.

JFluffy writes:


wait, why did Noah even need the birds to be IN the ark? can't they just fly alongside it?


Oh the irony!