Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Did Noah's Flood Cover the Highest Mountains?
There is no other account in the Bible that has caused as much controversy and debate as that of Noah's Flood. While secular scholars and many theologians consider the Genesis account to be myth and without historical merit, there are others who accept the narrative as literal and believe the highest mountains on earth were submerged by the Flood. But what the Bible really says is far different to what most people have understood. This article shows that passages in the Genesis account of the Flood have been grossly mistranslated and that literal truths about this primordial event in the earth's history have been covered up. With this new understanding the Flood of Noah can be easily understood.
by John D. Keyser
For thousands of years, legends of a great flood endured in the oral traditions of people around the world. Not only is the flood story found in the Bible -- it is an integral part of Middle Eastern myths such as the epic of Gilgamesh. Since the onslaught of German rationalism and Darwin's theory of evolution, few now believe such a catastrophic deluge actually occurred. But recently, two distinguished geophysicists have discovered an event that changed history -- a sensational flood no more than 7,600 years ago (by their reckoning) in what is today the Black Sea.
Ancient clay tablets recovered from the ruins of Biblical Nineveh more than a century ago revealed a much older version of the same flood legend. Then, in 1929, unmistakable evidence of the Flood appeared in the excavations at Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia. Archaeologist Sir Charles Woolley and his crew were digging at the depth of about forty feet. They found, under layers of rubbish, the tombs of King Mes-kalam-dug and Queen Shub-ad, who ruled sometime toward the end of the 4th millennium BC. Under their tombs they found more rubbish, clay tablets, pottery and implements. As the sixth season of digging at Tell al-Muqayyar was drawing to a close, Woolley urged his native diggers once more on to the hill of "the graves of the kings." He wanted to be sure whether the ground under the deepest royal graves had fresh discoveries in store for the next season's excavations.
As the exploratory shaft went deeper and deeper, new strata with fragments of jars, pots and bowls kept appearing. Woolley noticed that the pottery remained surprisingly unchanged -- as if the Sumerian civilization had undergone no radical changes for centuries. After several days of digging, the shaft appeared to come to a ground level where traces of any kind of settlement abruptly ceased. Thinking he had come to the very beginning of civilization in the Tigris-Euphrates valley, he carefully prodded the ground on the floor of the shaft. With surprised amazement he suddenly realized that he was prodding a layer of clay -- the pure clay of a kind that could only have been deposited by water!
At first Woolley thought this clay was the result of the Euphrates River overflowing its banks at this point in bygone days. But, after taking measurements of the adjacent area and refining his calculations, he realized that the layer of clay was much too high up in elevation to have been left by the river. The foot of the shaft, where the layer of clay began, was several yards above the level of the Euphrates. Urging the workers to dig on and make the shaft deeper, Woolley watched with bated breath as basket after basket came out of the shaft and their contents were examined. Suddenly, at nearly ten feet, the layer of clay stopped as abruptly as it had started. Expecting virgin soil underneath the layer, Woolley could hardly believe his eyes when what now emerged into view was ancient rubbish and countless potsherds of an earlier civilization! The appearance and quality of the pottery was noticeably inferior to that above the layer of clay.
There could only be one possible explanation for this great clay deposit beneath the hill at Ur, which clearly separated two epochs of settlement: The Flood of Noah! Unmistakable traces of marine organisms embedded in the clay proved the layer was not only the result of river flooding -- they had been left there by an encroachment of the sea! How far did the layer of clay extend? What area was affected by this inundation? An extensive search now commenced for traces of the Flood in other locations in Mesopotamia.
Another startling discovery was made by Stephen Langdon at Kish -- another Sumerian city. His discovery confirmed the findings of Woolley at Ur. In the location of Kish, Professor Langdon found a stratum eighteen inches thick consisting of clay, shells and small fish. This layer separated the debris above from the debris below consistently around the entire site. Below the stratum, to about fifteen feet, Professor Langdon found a continuous civilization with implements of the so-called Neolithic age and painted pots dating not later than 4,000 BC. The excavations at Kish show a complete and continuous stratification.
Other traces of inundation were found at Fara (Shuruppak), Nineveh and Uruk (Erech). Gradually, by a variety of tests, the limits of the Flood waters could be established. According to Woolley, the disaster engulfed an area north-west of the Persian Gulf amounting to approximately 400 miles long and 100 miles wide. This layer closed the last prehistoric period -- the Jemdet Nasr Period of the archaeologists. The evidence uncovered by Woolley at Ur dates to approximately 2,900 BC, and the layer of clay was clearly caused by a flood of unprecedented magnitude. However, the flood was local and wiped out the Mesopotamian civilization of that time along the banks of the river Euphrates and assumed great importance in the minds and in the traditions of the Akkadians and the Babylonians who came after the Sumerians.
Recently, as earth scientists made new discoveries about the history of rapid climate change, they learned that the Mediterranean Sea had once been a desert and that five million years go (according to their calculations), the Atlantic Ocean burst through the Straits of Gibraltar and refilled the Mediterranean basin. The two geophysicists -- William Ryan and Walter Pitman -- posed the scientific question, "Could some more recent, similar catastrophe have been the source of Noah's Flood?"
The end of the Cold War enabled Ryan and Pitman to team up with oceanographers from Bulgaria and Russia, as well as Turkey, to explore the Black Sea. Using sound waves and sophisticated coring devices to probe the sea floor, they discovered clear evidence that this inland body of water once had been a vast freshwater lake lying hundreds of feet below the level of the world's rising oceans. Dating techniques indicated that no more than 7,600 years go the mounting seas had burst through the narrow Bosporus valley, and the sea water of the Mediterranean Sea had poured into the lake with unimaginable fury -- racing over beaches and up rivers, destroying or chasing all life before it. The fringes of the lake, which had been a unique oasis, a veritable Garden of Eden for an advanced culture in a vast region of semidesert, became a sea of death. The survivors fled -- never to return.
The Gilgamesh Account
Remarkable confirmation of Sir Charles Woolley's discovery in the Mesopotamian valley came to light around the turn of the century -- long before his uncovering of the layer of clay. Records Werner Keller in The Bible As History --
"From the dim recesses of the Ancient East an old mystery story came to light: a heroic epic, of 300 quatrains, inscribed on twelve large clay tablets, which told of the wonderful experiences of the legendary King Gilgamesh.
"The text was astonishing: Gilgamesh told a tale exactly like the Bible -- of a man who was said to have lived before and after a mighty and disastrous Flood" (1981: William Morrow and Company, New York, p. 50).
Discovered in 1853 among 20,000 other clay tablets in the ruins of an ancient library at Nineveh, the Epic of Gilgamesh remained undeciphered for a number of decades. Then, shortly before 1900, Assyriologists heard for the first time the incredible story of Gilgamesh. Written in Akkadian (the language of the court and of diplomacy in the time of King Ashurbanipal), it dates not from the time when it was placed in the library at Nineveh but from at least 1,000 years earlier -- to the time of Hammurabi, the great king of Babylon.
Many details of this epic are strikingly similar to the Biblical account of Noah. Most scholars think that the Biblical account is dependent on the Gilgamesh text, but there is a strong possibility that both may depend on an even earlier common source.
According to N.K. Sandars in The Epic of Gilgamesh,
"The Gilgamesh Epic must have been widely known in the second millennium BC, for a version has been found in the archives of the Hittite imperial capital at Boghazkoy in Anatolia, written in Semitic Akkadian; and it was also translated into the Indo-European Hittite, and the Hurrian languages. In southern Turkey parts have been found at Sultantepe; while a small but important fragment from Megiddo in Palestine points to the existence of a Canaanite or later Palestinian version... The Palestinian fragment comes from the tablet which describes the death of Enkidu and is closest to the account already known from Boghazkoy. Excavation at Ras Shamra, ancient Ugarit, on the Syrian coast has brought to life an independent epic literature of which the written versions mostly date from the later part of the second millennium [BC], and which was also known in the Hittite capital; it includes a fragment from a flood narrative that probably stems from a version of the Gilgamesh flood" (1987: Penguin Books, p. 12).
Recently a case has been made for the likely existence of a similar Aegean Mycenaean poetic tradition of the flood -- elements of which survived the dark age and reappeared in Homeric and later Greek poetry.
Sandars goes on to say --
"The story of the Deluge did not form any part of the Gilgamesh cycle in Sumerian literature, but was an independent poem with, in the role of Noah, a hero named Ziusudra, which means "he saw life." There is an Old Babylonian "Deluge" dating from the first half of the second millennium, in which the hero is named Atrahasis...A late version of the Atrahasis poem was written down in the reign of Assurbanipal. It is not possible to say at what time the flood was drawn into the Gilgamesh cycle, since evidence is lacking from the Old Babylonian period. There has been much controversy on the question of the relationship between the Genesis flood and that of the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Sumerian writers. The opinion, at one time widely held, that the Genesis account was a late refinement on a story once current in all the cities of Babylonia, is not now so general; while the view that it derives directly from a very old and independent history has many supporters" (ibid., p. 18).
There is a remarkable resemblance between the story told in Genesis and the Gilgamesh tablet -- but there are also some striking differences. In Genesis the city is not named, but in the other versions (and in the independent sources) it is usually Shurrupak, the modern Fara, and one of the first of the Sumerian city-states to gain a pre-eminent position in the land.
Other flood stories were known in ancient Mesopotamia, but the earliest Sumerian literary reference does not seem to be much older than the Old Babylonian Atrahasis of the early second millennium BC. In the definitive edition of W.G. Lambert and A.R. Millard these lines occur:
"Twelve hundred years had not yet passed
When the land extended and the people multiplied,
The land was bellowing like a bull,
The god got disturbed with their uproar.
Enlil heard their noise..."
The description of the flood itself in Tablet III has so much in common with the language of Gilgamesh Tablet XI that it seems the latter must have been modeled after it -- or rather on some lost Middle Babylonian recension.
Notes Werner Keller,
"Today we know that line 134 on the eleventh tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh must depend on an EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT. Only someone who had himself seen the desolation caused by the catastrophe, could have described it with such striking force" (The Bible As History, p. 54).
The great layer of mud -- that which Woolley uncovered in 1929 -- covered everything like a shroud and leveled the ground until it was as "flat as a pancake," and must have been personally seen by someone who had just had a remarkable escape.
Writes Keller --
"The exact description of the great storm argues for this assumption. Utnapishtim [the hero of the flood portion of the epic] expressly mentions a southern gale, which corresponds closely with the geographical situation. The Persian Gulf, whose waters were fleeing over the flat country by the gale, lies south of the estuary of the Tigris and Euphrates. To the last detail the weather conditions which he describes are characteristic of an unusual atmospheric disturbance. The appearance of black clouds and a roaring noise -- sudden darkness in broad daylight -- the howling of the southern gale as it drives the water in front of it" (ibid., p. 54).
The whole narrative of the Epic of Gilgamesh -- and the various versions and independent accounts of the Assyrian, Babylonian and Sumerian writers -- indicate a LOCAL or REGIONAL flood condition, which is exactly what Woolley discovered at the bottom of his shafts.
The Tip of the Iceberg
The basic story of the Flood and a number of survivors in an ark is known by billions of people -- including Christians, Jews and Muslims. The mythology of many different races around the world also includes this cataclysmic event. Without questioning it, most of us took for granted that this flood was universal in nature -- covering the highest mountains on earth and killing all the land inhabitants therein. We also took for granted that the only survivors of the onslaught were Noah, his family, and a host of animals, birds, bees and reptiles! Nonetheless, what has been generally believed about the Flood story may not be what REALLY happened!
Was the Flood universal, covering the entire world, including the highest mountains? Or was it REGIONAL, involving human and animal life in one or more specific lands? There are, of course, dedicated Christians on both sides of this question -- and each side has its able defenders, arguments, strengths and weaknesses. But, when all the evidence is in, the bulk of the material shows Noah's flood was regional in that all the land masses of the earth were not completely covered by water.
If the Flood was indeed universal, and all animal life perished, then every animal in existence today would have descended from those in the ark. Similarly, if the flood was universal and all human life perished from the earth, all human life here today would have descended from Noah and his family in the ark. This raises difficult questions, of course. How many animals would be able to fit into the ark, how were they able to cross vast land masses to get to the ark, and how did they manage, after the flood, to get back home? Were creatures such as snails able to travel all the way from the mountains of Ararat to North America? Were they able to cross oceans, ford rivers, bypass Arctic zones, survive deserts, pass through jungles, climb mountains, and finally end up here?
If the Flood reduced the entire world population down to eight people, how do we explain the existence of large population centers within the short space of three generations. The book of Genesis clearly states that Noah's son Ham became the father of Cush -- "And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one...and the beginning of his KINGDOM was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. HE WENT OUT INTO ASSYRIA and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah: the same is a great city" (Genesis 10:8-12).
If the population of the world was reduced to only eight people by the Flood, how could there be enough people for Ham's grandson Nimrod to organize cities and civilizations as described in the comparatively short time indicated? In Egyptian traditions Nimrod is known as Osiris, and after he became king over the land he devoted himself, according to the traditions, to improving the condition of his people by formulating a code of laws for them and having them worship the gods and perform services to them. He then left Egypt and traveled over the rest of the world teaching the various nations to do what his own subjects were doing:
"Osiris [Nimrod] raised a large army, and he determined to go about the world teaching mankind to plant vines and to sow wheat and barley. Having made all arrangements in Egypt, he committed the government of his whole kingdom to Isis...He marched through Ethiopia...having taught the Ethiopians the arts of tillage and husbandry, he built several cities in their country, and appointed governors over them, and then continued his journey...He then travelled by way of the coast of Arabia into India, where he built many cities, including Nysa...journeying westwards he brought his army through the Hellespont into Europe. In Thrace he killed Lycurgus, a barbarian king, who refused to adopt his system of government" (Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection, by E.A. Wallis Budge. 1973: Dover Publications, New York, pp. 10-11).
In Ronald Wlodyga's Supernatural Phenomena we read:
"According to Bryant, Vol. II, p. 377, Nimrod conquered ALL OF THE NATIONS from Babylon to Lybia, which included Egypt as well. This area included the majority of the populated world. Nimrod's religion and government was placed on these peoples, thus making Nimrod the first person to impose any form of army, economic, political, social and civil system other than God's system of government" (1981: Triumph Publishing, Altadena, CA., pp. 45-46).
If the Flood reduced the world population to only eight people, how -- in the comparatively brief time indicated -- could there possibly be enough population for Ham's grandson Nimrod to organize cities and civilizations all over the world as just described? Writes Ralph Woodrow --
"A period of a few more generations after the flood brings us to the time of Abraham. The Biblical account of his travels reveals the existence of developed civilizations and cities on a VAST scale. Leaving the civilization around Ur, Abraham found Canaan populated with Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaims, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites (Genesis 15: 19-21). TWENTY-SIX CITIES in Canaan alone are mentioned in Genesis at this time. In Egypt he found what was already, by this time, an ancient civilization under the control of a Pharaoh (Genesis 12:15). Near Damascus he rescued Lot and others who had been captured by certain kings (Genesis 14: 1-16)" (Noah's Flood, Joshua's Long Day, and Lucifer's Fall. 1984: Ralph Woodrow Evangelical Assn., Riverside, CA., p. 56).
Now, how many years after the Flood was this? This is carefully spelled out by the Bible itself, in Genesis 11: "Shem was one hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad 2 YEARS after the flood....Arphaxad lived 35 YEARS, and begot Salah...Salah lived 30 YEARS, and begot Eber...Eber lived 34 YEARS, and begot Peleg...Peleg lived 30 YEARS, and begot Reu...Reu lived 32 YEARS, and begot Serug...Serug lived 30 YEARS, and begot Nahor...Nahor lived 29 YEARS, and begot Terah...Now Terah lived 70 YEARS, and begot Abram..." If you add all these numbers together -- 2, 35, 30, 34, 30, 32, 30, 29 and 70 -- you get a total of 292 years from the flood to the birth of Abraham. Thus, the period from the Flood until the time of Abraham was within three centuries. IF the Flood had eliminated the entire population of the world except for Noah and his family, it is impossible that this would have allowed sufficient time for these civilizations to have developed on the scale described at the time of Nimrod -- let alone at the time of Abraham!
This is corroborated by Frederick Haberman in Tracing Our Ancestors --
"If the Deluge had been universal as orthodoxy assumes it to be, then only Noah's family, consisting of eight persons, was left alive on the whole globe. Bible chronology shows that Abraham was born about the year 2000 B.C. in Ur of the Chaldeans, and ancient Chaldea was at that time a flourishing country WITH A LARGE POPULATION and a certain civilization, as the excavations have shown. It is OUT OF ALL REASON to assume that such a population could have developed from only eight people 350 years previously. Again, as soon as Abram had been called into Canaan (Genesis, 12th chapter) he went at once into Egypt to buy grain; and there too was established a great civilization and DENSE POPULATION" (Artisan Publishers, Muskogee, OK 2002, page 16).
Was ALL Humanity Destroyed?
When we read in I Peter 3:20 that "a few, that is, eight souls, were saved" in the ark, we obviously assume that eight people were all that survived in the entire world! But, on the other hand, if the Flood was indeed local or regional -- even though covering a vast area -- all this verse would be saying is that there were eight survivors IN THE ARK. It may well be there were survivors in other parts of the world -- people unrelated and separate from the main flow of thought in Genesis.
Most Christians have not considered this point because they feel the Bible says ALL people were drowned in the Flood. For example, in the book The Genesis Flood we find the following statement in support of this argument: "The Lord Jesus Christ clearly stated that ALL men were destroyed by the Flood (Luke 17:26-30)." Really? Does Luke actually say this? Let's turn to the passage in question and see:
"And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so it will be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed."
In both examples -- the deluge in the days of Noah and the destruction by fire and brimstone in the days of Lot -- "all" people were destroyed. Clearly, in the case of Lot "all" did not mean the entire human race, for only those cities upon which the fire and brimstone fell were affected. Genesis 19:24 and 25 says "the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire...he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities." The town of Zoar where Lot fled was excluded, and it certainly did not include Abraham who witnessed the destruction from a distance. In the passage from Luke the return of the Messiah at the end of the age is mentioned several times -- will the Messiah return to a world devoid of human beings or, at best, eight survivors? That's not what the Bible says!
States Ralph Woodrow --
"Since the statement of Jesus about "all" being destroyed in the days of Lot meant only those upon whom the fire fell, it is most natural to believe that "all" destroyed in the days of Noah would mean only those upon whom the flood came. The word "all" is often qualified by the way it is used. If a newspaper article tells of an ocean liner that sinks and all are destroyed, it is understood that "all" means all that were on the ship -- not people on other ships, not people not on ships, not people in other parts of the world!...we should be careful not to read into a passage more than was intended" (Noah's Flood, Joshua's Long Day, and Lucifer's Fall, p. 51).
The statement about the Flood covering "all" the hills in Genesis 7:19 meant all the hills in a certain area -- not all the mountains or hills in the entire world! It is not pushing the limits, then, to state that the "all" destroyed by the Flood were all within certain regions. Quite often the Bible uses a form of speech known as synecdoche where a whole is used for a part, and even words like "all" can be used in a limited sense. Examples of this can be found in the New Testament: "And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that ALL the world should be registered" (Luke 2:1). Similarly, in Acts 2:5: "Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from EVERY nation under heaven." It should be quite evident this did not include people from China, India or the far reaches of the Amazon!
Many who realize that the Flood was regional, not universal and covering the highest mountains, still seem to feel it was universal in the sense that all men on the face of the earth were drowned. They have the idea that the world's population was limited at that time to the Mesopotamian valley. But, in disagreement with this, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states, "An insuperable objection to this theory is that the later discoveries have brought to light remains of prehistoric man from all over the northern hemisphere, showing that long before the time of the Flood he had become widely scattered."
At first glance the writings of the first-century Jewish scholar Josephus would have us believe the flood destroyed all human beings in the world. But if you delve further into his works you will find statements that indicate otherwise. We find, in a quote from Nicolaus of Damascus, the following: "There is a great mountain in Armenia...upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. This might be the man about whom Moses the legislator of the Jews wrote."
Later, Josephus goes on to say:
"Now the sons of Noah were three...these first of all descended from the mountains into the plains, and fixed their habitation there; and persuaded others who were greatly afraid of the lower grounds on account of the flood, and so were very loth to come down from the higher places, to venture to follow their examples. Now the plain in which they first dwelt was called Shinar" (Antiquities of the Jews, 1, 4:1).
This, of course, begs the question -- since there were supposedly only eight people in the ark who survived the Flood, who were these "others" they persuaded to come down from the mountains or hills to establish homes?
There are some more passages in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews that most people read right over -- verses that unmistakably show there were MANY survivors of the Flood. Notice!
"But as for Noah, he was afraid, since God had determined to destroy mankind, lest He should drown the earth every year; so he [Noah] offered burnt-offerings, and besought God that Nature might hereafter go on its former orderly course, and that He would not bring on so great a judgment ANY MORE, by which the whole race of creatures MIGHT BE IN DANGER OF DESTRUCTION; but that, HAVING NOW PUNISHED THE WICKED, he would of his goodness SPARE THE REMAINDER, and SUCH AS HE HAD HITHERTO JUDGED FIT TO BE DELIVERED from so severe a calamity; for that otherwise these last must be more miserable than the first, and that they must be condemned to a worse condition than the others, unless they be suffered to ESCAPE ENTIRELY; that is, IF THEY BE RESERVED FOR ANOTHER DELUGE, while they must be afflicted with the terror and sight OF THE FIRST DELUGE, and must also BE DESTROYED BY A SECOND" (book I, chapter III, verse 7).
Josephus goes on to say, "He [Noah] also entreated God to accept of his sacrifice, and to grant that the earth might never again undergo the like effects of His wrath; that men might be permitted to go on cheerfully in cultivating the same -- to build cities, and live happily in them; and that they might not be deprived of any of those good things WHICH THEY ENJOYED BEFORE THE FLOOD..." (ibid.).
Amongst the Chibcas of Central Columbia is a strong tradition of a flood in which people survived by climbing to higher ground:
"According to their myths, they had originally lived as savages, without laws, agriculture or religion. Then one day there appeared among them an old man of a different race. He wore a thick long beard and his name was Bochica. He taught the Chibcas how to build huts and live together in society.
"His wife, who was very beautiful and named Chia, appeared after him, but she was wicked and enjoyed thwarting her husband's altruistic efforts. Since she could not overcome his power directly, she used magical means to cause a great flood in which the majority [not all] of the population died. Bochica was very angry and exiled Chia from the earth to the sky, where she became the moon given the task of lighting the nights. He also caused the waters of the flood to dissipate and BROUGHT DOWN THE FEW SURVIVORS from the mountains where they had taken refuge. Thereafter he gave them laws, taught them to cultivate the land and instituted the worship of the sun with periodic festivals, sacrifices and pilgrimages" (Fingerprints of the Gods, by Graham Hancock. 1995: Crown Paperbacks, p. 191).
While this myth is a garbled account of Nimrod's visit to their region and an old memory of the flood, the fact that their traditions mention flood survivors hiding in the hills or mountains is very interesting.
In the book Folklore in the Old Testament (page 101) we read about the Araucnaians of pre-Colombian Chile who preserved a tradition of a flood in which a number of Indians escaped --
"The SURVIVORS took refuge on a high mountain called Thegtheg ('the thundering' or 'the glittering') which had three peaks and the ability to float on water."
In the far south of the Americas, in Tierra del Fuego, we find a Yamana legend that states: "The moon woman caused the flood. This was at the time of the great upheaval...Moon was filled with hatred towards human beings...At that time everybody drowned with the exception of those who were able to escape to the five mountain peaks that the water did not cover" (The Mythology of South America, by John Bierhorst. 1988: William Morrow and Co. New York, p. 165).
While clearly stating that there were numerous survivors of the Flood, this legend also indicates that not all of the mountains were covered with water!
Among the Inuit of Alaska there existed the tradition of a terrible flood which swept so rapidly over the face of the earth that only a small number of people were able to escape in their canoes or take refuge in the mountains -- petrified with fear (New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, p. 426). Once again, we see that a number of people survived the deluge and that not all the mountains were covered by water.
The Luiseno of lower California had a legend that a flood covered the land and destroyed most of mankind. "Only a few were saved because they fled to the higher peaks which were spared when all the rest of the world was inundated. The survivors remained there until the flood ended" (Fingerprints of the Gods, p.193).
On the other side of the world, Greek mythology too is replete with memories of a great deluge. In the most widespread version of the story Prometheus impregnated a human female. She bore him a son named Deucalion, who ruled over the country of Phthia in Thessaly. Deucalion married Pyrrha the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora. When Zeus reached his fateful decision to destroy the bronze race, Deucalion "forewarned by Prometheus, made a wooden box, stored in it 'all that was necessary', and climbed into it with Pyrrha. The king of the gods caused mighty rains to pour from heaven, flooding the greater part [not all] of the earth. All mankind perished in this deluge, SAVE A FEW WHO HAD FLED TO THE HIGHEST MOUNTAINS."
A variation of this story can be found in the Heliopolitan theology of ancient Egypt, where the First Time deities of the land were all, in one sense or another, gods of creation who had given shape to chaos through their divine will. Out of that chaos they formed and populated the sacred land of Egypt. What was this "chaos"?
"The Heliopolitan priests who spoke to the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus in the first century BC put forward the thought-provoking suggestion that 'chaos' was a FLOOD -- identified by Diodorus with the earth-destroying flood of Deucalion, the Greek Noah figure:
"In general, they say that in the flood which occurred in the time of Deucalion most living things were destroyed, it is probable that the inhabitants of southern Egypt survived rather than any others..." (Fingerprints of the Gods, p. 388).
Finally, returning to Mesopotamia, we come across the tradition that the Noah figure Utnapishtim was instructed by the god Ea to take all the knowledge of the ages and consign it to writing and then to bury it in the City of the Sun at Sippara. After the waters of the flood had gone, SURVIVORS were instructed to make their way to the site of the City of the Sun "to search for the writings," which would be found to contain knowledge of benefit to future generations of mankind (Berossus fragments cited in The Sirius Mystery, p. 249).
Perhaps one of the more difficult problems proponents of a universal flood have to answer -- and one they most often avoid -- is how could the eight survivors of the Flood produce the numerous racial types of man that exist upon the earth.
A common belief among Christians is that all the world was populated from the descendants of Noah's three sons. In other words, all tribes and races came from a common ancestral population that started with Noah. These Christians are forced to place this common population, consisting of eight persons, some time after the Flood since they believe in the extinction of ALL people by a universal Flood.
Noah and his family were obviously of one race. The Bible states that Noah was "perfect in his generations" (Genesis 6:9). The word "generations" here is the Hebrew word "TOLEDAH," and means "descent." Noah was perfect in his descent from Adam meaning his lineage had not mixed with any other races. Many try to tell us that this racially pure family developed (or evolved) into the present-day races, but never specifically explain how, when or why this transformation occurred.
However, the concept that all nations and races descended from Noah's sons did not originate with the early Christian writers. When the famous naturalist and zoologist Georges Cuvier devised his classification of races in 1790, he listed three types: Caucasoid, Mongoloid and Negroid. Soon afterwards many started comparing this classification with Noah's three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. As racial distinctions became more evident and debated, the churches and literalists picked up on Cuvier's classification and molded it into a new religious doctrine. They taught that the Negroid race descended from Ham, the Mongoloid race from Japheth, and the Caucasian race from Shem. This doctrine insults and contradicts both the word of YEHOVAH and science.
Cuvier's classification of races was just prior to the advent of Egyptology -- the studying and discovering of the ruins of ancient Egypt by such men as Jean Francois Champollion in the 1820's. The ancient Egyptian monuments, tombs, and temples reveal a vast storehouse of ethnographical records in the form of paintings, mummies and sculptures displaying different racial types of man. Certain racial types can be distinguished in paintings and sculptures dating as far back as the 4th millennium B.C. -- as Professor Coon explains:
"...racial differentiation can be traced back to at least 3,000 B.C., as evidenced in Egyptian records, particularly the artistic representations" (The Origin of the Races, p. 3).
In the era just after the Flood there appears many clear and well defined racial types in the paintings and sculptures from Egypt as well as Mesopotamia. By 1600 B.C., an even greater diversity of distinct racial types can be found. Each of these types are represented as they appear today showing that they were permanent throughout all history and had never undergone any type of transformation.
This was noticed by Professor A.H. Sayce --
"Prof. Sayce found in a tomb of the XVIIIth Egyptian Dynasty at Thebes, which ruled about 1700 B.C., pictures of Negroes, as they are today; white-skinned Aryans; brown Egyptians; and typical Mongolians. As these four types of races have remained the SAME in all the thirty-six centuries since then, is it reasonable to suppose that those four types could have developed during the SIX PRECEDING CENTURIES and from the EIGHT white-skinned survivors of the Deluge?" (Frederick Haberman, Tracing Our Ancestors, page 16).
Some Christians would have us believe that eight white people that existed after the Flood, somehow changed into different racial types almost instantaneously. Why is it that this type of drastic evolutionary change has never occurred since? If we can believe that such a racial transformation took place, then there should be no reason not to believe any manner of evolution occurring over tens of millions of years -- for the latter is more believable than the former!
If you don't believe an amphibian could gradually evolve into a reptile, then a group of white people could not have evolved into Negroes, Indians, Chinese, Polynesians, Pygmies, etc., -- especially in just a few hundred years time or less.
The racial evidence supplied to us by the ancient paintings and sculptures and elsewhere clearly dispels any foolish notion of a worldwide flood. This evidence of the antiquity and permanence of the races, which is verified by the laws of genetics, proves that all people were not destroyed in a universal Flood.
To overcome this problem, some have suggested that Noah brought a representative pair of each race on the Ark. The apostle Peter, in speaking of the Flood, says that only "eight souls were saved" on the Ark (1 Peter 3:20 and 2 Peter 2:5). The only way then to get the other races on the Ark is to say that these other races are not regarded as people, but are inferior "beasts" or "living creatures." The claim that other races were on the Ark is sheer speculation and cannot be proved by the Bible.
The science of ethnology and anthropology have shown that every single racial type that existed prior to the Flood existed after it. This proves that the Flood was confined to specific geographical areas. All people on earth were not destroyed by the Flood as many claim. In Luke 17:26-29 (as we have seen before) Yeshua likens the "days of Noah" with the "days of Lot." In each case the people experienced a catastrophe which "destroyed them all." Yet everyone acknowledges the fact that "in the days of Lot" all the people on earth WERE NOT destroyed -- only all the people IN SODOM were. Likewise, only all the people in the Flood were destroyed -- NOT all the people on earth.
The book of Genesis, when properly translated, clearly indicates this --
"The tenth and Eleventh chapters of Genesis give us 'the register of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japhet: for they had sons born to them after the Deluge.' I quote here from Chapter 10, the 1st verse, of the Fenton translation of the Bible, which is expressed in modern English. The fifth verse reads: 'From these they spread themselves over the seacoasts of the countries of the nations, each with their language amongst the gentile (heathen) tribes.' Verses 31 and 32: 'These are the sons of Shem, by their tribes and by their languages in their countries among the heathen. The above were the families of the sons of Noah, and their descendants, by tribes. From them they spread themselves among the nations on the earth after the Flood.'
"These verses give us clearly to understand that the sons of Noah spread themselves among the existing heathen nations of that time, and by their mental and physical superiority subdued and mastered them" (Frederick Haberman, Tracing Our Ancestors, page 24).
It cannot be supported by any rational or biblical means that all races were destroyed by a flood and then instantaneously reappeared or were formed thereafter. It is infinitely more logical that all races were separately created by YEHOVAH on the planet, and they each survived the Flood, as did numerous other life forms, by being outside its realm and geographical influence.
The Line of Tubal-Cain
Aside from the traditions of survivors of the Flood in lands around the world however, and the Biblical account of Noah and his family, there is certain evidence within the book of Genesis itself that strongly implies there were other survivors. In chapters 4 and 5 we find mentioned TWO family lines that descended from Adam. The line of which Noah was a part is as follows: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mehalelel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, and his three sons -- Shem, Ham and Japheth. Now the OTHER line is: Adam, Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methushael, Lamech and his three sons -- JABAL, JUBAL and TUBAL-CAIN. Writes Woodrow --
"The Bible gives a detailed account concerning the descendants of Noah's three sons after the flood (Genesis 10). But what became of the descendants of the three sons in the OTHER line -- Jabal, Jubal, and Tubal-cain? Those who believe the flood was universal must conclude that all of these were drowned. But this presents a problem, for the writer of Genesis (who lived long AFTER the flood) refers to the descendants of Jabal, Jubal, and Tubal-cain as STILL LIVING AT THE TIME HE WROTE!" (Noah's Flood, Joshua's Long Day, and Lucifer's Fall, pp. 53-54).
Notice Genesis 4:20-22: "And Adah bore Jabal. He was the father of those who dwell [present tense] in tents and have [present tense] livestock. His brother's name was Jubal. He was the father of all who play [present tense] the harp and flute. And as for Zillah, she also bore Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron."
Please note that the writer says these people "dwell" (not dwelled) in tents, and that they "have" (not had) livestock. They "play" (not played) the harp. And "every craftsman in bronze and iron" implies post-flood artisans -- there is no great evidence of bronze and iron use before the flood. Had they all been drowned in the flood, this wording would not be correct. As The Interpreter's Bible plainly states, they were "nomads, musicians, and metal workers EXISTING AT THE TIME OF WRITING [of Genesis]." Hasting's Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics adds that this wording implies "an UNBROKEN history of civilization" and that the writer of this section of Genesis did not, obviously, regard the flood as "a universal Deluge."
It is more than interesting to postulate that these descendants of Cain -- who had migrated EAST from the Garden of Eden -- had by the time of Noah populated a different region from that of Noah in the Tigris-Euphrates valley. And if the Flood was indeed regional (not universal in that the highest mountains were covered with water) then we have a very good explanation of how these people were still living at the time the book of Genesis was written.
Following the Flood, the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth migrated to various countries and settled there. Records Genesis 10:5: "By these were the isles [coastlands] of the GENTILES divided in their lands; every one after their tongue, after their families, in their nations." Then, in Genesis 10:32, we read: "These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood."
How can we explain the existence of these nations to which Noah's descendants migrated and which were "divided" by them if the Flood had drowned all but the eight people in the ark? "The word that is here translated 'divided' (Strong's Concordance, #6504) is translated 'dispersed' in Esther 3:8: '...there is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom.' If we understand this same meaning in connection with Noah's descendants, they were dispersed among various Gentile nations, implying, it would seem, there were other nations of people who did not descend from those in the ark" (Noah's Flood, Joshua's Long Day, and Lucifer's Fall, p. 55).
The Word "Erets"
Admittedly, as we read the Genesis account of the Flood in the various English translations available to us, it does seem that this deluge was nothing short of world-wide and universal. In the New King James Bible it is described as a,
"flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; and everything that is on the earth shall die" (Genesis 6:17).
And, in the Scofield Bible, we read that when the Flood came,
"the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered...and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth...Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark" (Genesis 7:19-23).
In the Jewish Tanakh we read --
"For in seven days time I will make it rain upon the earth, forty days and forty nights, and I will blot out from the earth all existence that I created" (Genesis 7:4).
We are repeatedly told in the Biblical account that the Flood would cover the EARTH, and that everything in the EARTH would die. These, and other statements about the EARTH, would have us believe the entire world was to be inundated -- except for one Hebrew word: ERETS!
Number 776 in Strong's Concordance, the word ERETS (which is translated "EARTH" throughout the Flood account) frankly does not require a world-wide, all encompassing meaning! If you check it out, you will find that this word is translated "country" 140 times and "land" 1,476 times in the Bible. Literally hundreds of references prove that ERETS is used most often of LIMITED or REGIONAL land areas.
Let's, for example, look at the way ERETS is used concerning Abraham in Genesis 12:1: "Get out of you COUNTRY [ERETS]...To a LAND [ERETS] that I will show you." If the word ERETS meant the earth as a planet, this would be like telling Abraham to leave the earth and go to another planet! Quite absurd! Later we read, "And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur..." (Genesis 20:1). If the word "erets" meant the whole earth or planet, then this verse would not make any sense -- obviously there was not a south planet earth as compared to a north planet earth!
Many other references in Genesis also prove that ERETS was used to designate certain land areas: "the whole land [ERETS] of Havilah," "the whole land [ERETS] of Ethiopia," "the land [ERETS] of Nod, on the east of Eden," "the land [ERETS] of Shinar," "the land [ERETS] of Canaan," "the land [ERETS] of Egypt," "the Philistine's land [ERETS]," "the land [ERETS] of Moriah" (Genesis 2:11, 13, etc.). To substitute the word "earth" (as meaning the planet) in any of these verses would be totally ludicrous.
The word ERETS is also used in the plural. In numerous places in the Old Testament we read of Gentiles "in their lands [ERETS]," of "enemies' lands [ERETS]," and of various nations called "lands [ERETS]" -- see Genesis 10:5; Leviticus 26:36; II Kings 19:11, 17; etc. The word "every" is also used with ERETS: "In every land [ERETS] where they were put to shame" (Zeph. 3:19). Now, if ERETS meant the planet earth, then the plural would be talking about planetS -- reducing the whole sentence to absurdity!
The famine that occurred in the time of Joseph affected "all lands [ERETS]" -- not all planets (see Genesis 41:54)! When the grain storehouses were thrown open in Egypt, "all countries [ERETS]" came to buy the grain (verse 57). Once again, it would be absurd to read this as though all planets suffered from famines at the same time and came to Egypt to buy grain!
During the plagues upon Egypt just prior to the Exodus, we read that "the rain was not poured on the earth [ERETS]" (Exodus 9:33). All but superficial readers of the Bible understand that here ERETS means "land" -- the land of Egypt. Why on earth, then, should we assume that "the waters of the flood were upon the earth [ERETS]" or "the rain was upon the earth [ERETS]" means the entire planet earth?
The logical conclusion is that the ERETS destroyed by the Flood was the land in which Noah lived. However, just how much land, or how far the Flood extended, is not defined by this word.
The Face of the Earth
In Exodus 10:5, 14 and 15 we actually find that the Bible itself defines the word "erets." During one of the plagues upon Egypt, swarms of locusts descended to "cover the face of the earth [ERETS], that one cannot be able to see the earth...They covered the face of the WHOLE earth [ERETS]...THROUGH ALL THE LAND OF EGYPT." This couldn't be any plainer! So, in light of this, WHY should we insist that the Flood which covered "the face of the whole earth [ERETS]" means a universal flood? The wording is exactly the same in both cases.
When the Israelites escaped from Egypt they were described as "a people...which covered the face of the earth [ERETS]" -- see Numbers 22:5, 11). In reality, they covered enough land area for Balak to consider them a threat to his people -- BUT, they quite obviously did NOT cover the entire planet earth! In Numbers 11:31 we also read that large quantities of quail fell upon "the face of the earth [ERETS]...a day's journey on this side, and as it were a day's journey on the other side round about the camp." Clearly, the "face of the earth" in this case was only a few square miles of land!
Let's look at another example. In II Samuel 18:8 we read that twenty thousand men were killed in a forested area of Ephraim. Even though this was a relatively small area, we are told that the battle was "scattered over the face of all the country [ERETS]. Now, the word "country" which appears here in the King James Version, is obviously the correct meaning -- but it is EXACTLY the SAME word that is used in the Flood story about the waters covering "the face of all the earth [ERETS]"!! See Genesis 7:3, 4.
In the book of Jeremiah we are told of a flood overflowing the ERETS and, while Jeremiah here used "flood" to figuratively describe an invading army, it provides a revealing comparison: "Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land [ERETS], and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and ALL the inhabitants of the land [ERETS] shall howl" (Jeremiah 47:2). If we were to translate ERETS as it has been translated in the Genesis Flood account and apply it to this passage, then it would read as follows: "Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the EARTH, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the EARTH shall howl." Wording such as this would strongly indicate a world-wide flood, yet the reference in Jeremiah only involved the land [ERETS] of the PHILISTINES! I think we are getting the picture.
We also read that Joshua "took the WHOLE land [ERETS]...and the land [ERETS] rested from war" (Joshua 11:23). Would you think of reading "earth" into this verse? No -- everybody knows that the conquest of Canaan did not include Australia, Europe and America!
In passage after passage where ERETS is translated "country," "earth," "ground" or "land" it is unmistakably used of LIMITED land areas. Now with this knowledge, if we look again at the expressions used to describe the flood of Noah and read "land" as the correct meaning of ERETS, we come up with the following: "the LAND was corrupt," "all flesh had corrupted his way upon the LAND," "the waters of the flood were upon the LAND," "all flesh died that moved upon the LAND," "the waters returned from off the LAND" [how could the waters return from off the earth meaning planet?], etc. This gives a whole different slant to these verses. Once ERETS is CORRECTLY understood, we can visualize it as a huge flood that involved, primarily, the part of the world in which Noah lived and other low-lying areas and cachement areas of the earth.
Notes Wayne Mckellips:
"As 1st Samuel 30:16 shows sometimes "the whole earth" or "all the earth" can refer to a country or land area. The word translated land or earth in 1st Samuel 30:16 is the main one of the two words used in Genesis when talking about the extent of Noah's flood. Either Hebrew word "erets" or "adamah" can refer to a country, land, etc." (The Flood and Joshua's Long Day).
Regarding the Hebrew word "adamah," which is also translated "earth" in these same passages concerning Noah's flood, we find an interesting scenario. In Strong's Concordance (#127) we find "adamah (ad-aw-maw'); from 119; soil (from its general redness): KJV translates this -- country, earth, ground, husband [-man] (-ry), land." Also, this word relates to Strong's #120 -- ADAM.
Why did Moses use this word, which is translated "land" in most verses of the Bible, instead of the Hebrew word "erets"? Is it possible Moses used it to qualify the word "erets"?
Notice Genesis 7:4: "For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the land [erets] forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the land [adamah' -- ADAM'S LAND].
Looking at Genesis 6:20, where "adamah" is used by itself, we read: "Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the land [adamah' -- ADAM'S LAND] after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive."
I think it's very likely that the useage of Strong's #127 "adamah," interspersed with Strong's #776 "erets," qualifies the word "erets." Taking it a step further, then, the land affected by the Flood must have been "Adam's" land -- opposed to some other tribe's or nation's land! We should not assume Noah's flood was of global proportions when we see verses such as Genesis 7:10, 12, where it states: "the rain was upon the earth" (erets) -- especially when the term "ADAMAH" is also used in these passages.
The real "clincher" to the correct understanding of the word "erets" is found in Genesis 1:9-10: "Then God said, 'Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the DRY LAND appear': and it was so. And God CALLED THE DRY LAND ERETS, and the gathering together of the waters He called SEAS. And God saw that it was good." Here YEHOVAH God Himself defines the word "erets" as meaning "dry land" -- not the entire planet! Therefore, throughout the Genesis account of the Flood, we should follow YEHOVAH's example and translate the word "erets" into the English word "land."
Defilement of the Land
Even without comparing the way ERETS is used in other verses, there is internal evidence within the Flood account itself that indicates the Flood was local or regional in nature. The Bible is very specific about the extent of the defilement of man's sin and about YEHOVAH's response. The defilement is always LIMITED to the sinners, their progeny for several generations, birds and mammals which are part of their livelihood, their material possessions and their agricultural land. NOWHERE in the Bible do we see YEHOVAH meting out judgment beyond these limits. Therefore, we can expect that if mankind had never visited Antarctica, YEHOVAH would not have flooded that area. The extent of the Genesis flood was LIMITED to the extent of the defilement of man's sin.
Notice the REASON for the Flood: "...the earth [ERETS-LAND] was filled with violence" (Genesis 6:11). "LAND" is the correct translation, for violence could only occur where there were PEOPLE to cause the violence. Since large portions of this earth [planet] were uninhabited at this point in time -- it was not the planet earth that was filled with violence, but the land in which Noah lived and the land in which other segments of the human race lived.
Further proof of this is found in YEHOVAH's command to Noah to "fill the earth." This was the same command given to Adam and later to the people who built the tower of Babel. The fact that YEHOVAH REPEATED this command to Noah (and intervened dramatically to disperse the people of Babel's day) strongly implies that the people of Noah's generation had not filled the earth completely. This view is consistent with the geographical place names recorded in the first nine chapters of Genesis. They all refer to localities either in or very close to Mesopotamia. The various Flood traditions we find around the world could be a memory of what happened around Mesopotamia rather than an event occurring in their country.
Not only that, but only the land where man sinned was subject to YEHOVAH's punishment -- notice what the apostle Paul says!
"...but where there is no law there is no transgression" (Romans 4:15).
Commenting on this, Frederick Haberman states:
"When Genesis, therefore, speaks of the Flood covering the earth, it means that part of the earth in which the Adamites lived who sinned against God. The Negroes and the Mongols at that time did not know God's laws..." (Tracing Our Ancestors, page 18).
"And the Water Returned from Off the Land Continually"
We read in the Genesis account that "the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth [ERETS-LAND]" (Genesis 7:17). Again, we must read "land" for ERETS -- this gives us a far more accurate picture than supposing the ark was lifted up above the planet!
If it is generally understood that after forty days of rain the Flood still "prevailed" or maintained its level for a period of time before abating (see Genesis 7:24), then if the waters of the Flood "prevailed" upon the "LAND [ERETS]" in which Noah and other branches of the human race lived -- AND NOT THE ENTIRE PLANET -- there would still have been streams of water draining down from higher elevations. This would have maintained the level of the Flood for a period of time -- even though it had stopped raining. But if the inundation covered the entire world, submerging the highest peaks under 15 cubits of water, where would the waters come from to maintain this level after the rain had stopped? Think about it!
Later, in Genesis 8:1, "God made a WIND to pass over the earth [ERETS-LAND]" and the waters receded. Anyone with a knowledge of hydrology and weather patterns knows that wind passing over a body of water picks up moisture which forms clouds which then move with the wind to drop rain in other areas. But -- and realize this -- if the whole planet was covered with water, the wind driven, moisture-laden clouds would have only dropped water on more water! Notes author Ralph Woodrow:
"This would be like dipping water out of one end of a swimming pool and pouring it into the other end -- the level would remain unchanged!"
But if we understand the Flood as being in certain regions of the earth (planet), then a wind passing over the waters could carry away moisture to some drier and distant land. This, and ONLY this, would cause a lowering of the waters as the book of Genesis relates. Ernest Martin explains that
"if in the antediluvian period Mount Everest had about the same elevation above our present sea level (just over 29,000 feet) and with all other mountain heights and the depths of oceanic trenches having the same dimensions as today, then IN NO WAY could the flood of Noah have submerged Mount Everest or the other high mountains. At least, there are no known laws of nature [read YEHOVAH] that would allow it. If such a flood had occurred, the earth would STILL BE SUBMERGED TO THIS DAY under the same flood waters and they would have remained at about the same height as in the time of Noah.
"It is simply a physical fact that if Mount Everest (the highest mountain on earth) was submerged by the flood, the waters would have had no place in which to drain so that our present "dry land" areas could appear" (Solving the Riddle of Noah's Flood. Associates for Scriptural Knowledge, Portland, Oregon, p. 5).
Continuing to Genesis 8:3 we read: "And the waters returned from off the earth [ERETS-LAND] continually." Here we can visualize water draining down from the waterlogged lands into the oceans -- returning from off the LAND. If the PLANET earth was meant here, and waters drained off it, then WHERE in the world did the they drain to??
Dropping to Genesis 8:13 we find another problematic verse if we understand "earth" to mean the whole earth or planet: "...the waters were dried up from off the earth [ERETS]." Since water makes up 71 percent of the earth's surface, if the ENTIRE earth was meant, the waters drying up from the earth would even include the oceans! But when we understand that the word ERETS means "land," then the whole verse makes sense. With the reading that the water dried up from off the LAND, language is allowed to retain its normal flow of thought -- showing that the land that was inundated had now dried up again.
Apart from all this, the sheer impossibility of a flood that covered the entire planet -- including the highest mountains -- is clearly revealed when we look at the figures. To understand this, we have only to analyze the story in terms of the number of inches of rain per minute that would have had to fall on the entire surface of the earth to produce the results described in Genesis 7-8. We now know, for example, that Mount Everest is the highest mountain on planet earth. It reaches an altitude of 29,028 feet -- which would be a height of 348,336 inches. For enough rain to fall in a period of 40 days to reach the peak of this mountain, the source of the water would have to drop 8,708 inches of rain per day uniformly over all the earth. This would amount to 363 inches per hour or six inches per minute. Can any reasonable person believe that it once rained continuously for 40 days and nights at an average rate of six inches per minute? A rainfall of six inches in one day is a veritable downpour. What would six inches per minute sustained for 57,600 continuous minutes be like?
Ralph Woodrow echoes this assessment:
"In order to get a better idea of just how much water would be involved in a universal flood, consider the following: Since Mount Everest is 29,028 feet, a flood fifteen cubits above this, would be about 29,050 feet of water above normal sea level. It rained forty days and nights, so this would work out to roughly 726 feet of rain a day! Thirty feet an hour! Six inches of rain per minute! An inch of rain every ten seconds!" (Noah's Flood, Joshua's Long Day, and Lucifer's Fall, p. 16).
Now let's take this scenario and see what would happen as the waters receded (if it possibly could if the highest mountain was covered) after the rain stopped. The common understanding of Genesis 7:20 and 8:4-5 implies that the water receded at the rate of 15 cubits in 74 days. If we figure a cubit at about 18 inches, the water level would have dropped 270 inches during this time or, to round it off, 4 inches a day. Now, and realize this, if the Flood depth was 29,050 feet (348,600 inches) and the water level dropped 4 inches a day -- it would take 87,150 days to get back down to normal sea level. That's almost 239 years!! The Bible figures the whole time of the Flood as around ONE YEAR in duration -- not 239 years! A number of Bible scholars have commented on this impossible scenario.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to discern that all of this argues AGAINST the idea that the Flood waters covered the highest mountains to the depth of 15 cubits. Rather, it strongly suggests that Noah's flood was of REGIONAL proportions.
At this time, at the beginning of a new millennium, we are concerned about the green-house effect that threatens to melt the polar ice caps if the global warming trend continues. But even if it does, only the coastal areas of the continents will be flooded when the ice caps have melted. Certainly the highest mountains on earth will not be under water. To have a universal flood that covers the highest mountains defies all logic and the very laws that YEHOVAH Himself put into place!
Different Topography Before the Flood?
The four different Hebrew verbs used in Genesis 8, verses 1-8 to describe the receding of the flood waters clearly indicate, as we have seen, that these waters DRAINED off the land into the oceans of the world. This being so, the waters of the Flood are still to be found within the aquifers and troposphere and oceans of planet Earth. Since the total water content of the earth is only 22 percent of what would be needed for a complete global submergence, it is quite obvious the Genesis flood could NOT have covered the entire planet by 15 cubits.
The argument I keep hearing against this conclusion is that before the Flood there were no high mountains or deep oceans. According to this argument the present-day relief of the earth's surface is said to have been generated in a period of just a few months during the Flood. Could this be true? There are several major problems with such a suggestion:
1/. It contradicts a vast body of geological data.
2/. It contradicts a vast body of geophysical data, at the same time requiring such cataclysmic effects as to render highly unlikely Noah's survival in an ark.
3/. It overlooks the geophysical difficulties of a planet with a smooth surface.
4/. It contradicts our observations of tectonics. The mechanisms that drive tectonic plate movements have extremely long time constants, so long that the effects of such a catastrophe would easily be measurable to this day. Since they are not, the conclusion must be that the flood was not globally earth encompassing.
5/. It contradicts the vast fossil deposits of the earth.
Most Flood theories deal with the water after the Flood by proposing that it became our present oceans. With the present topography of the earth this would be a sheer impossibility. The earth's terrain, according to this theory, was much, much flatter during the Flood and, through cataclysms, the mountains were pushed up and the ocean basins lowered. It has been proposed that the cataclysms were caused by the earth's crust sliding around on a cushion of water. But how could such a change be effected? To change the density and/or the temperature of at least a quarter of the earth's crust fast enough to raise and lower the ocean floor in a matter of months would require mechanisms beyond anything ever proposed in any of the Flood models.
Why are most sediments on high ground? Most sediments are carried until the water slows down or stops. If the water stopped in the oceans, we should expect more sediments to have accumulated there. It has been shown that during a flood of the magnitude of that proposed by those who think the waters completely covered the highest mountains, currents would be faster over land masses than over ocean basins (Baumgardner, 1994). Therefore, sediments should, on the whole, be removed from the land masses and deposited in ocean basins. Yet sediments on the ocean basin average 0.6 km thick, while on the land masses (including continental shelves), they average 2.6 km thick.
What about water draining from the land? The water draining from the land would have produced tremendous torrents. There is evidence of this in the Scablands of Washington state, however, such evidence is NOT found worldwide -- indicating that the Flood could not have been worldwide.
Furthermore, such a wholesale restructuring of the earth's topography -- compressed into just a few months -- would have produced tsunamis large enough to circle the earth and overturn any structure floating on the surface of the water. The aftershocks alone from the restructuring would have devastated the planet for years afterward.
Why is there no evidence of a worldwide flood in ice core samples? Ice core samples from Greenland have been dated back more than 40,000 years by counting the annual layers (Johnsen et al, 1992; Alley et al, 1993). A worldwide flood would be expected to leave a layer of sediments, noticeable changes in salinity and oxygen isotope ratios, fractures from buoyancy and thermal stresses, a hiatus in trapped air bubbles, and many other traces. No such evidence showed up in the core samples.
Not only that, but a year long global flood should be recognizable in sea bottom cores by (1) an uncharacteristic amount of terrestrial detritus, (2) different grain size distributions in the sediment, (3) a shift in oxygen isotope ratios, (4) a massive extinction. None of these indications have ever showed up on the sea floors.
It simply is not possible that the vast sedimentary deposits of the earth's crust were deposited during Noah's flood, and that all the fossils within that strata died during the flood of Noah's day. The Scriptures, the earth's geology -- and a little common sense -- show the fallacy of that belief system.
In Deuteronomy 33:15 the Bible clearly says that the earth's mountains are very, very old:
"And for the chief things of the ANCIENT MOUNTAINS, and for the precious things of the LASTING HILLS..."
When Noah's flood occurred, the Bible says the waters of the Flood rained upon the tops of the mountains -- so the present-day mountains already existed:
"The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the land, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the land, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered [doused]. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits from above, and the MOUNTAINS were covered [doused]."
It is a known fact that portions of most of the earth's mountain ranges are composed of sedimentary strata or metamorphosed sediments which contain fossils. Two examples are the Appalachian mountain range of the eastern United States (one of the older ones) and the Alps of Europe. The sediment layers that were uplifted to form these great mountain ranges are many thousands of feet thick in places -- and well above sea level today.
Now, if these mountains existed before Noah's flood -- which the Bible clearly says they did -- and these mountains were formed from uplifted sediments containing fossils, then the creatures that these fossils came from all died sometime BEFORE the great Flood.
In the Appalachian mountain range you will see deep road cuts exposing repeated sequences of coal, sandstone, limestone, shale, coal again, shale, etc. The presence of neat, multiple seams of coal in the sequence indicates periods of time when the surface of the land was above sea level, allowing vegetation to flourish, die and accumulate (coal is formed from the remains of trees and ferns). The sequences of sandstone, shale, limestone and alike indicate periods when the same land was covered by the sea. Because it takes vegetation time to grow, die and accumulate, you can be sure that these alternating coal/rock sequences, which contain coal seams that range from inches to several feet thick, required many, many years to form. Noah's flood only lasted one year according to the book of Genesis. Therefore, it is impossible for these seams to have been formed by the flood of Noah's day. These formations are orderly and well differentiated -- which is uncharacteristic of deposits left by rapid flooding. Furthermore, in many locations these sequences, which originally formed in a horizontal position, are now tilted at various angles -- some are now vertical and some have even been found to be turned upside down. The Tectonic processes required to accomplish this need long periods of time. You can be sure it occurred long before Noah's day, not during a one-year flood.
It takes tremendous pressures and long periods of time for sediments to compact and cement into rock. There was simply not enough time in a one-year flood period to produce the massive sedimentary layers of the Appalachian mountains. Whatever materials and debris may have been left on the land after the Flood waters receded would have been quickly eroded away by rains in a few brief years following the Flood. That is why there is little remaining, widespread physical evidence of worldwide regional flooding today.
Let's look at petroleum (oil). Petroleum is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons which occur in many areas in the upper strata (sedimentary rock layers) of the earth. In some cases petroleum seeps up to the surface -- the tar pits of southern California being a case in point. Think about this: If the sedimentary rocks which contain the petroleum were formed by Noah's flood, then WHERE did Noah get the bitumen to seal the joints of the ark to make it waterproof -- BEFORE the Flood?
"Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with PITCH" (Genesis 6: 14).
When you honestly think through all these considerations it becomes quite clear that the fossils of the earth's sedimentary rock layers have been there a long, long time. The only possible exception to this general rule would be rare and scattered locations where assorted drowned animal and human carcasses may have lodged in crevices and caves in the earth as the Flood waters receded. There they would have been quickly covered with silt run off and became fossilized in situ. Some creationists have cited such reported finds as proof that ALL high area fossils originated during Noah's flood. This simply is not true. More about this later.
What Does the Bible Really Say?
By now we should understand that simple rainfall generated by the dynamics of our present atmosphere CANNOT account for Noah's flood. Today we know that water evaporates mainly from the world's oceans, condenses in the form of clouds and then falls to the earth as rain. Even if Noah had built his ark on the beach and rain fell in great quantities from the present atmospheric conditions, the oceans would not have risen at all. Water falling as rain over the land areas would flow right back into the oceans. In fact, the oceans would actually have diminished in size because the great basin areas of the world would have captured a large percentage of the rainwater and that water would not have returned to the sea. States Ernest Martin:
"The only way the oceans can rise is if water comes from some source other than the ocean itself such as ice caps melting or something similar. Simple rain, no matter how hard it comes down, will not cause the oceans to flood the earth because most of the water will quickly return to the oceans. One has to look elsewhere for the water that Moses said was the cause of the flood of Noah. It was no doubt that it was the water from "the windows of heaven" that primarily caused the flood."
If we consult the Bible we find this is exactly what Moses tells us. If we correctly translate a particular word that Moses used in the Genesis account, we find that he plainly informs us that the main bulk of the water descended "from above." In fact -- and take note of this -- he even tells us HOW MUCH water fell to the earth over the forty-day period. Explains Ernest Martin --
"The theologians who translated the King James Version completely misunderstood what Moses meant in Genesis 7:20 by rendering the Hebrew as: 'Fifteen Cubits UPWARD did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.' Notice the italicized word 'UPWARD.' Because most theologians automatically assumed that Moses meant that the mountains (even the highest of them) were completely submerged by the flood waters, they were led to translate the Hebrew word MALEMELAH (which actually means 'FROM ABOVE') by the word 'upward.' This is a major mistake. It transfers a meaning to the word that gives the English reader the very opposite impression from what the Hebrew intended" (Solving the Riddle of Noah's Flood, pp. 19-20).
Notice that Moses did not describe Noah's flood as an ocean deluge. The words "sea" or "ocean" do not appear in Genesis 6-8. Genesis 7:20 has 15 cubits (23 feet) of water falling from above: "Fifteen cubits FROM ABOVE did the waters prevail; and the mountains [could also be 'hills'] were covered." If, after the ark grounded, Noah surveyed the flood damage and concluded that the flood was more than ten thousand cubits deep, why would he (or Moses) forget to mention such an impressive number while remembering to mention an insignificant number like 15 cubits? Fifteen cubits defines the amount of rain that fell. It was not a deluge, but it was enough to breach the levees and cover the lowlands and some hills with water for many, many miles in all directions. It is a MISTRANSLATION to say the waters rose 15 cubits above the mountains. The 15 cubits refers to how much water fell -- not how deep the water was.
According to Webster's New World Dictionary, the English word "upward" means "toward a higher place" or, in other words, to proceed from the bottom to a higher place or position. However, the Hebrew word used by Moses in Genesis (that the King James' scholars incorrectly translated "upward") actually means to DESCEND "FROM ABOVE." To come "from above" means the exact OPPOSITE to the word "upward," and means to fall downward -- not to rise upward! This can be demonstrated in Joshua 3:13 and 16 where the self-same word is used to refer to the waters of the Jordan River flowing DOWNWARD toward the Dead Sea -- "from above." Notice: "And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that COME DOWN [MALEMELAH] from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap" (Joshua 3:13).
Now notice verse 16: "...that the waters which CAME DOWN [MALEMELAH] from upstream stood still, and rose up in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan." I don't believe we have to mention that water in all rivers flows DOWNWARD -- not upward! In Isaiah 45:8 the prophet Isaiah uses a variant of the same word -- MAMAEL -- to invoke: "Drop down, ye heavens, FROM ABOVE, and let the skies pour down righteousness."
So, relates Ernest Martin,
"The King James' translators (and followed by a host of others) have given a diametrically opposite meaning to the Hebrew word MALEMELAH and thereby missing the point entirely of what Moses meant. It is no wonder that people over the centuries have been confused in understanding the flood narrative" (Solving the Riddle of Noah's Flood, p. 20).
In actual fact Moses wrote that the waters of the Flood came "from above." And as well as that, he even gave details about the EXACT amount of precipitation that fell "from above." "He said the waters 'prevailed' (or they came 'from above' in their strength) to the tune of fifteen cubits (just about 23 feet of water came down from the sky). In a word, Moses was reporting that 23 feet of water (that is, 276 inches of rainfall) fell to earth in that 40 day period. This would answer to about 7 inches of rainfall occurring on each of the 40 days and this represents about a third of an inch an hour. That was a lot of rain!" (ibid., p. 20).
Not nearly as much rain as we calculated for a flood that covered Mt. Everest by 15 cubits!!
You might ask how Noah knew that about 276 inches (15 cubits) of rain came down during that 40 day period. The Bible doesn't reveal the answer to this question, but Noah could have received a revelation from YEHOVAH God, or he could have simply measured it with a rain gauge. People weren't stupid in Noah's day. He could also have measured the height of the waters after the Flood against the height of some well known mountain or landmark near where the ark came to rest.
Critics of this understanding might argue that Moses recorded in Genesis that the mountains were COVERED by the waters that descended from the heavens -- and he meant even the highest mountains! The critics are right -- Moses did record that mountains were COVERED with water. However, most of us have not understood WHAT Moses actually intended when he used the Hebrew word for "covered." Or, perhaps, most of us have read into the word what we wanted it to mean, based on the erroneous understanding we have had for years regarding the Flood account. But, to come to the truth, we must ascertain what YEHOVAH God (through Moses) means by this word or any other word that is used. We must not read our own prejudices or misconceptions into them. Explains Martin --
"The fact is, the mountains were indeed COVERED, but nowhere does Moses say (or even hint) that the mountains were SUBMERGED! There is a perfectly good Hebrew word (ahphaph) which, without ambiguity, means SUBMERGED (see II Sam. 22:5 and Jonah 2:5) and it could have been used by Moses if he intended to show that the mountains were SUBMERGED. Moses is simply telling his readers that the mountains (as well as all land masses including the oceans) were COMPLETELY DOUSED with 276 inches of rain that came 'from above.' The word 'covered' does NOT mean 'submerged.' Even today we in California often look at our mountains in winter and say how beautiful they are 'covered with snow.' In no way do we mean that the snow is so deep that the whole state of California is under 15,000 feet of snow so that Mount Whitney can be barely 'submerged'" (Solving the Riddle of Noah's Flood, p. 21).
While it is quite evident that the word "covered" does not mean "submerged" in the Hebrew -- does not Moses tell us in Genesis 8:5 that by the first day of the 10th month the tops of the mountains finally became visible? He certainly does, but he doesn't mean what most of us think he means! Think about this: With 15 cubits of water (276 inches) in the form of rain entering the earth's atmosphere and falling to the surface, a supersaturated atmosphere would have resulted creating thick clouds with extremely foggy conditions. This mantle of heavy clouds and rain surrounded the surface of the earth for a period of several months, causing all the mountains to be obscured from sight. In fact, Noah probably couldn't see a hand in front of his face -- at the best, not more than 20 yards in any direction from the ark! This lasted for about five months.
After 150 days (five months) of intense supersaturation of the earth's atmosphere, we read in Genesis 8:1 that YEHOVAH caused a STRONG WIND to pass over the earth. Gradually the impenetrable fog and dense clouds dissipated and the atmosphere began to clear up. At the same time the waters began to recede and, because of the drying effect of the wind, the lower parts of the mountains could be seen through the clearing atmosphere. And, as Moses said in Genesis 8:5, "the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen" because the fog and clouds had cleared up enough to enable much better visibility.
If you examine the text carefully, you will see that Moses is only saying that the tops of the mountains COULD BE SEEN -- not that they emerged from under thousands of feet of water! He simply meant that the clouds and fog were dispersed by the "wind" that YEHOVAH produced on the earth and that the tops of the mountains could now be seen for the first time. This is ALL that Moses means, and this can be clearly demonstrated from the meaning of the Hebrew words he used. Notice --
"When Moses said that the flood waters coming 'from above' caused the mountains to be COVERED, the Hebrew word he used was KAHSAH and that word has a basic meaning of 'TO HIDE' or 'TO CONCEAL.' It is translated 'TO HIDE' in Genesis 18:17; Job 33:17; Psalm 32:5; Proverbs 10:18, and 'TO CONCEAL' in Proverbs 11:13 and 12:23. It is often used to mean 'hiding one's flesh' by putting on clothing. With this in mind, it should be mentioned that Moses could easily have meant that the supersaturated atmosphere (with its thick clouds, fog and rain) caused the mountains to be 'HIDDEN FROM VIEW' by the waters that were coming 'from above.' This in fact was the cause. Only after a five month period of super-saturation of the atmosphere (and a two month drying out period) was it possible once again TO SEE the tops of the mountains. By Moses using the word KAHSAH in Genesis 7:19, 20, he meant that the mountains had been HIDDEN FROM VIEW for seven months. HE DID NOT MEAN THEY WERE SUBMERGED" (Solving the Riddle of Noah's Flood, pp. 22-23).
The understanding of the Hebrew word "kahsah" mentioned above fits properly with the context of the Flood narrative Moses gave in Genesis. We should remember, however, that the Bible shows that in the pre-Adamic period the entire planet was submerged in water -- see Genesis 1:2, 9. In Psalm 104:6 the Bible even says "the waters stood above the mountains." But we should note carefully the Psalm was NOT talking of Noah's time. "The previous verse shows that the inundation was at a time in the first age of the world when God 'laid the foundations of the earth' (Psalm 104:5)" (ibid., p. 23). Even geology indicated -- as we have already seen -- that in the pre-Adamic age many mountain regions were once under water, thus explaining the fossil evidence. In fact, there were numerous submergences during the history of the earth.
What About Noah's Ark?
Now what about Noah's ark? Doesn't Genesis 8:4 say that "the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, ON THE MOUNTAINS OF ARARAT"? Yes, it does. Doesn't this verse seem to suggest that the waters rose to such a height that even Mt. Ararat was covered? Yes, this is what most people seem to think Moses was trying to say, But, once again, this is NOT the case at all! Moses clearly had something else in mind.
This dilemma can easily be resolved. The reason the ark landed in the "mountains of Ararat" is because that's where it was probably built! Also, we must remember that Ararat was the name of a REGION or COUNTRY in millennia past -- so the "mountains of Ararat" could be anywhere in a large geographical area. Another thing we must remember is that the Hebrew word for "mountains" can also mean "hills." The truth is, Noah constructed the ark in a basin area in the land of Ararat -- probably in the region where Lake Van is located today. Since the area around Lake Van has no outlet to the sea, the ark would have been lifted up with the rising waters from the 15 cubits of rain that fell. Explains Martin --
"In actual fact, the watershed area in the basin could have caused a lake to develop (possibly Lake Van itself) to a height well over 40 or 50 feet deep from the waters that came 'from above.' Since the ark was not constructed to navigate to some distant area (it was simply built to float), it could have been built in the basin area where Lake Van is presently situated (where there was much timber) and it touched land once again just a few miles from where it was built" (ibid., p. 24).
One thing is for sure -- the ark DID NOT come to rest near the top of Mount Ararat at the 15,000 foot level, as some suppose! Moses plainly said it anchored in "the mountains of Ararat," NOT on Mount Ararat itself. The area near the shores of modern Lake Van -- being in a basin area -- could very well be where the ark again touched ground. The fact that the ark landed in a basin area (where a new lake had formed because of the incredible amount of water that came "from above" and fell on the earth) may well explain how other basin areas without outlets to the ocean became partially filled with water during the time of the deluge. An example of this would be the waters of the Dead Sea -- just to the east and south of Jerusalem. There are, of course, many other areas in the world that would have collected water during the downpour. This brings up an interesting question: "...if...Noah's flood did in fact submerge even the highest of the mountains, then why was not the basin area containing the Dead Sea still brim full in the time of Abraham and even today from those flood waters?" (Martin, p. 24). The plain and simple truth is that the Dead Sea basin is not full of water (nor other large basin regions on earth) because the earth (planet) has NEVER been submerged in water since the time of Adam!
It is almost shocking to turn back to the book of Genesis and discover that the Bible does not say the ark rested on Mount Ararat at all! What Genesis actually says is this: "Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, ON THE MOUNTAINS [PLURAL] OF ARARAT" (Genesis 8:4). Explains Ralph Woodrow --
"Ararat" was the name of a COUNTRY. It was called the 'KINGDOM OF ARARAT' (Jeremiah 51:27). The word Ararat is but the Hebrew form of the Assyrian Urartu. In the late 7th century B.C., this general area became known as Armenia. After King Sennacherib was assassinated by his two sons, they fled from Nineveh to 'Armenia' (2 Kings 19:37). The terms 'ARARAT' and 'ARMENIA' are both translated from the SAME Hebrew word in the Bible (Strong's Concordance, 780), Ararat simply being the older word by which that country was known" (Noah's Flood, Joshua's Long Day, and Lucifer's Fall, p. 67).
The expression "mountains of Ararat" in the book of Genesis indicates that during the Flood the ark probably drifted from the region of Lake Van or from further south in the flat plains of Mesopotamia into a mountainous region of the country of Ararat. But the Bible does not specify exactly where or which mountain! Consequently, there is absolutely no reason at all to assume the highest mountain in all of the land is intended. The oldest information available to us would place the resting place of the ark further south in Ararat among mountains that were lower in elevation and bordering the plain -- the Kurdistan mountains. The Expository Bible Encyclopedia informs us that back in the 3rd. century B.C., the Babylonian Priest Berossus spoke of the ark coming to rest on the southern frontier of Armenia (Ararat) in the Kurdistan mountains. Ephiphanius, in his work Panarion I, simply stated the ark rested in "the country of the Kurds" (1:18). The Syriac Peshitta (the Syriac version of the Bible composed by Rabbula, bishop of Edessa, in the 5th century A.D.) and the Aramaic Targums (Aramaic paraphrases of the books of the Old Testament) of Genesis 8:4 call these mountains where the ark came to rest the Kardo mountains -- as does the Lamsa version of the Bible. The Kardo mountains are named from the Kurdish people who lived amongst them. The Kurds originally lived south of Lake Van in the area that is now northern Iraq, across a band of foothills and mountains that extended along the edge of the Mesopotamian plain.
The people living in northern Mesopotamia have long believed the ark came to rest in this area. With the coming of Christianity this became the prevailing view of the Christian East -- including the Nestorian Christians in northern Iraq and the Syrian church. Adds Woodrow:
"Early in the 3rd century A.D., Hippolytus in Rome wrote that the ark came to rest 'in the mountains called Ararat, which are situated in the direction of the country of the Adiabeni.' The Adiabeni lived in Adiabene, the district between the two Zab Rivers, near the north end of the Zagros Mountains. Sextus Julius Africanus, another noted name among church fathers, said that 'we know' the mountains of Ararat on which the ark landed are 'in Parthia,' which would point us, roughly, in the same direction" (Noah's Flood, Joshua's Long Day, & Lucifer's Fall, p. 68).
According to the Epic of Gilgamesh, which we discussed earlier, the ark came to rest on Mount Nisir: "I looked for land in vain, but fourteen leagues distant there appeared a mountain, and there the boat grounded; on the mountain of Nisir the boat held fast, she held fast and did not budge." Ancient records place this mountain among the Zagros Mountains northeast of the Mesopotamian plain. The annals of King Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.) link it with the land just south of the Little Zab River.
Interestingly, the Koran agrees with the Epic of Gilgamesh when it says "...and the ark rested on the mountain Al Judi" (Hud 11:46). In Arabic "Nisir" is called Judi, and a footnote in the Koran mentions that this particular mountain is one the divides the southern part of Armenia from Mesopotamia in the area that was inhabited by the Kurds.
If we go back to the passage from Josephus that we looked at earlier, we find further proof that the ark grounded on a mountain or hill just north of the Mesopotamian plain. Notice!
"Now the sons of Noah were three...these first of all DESCENDED FROM THE MOUNTAINS [OR HILLS] INTO THE PLAINS, and fixed their habitation there; and persuaded others who were greatly afraid of the lower grounds on account of the flood, and so were very loth to come down from the higher places, to venture to follow their examples. NOW THE PLAIN IN WHICH THEY FIRST DWELT WAS CALLED SHINAR" (Antiquities of the Jews, I, 4:1).
This passage plainly states that Noah's sons came down from the mountains into the plains, indicating that the plains were ADJACENT to the mountains. Furthermore, the passage says that the name of the plain they first came down to and dwelt in was called SHINAR. Where was Shinar? Let Smith's Bible Dictionary answer:
"Shinar (country of two rivers), the ancient name of the great alluvial tract through which the Tigris and Euphrates pass before reaching the sea -- the tract known in later times as Chaldea or Babylonia...It may be suspected that Shinar was the name by which the Hebrews originally knew the lower Mesopotamian country where they so long dwelt..." (p. 622).
This points, once again, to the Zagros Mountains just northeast of the Mesopotamian plain once known as Shinar.
While all of these statements do not totally agree with each other, the bulk of the information would favor a location within the foothills and mountains that border the Mesopotamian plain in the country now known as Iraq -- not far to the north in Turkey where Mt. Ararat is located.
It is a point of fact that the site of Mt. Ararat as the resting place for the ark was not even thought of until the fourth-century A.D. -- more than 2,000 years AFTER the Flood! This was the LAST, not the earliest location. When Christianity came to Armenia, along with the Genesis account of Noah's ark, it naturally developed that Mount Ararat would be the logical place for the ark to be found since Armenia was formerly known as the COUNTRY of Ararat. Falsely assuming the Flood covered every mountain in the world, the Armenians picked Mt. Ararat as the preferred resting place since it is the highest elevation in their country.
We should mention here and now that the Hebrew word translated "mountain" in the Old Testament does NOT, necessarily, signify a mountain of great elevation. This same word is translated "HILL" in many verses of the Old Testament! The word -- HAR -- (Strong's Concordance, #2022) is translated "HILL of Zion" in one place and "mount Zion" in another (Psalms 2:6; Micah 4:7). "When we read the words hill and mountain in the flood account, BOTH are from the SAME word. HAR simply means an elevated area, something one would go up to or mount, a mountain. The idea that it must mean a mountain many thousands of feet high is simply not true" (Noah's Flood, Joshua's Long Day, & Lucifer's Fall, pp. 70-71). There are no mountains in the southern Tigris-Euphrates valley where Noah lived, only higher or lower hills on a flat alluvial plain. The nearest mountains are beyond the horizon. Noah could have seen hills being flooded in the Euphrates valley -- but not mountains!
The ambiguous Akkadian word for hill/mountain was shadu and is so used in the Gilgamesh Epic. Shadu could mean a low hill only a few feet high. In the Gilgamesh Epic, the place where the ark grounded is usually translated Mount Nisir, as we have seen. But the word shadu translated as "Mount" could also mean hill or mound. Nisir could be a corruption of the Akkadian word "nisirtu" meaning "hidden," "inaccessible," or "secluded." The Gilgamesh grounding place is therefore vague, saying only that the ark grounded on a secluded hill or mound.
This is confirmed by The Book of Jubilees -- a haggadic commentary on certain portions of Genesis and the opening chapters of Exodus -- undoubtedly the work of a Palestinian Jew and written before the destruction of the Temple. In chapter VII, verse 1, we read --
"And in the seventh week, in the first year thereof, in this jubilee, Noah planted vines ON THIS HILL UPON WHICH THE ARK HAD RESTED, named Lubar, the Ararat Mountains, and they produced fruit in the fourth year, and he WATCHED their fruit and GATHERED them in this year in the seventh month, and he made wine of it, and put it into a vessel and kept it until the fifth year, until the first day of the new moon of the first month" (translated from the Ethiopic by George H. Schodde. A reprint from an edition published in 1888 by E.J. Goodrich. Published by Artisan Sales, Thousand Oaks, CA.).
This certainly indicates the ark lodged at a low altitude -- not 15,000 feet or so up a mountain!
This, now, begs the question -- "At what elevation did the ark come to rest?" The Bible does not tell us in so many words, but there are many reasons to believe that it was not at a high altitude. It was clearly accessible because ancient information that has come down to us today relates that people (the general population of the area) saw the ark and took pieces of it for amulets (lucky charms). Berossus wrote: "It is said there is still some part of this ship in Armenia...and that some people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs" (Josephus, 1, 3:6). Josephus also quotes Nicolaus of Damascus who recorded that the remains of the wood of the ark were preserved for "a great while." In another place he states that "remains of that ark, wherein it is related that Noah escaped the deluge...are still shown to such as are desirous to see them." Now, there is one thing all these statements show: They envision the ark as coming to rest at a LOW ALTITUDE on a spot that was ACCESSIBLE to the general populace -- NOT on top of some mountain that no one at that time had ever climbed!
Ararat is an extremely difficult mountain to scale -- most of it is steep and rugged with loose pieces of lava rock the size of cars. Violent storms come up suddenly and rake the higher areas; and the high altitude makes breathing difficult and muscular activity strenuous. Even in the peak climbing season during July and August, this remote mountain is loaded with obstacles: winds reaching up to 150 mph, snow, mist, wild animals, falling boulders and even bandits who prey on climbers. Now, shouldn't this tell us something? If the ark had grounded on top of this mountain, how in the world did thousands of animals of all types safely descend from these rugged and treacherous heights? If experienced mountain climbers have difficulty climbing the mountain with all the latest equipment -- HOW did Moses and all the animals climb down?
What about the temperatures on the mountain? Apart from the rugged and treacherous terrain, Mount Ararat is covered by perpetual snow and ice from the 14,000 foot level up. Some of the glaciers on the mountain are hundreds of feet thick. It seems those who believe the ark is still up there suppose it has been preserved BECAUSE of the ice, however, this very supposition is DISPROVED by the ice! Notice! If the ark had actually been carried to this height by the Flood waters, it would not have been floating in the water but would have been frozen in ice! Survival for Noah, his family and all the animals would have been almost impossible because of the EXTREME cold -- even within the ark. Once outside the ark it is difficult to understand how any of them could have made it down the mountain through all the snow and ice.
Let's consider another enigma. We read in Genesis 8:10-11: "...and again he sent the dove out from the ark. Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked OLIVE LEAF was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had abated from the earth." If you do some research on olive trees you will learn that this plant thrives best in areas with low humidity, long hot summers, and winter temperatures that do not drop below 10 degrees F. Olive trees grow at low elevations -- NOT on top of mountains perpetually covered in snow and ice! "Consequently, had the ark been on top of Mount Ararat, the dove would have had to fly DOWN thousands and thousands of feet to the level at which olive trees grow and then fly clear back UP with the olive leaf" (Noah's Flood, Joshua's Long Day, & Lucifer's Fall, pp. 74-75). Frankly, I don't get this picture from reading the Genesis account -- do you?
Let's look at it another way. In the above passage from Genesis 8 we learn that the reason Noah sent out the dove was to ascertain if the Flood waters had abated from off the land. If the ark had landed at the 17,000 foot level as some believe, the Flood level dropped from this elevation all the way down to the level at which olive trees grow in the seven days between the first release of the dove and the second. Remember, at the first release the dove returned empty-handed -- or empty-mouthed! No one in their right mind believes this scenario!
Regarding the olive leaf -- this presents another conundrum! The mixing of salt and fresh water would have killed off the various species of marine life as well as all of the trees and seeds of other vegetation. If the tops of the highest mountains were covered, this means the water level would have been five miles above the present sea level. The water pressure would have been about 800 tons per square inch. Ten months of this pressure, along with the lack of light and the mixture of salt water would have destroyed all plant life and seeds on this planet. This being the case -- where did the dove even find an olive tree to pluck the leaf from and return to the ark?? How did the ark survivors exist in a world without vegetation?
Finally, some believe there is a way to figure out the approximate altitude at which the ark came to rest. Notice: From the time the ark first grounded until the entire Flood experience was over is commonly calculated out as being 221 days. This is based on a total of all the days and dates mentioned in the Genesis account. We noted earlier that the commonly held understanding of Genesis 7:20 and 8:4-5 implies the Flood waters receded at the rate of 15 cubits in 74 days. This works out to be 4 inches a day. Now this would be 884 inches for the 221 days. If you divide this by 12 to get the number of feet, you will end up with a figure of 73 FEET as the elevation at which the ark came to rest! Of course this is, at best, only a rough estimate. But when you realize that 15 cubits of water (23 feet) came down from the skies and was added to by "all the fountains of the great deep," then 73 feet may not be too far wrong!
Fausset's Expository Bible Encyclopedia concludes that the difficulties surrounding a universal flood (covering the highest mountains) "make a partial [or regional] one possible." The Interpreter's Bible states that a universal flood would be a "physical impossibility." The erudite Hasting's Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics says: "The belief in a universal Deluge has long been abandoned by well-informed writers." Werner Keller adds:
"...we are provisionally obliged to say that ever since the 5165 metre peak [of Ararat] has been in existence and men have inhabited the earth, no scientifically recorded inundation in the world has risen high enough to carry up to such an altitude any kind of floating construction of the nature of the ark. The terrain around Mount Ararat during this period has not undergone such spectacular changes that the ark could have been deposited there at a time when perhaps the summit was lower than it is today" (The Bible As History, p. 57).
And we have to concur with this when we understand what the Bible REALLY says!
Further Evidence of a Regional Flood
At the beginning of this article we mentioned Sir Charles Woolley's amazing discovery of the Flood layer at the ancient Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have noted that the Tigris-Euphrates flood (which they have dated to around 2,900 B.C.) occurred at the end of the Jemdet Nasr period in ancient Sumer, but the Early Dynastic I period that immediately followed the Flood did not have a population shortage. Many people undoubtedly died in the cataclysm, but many, many more survived, especially in areas that had little or no flood damage. According to archaeologist Max Mallowan, "no flood was ever of sufficient magnitude to interrupt the continuity of Mesopotamian civilization."
Later, we touched on evidence recently discovered in the Black Sea -- indicating a catastrophic flood in times contemporary with Noah.
The Black Sea:
Prior to Noah's flood the Bosporus portal to the Black Sea was at such a height that the Black Sea was completely isolated from the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, and was freshwater in nature. As the torrential rains of Noah's flood account fell on the hapless earth, the Mediterranean Sea began to rise and soon stood poised to invade the Bosporus valley and plunge into the Black Sea lake five hundred feet below. Driven by the relentless tide, the waters finally breached the portal and began to flow continuously across and down the slope toward the lake. Write geophysicists William Ryan and Walter Pitman --
"Reaching the ancient shelf below, the water meandered across its flat surface, trickling into old channels long dry, formed small lagoons, and gradually cut its own course, at last flowing over the edge and down the gentle slope to the lake below...Within days [it]...would have grown to a roar as the stream became a wildly turbulent river, cutting into its bank, pulling trees and large chunks of earth into the maelstrom.
"The soil debris that had once dammed the valley were quickly swept away, and the water, now several tens of feet deep, was a thundering flume twisting and churning with rubble as it clawed at the soft rock walls that now and then collapsed. The debris-laden water ground into the bottom like a rasp, cutting deeply into the bedrock itself. The deeper it cut, the faster it flowed, and the faster it flowed, the faster it cut until it had gouged a flume at least 280 feet and up to 475 feet deep. Ten cubic miles of water poured through each day, two hundred times what flows over Niagara Falls, enough to cover Manhattan Island each day to a depth of over half a mile.
"Most if not all the fish life in the lake died in the strange salty water...The level of the lake began to rise six inches a day, immediately inundating the deltas and invading the flat river valleys -- moving upstream at as much as a mile each day, without pause hour after hour, day after day, drowning the less agile, forcing all else upriver or up onto the desertlike plateau through which the valley had been cut" (Noah's Flood, pp. 234-235).
The Flood continued long after the human population had either drowned or fled to higher ground. With ferocious violence the waters poured through the Bosporus day after day, filling the river valleys and dry channels of the old shelf to the north. "For twelve months the tumultuous rush of water continued undiminished until the level of the lake had risen 180 feet, to the lower surface of the flume. As it continued to rise, the rate of flow slowly began to diminish. Still, during the next twelve months it would rise another hundred feet. It crested the old shelf edge and began to race toward the present shoreline, pushing all life before it...Everywhere the encroachment of the floodwaters was so rapid that whole regions that had been dry were covered by ten or more feet of water within days (ibid., p. 236)."
Continues Ryan and Pitman:
"All around the lake the tentacles of salty water reached up the rivers and creeks, pushing farther and farther inland each day. Along the south edge of the lake the waters quickly swamped the deltas and followed the valleys into the fringing mountains of Anatolia, chasing life up into the hills.
"After two years, when the lake level had risen 330 feet, the waters entered the Kerch strait and shortly thereafter reached the Azov plain, which had been abandoned long before by humans. It would be several more years before the basin was completely filled, creating the Sea of Azov, so that its surface, like that of the Black Sea, was at the same level as the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, beyond. Sometime afterward the flow through the Bosporus slowly changed to its present state with fresher, lighter Black Sea water flowing out at the surface and the heavier Mediterranean water flowing in along the bottom" (ibid., pp. 236-237).
The rapid and permanent filling of the Black Sea in recent ages has been proven by geophysicists from the mountain of scientific evidence. Is there, then, any clues within the mythology of man that points to this event? Yes there is -- from the island of Samothrace in the Aegean Sea just west of the entrance to the Dardanelles. This story, which describes the actual events of the Black Sea flood in reverse, is found in the writings of Diodorus of Sicily -- who passed on a summary --
"The first and original inhabitants used an ancient language which was peculiar to them and of which many words are preserved to this day in the ritual of their sacrifices. According to Diodorus, Euxinos Pontos (the ancient greek name for the Black Sea), which at the time was a lake, became so swollen by the waters in the rivers that flowed into it that its waters burst forth violently through a natural earthen dam out through the outlet at the Cyanean Rocks (located at the Black Sea end of the Bosporus) and through the Hellespont. This flood inundated a large part of the coast of Asia Minor and made no small amount of the level part of the land of Samothrace into a sea. And this is the reason, we are told, why in later times fishermen have now and then brought up in their nets the stone capitols of columns, since even cities were covered by the inundation" (Noah's Flood, p. 250).
It is evident that this tradition became confused over the centuries regarding the DIRECTION of the flood -- a Black Sea lake filled with water to a level well above the Aegean, bursting through into the Bosporus and flooding the island of Samothrace is, of course, not plausible. The Aegean Sea is connected to the world's oceans through the Mediterranean Sea and the straits of Gibraltar, so any water flowing from the Black Sea through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles to the Aegean would have rapidly spread out across this vast surface -- causing no appreciable rise in the level of the Aegean. Notes Ryan and Pitman --
"It seems more likely that the ancestors of these people had originally lived by the Black Sea lake shore or in the Bosporus valley itself and had witnessed the breaching of the Bosporus dam and the rush of water from the ocean into the Black Sea. Their fields and homes were inundated, and they fled, eventually settling on Samothrace, perhaps becoming integrated with the native inhabitants. Like almost all people with strong oral traditions, whose history is recorded in myths, they would come to identify their origins with this island, claiming they had always lived there, that they had "sprung from the rock." So the legend of their flood, accommodated to their presumed island origin, was INVERTED, and the water instead of flowing into the Black Sea, was somehow remembered by them to have flowed outward, flooding their Samothrace home" (ibid., p. 251).
Moving now to Egypt, we are confronted by the mystery of the Sphinx. A French mathematician by the name of R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz carried out some research at the Luxor Temple in Egypt between 1937 and 1952. Schwaller's principal publications, both originally in French, were the massive three-volume Temple de l'Homme and the Roi de la theocratie Pharaonique. In this latter work, subsequently translated into English as Sacred Science, Schwaller made a passing reference to tremendous floods and rains that devastated Egypt in the early times of human remembrance. As an afterthought, he added --
"A great civilization must have preceded the vast movements of WATER that passed over Egypt, which leads us to assume that the Sphinx already existed, sculptured in the rock of the west cliff at Giza -- that Sphinx whose leonine body, except for the head, shows indisputable signs of WATER EROSION" (Fingerprints of the Gods, p. 419).
The Sphinx is reputed to have been built around 2,000 B.C. by Pharaoh Khafre of the Fouth Egyptian Dynasty. However, since the beginning of dynastic times (some 500 years before Khafre) there simply hasn't been enough rain on the Giza plateau to have caused the very extensive water erosion that we see all over the body of the Sphinx. In actuality, you have to go back to the Flood of Genesis to find wet enough conditions to account for weathering of this type and on this scale. It therefore follows that the Sphinx must have been erected BEFORE the Flood. John Anthony West clarifies this by saying --
"The point is that if the Sphinx was really built by Khafre in the Old Kingdom, and if wind erosion was capable of inflicting such damage on it in so short a time-span, then other Old Kingdom structures in the area, built out of the same limestone, ought to show similar weathering. But none do -- you know, absolutely unmistakable Old Kingdom tombs, full of hieroglyphs and inscriptions -- none of them show the same type of weathering as the Sphinx" (quoted in Fingerprints of the Gods, p. 420).
It is obvious that the weathering of the Sphinx (and the walls of its surrounding rock-hewn enclosure) had not been caused by wind at all but by HEAVY AND CONTINUOUS RAIN some time before the Old Kingdom came into existence. The body of the Sphinx and the walls of the Sphinx ditch are deeply weathered and eroded -- several yards thick in some places. The weathering is very deep and gives a rolling and undulating profile that is easily recognizable to stratigraphers and paleontologists as having been caused by PRECIPITATION-INDUCED WEATHERING. Photographs of the Sphinx and the Sphinx enclosure show that "this weathering takes the distinctive form of a combination of deep vertical fissures and undulating, horizontal coves -- 'a classic textbook example,' in Schoch's words, 'of what happens to a limestone structure when you have rain beating down on it' for a long period of time. 'It's clearly rain precipitation that produced these erosional features' "(ibid., p. 421).
In the TV program Mystery of the Sphinx (NBC-TV, 1993) it was stated that --
"Wind/sand erosion presents a very different profile of sharp-edged horizontal channels selectively scoured out from the softer layers of the affected rock. Under no circumstances can it cause the vertical fissures particularly visible in the wall of the Sphinx enclosure. These could only have been formed by water running down the wall, the result of RAIN FALLING IN ENORMOUS QUANTITIES, cascading over the slope of the Giza plateau and down into the Sphinx enclosure below. 'It picked out the weak spots in the rock,' Schoch elaborated, 'and opened them up into these fissures -- clear evidence to me as a geologist that this erosional feature was CAUSED BY RAINFALL!'"
Now since these undulating, scalloped coves that run the entire length of the Sphinx's body are characteristic of rain-induced weathering over relatively long periods of time, they could not have been introduced by a flood that supposedly covered the highest mountains by 15 cubits! Since the Sphinx is located at a low elevation it would have been completely covered by water LONG BEFORE any scouring of the body could have taken place. This clearly points to a REGIONAL or LOCAL flood that would have been caused by 15 cubits of rain FALLING FROM THE SKY.
In South America, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the great city of Tiahuanaco was originally built as a port when the lake was far wider and more than 100 feet deeper than it is today. "Vast harbour constructions, piers and dykes (and even dumped cargoes of quarried stone at points beneath the old waterline), leave no doubt that this must have been the case" (Fingerprints of the Gods, p. 87).
The masonry of Tiahuanaco reveals some of the most skillful workmanship in South America, along with the earliest use of metal for structural purposes ever found in the Western Hemisphere. Then, suddenly, certain structures were left uncompleted when all work SUDDENLY CEASED.
Dozens and dozens of huge building blocks lay scattered in all directions around the site -- tossed like matchsticks in a terrible disaster that overtook Tiahuanaco no later than the 11th millenium B.C. by the reckoning of imperfect dating methods. Professor Arthur Posnansky, a German-Bolivian scholar who has been investigating the ruins for almost fifty years, writes in his book Tiahuanaco that this catastrophe was caused by an overflow of the waters of Lake Titicaca. He states:
"It is also possible that the temporary increase in the level of the lake may have been caused in part by the breaking of the bulwarks on some of the lakes further to the north and situated at a greater altitude...thus releasing the waters which descended toward Lake Titicaca in onrushing and unrestrainable torrents" (I, p. 55)
What caused the lakes to overflow and release water into Lake Titicaca with such awesome ferocity? The 15 cubits of water that descended upon the unfortunate land!
Posnansky's evidence that a flood of tremendous proportions had been the agent of the destruction of Tiahuanaco included,
"The discovery of lacustrine flora, Paludestrina culminea, and Paludestrina andecola, Ancylus titicacensis, Planorbis titicacensis, etc., mixed in the alluvia with the skeletons of human beings who perished in the cataclysm...and the discovery of various skeletons of Orestias, fish of the family of the present bogas, in the same alluvia which contain the human remains..." (ibid., I, p. 39).
In addition, according to Posnansky, fragments of human and animal skeletons have been found lying
"in chaotic disorder among wrought stones, utensils, tools and an endless variety of other things. All of this has been moved, broken and accumulated in a confused heap. Anyone who would dig a trench here two meters deep could not deny that the destructive force of water, in combination with brusque movements of the earth, must have accumulated those different kinds of bones, mixing them with pottery, jewels, tools and utensils...Layers of alluvium cover the whole field of the ruins and lacustrine sand mixed with shells from Titicaca, decomposed feldspar and volcanic ashes have accumulated in the places surrounded by walls..." (ibid., III, pp. 142-143).
The fact that the shells discovered in the flood debris at Tiahuanaco were all FRESHWATER varieties indicates that sea water never reached this altitude during the Flood -- another proof that the mountains of the world were NOT covered (submerged) by waters of the Genesis account.
After the rains ceased and the flood waters subsided, the culture of the area never again gained a high point of development but fell into a total and definitive decadence. As the years passed, the lake continued to drain -- marooning the great city and separating it from the waters which had formerly played such a vital role in its economic life. According to Posnansky --
"At the same time, there was evidence that the climate of the Tihuanaco area had become COLDER and much less favourable for the growing of crops than had previously been the case, so much less favourable that today staples such as maize cannot ripen properly and even potatoes come out of the ground stunted" (Tiahuanaco, I, p. 56, II, p. 96 and Earth in Upheaval, pp. 75-76).
This proves, right here, that the disaster which consumed Tiahuanaco occurred at the same time as Noah's flood when the canopy which kept temperatures warm and even around the world suddenly collapsed creating abrupt and cooling temperatures around the world. "Then, slowly but surely, the climate worsened and became inclement. Finally there ensued mass emigrations of the Andean peoples [who survived the Flood] towards locations where the struggle for life would not be so arduous" (Tiahuanaco, III, p. 147).
Other Areas of the World:
Many other areas around the world show evidence of the regional flooding caused by the collapsing of the earth's canopy and the downpour of 15 cubits of rain that resulted. Fissures in the rocks on isolated hills in central France are filled with what the scientists call "osseous breccia" -- the splintered bones of mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses and other animals all mixed together. Further south, at the Rock of Gibraltar, were found "a human molar and some flints worked by Paleolithic man...among the animal bones" (On Certain Phenomena, p. 48).
An article in the May, 1972 Reader's Digest describes a region in the hills of Italy in which 100,000 fossil fish have been found: "Today the Fishery is 2,000 feet above sea level, in crisp country where snow falls early and lies late. BUT ONCE IT WAS A PLEASANT TROPICAL PARADISE with a tranquil lagoon shelving up to a sandy beach shaded by tall palms and lush undergrowth. All kinds of fish swarmed in the warm water rich in plankton. THEN SOMETHING HAPPENED." The writer claims that he does not know what caused the sudden disaster that killed all the fish and caused them to become fossilized; but we can believe that the sudden downpour of 15 cubits of water in Noah's day pushed sediment into that lagoon -- creating the effects the scientist's discovered. Once again, the lack of sea water fossils in the area confirm that the oceans never reached the area.
In caves near Peking, China, bones of mammoths and buffaloes have been found along with human skeletal remains. In various parts of South America (apart from Tiahuanaco) fossils have been unearthed "in which incongruous animal types (carnivores and herbivores) are mixed up promiscuously with human bones" ("The Evidence of Violent Extinction in South America," in Path of the Pole, p. 292).
Areas of North America were also adversely affected by the 15 cubits of rainfall. In this prodigious downpour huge lakes were formed drowning everything in their paths, to almost drain away completely within a few hundred years. Lake Agassiz, for example, occupied an area of 110,000 square miles right after the cataclysm -- covering large parts of what are now Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan in Canada, and North Dakota and Minnesota in the United States. Eventually the water drained away to the sea and the lake bed is now a fertile plain that supports vast wheat fields.
All these examples from around the world are indicative of LOCAL or REGIONAL flooding as the result of the Genesis flood account. A correct understanding of the original Hebrew shows that 15 cubits of water fell from above and DOUSED the mountains and hills, not COVERING them with 15 cubits of water. Since there were no great topographical changes to the planet during Noah's flood, the sea fossils that have been found on the highest mountains were deposited there when the land was under water prior to the creation of Adam -- see Genesis 1:2-10.
When we understand what occurred during the flood of Noah, we are not compelled to identify many (or all) of the fossil evidences found in some of the highest of the mountains as having been deposited by the Flood a little over 4,300 years ago. It is a fact that this planet may well have been created several billions of years ago with numerous flood conditions occurring on its surface over that period of time. But once YEHOVAH made this earth habitable for man (almost 6,000 years ago) -- IT HAS NEVER BEEN SUBMERGED UNDER WATER!! This knowledge helps us unravel the Flood account in the book of Genesis.
Credibility of the Bible
If many Christians are so concerned about the rise in skepticism, disrepute and disbelief surrounding the Bible, they need not point to the atheists, anti-Christs, evolutionists or even Satan; for through their own fictitious doctrines they have been the greatest contributors to such skeptic trends in the world today. They have continually accepted that which is inconsistent, illogical and non-biblical while denying or rejecting the obvious, the provable AND THE BIBLE. In so doing their credibility has been brought down into the mud, and by claiming their authority from the Bible, they have dragged the Bible and Christianity down along with them.
As a result, fewer people today regard the Bible as a credible source of truth. But can we really blame any scientist or lay person for rejecting the Bible when those who are recognized as the so-called "experts" in the Bible, relate myth and fantasy as being "the word of God?" These "prophets" and "ministers" have done more to discredit the validity of the Bible than the atheists and evolutionists they speak against. Unfortunately, all too many people have been taken in by these "experts" without analyzing what they are saying!
We should be more like the brethren at Berea, who, after hearing Paul and Silas preach the word of YEHOVAH on certain matters, "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). In other words, when we hear something spoken about the Bible, we should learn to check and research it for accuracy. The Bible nowhere teaches blind obedience to men, even if they are respected leaders, ministers or have graduated from this or that college or Bible school.
Many of these so-called "ministers of God" do not want people searching the scriptures to see if their literal interpretation is true. Like the Baal priests of old, they want everyone to think as they do and read and interpret the Bible the way they do.
These same people are preaching about a universal flood -- and they will continue to support their theory with arguments and denials no matter how absurd they might be. Unfortunately, all of this is actually counterproductive to their very aim of promoting and supporting the Bible.
As Jeremiah wrote, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it" (Jeremiah 17:9). The heart is indeed deceptive and leads us to judge and interpret things by the way they appear or seem on the surface. It is true that on the surface the account of Noah's Flood appears to be universal. Yet scripture teaches us to "Judge not according to the outward appearance" of things (John 7:24; 2 Cor. 10:7). Many in the Churches of God have difficulty applying this principle. If any one suggests anything but the apparent meaning or literal interpretation of scripture it is practically viewed as heresy. It is this type of blind piety that has generated so many misconceptions and erroneous doctrines regarding the Bible.
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