Is it possible that unicorns existed before the flood?
“The unicorn appeared in early Mesopotamian artworks, and it also was referred to in the ancient myths of India and China. The earliest description in Greek literature of a single-horned (Greek monokerōs, Latin unicornis) animal was by the historian Ctesias (c. 400 bce), who related that the Indian wild ass was the size of a horse, with a white body, purple head, and blue eyes, and on its forehead was a cubit-long horn coloured red at the pointed tip, black in the middle, and white at the base.” (britannica.com)
Ctesias was a physician and historian who “wrote a history of India (Indica) that was based on reports of Persian visitors and of Indian merchants and envoys to the Persian court.” (britannica.com)
So, he never actually saw the animal but wrote about what others had told him. It it thought that Ctesias described as a unicorn was probably the Indian rhinoceros or possibly the narwhal or another animal whose antlers had, in a defect, grown together, like this little deer here: http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1814227,00.html
There is no proof that unicorns did or did not exist. Therefore, there is no straightforward answer to this question.
The answer, more than likely, is they possibly did, but probably not.
Are there still apostles and prophets today? How does the Bible support this answer?
In my opinion, yes.
All these gifts manifest in us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus did many miracles and spoke many words of knowledge during His ministry on Earth. Jesus has this to say about the Holy Spirit.
John 14: 12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask[c] anything in My name, I will do it. 15 “If you love Me, keep[d] My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
Jesus said that when He died, those who believe in Him would receive the Holy Spirit and Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” God does not change and He fulfills all His promises and the Holy Spirit is one of those promises. And the Spirit comes with gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same[b] Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Mark 16:15-18 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they[b] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
These gifts are a part of the same Holy Spirit as the early church and these gifts are alive today.
How do we interpret the degrading of women in the Bible? (Lot offering up his daughter…)
Women were not degraded in the Bible. When God created woman, He created her to be a helper for the man He had created (Genesis 2:18). And, when Adam and Eve sinned, there were consequences.
Genesis 3:16 “To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”
Husbands are to be the head and women are to be the helper for their husbands. And, in the New Testament, men are called to love their wives and women are called to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-33). Our culture teaches us that women are to be the head or over a man, when really they are to be a partner and an advocate for the man. I'm not saying women "can't do" certain things, (we can work, we're smart, we have great ideas & abilities) but there are some things we definitely shouldn't do (like degrade me, try to conquer them, be disrespectful, etc). I don’t believe women were degraded any more in Bible times than they are currently. And this is coming from a woman!
In Lot’s case, he was living in Sodom, a very wicked, Godless city, where the hearts of men were nothing but evil.
In Genesis 18, the Lord appeared to Abraham with two men. He tells Abraham that the next year Sarah will have a son and that He was going to Sodom and Gomorrah to see if the city was as wicked as the outcry against it. If it was, He would destroy the cities. Abraham then asks the Lord to not “slay the righteous with the wicked” (I can’t help but wonder if he was thinking of his nephew Lot while he asked) and the outcome was that for the sake of 10 righteous people, God would not destroy it.
When the two men who were with God reach Sodom, they meet Lot sitting at the gate. Lot insists that they stay with him so strongly that they finally agree (Genesis 19). (Perhaps Lot knew what would happen to these men if they stayed the night in the square.)
That night, the men of the city surrounded Lot’s house and demanded that he bring out the men he was housing so the people of the city could molest them. Lot, being a righteous man, begs the people not to do this wicked thing. When the men of the city insist, Lot offers up his daughters for the sake of the two men staying with him.
Genesis 19:6-8 “So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, 7 and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! 8 See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.””
Lot was not degrading his daughters, he was trying to protect the men that he had invited under his roof. And the passage above says, “since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof,” meaning the evil thing the men of the city were planning. This leads me to believe that Lot knew why these men were there and knew it was important to protect them, for the men’s sake and for the sake of the city.
Of course, the men of the city don’t listen and instead move in and try to break into the house. Allowing Lot & his family to escape, God destroys the evil cities by raining fire and brimstone on them.
True followers give up the things they love, even if it hurts, to follow God and make His name great and I believe this is what Lot was doing by offering his daughters.
How did everything in the Bible last this long? How did they write it back then and keep it safe?
In a nutshell, the answer is God.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
If you would like to learn more about how we got the Bible, check out this link: https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/canon-scripture-wayne-grudem