The Books of Moses

Fact or Fiction?

 

 

Session 6

 

 

The Great Flood

in Noah’s Day

Part 2

 

 

Bruce Armstrong

 

 

The Great Flood in Noah’s Day, Part 2

 

Table of Contents

Introduction

Jehovah’s Promise

Instructions to Noah

God’s Covenant With All Creatures

Various Great Flood Issues

Local or Global Flood?

Where is All the Water?

World-wide Flood Stories

Where did the Ark Land?

Animal Migrations

Was the Great Ice Age a Result of the Great Flood?

Human Lifespans

How Many People Died in the Great Flood?

Who are the Neanderthals?

Who are the Cavemen?

Genetic Evidence for Noah’s Family?

Radioactivity

Radiocarbon Dating

Sedimentary Rocks and the Fossil Record

Polystrate Tree Trunks

Jumbled Fossils

Dinosaur Soft Tissues

Problems with a World-Wide Flood

Conclusions

 

 

“Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a Great Flood; never again shall there be a Great Flood to destroy the earth.”    Genesis 9:11

 

Introduction

In our last session we looked at some of the basics of the Biblical Account of the Great Flood.  We concluded with Noah and all his passengers leaving the Ark and standing on the new face of the Earth after a full year on the Ark.

 

Today, we will dig deeper into various aspects of the Flood, its consequences and possible evidence for and problems with the Biblical Great Flood.  We will start by looking at what happened on their first day off the Ark.

 

Jehovah’s Promise

 

Then Noah built an altar to Jehovah, and took of every clean animal and of every clean flying creature, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.  And Jehovah smelled a soothing aroma.  Then Jehovah said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.  While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”    Genesis 8:20 to 22

 

There are many things to discuss in these verses.  Noah’s first act, after carefully nurturing these animals for a full year, is to sacrifice one of every kind of clean animal and burn them on an altar.  Though it may seem surprising to us, this was both prepared for and expected.  This was part of why Noah was sent seven pairs of each kind.  And it was an act that reflected Noah’s gratitude for being spared, his commitment to obey Jehovah and his admission that he too was a sinner, as was each member of his family, and that they needed to have their sins covered by these sacrifices.  As such, these animal sacrifices pointed towards the ultimate sacrifice of Jehovah’s own Son (Hebrews 10:1-12).  The sacrifices also served as offerings which rejoiced in the fact that God had saved them all from an otherwise certain death.

 

Next we see Jehovah’s reaction.  Curiously, it seems that He likes the smell of a good BBQ.  But the reality is that He relished the obedience that this showed on the part of Noah and his family.  As a result, Jehovah decided to not curse the ground again as He had done at the Fall.  Though we still have to deal with thorns, thistles, sin and death, at least the ground was again productive for us.  Our lives would be somewhat easier than the lives of those living before the Great Flood.

 

God also gives us a unique promise here: He will not destroy every living thing again as He did during the Great Flood.  This promise is not limited to only no other Great Floods as we see later.  Nor is God expecting that most of Noah’s descendants will do what is right.  This is all related to the Great Reset that the world has just gone through.  Every breathing creature on land since the Flood is descended from animals, or humans, that God has personally selected and kept alive.  Each creature on the Ark was fully aware of what God had done for them.  It is almost certain that a similar thing happened to the aquatic creatures: they were called into areas of the ocean that were protected from the polluted rains and volcanism of the Great Flood, while all the others died.  It may well be that the Ark was taken to one of these areas and kept over it until it was time to land the Ark.

 

The Bible says that there will be another mass extinction in the future, this time by fire, but there are Scriptures that make clear that about ten percent of mankind will survive, and likely similar percentages of animals.  This indicates that the Great Reset has been largely successful, as this is an enormously larger survival rate than the Great Flood.

 

Jehovah also promises that He will ensure that Earth continues to have its normal daily and seasonal cycles.

 

Then God gives some Instructions to Noah and his family:

 

Instructions to Noah

 

So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every animal of the earth, on every flying creature of heaven, on all that moves on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea.  They are given into your hand.  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you.  I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

“But you shall not eat flesh with its soul, that is, its blood.  Surely the blood of your soul I will seek.  From the hand of every animal I will seek it, and from the hand of man.  From the hand of every man’s brother I will seek the soul of man.  Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for man is made in the image of God.

“And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.”    Genesis 9:1 to 7

 

As with Adam and Chavvah, we are to multiply and fill the earth.  Though we are not necessarily to rule over the animals this time, they will fear us and we will have power over them.  But here is a major difference: Now they are to become food for us.  This may reflect the fact that our genes are slowly deteriorating, and we can not make our own vitamin B12, and now need to get it from milk, eggs and animal tissues.

 

But Jehovah places restrictions on eating animals: We cannot consume their blood, for their soul is in it.  The blood must be drained out of the animal when it is killed.

 

Jehovah also puts a protection over the humans: Whoever kills a human, man or animal, will be dealt with by God.  But He also gives us a role in this provision: We humans are held responsible to find the manslayer and kill them.  This will stop them from killing another person, and will usually make others think twice before killing someone.

 

God then expands on His Instructions:

 

God’s Covenant With All Creatures

 

Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living soul that is with you: the flying creatures, the cattle, and every animal of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every animal of the earth.

“Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a Great Flood; never again shall there be a Great Flood to destroy the earth.”

And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living soul that is with you, for perpetual generations:  I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.  It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living soul of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a Great Flood to destroy all flesh.

“The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living soul of all flesh that is on the earth.”

And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”    Gen 9:8 to 17

 

This covenant is made not just with Noah and his then existing family, but also with everyone on earth today, as we are all their descendants.  And not only with us, but also with all of the animals that were on the Ark and all their descendants.

 

Jehovah God promises that He will never send another Great Flood, and gives us the rainbow as a reminder that there will never be another Great Flood.  The fact that God chose the rainbow as the sign of this covenant suggests that in the world prior to the Flood, rainbows were virtually unknown.  This could only be likely if the pre-Flood world was not watered by rainfall, or at least not during the daytime (Figure 1).

 

 
 

Figure 1: Jehovah Confirms His Covenant With a Rainbow. (From rainbowtoken.com)

 

Various Great Flood Issues

Now, how would the Great Flood affect our World and what are possible evidences for and against such a World-wide Flood?

 

Local or Global Flood?

First, is it possible that a local flood, perhaps one in the Black Sea, is all that happened?  Let us look at the extent of that flood and compare it with the Flood account in the Bible we looked at in the last session.

 

In Noah’s Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event That Changed History, published in 1999, William Ryan and Walter Pitman claim that a Black Sea flood was actually Noah’s Flood.  They suggest that the Bosporus strait acted as a dam between the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and broke when warming at the end of the great glacial period raised the global sea level.  They claimed that the water level in the Black sea rose by up to six inches (150 mm) per day, and by the end the Black Sea rose by 80 meters.  However, 2007 research by Giosan and colleagues concluded “that the “Black Lake” water level at the time of the flood was around 30—not 80—meters lower than present, and the flood raised the level by only 5 to 10—not 50 to 60—meters.1  They stated that this flood “could have put an area of 2,000 square kilometers [770 square miles] of prime agricultural land in the Danube delta under water.”

 

Though this would have been a great setback for those who lost their homes and farms, how does even a local eighty meter deep flood compare to the Great Flood of the Bible?  The Black Sea flood would not even cover the local hills, let alone submerge the highest mountains.  Indeed, at the lower amount of 5 meters, it would not even be deep enough to float the Ark.  Would it kill every air-breathing land animal throughout the world?  At a maximum rise of 150 mm per day, it is unlikely to have done much more than drown some earthworms.  And forty days of torrential non-stop rain?  This flood did not require even a single rainstorm.  Also, the Biblical Flood then drained away to reveal new land.  This Black Sea flood did not drain away, so Noah’s Ark remained afloat.  To suggest that such a modest and very local flood could have inspired the story of the world-wide Biblical Great Flood is clearly absurd, though it did sell some books.

 

As a creationist, I have no difficulty believing this Black Sea flood did happen, but it occurred at the end of the huge Ice Age that the Great Flood triggered (see below).  So it happened centuries after the Great Flood, and thus long after those global events were well known.  And other local flood stories, such as the Missoula scabland flood are no more convincing than this Black Sea flood as ‘origins’ of the global Flood stories.

 

Where is All the Water?

If the Great Flood truly was global, where would we find enough water to cover all the mountains, and where did it all go?

 

As we saw in Part 1, the flood water was a mix of what was already in the oceans and a roughly equal amount of water that was released from beneath the crust through the fractured Fountains of the Great Deep.   The seas were shallower then and the mountains lower, and as the supporting subterranean water gushed out, the continents sank.  These effects combined to overflow all the mountains.

 

The Floodwaters receded as the continents were pushed up and the ocean basins sank.  So the water is all still here, and if the earth’s surface was perfectly smooth, the ocean would be a bit over 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles) deep everywhere.

 

World-wide Flood Stories

Which of course leads us to the ‘problem’ of global flood stories from around the world.  The existence of such stories makes sense if all people on the world today are descendants of Noah’s family, and thus carried memories of this event with them as they dispersed around the world.  And as the Great Flood was about 4,370 years ago, it is certain that many of these stories will have some distortions.  Yet many of the Flood stories contain most elements of the Bible account.

 

A good summary of some of these Flood stories is shown in The Reality of Noah’s Flood, by WVBS:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccHOdfzSsaw

It has a good section on many Flood stories from around the world, from 21:15 to 31:30 minutes.

 

Where did the Ark Land?

Two common questions are 1: where did the Ark land, and 2: does it still exist?

 

Today, many people believe that Noah’s Ark landed near the top of Greater Mount Ararat, in eastern Turkey and that some of it, perhaps most of it, is still there buried in the mountain’s ice cap.

 

This claim has been taught since the thirteenth century, but there are many serious problems with the idea.

 

The first problems are geological.  Mount Ararat is a volcanic mountain which last erupted in 1840.  The eruption and its associated earthquake killed about 10,000 people, including 1900 people in the village of Akhuri when a landslide came down from Mount Ararat.  This event, just one of many, shows how dangerous and unstable Mount Ararat is.  It is also 5,137 meters (16,854 ft) high and quite steep-sided, making a journey down the mountain perilous.  Most creation geologists believe Mount Ararat is post-flood, so it probably did not even exist when Noah needed a resting place.  And even if the Ark had landed there, the numerous eruptions since then would have incinerated the Ark long ago.

 

Mount Ararat’s popularity seems to ride on three things: its name, which is similar to the mountains of Ararat, its impressive height and prominence in that region, and the tantalising glacier that “just maybe” could be covering and protecting the Ark.

 

However, each of these items actually work against it.  First its name: It is only called Mount Ararat in Western countries.  In Turkey it is called Agri Dagi, which means Mountain of Sorrow.  In Biblical times, the mountains of Ararat referred to the mountain range at the north-eastern edge of the Mesopotamian plains, which are about 300 kilometers (185 miles) to the south-west of Mount Ararat.

 

Next, it’s prominence is also a problem.  In Genesis 8:5 we were told that “the tops of the mountains were seen”.  Only one other large mountain is close to Ararat, which is Lesser Mount Ararat, and even it is about 1200 metres (3,940 ft) lower.  There would have been no other nearby mountains for them to see until the water dropped far more, so only one, not multiple mountain tops would have become visible on that one day.

 

Finally, even the glacier is a problem.  Glaciers move steadily downhill, smashing and grinding off the underlying rock as they go.  In over four thousand years, the Ark would have been ground to powder and carried down the mountain long ago.

 

Another ark site at Mount Tendurek, 30 km (19 mi) south-east of Mount Ararat, was popularised by Ron Wyatt in the 1980s, and even has a museum there dedicated to Noah’s Ark.  The claim is that the Ark eventually slid down Mt Tendurek to its present location during a massive mudslide, which converted the wood into fossilised wood.  The outline of what is claimed to be the ark is still visible there (at 39.4406N 44.2348E).  However, the rock outline has been confirmed as actual rock, not fossilised wood, and the formation has been shown to be a large segment of rock which was dislodged during the mudslide, slid to its current location and became lodged there.  Then the rest of the mudslide eroded the up-slope sides of the block, giving it a ship-like pointed ‘prow’ facing uphill.

 

Prior to the 13th century, many Arcadians, Babylonians, Jews, Christians and Moslems believed that Mount Judi was the resting place for Noah’s Ark.2  Mount Judi is the highest point of the Mountains of Ararat, with an elevation of about 2,101 metres (6893 ft. see Figure 2).  The local name is Al-Judi (also called Jebel Judi, Cudi Dagi and Al-Cudi), which all mean Mountain of the Heights.  Unlike Mount Ararat, there is a large, flat and horizontal area on the top of Mount Judi big enough for the Ark to have come to rest on. (Location: 37.3794N 42.4526E, Figure 3).  There are also a significant number of other nearby peaks.3  One would expect the water to drop considerably in the time frame allowed (about ten weeks), so it is likely that the mountain tops referred to in Gen 8:5 were those further to the north and east, most of which were several hundred meters lower than Mount Judi, and can also be seen in Figure 3.

 

There is also a reasonably easy descent from Mount Judi to an arable valley west of the possible Ark resting site, which is at an elevation of 600 metres (1,970 ft), as shown in Figure 4.  This valley is the northeast corner of Mesopotamia.  It is a journey of only about thirteen kilometers (8 mi), or eight kilometers as the crow flies, allowing Noah and his family to make numerous trips to the Ark and back, bringing down valuable domestic animals, tools, plants, seeds, and documents.  The location of this possible village is at 37.3675N 42.3623E (Figures 5 and 6).  Even today, many locals make an annual pilgrimage to Mount Judi as they still believe it was the resting place of Noah’s Ark.  They also believe that Noah’s altar is still there, and that his grave is nearby.

 

 
 

Figure 2: Mount Judi (Cudi Dagi) as seen from the northern part of the Shinar (Mesopotamian) Plain.  Mount Judi is the flat-topped mountain in the background.

 

 
 

Figure 3: Possible Landing Site of Noah’s Ark on Top of Mount Judi.