The biblical record of life on earth before the flood, from
Adam to Noah, is only briefly sketched in Genesis Chapters 4,
5, 6 and 7. The years before the Flood and the flood itself occupy
Chapters 8 and 9, and Chapters 10 and 11 ("The Table of Nations")
show the early repopulating of the earth by the three sons of
Noah and their descendants from the Fertile Crescent area to the
four corners of the earth.
Adam and Eve left the garden before bearing children. Their third son, Seth, was born when Adam was 130 years old (5:3). The available evidence suggests that Adam and Eve were not in the garden long before the fall occurred, perhaps it was only months or a few years, but possibly could have been as long as a hundred years. It is interesting that after the fall quite a few of the Antediluvians bore their first children around the age of 100 according to the Genesis record. The bearing of children would have been a normal part of Adam and Eve's relationship before the fall since they were commanded to be fruitful and to multiply, however the fact is they had no children before the fall while they were still in the Garden located "to the East, in Eden." The fall of man and its consequences occupy the pivotal and packed Third Chapter of Genesis and these matters are discussed in separate articles.
Eve (called in Chapter 3 "the mother of all living") expected that her first-born son would be the promised messiah, hence her remark when Cain was born---the name Cain means "gotten." Abel, her second son, was given a name which means "breath" or "vanity." Perhaps Abel was weak and sickly, or perhaps she foresaw that his life would some how be in vain and wasted.
Early man not only engaged in farming but also in animal husbandry. Cain and Abel each had lines of work that were legitimate enterprises, and the sacrifices of either son (whether farm produce or animals) would have been acceptable to God had their individual motives been right. Abel had a heart open to the Lord and understood that true worship is based on gratitude to God rather than attempted merit by human efforts or works. Cain's problem was a wrong motive rather than the wrong type of offering.
The first murder gives us further evidence that the fall of Adam and Eve ("original sin")---from the innocence of the garden---was a fall into total depravity and lostness. Cain did not have to be taught how to sin. Evil sprang from the well-springs of his heart spontaneously. Several thousand years later Jesus Christ taught,
"What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man." (Mark 7:20-23)
When the murder of Abel came to light, Cain despaired his chances
of surviving the vengeance of other family members who would surely
seek his life when his murder of his brother became public knowledge.
Rather than bringing immediate justice to Cain, judgment upon
him was delayed by God's longsuffering mercy. Cain was given a
pledge by God, a guarantee of God's protection. God encouraged
Cain to seek the Lord and thus learn to overcome the evil which
controlled him. Sadly, there is no record of Cain (or any of his
family or any of descendants) availing themselves of God's grace
and mercy. None of these descendants accepted God's offer of regeneration
and restoration over the next 1600 years until the Flood of Noah,
as far as we know.
The New Testament says this about Cain and Abel:
"By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he received approval as righteous, God bearing witness by accepting his gifts; he died, but through his faith he is still speaking." (Heb. 11:4 );
"...[be] not like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous." (1 John 3:12);
"...that upon you [Jews] may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar." (Matt. 23:35);
"you [believers] have come...to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel." (Heb. 12:24)
Cain, a condemned murderer, built the first city before
the Flood. Interestingly, Nimrod, a wild rebel against God's rule
in his life, built the first city after the flood. Even
today, mankind is not ready to live in a city. There are two symbolic
cities in the Bible: the city of man and the city of God, and
on this subject commentators great and small have written many
volumes. Jesus, the Second Adam, has prepared New Jerusalem, the
Paradise City of God, as a home for redeemed mankind. The tree
of life will be there for the healing of the nations.
The names of Cain's offspring give hints of the Antediluvian civilization. They seem to have developed music and the arts, "Jubal was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe," and metalworking and perhaps even science and industry, " Zillah bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron." Before the flood men lived nearly 1000 years. They were far healthier than we are now. The genetic pool had as yet suffered little damage from cosmic rays and other hazards. Education and preparation for life took a small fraction of a lifetime compared to now. We can easily imagine a very advanced sophisticated society possibly having technology and libraries far superior to our own today. Thus the notion of human "progress" or the "advancement of man" is an illusion! Of course it was a corrupt world that finally became fully decadent and completely unwilling to turn to God for salvation and new life.
The name Seth means "appointed" or "substituted." He in the father of a new godly line which will one day lead to the birth of the Savior of the world, that one, unique seed promised to Eve. Adam's third son Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old, as mentioned above. After that Adam lived another 800 years, dying at the age of 930. After Seth was born, Adam and Eve had a number of other sons and daughters (Genesis 5:4, 5).
By the time Adam died there were seven generations of his own offspring on the earth. A very conservative population growth calculation places the world population at 120,000 persons, minimum, by the time Adam died! One can only imagine how grand family unions must have been in antediluvian times!
Evidently Cain married one of his sisters or nieces or cousins. Marriage between close relatives was not prohibited until much later-in the time of Moses---when accumulating genetic damage made birth defects more likely in the event genetically-close intermarriage took place.
A tight reading of the genealogy using the Masoretic Text of Genesis adds up to 1,656 years from Adam to Noah. (That is, there do no appear to be any gaps in the genealogy from Adam to Noah). 1656 years is more than sufficient time to completely fill up the earth with people. A conservative population growth calculation would place the population at the time of the flood as 7 billion people at least, perhaps it was even higher. The time period from Adam to Noah turns out to be about 2256 years using the LXX and other versions of the Hebrew Bible such as the Vorlage Text. See Creation and Catastrophe Chronology by Barry Setterfield.
Part-way through the Antediluvian Age, Enoch ("seventh from Adam") was born. Enoch began to walk with God at the age of 65 years and walked with God for the next 300 years until God took him home [translated him] without dying. Enoch is therefore an Old Testament "type" or picture for us of the rapture of the church. Enoch was a prophet of God as Jude tells us in the New Testament. Enoch foresaw not only the flood of Noah, but also the second coming of Messiah at the close of the age in which we all now live:
"It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came [or, "will come"] with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him..." (Jude 14, 15)
The names of the descendants of Adam through his son Seth down to Noah all have meaning. Ray C. Stedman analyzes these names in his book Understanding Man,
..."a way of escape [for man] is indicated again in a most fascinating way in this chapter by the meaning of the names listed. There is some difference among authorities as to the meaning of these names, depending upon the root from which they are judged to be taken. But one authority gives a most interesting sequence of meanings. The list begins with Seth, which means "Appointed." Enosh, his son, means "Mortal;" and his son, Kenan, means "Sorrow." His son Mahalalel, means "The Blessed God." He named his boy Jared which means "Came Down," and his boy, Enoch, means "Teaching." Methuselah, as we saw, means "His death shall bring;" Lamech means "Strength," and Noah, "Comfort." Now put that all together:
God has Appointed that Mortal man shall Sorrow;
but The Blessed God, Came Down, Teaching,
that His Death Shall Bring,
Strength and Comfort.
"Is this book from God? God has given you and me a life to watch just as Methuselah's generation watched his. It is your own life. God has written "Methuselah" on each one of us. "His death shall bring it," or "When he dies, it will come." How far is it till the end of the world for you? When you die. That is the end of the world. That is the end of man's day. Is it fifty years from now, ten, tomorrow? Who knows? But at any moment, when he dies, it will come."
Chapter Six of Genesis begins with a cryptic, concise statement of the moral decay and corruption that had gradually filled the earth since the children of Adam and Eve began to populate the Pre-Flood world.
"When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose. Then the LORD said, 'My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.'
"The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.'
"But Noah found favor [grace] in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
"Now the earth was [thoroughly] corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled [continually] with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth." (Genesis 6:1-12)
The term, "the sons of God" (bene elohim)
in Gen. 6:1 almost certainly refers to the angels. (See Job 1:6,
2:1, 38:7). This is the preferred interpretation of most scholars
today and is consistent with 1 Pet. 3:18-22, 2 Pet. 2:4-5, and
Jude 6-7. Although Christian men and women are called "sons
of God" or "children of God" in the New Testament,
the term bene elohim refers to the angels in the Old Testament.
Although the angels in heaven evidently are not sexually active
(Mark 12:25) this does not mean that they lack reproductive ability.
Fallen angels may also be able to introduce genetic alterations
into the human gene pool through demon possession of susceptible
individuals, evidently especially women. In one way or another,
one particular group of fallen angels apparently "possessed"
human males --or perhaps in some way had direct sexual intercourse
with human females--with the end result that a race of fallen
giants, the Nephilim and/or Rephaim, was brought into the world
prior to the Flood
Gen. 6:4 says this genetic impregnation of human women by fallen angels also occurred after the Flood, leading at that time to the giants such as Goliath or Og, King of Bashan. (Numbers. 13:33, 1 Sam. 17). Deuteronomy 18:10 describes Og's bedstead, "...behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbah of the Ammonites? Nine cubits (13.5 feet) was its length, and four cubits (6 feet) its breadth, according to the common cubit."
David's slaying of the giant Goliath is recorded in 1 Samuel 17 where we learn how big he was, "And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span (9.5 - 10.8 ft). He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels (~125 pounds) of bronze. And he had greaves of bronze upon his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels (~15 pounds) of iron; and his shield-bearer went before him." Genetic defects seem to be associated with these giants. 2 Samuel 21:18-22 records the following glimpse of the giants still living in Israel in the time of King David, "After this there was again war with the Philistines at Gob; then Sibbecai the Hushathite slew Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants. And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, the Bethlehemite, slew Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David's brother, slew him. These four were descended from the giants in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants."
How angels intermarry with humans to produce half-human half-demonic offspring remains to be discovered, but there is a possibility that similar unions are occurring again in our time. The rise of demonic activity at the end of the age we live in is anticipated by the Bible.
As a side note, it is from these very real offspring of illicit unions between men and fallen angels that ancient legends may have come about---(such as the stories of Homer) and the tales of the demigods of Greek, Roman and other world mythologies.
The particular group of fallen angels who sinned in this way---Jude says they "left their proper estate or position"---before the flood are now chained in Tartarus, according to the account in Jude 6. God removed them from their influence in the world at the time of the Flood and they remained imprisoned awaiting the judgment of "the great Day." This one group of angels is unable to do further harm to mankind. Evidently the fallen angels who caused the genetic defects leading to the race of post-Flood giants remain unrestrained until this day as far as we know.
The fact that all remaining fallen angels will be judged and removed in a future day from all their influence and power over both nature and human affairs is told us in Isaiah 24,
"On that day [the Day of the Lord} the LORD will punish the [angelic] host of heaven, in heaven, and the [evil] kings of the earth, on the earth. They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be confounded, and the sun ashamed; for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before his elders he will manifest his glory."
Jude describes the sin of these fallen angels---it was associated with their crossing over God-ordained boundaries in life. Their sin may be compared with the sexual sins of Sodom and Gomorrah which resulted in the destruction of these Canaanite cities,
"And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire." (Jude 6)
Because of considerable controversy on the subject of these angelic-human hybrids, see Notes on the Nephilim: The Giants of Old, by James Montgomery Boice, Henry Morris, Chuck Missler and Ray C. Stedman
Returning to the text of Genesis 6, in verse 3 the LORD says,
"My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh,
but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years." What is
probably referred to here is the time remaining until the judgment
of the Flood. God now gave man only 120 more years to repent.
Grace was extended to a wicked world for another century, illustrating
God's longsuffering patience. Peter would later say of God's amazing
patience, "The Lord is not slow about his promise as some
count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that
any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
(2 Peter 3:9)
Apparently no one heeded the message of God's grace except for Noah and his family, 8 persons, out of an entire world which probably numbered at least several billion persons! The construction of the Ark evidently began when this warning of God was given. The Ark was no doubt built on dry land far from the ocean or even a lake, and it's construction would have brought "Crazy" Noah and his family scorn and ridicule, year after year.
Peter the Apostle speaks of strong skeptics (Greek: empaiktes "mockers" or "scoffers," from empaizo, "to cast ridicule upon"). These secular and religious "authorities" would appear on the scene at the end of the age we now live in---to vigorously deny that the Flood of Noah ever happened, and to assert with pomposity that our world is not in any danger of God's future intervention in our affairs.
I believe in allowing the text of Genesis 6 to speak for itself:
"And God said to Noah, 'I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and set the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks.
"For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.
"And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you, to keep them alive. Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.' Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him."
Note the reference twice in this passage to the impending destruction
of "all flesh," except for those harbored in the Ark.
The Ark of Noah was a barge-like structure probably built of cypress or cedar ("gopherwood"). It was about 450 feet long by 75 feet in beam, and 45 feet high. Such a boat would displace 20,000 tons and have a gross tonnage of 14,000 tons. There were three decks, one door (in the side) and a window 18 inches high probably running around the top of the vessel under the roof. The ark was caulked "within and without" with pitch (Hebrew: kopher = "to cover,"---translated "atonement" elsewhere in the Old Testament).
The capacity of the ark was about 522 railroad cars, (1.4 million cubic feet). Only 188 railroad cars would be required to hold a pair of each of the 17,600 species of animals presently known to man, according to Dr. John Morris of the Institute of Creation Research. (This number of cars includes food supplies for a year's subsistence). From this we can assume that many perhaps as many as two-third of the species originally created by God are already extinct.
The ark was under construction, on dry land presumably far from water, for perhaps as long as 120 years. (The Hebrew word for ark, tebah, may be related to the Egyptian word db't, = "coffin". For a discussion on this see Does Ark Mean Box?). Although Noah ("a preacher of righteousness") sought to persuade the people of the his generation to come into the ark and so be saved, none responded,
"...when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water." (1 Peter 3:20)
The ark is a beautiful picture of salvation by grace through faith. There was no other way to be saved from destruction in that day except by coming into the God's ark of refuge. The world was warned for 120 years of impending judgment. The ark had one door in the side. Later in history Jesus said,
"Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (John 10:7-11).
Noah's name means "comfort" or "rest," and looks ahead to the words of Jesus,
"Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest."
The ark was likewise a coffin. Those who come into Christ by
faith are identified with Him in his death, burial and resurrection.
God called from within the ark inviting Noah and his family
to enter in and find refuge.
The actual details of the Flood are given in Chapters 7 and 8. Reading the actual text makes it very difficult to imagine that a merely local flood is being described. If the Flood were local why go the trouble to built a huge boat for 120 years? Migrating into the mountains would have been far easier:
"Then the LORD said to Noah, 'Come into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate; and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive upon the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.' "And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him. Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him went into the ark, to escape the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
"On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, they and every beast according to its kind, and all the cattle according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth according to its kind, and every bird according to its kind, every bird of every sort. They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And they that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.
"The flood continued forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed so mightily upon the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; the waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits [about 22 feet] deep.
"And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, birds, cattle, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm upon the earth, and every man; everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days."
Evidently God Himself assembled the animals and brought them
in the Ark. It is possible the animals hibernated most of the
year they were in the Ark. None apparently died during the year
they were afloat, and no new animals were born during that year.
It has been suggested the food supplies were kept on the top deck,
everyone lived on the mid-deck and waste and refuse was collected
on the third deck, but we can not be sure. The window around the
entire top of the Ark evidently channeled air through the vessel.
God called Noah and his wife and the animals from within the Ark, "Come into the ark..." is how Chapter 7 opens. [Some translations incorrectly read "Go into the ark..."] After all were in the Ark safely, God Himself shut the door. God was not far off in heaven during the ensuing Flood, He was an on-board traveling companion with the occupants.
Noah waited another seven days before the rains began. Ray C. Stedman suggests this may have been a memorial period for Methuselah who had just died. Again, it is difficult to see how some can claim that the Flood of Noah was local and not global. Why work building a great boat for 120 years preparing for a local flood? Why not simply climb the highest mountain or move to a different valley? Similarly, God promised he would never again destroy the earth in a flood like this one, yet great local floods have ravaged the earth down through the ages, killing millions. The Flood of Noah is clearly unique, it was one of a kind. The Hebrew word mabbul is used only in describing the Flood of Noah in the Old Testament. When the Old Testament was translated into Greek, the word kataklusmos was used in the Septuagint (LXX) in place of mabbul. This is the same word the Apostle Peter gives a great commentary on the Flood in his second letter, Chapter 3. That passage reads as follows,
"First of all you must understand this, that scoffers (outspoken skeptics, mockers) will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.' [this is the doctrine of uniformitarianism] They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word (logos) of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world (kosmos) that then existed was deluged ("cataclysmed" = inundated) with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up ("treasured up") for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
"But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud [rushing] noise, and the elements (stoicheion) will be dissolved (lit: unloosed) with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved (unloosed), what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."
The strong language of 2 Peter suggests that Flood affected more than just the earth. Some Bible scholars have suggested the Flood may have been triggered by the catastrophic breakup of a planet between Mars and Jupiter where the asteroid belt is now located. See Exploding Planets and Ancient Catastrophes.
The ark floated cleared of the highest mountains during the
flood. Most of the water for the flood came from the fountains
of the deep rather than from the collapse of any vapor canopy.
Very heavy rainfall, even for 40 days and 40 nights, would not
likely yield more than a few tens of feet of water. All the water
from the flood is still present on the earth. If one bulldozed
all the continents into the ocean depths, the earth would now
be entirely covered by about a mile of water today. For example
the Pacific Ocean is about two miles deep on the average, while
the continental US averages less than one mile above sea level.
Chart: Diagram Showing Relative Land and
Sea Volumes of Earth
Most of the great mountain ranges we see today were probably build up after the flood by isostatic rebound, and by collision of the continental plates after rapid breakup and accelerated "drift." Before the flood the earth seems to have had just one continent. Division of the continents may have occurred rapidly "in the days of Peleg" (Gen. 10:25)---which was about 150 years after the flood. This can not be strongly supported from the Bible except for the fact that the root PLG (Peleg) is found in modern words such a "pelagic" and "archipelago." All that Genesis 10 actually says about Peleg is "in his days the earth was divided." This could mean a division and migration of peoples rather than referring to continental breakup. Rapid continental drift would have been so disastrous in terms of earthquakes, tidal waves, vulcanism and other upheavals that many scientifically-oriented Bible scholars believe the splitting of earth's original continent ("pangea") occurred during the year of the flood. Technical papers on the subject are available from the Ist, IInd and IIIrd International Conferences on Creationism, referenced at the end of this paper.
Job seems to have lived soon after the Flood. Earth's ice age(s) and the time of dinosaur extinction seem to have followed the flood because of radically changed environmental conditions resulting from the collapse of the vapor canopy.
For a thorough scientific analysis of the Flood, the numerous problems associated with vapor canopy models, and related geophysics, see especially Dr. Walter Brown's analysis on line at the Center for Scientific Creation.
Prior to the flood the earth apparently enjoyed a uniform sub-tropical climate everywhere. There were apparently no storms (hence no rainbows, Gen. 9:13), no wind (Gen. 8:1b), no snow, ice, floods. Water from springs prior to the flood was evidently abundant (Gen. 1:10) and a generous nightly mist, or very heavy dew watered the ground (Gen. 2:5). Fossils of tropical plants can be found in Alaska today, great coal beds have been discovered in Antarctica, and hundreds thousands of suddenly quick-frozen warm-weather mammoth elephants in Siberia. The surface of the earth has been drastically altered as a result of the flood. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River was evidently the result of a sudden catastrophic draining of a huge inland lake, etc.
The raven is not only an unclean bird but also a scavenger, able to feed on floating corpses. The dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, did not permanently leave the ark until green growth had returned. The olive branch and the dove have become universal symbols of peace.
Incidentally, the ark landed on the very same day of the month and day of the week that Jesus was raised from the dead on the first Easter! Bible scholar Chuck Missler details the calculations in his briefing package on the flood. For ordering information go to Koinonia House. (Missler notes in his analysis that the old Hebrew calendar was changed when God instituted the Passover with Israel, Ex. 12).
All human beings on the earth today are descendants of Noah's three sons. There are three great branches on the one human race. The Semitic peoples are descended from Shem, the Hamites are the Blacks, Egyptians, Indians and Oriental families of man, and the Japhethites are (largely) the people of India and the Europeans. Genetic diversity occurs most rapidly when breeding populations are small. The Bible gives no reason to believe there were "hominids" in existence before Adam, nor other human populations than the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Noah, and therefore of Noah and Adam. The entire genetic pool present in the human race, with all its variations and redundancy, was therefore programmed into Adam when God created him. A detailed discussion of the branching families of man after the Flood is found in Ray C. Stedman sermon series on Genesis, Expository Messages in Genesis See also A Universal Flood: 3000 BC, by David Livingstone. PhD
The late Canadian Scholar, Arthur C. Custance published a wonderful analysis of the repopulating of the earth by Noah's sons. Noah's Three Sons . See also Bill Cooper's excellent book After the Flood.
The account of the Flood and its termination is recorded for us by the Holy Spirit in some detail,
"But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters had abated; and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.
"At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made, and sent forth a raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put forth his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and lo, in her mouth a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent forth the dove; and she did not return to him any more. In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.
"Then God said to Noah, 'Go forth from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you. Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh-birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth-that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply upon the earth.' So Noah went forth, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him. And every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves upon the earth, went forth by families out of the ark. Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in his heart, 'I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.'"
"And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it and of man; of every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image. And you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it.'
"Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 'Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a 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 creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.' God said to Noah, This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.' The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled. Noah was the first tiller of the soil." (Genesis 8:1-9:18)
Storms, seasons, wind, rain hail and weather patterns, as we
know them now, apparently began after the flood when the regulating
green-house effect of the vapor canopy was no longer taking place.
The ice age and the extinction of many species, such as dinosaurs,
probably followed because not all animals could survive the drastic
climate change and radically different food chain and infrastructure
of life on our planet. For a chronology of the Flood correcting
radiometric dates for early earth history because of the rapid
decrease in the speed of light since creation week, see Creation and Catastrophe Chronology
and the paper Creation
and Catastrophe (1993). For Setterfield's theory on the
velocity of light see Is the Velocity
of Light a Constant in Time? Setterfield dates the time of the Flood at ~3536 BC.
A new arrangement for living (i.e., a covenant) was established between God and Noah, Noah's offspring, and the animals, after the great flood. See What is a Covenant?, and The Mainline Covenants of Yahweh. The sanctity of life is clearly declared in God's covenant with Noah. The institution of government is implied---and this includes provision for capital punishment. Romans 13:1-5 says,
"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience."
Man was previously vegetarian, but now is permitted to eat
meat. Enmity now enters the animal world so that much of nature
becomes "red in tooth and claw." The animals now fear
man (man is, sadly, often their greatest enemy). It seems likely
that rainbows did not exist before the flood due to the very different
climatic conditions. The rainbow is a great symbol of God's grace
leading to life. "... and lo, a throne stood in heaven, with
one seated on the throne! And he who sat there appeared like jasper
and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked
like an emerald." (Rev. 4:2, 3).
The phase "These are the generations of Noah," marks the end of Noah's account in Genesis Chapter 10 verse 1. Here begins the record kept by his sons. As noted above, "Noah" means rest or comfort. The New Testament speaks of Noah 8 times. Especially significant when the Flood of Noah is under discussion is the warning of Jesus said about the end of the age we live in,
"As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all."
Hebrews 11:7 says of Noah,
"By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith."
The Apostle Peter states:
"...God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water." (1 Peter 3:20),
"For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked (for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. (2 Peter 2:5-10).
Commentary on 2 Peter: The New Testament and the Flood
Numerous expeditions have visited Mt. Ararat (El. 17,400 feet) in Eastern Turkey in this century searching for the Ark of Noah. Russian aviators at the time of the Czar reported sighting a great wooden boat high on the mountain several warm summer during higher than usually summer snow melt. More recently many Christian climbing groups have attempted to find the remains of the Ark, all so far without positive results. One can not be sure the present day mountain (a dormant volcano) is the exact landing site. The many theories and many annual Ark expeditions are reported in creationist journals on a regular basis. What could be most exciting about finding the Ark (in my opinion) would be the possibility it could contain a library or records of the Antediluvian civilization about which we know almost nothing beyond what is recorded in Genesis 4 and 5. A comprehensive web site by B.J. Corbin is accessible on line, Noah's Ark Home Page. See also Ararat Report, Bill Crouse, ed., 2050 N. Collins Blvd., Ste 100, Richardson, TX 75080. See also The Noah's Ark Project (Douglas Peterson).
The genealogical records in the Bible from the First Adam (Adam) to the Second
Adam (Christ) are mostly complete. From these one can deduce that
the Flood probably occurred about 2500-3500 BC. I believe the
great discrepancy between this date and the apparent age of things
deduced from atomic dating methods may be a result of the non-constant
speed of light. The initial velocity of light at the time of creation
appears to have been one to ten million times greater than the
presently accepted value (299,792.458 kilometers/sec). Since Satan,
or Lucifer, the "light bearer," evidently had a most
important and central role in God's government of the universe,
his fall could be related to the observed drop in light speed.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics seems also to have come into
play at the time of the fall of the angels (or the fall of man).
Prior to the fall the universe was evidently self-renewing and
not degenerative, as it will be once again in the new heavens
and new earth. These matters are discussed in other essays.
The water for the Flood came mostly from the "fountains of the deep." Where is this water now? A globe of the earth will show that the earth's surface is 2/3rds water, with the average height of land less than 5000 feet. The ocean basins, on the other hand, are on the average 12,000 feet deep. If one were to bulldoze the present land surface into the oceans so that the earth was absolutely level everywhere, at least a mile of water would cover everything. A number of scientists believe there was much more water in the earth's upper atmosphere prior to the Flood, producing a uniform, sub-tropical climate everywhere with almost no seasonal changes, violent storms or even regular rain and snowfall. It is has been suggested that the surface barometric pressure before the Flood may have been twice as high as it is now. Thermodynamic models of the earth's atmosphere show clearly that the earth's atmosphere can not hold huge quantities of water. Prof. Larry Vardiman in a 1998 paper summarizing recent works says this: "Temperature profiles under a water vapor canopy were studied to determine their sensitivity to variations in factors other than water vapor content. The solar constant, albedo, solar zenith angle, cirrus cloud thickness, and cirrus cloud base height were each varied independently from about 50% to 200% of their normal values and the equilibrium vertical temperature profiles determined. A vapor canopy containing about 0.1 meters of precipitable water was assumed in all cases. Surface temperatures were affected most strongly by changes in the solar constant. A 50% reduction in the solar constant reduced the surface temperature under the canopy from 335K to 240K. Changes in albedo, solar zenith angle, and cirrus cloud thickness also produced strong effects on surface temperature. However, none of the effects were so dramatic that the concern over limitation on water content in the canopy by hot surface temperatures was eliminated. If all five parameters were to be introduced into the model simultaneously such that the surface temperature was minimized, it is estimated that the precipitable water content of the canopy could possibly be raised to as much as 2.0 meters." (Proc. Fourth International Conference on Creationism, 705 Washington Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15229)
It has been suggested that the Flood of Noah may have been triggered by the explosion of a planet, the fragments of which pock-marked our moon, Mars, Venus and Jupiter plus other moons in the solar system. See my article Exploding Planets and Ancient Catastrophes and J. Tim Unruh, Phaeton: The Lost Planet. An account of Biblical Catastrophism on a Cosmic Scale. Astronomer Tom VanFlandern also has information on this theory on his web site.
The following brief news article is highly relevant for understanding what could well have happened in the earth's crust at the time of the Flood of Noah. Note especially the transformation of serpentine into olivine is accompanied by the release of lots of water.
High-pressure water triggers tremors
Tiny droplets of water may seem too inconsequential to break rock, but three Yale University geologists now say that water trapped far below Earth's surface can set off earthquakes.
Deep underground, heat and pressure expel water from the crystals of certain minerals, transforming one structure into another. "The classical view of metamorphism is that fluid is released very slowly and continuously in teeny, tiny amounts over millions of years," says Jay J. Ague, a co-author of the report appearing in the Nov. 15 GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS. "What we show is that once one of these [transformations] gets going, a lot of water can be released over decades or hundred-year time scales."
If water is squeezed that quickly out of crystals 10 to 20 kilometers below the surface, it soon fills pores in the rock and is left with nowhere to go, Ague says. When its pressure overcomes the weight of the overlying rocks, the water blasts some escape routes. Cracking rocks already under immense strain in a fault zone is a good way to start an earthquake, he points out.
Ague and his colleagues Jeffrey Park and Danny M. Rye wondered whether this process could trigger mysterious earthquakes such as Loma Prieta. That 1989 California quake started nearly 18 km underground, deeper than seismologists thought possible along the San Andreas Fault. Most tremors there occur in the top 12 km of the crust as opposite sides of the fault slip past each other.
Deeper rocks are so hot that strain doe not tend to build up: Like Silly Putty, the flow when pushed slowly but snap if stretched abruptly.
In the Yale team's proposed mechanism, water would strain the rocks s rapidly that they would break even a that depth. "The [Loma Prieta] trigger was at the very deepest place possible, which makes the idea worth entertaining," says Kevin P. Furlong of Pennsylvania State University in State College Still, he asks whether water can be released rapidly enough to break rock that is pliable enough to flow.
Water might diffuse peacefully through the rock if it were released gradually as the minerals converted from one type to another. The Yale scientists' analysis, however, indicates that rock being heated holds water beyond the equilibrium temperature for the mineral transformation and then releases it quickly. They modeled reactions in which the mineral serpentine loses its water to become olivine Overstepping the critical temperature be as little as 5 degrees C can generate enough pressure to shatter the rocks, Park observes.
Ague admits there's more work to be done. "There are hundreds of reactions that can take place, so we've really only scratched the surface," he says.
If the researchers' theory proves right, its implications don't stop after a single rumble. "If the fault seals up after an earthquake, the reactions keep going and fluid pressure builds up again, I Ague says, "so this process could happen over and over." - S. Simpson
NOVEMBER 21, 1998
SCIENCE NEWS, VOL. 154
We will probably never see it or be able to use it. But billions of droplets of water buried hundreds of kilometers below us hold precious secrets of their own. Lou Bergeron reports
DEEP inside the Earth, the pressure is excruciating. Squeezed into strange shapes and forms, the rocks are so hot that they crawl like super-thick treacle. It is an inferno worthy of Dante, but it also contains something surprising. What's the last thing you would expect to find in this hellish environment? Water. Vast amounts of the stuff. In fact, more than 400 kilometers inside the Earth there may be enough water to replace the surface oceans more than ten times.
But this water is not a series of immense seas. Rather, it is scattered in droplets, some as small as a single molecule, with most trapped inside crystal lattices of rare minerals that only form under intense pressures. How much there is down there is still fiercely debated. But these inner "oceans" could help to explain long-standing puzzles about Earth's formation, the causes of deep earthquakes hundreds of kilometers inside the Earth, and why massive volcanic outbursts suddenly flood hundreds of thousands of square kilometers with lava. They may even give a glimpse of what the future holds for the Earth's climate-and if we might ever be drowned from below.
Many different strands of evidence point to the existence of this hidden water. One is the Earth's lack of water, compared with meteorites. For years, geologists have puzzled over this anomaly.
The Earth formed 4·5 billion years ago from a swirling cloud of dust, and gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, ammonia and methane. The cloud gradually formed tiny clumps of matter that grew into larger planetesimals, some 10 kilometers across. These stuck together and drew in more dust and gas. Eventually, the Earth had enough gravity to hold onto the gases in the planetesimals, and stop them escaping into space.
According to Thomas Ahrens, a geophysicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, you can work out how much water was around in the early Solar System by examining ancient meteorites-leftovers from the birth of the Solar System-that still bombard the Earth. Check the water in the meteorites and do the sums, he says, and you find out that the Earth should contain about 3 per cent water. In fact, adding up all the water in the oceans and atmosphere gives you just a tiny fraction of a per cent. So where did all the water go? Well, many scientists believe that shortly after the Earth formed, a Mars-sized object slammed into it, stripping off its atmosphere and ejecting a chunk of the planet to create the Moon. So, presumably, much of the missing water could have been blown out into space at the same time. But there are clues that some water could still be trapped deep inside the Earth.
One clue comes from the helium emitted during volcanic eruptions. Helium has two isotopes. Helium-4 is formed by radioactive decay, while helium-3 comes from the time of birth of the Universe. According to Ahrens, helium-3 is plentiful in the volcanic rocks spewed up by so-called mantle plumes-upwellings of magma from deep inside the Earth that give rise to island chains such as the Hawaiian islands.
Helium is very volatile-much more so than water. If the Earth has held on to some of its helium-3 for this long, why shouldn't it have have held onto some of its water as well. Helium-3 "gives a clear signal that the Earth really does contain these kinds of material", says Ahrens.
Another tantalizing piece of evidence comes from kimberlites, rocks rich in iron and magnesium that travel along narrow channels from the mantle up to the Earth's surface. The rising rocks drag along other minerals, notably diamonds, which only form at depths below 180 kilometers. They also carry mica-like rocks, which are rich in water but would be unstable down at the depths where diamonds form, and so only exist nearer the surface.
But according to Raymond Jeanloz of the University of California at Berkeley, that doesn't mean that the water in the mica-like minerals didn't come up from greater depths. "These minerals may be the decompression products of higher pressure, water-rich phases that we never get the chance to see," says Jeanloz.
Meanwhile, Stephen Haggerty of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has found evidence that some kimberlites contain material from deep down in the mantle. Haggerty discovered that some kimberlites contain remnants of a mineral called majorite, which forms between about 300 and 670 kilometers down. So the water in kimberlites may have come from 670 kilometers down-the boundary between the upper and lower mantle.
Seismic data also suggest that there may be significant amounts of water in the mantle. Water has the effect of softening many rocks, slowing the speed of seismic waves passing through. And geologists have found that seismic waves do move unusually slowly in parts of the mantle.
But despite these hints, until the late 1980s most researchers believed that it is basically pretty dry inside the Earth. Yes, there probably is some water near the surface, they reasoned, but go deeper than around 200 kilometers and there's nowhere to store water. The rocks, they presumed, would be just too hot to hold onto it.
Then Joseph Smyth of the University of Colorado in Boulder made a startling discovery while studying a mineral called wadsleyite. The mineral is made up of silicon, magnesium and oxygen. Geologists believe that wadsleyite sits deep inside the Earth in roughly the top half of the transition zone between the upper and lower mantles, which spans depths of 400 to 700 kilometers. But researchers can't dig down into the mantle to see what's happening there, so they have to rely on secondary tools. One way of working out which minerals may lurk deep inside the Earth is to take common upper-mantle rocks and squeeze and heat them until they reach the temperatures and pressures found inside the Earth.
That's how wadsleyite was made back in the 1960s. But the early researchers started out with dry olivine, so they ended up with dry wadsleyite. Smyth's breakthrough was to discover that even though wadsleyite only exists at temperatures well above 1000 ºC, it can still hold water.
At the same time, researchers were investigating whether other minerals under intense pressures and temperatures could hold water. One group of minerals being tested had first been created in the mid-1960s by Ted Ringwood and Alan Major at the Australian National University in Canberra. The minerals, dubbed phases A, B and C, had been synthesized in anhydrous conditions. Then, in 1987, Lin-Gun Liu and Ringwood not only found that phase C could hold water, but also synthesized a new mineral, christened phase D, which could also store water under the immense pressures and temperatures of the mantle.
Suddenly, there was somewhere to put water deep inside the mantle. "You can have oceans and oceans of water stored in the transition zone," says Jay Bass of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. "It's sopping wet stuff." Researchers think wadsleyite can hold as much as 3·3 per cent water by weight. It may not sound like much, but there could be an awful lot of wadsleyite.
According to Smyth, models of the mantle's composition suggest that at the depths where wadsleyite is stable, between half and three-quarters of the material is the right stuff for making this mineral. "If the region between 400 and 525 kilometers were, say, 60 per cent wadsleyite, and that phase was saturated at 3·3 weight per cent, that's ten oceans of water," says Smyth. But Dan Frost, an experimental petrologist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Geophysical Laboratory in Washington DC, thinks the mantle could contain even more water.
Frost says that solidified lava that has erupted at mid-ocean ridges contains glass that can be analyzed for water content. His research team has calculated how much water the lava's parent material in the mantle must have contained. "It ends up being between 100 and 500 parts per million," he says. And if the whole mantle contained 500 parts per million of water, Frost calculates that would be the equivalent of 30 oceans of water. But there is a catch-mid-ocean ridge basalts form by melting just the top part of the mantle. "The question is, does that reflect the bottom part of the mantle?" says Frost. He believes that the whole mantle is relatively homogeneous in its composition, and that only the mineral structures change with depth. But no one can say for certain whether this is the case. New water-bearing minerals are still being found. Earlier this year, Smyth's group published their discovery of wadsleyite II, another hydrous phase that may be stable even deeper into the mantle than the first wadsleyite.
But as Smyth notes, just because all these phases can hold water doesn't mean that they actually do. For that, you need to check what is really going on in the mantle. The main tool for probing rocks in the mantle is seismology. When an earthquake sends out seismic waves, geophysicists measure how fast the waves pass through mantle rocks. Given the speed of the seismic waves, and some information about how different minerals transmit them, geologists can work out what minerals are present.
And since water often slows seismic waves down, they may even be able to tell whether the minerals are wet or dry. The problem is that nobody knows the seismic properties of the hydrated version of the new minerals. "So we have no way of looking for seismic evidence of whether the phase is saturated or not," says Smyth. Many different groups are currently trying to pin down the seismic properties of the new hydrous minerals.
Meanwhile, water locked deep inside the Earth may be having significant effects on the surface through spectacular events such as the creation of island chains and massive outpourings of volcanic lava. Both features are examples of "hot spot" volcanism, which researchers believe is caused when a massive plume of hot material wells up from the mantle, melting rock which erupts through the crust.
For island chains like those around Hawaii, the hot spot is thought to be stationary while the tectonic plate slowly moves over it, producing one volcanic island after another. But some researchers believe that such plumes of material may not be primarily temperature driven. As Mark Richards at the University of California at Berkeley says, "hot spot volcanism could be triggered not by blobs of material that are anomalously hot rising through the mantle, but blobs of material that are anomalously wet". Richards points out that the presence of volatiles such as water in a mass of rock would make it buoyant, causing it to rise. "The presence of volatiles also lowers their melting point, so that when they rise to the surface, you get massive melting," he says.
Water could also explain puzzles about some of the occasional vast outpourings of lava that have taken place from time to time in Earth's history, and covered hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of land. The problem is with the lithosphere-the cold, solid outer shell of the Earth that includes the crust as well as the very uppermost mantle, and usually extends to about 70 kilometers below the surface. According to Chris Hawkesworth at the Open University in Milton Keynes, flood basalts erupted in some regions-for instance the famous Deccan Traps in India-have a composition that shows they formed from the asthenosphere, the mantle region below the lithosphere where the material is already thought to be partially molten. In these cases, the continent was already rifting apart when the plume arrived, and the magma had a fairly easy time passing up through the lithosphere.
But some continental flood basalts, in Brazil for instance, and in Namibia, are chemically different-richer in silica, and with different ratios of trace elements and isotopes. This suggests that they came from melting not of the asthenosphere but the lithosphere itself-an astonishing feat since the cold root of these continents extends down to around 170 kilometers. In 1992, Hawkesworth and Kerry Gallagher at University College in London proposed that water could explain the mystery. Hawkesworth and Gallagher calculated that if a plume of hot material were to reach the bottom of the continental lithosphere, the heat could cause the lithosphere to dehydrate and to melt at lower temperatures. "If you want to melt the lithosphere, all models will agree that you have to have some volatiles present. And the experimental data will say that you need on the order of 0·3 or 0·4 per cent," says Hawkesworth. That works out to between 3000 and 4000 parts per million.
The Earth's inner oceans could also explain how earthquakes happen deep in the mantle-a long-standing puzzle ("Shaken to the core", New Scientist, 9 December 1995, p 42). Charles Prewitt, of the Geophysical Laboratory in Washington DC, thinks that water being squeezed out of minerals in the transi-tion zone could cause the unexplained earthquakes that occur there. "Minerals could dehydrate and release a fluid, and that could essentially lubricate a fault. The fault could slip and the earthquake could occur," he says.
Don Weidner at the State University of New York in Stonybrook is also interested in transition-zone earthquakes, but sees a possible catch in the dehydration theory. He points out that generating an earthquake requires a build-up of stress followed by a sudden release, and suspects that this would be difficult if there is free water available. "If we're looking at a zone where water is being released, maybe the material's too weak to store the energy to have an earthquake," he says.
Another aspect of deep water that is hotly debated is the question of how much the water content of the mantle varies with time. Volcanoes are constantly spewing out water that they have ferried up from below, and water could also be sent back down into the Earth via subducting slabs. But how efficient are the slabs at carrying water into the mantle?
Much of the water-saturated sediment that accumulates on the seafloor as it moves along under the ocean is scraped off the descending slab by the tectonic plate that overrides it in the subduction zone. How much of the sediments actually slip into the mantle is hard to say. A more formidable barrier is the heat inside the mantle.
Many scientists used to believe that as a tectonic plate descends, no matter how much water is in it, all that water will be driven off by the heat of the mantle and disappear into magma which heads back up to the surface. But gradually evidence has accumulated that some water is making it down. Guust Nolet, at Princeton University, has found what he believes are traces of an ancient subducted plate under Central Europe, 300 kilometers below the surface. Though the slab itself has sunk from view-since subduction stopped 400 million years ago, Nolet says that seismic velocities are markedly slow. This is surprising under an old continent, where the relatively cold rock should produce fast seismic speeds. Nolet's interpretation is that the region is still enriched with water from the passing slab.
Although it is not easy to estimate how much water goes into the mantle through subduction compared with how much comes back out via volcanoes it seems that the whole system is roughly in balance. But what if the balance were to shift, and more water come out than goes in? Obviously the oceans would rise, but the more important effects would be in the atmosphere. "Water is the primary greenhouse gas," notes Jeanloz. If there were a massive build-up of greenhouse gases, he says, it could have a devastating effect on every living creature on Earth. But a sudden outpouring of water, Noah-style, is not likely even if the balance does tilt to a greater outflow. Rather it would be a gradual change on geological timescales, which would affect only our most distant descendants. Perhaps by then they will have evolved gills. (Lou Bergeron is a science writer based in Santa Cruz, California). From New Scientist, 30 August 1997
"The Hidden Shore" by Raymond Jeanloz, The Sciences January/February 1993;
"Water in the Earth's Upper Mantle" by Alan Bruce Thompson, Nature, vol 358, 23 July 1992
References on the Vapor Canopy
A Computer Model of the Pre-Flood Atmosphere, Greg S. Jorgensen. P. Eng. Second Int'l Conference on Creationism, Vol. II 1990 pp143-154 "The existence of a pre-flood water vapor canopy on top of the existing atmosphere is strongly implied in the Scriptures (Genesis 1:7, 7:11-12, Proverbs 3:20). This paper studies the properties and characteristics of such a canopy by the development of a computer model. The model accurately predicts the vertical temperature profile of the U.S. Standard Atmosphere, thereby gaining credibility in its use on the pre-flood atmosphere."
Pre-Flood Vapor Canopy Radiative Temperature Profiles, David E. Rush, M.S. and Larry Vardiman, Ph.D. Second Int'l Conference on Creationism, Vol. II 1990 pp231-245 "Using a widely accepted radiance program, temperature profiles for various pre-Flood vapor canopies are calculated. The profiles are for pure radiative equilibrium, with no clouds or convective adjustments. This is the first step in answering the question, ""Could a vapor canopy have provided a world-wide climate suitable for human habitation?"" It is found that water vapor canopies ranging in size from 10 to 1013 mb produce temperatures at the canopy base hot enough to maintain water in the vapor phase, and hence ensure a stable canopy. However, canopies in the range from 50 to 1013 mb, and perhaps even canopies from 10 to 50 mb, also produce inhospitably high surface temperatures. The addition of clouds in future work would appear to hold promise of modifying these conclusions greatly."
Does the Bible Speak of a Vapor Canopy? R. Russell Bixler, President, Cornerstone TeleVision, Inc. First Int'l Conference on Creationism, Vol.I 1986 pp19-21 "Many commentators have stated that the Bible does not clearly speak of an antediluvian vapor canopy. The contention of this paper is that the vapor canopy is specifically mentioned in scripture, and the descriptive Hebrew word is ""mabbul."" This insight allows us to understand the Creation and Flood narratives better."
Thermodynamic Analysis of a Condensing Vapor Canopy, Tracy W. Walters Creation Research Society Qtr Vol 28 #3 (Article) 12/91 pp122-131 "A significant problem confronting vapor canopy theorists is the energy load on the atmosphere during the collapse of the canopy. Previous attempts to quantify this energy load have indicated that atmospheric temperatures would rise much too high to sustain life. However, up to this point the regulating effect of the ocean during canopy collapse has not been addressed. This investigation develops a more detailed energy balance than used in earlier work and also includes a simplified model to account for ocean-atmosphere coupling. Assuming that the entire energy load is released during the 40 days of the Flood, the simplified model predicts that the upper bound for canopy precipitable water is two feet.
Fundamental Physics of a Water Vapor Canopy Atmosphere, Greg S. Jorgensen, P.Eng. Twin Cities Creation Conference -- 1992 7/29/92 pp40-45 "The existence of a pre-flood water vapor canopy on top of the existing atmosphere is strongly implied in the Scriptures (Genesis 1:7, 7:11-12, Proverbs 3:20) and Psalm 148:4-5. This paper studies the fundamental physics required for an understanding of such an atmosphere. A computer model for such an atmosphere is developed and accurately predicts the vertical temperature profile of the U.S. Standard Atmosphere, thereby gaining credibility in its use on a water vapor and air atmosphere. It is believed that the earth of Genesis 1:1 had no air atmosphere only warm oceans producing a water vapor atmosphere. This water vapor atmosphere was elevated up on day 2 in Genesis 1:7 when God made the air atmosphere so necessary for life on earth. It is further believed that the early earth had a near zero angle of inclination creating the symmetrical conditions required to maintain the canopy. The model also predicts that the pre-flood earth probably had ice caps at the poles."
The Sky has Fallen, Larry Vardiman First Int'l Conference on Creationism, Vol.I 1986 pp113-119 "Of the various canopy models proposed to describe the climatic conditions before the flood of Noah and the 40-day, world-wide occurrence of rain, the vapor canopy model seems to provide the best explanation. Mathematical models of the vapor canopy are being developed to show its stability and implications on climate and weather prior to the flood. Model predictions are compared with historic evidences."
Sensitivity Studies on Vapor Canopy Temperature Profiles, Larry Vardiman and Karen Bousselot Fourth Int'l. Conference on Creationism 1998 pp607-618 "Temperature profiles under a water vapor canopy were studied to determine their sensitivity to variations in factors other than water vapor content. The solar constant, albedo, solar zenith angle, cirrus cloud thickness, and cirrus cloud base height were each varied independently from about 50% to 200% of their normal values and the equilibrium vertical temperature profiles determined. A vapor canopy containing about 0.1 meters of precipitable water was assumed in all cases. Surface temperatures were affected most strongly by changes in the solar constant. A 50% reduction in the solar constant reduced the surface temperature under the canopy from 335K to 240K. Changes in albedo, solar zenith angle, and cirrus cloud thickness also produced strong effects on surface temperature. However, none of the effects were so dramatic that the concern over limitation on water content in the canopy by hot surface temperatures was eliminated. If all five parameters were to be introduced into the model simultaneously such that the surface temperature was minimized, it is estimated that the precipitable water content of the canopy could possibly be raised to as much as 2.0 meters."
The Canopy Model, Dave and Mary Jo Nutting, Think & Believe, Vol 2 #1, Alpha Omega (Spotlight on Science) 1-2/85 p3 "The ""canopy model"" has been proposed by many creationists to correlate data about earth history. Basically, the canopy model suggests that the earth was created with a blanket of water high above our atmosphere. Some think this canopy was in the form of ice or liquid water, while others feel it was in vapor form. . . Without the canopy, conditions on earth would be greatly different from before the flood."
Global Heat Balance With a Liquid Water and Ice Canopy, Gary L. Johnson Creation Research Society Qtr Vol 23 #2 (Article) 9/86 pp54-61 "A new model of the pre-Flood canopy is proposed, consisting of large water globules at about 2 km altitude over equatorial regions and large ice fragment clouds at about 2200 km altitude over the polar regions. This canopy would have maintained both temperature and solar radiation at proper levels for good plant growth from pole to pole. The water globules would have collapsed at the time of Noah and the ice clouds would have collapsed several hundred years later to start the ice age."
Addendum: "A large comet or asteroid impact in a glacier ice sheet produced the Biblical Great Flood which brought the last Ice Age to an abrupt and sudden end."
RAY C. STEDMAN ON GENESIS Now on line: Expository
Messages in Genesis
Jewish Flood Legends
RECOMMENDED RECENT COMMENTARIES ON GENESIS
Boice, James Montgomery, Genesis, 2 volumes, Zondervan, 1982 (Hardcover or paperback). Very thorough and thoughtful. Excellent applications of Genesis to real life.
Morris, Henry, The Genesis Record, Creation Life Publishers, San Diego, 1976. Detailed, technical, scientific emphasis. Full of excellent insights and detailed explanations.
Leupold, H. C., Exposition of Genesis, 2 vols., Baker Book House, 1942. Careful study of the original Hebrew meanings. Refutes many erroneous interpretations.
CREATION LITERATURE, BOOKS AND FILMS
New Book: "The Incredible Discovery of Noah's Ark" by Charles E. Sellier & David W. Balsiger, a paperback: ISBN 0-440-21799-7 US $5.99
"A Scientific Analysis of Genesis," by Edward F. Blick, Ph.D.
Institute of Creation Research.
(ICR), PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021. Dr. Henry Morris, founder.
Excellent catalog and newsletter Acts and Facts, books, films,
seminars. (Australian Journal Creation and Ex Nihilo Technical
Journal available through ICR). Now on line. John Woodmorappe
outstanding new  book, Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study
is must reading on the Flood and the Ark. This book can be ordered
on line from ICR.
Center for Scientific Creation. Dr. Walter T. Brown Jr., 5612 N. 20th Place, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Lectures, seminars, Geological Model for the Flood. Walt's Book: In the Beginning., (6th Edition) is now on line. Dr. Brown is the Director of the Center for Scientific Creation. He is a retired full colonel (Air Force) and a West Point graduate with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At M.I.T. he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. Dr. Brown has taught college courses in mathematics, physics, and computer science. While in the Army, he was a paratrooper and ranger. His most recent assignments during his twenty-one years of military service were Chief of Science and Technology Studies at the Air War College, tenured associate professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Director of Benet Research, Development, and Engineering Laboratories in Albany, New York. Since retiring in 1980, Dr. Brown has been actively involved in speaking, writing, and research in creation-science.
The Genesis Institute, Dr. Walter Lange, 7232 Morgan Ave. S, Richfield, MN 55423. News magazine The Ark Today, literature reviews, books.
Creation Research Society (CRS).Scientific and technical papers published in quarterly journal, PO Box 14016, Terre Haute, IN 47803.
Films for Christ, 2628A West Birchwood Circle, Mesa, AZ 85202.
Film and book catalog available. Accessible on line at Christian
International Conferences on Creationism, PO Box 17578, Pittsburgh, PA 15235. Outstanding recent scientific papers on creation. Third Conference in 1994. Past proceedings and tapes available.
Creation Science Association of Ontario, (CSAO), PO Box 821 Station A, Scarborough, Ontario, M1K 5C8. Excellent fliers and literature on creation.
Creation Science for Mid-America, Route 1, Box 247B, Cleveland, MO 64734. Helpful newsletter, tapes, books.
Ararat Report, Bill Crouse, ed., 2050 N. Collins Blvd., Ste 100, Richardson, TX 75080. Detailed newsletter about the ongoing search for Noah's Ark.
Bible Science News (BSN) PO Box 32457, Minneapolis, MN 55432-0457. Newsletter, Books, literature.
The Black Sea "Flood" during the Ice Age, The Great Mediterranean Desert
Questions Concerning the Early History of the Earth
After the Flood, by Bill Cooper (Book)
Tom Pickett's research: The Genesis Files, The Antediluvians, Remote Sensing Ark research; GPR and SAR.
Eleven Reasons Why Noah's Flood Had To Be Universal:
1. The language of the account over and over again expresses totality (Gen. 7:18-24). 2. If 150 days were needed for the water to recede, it must have been universal.
3. The size of the ark indicates that this was no local flood.
4. If the flood was only local, why was the ark necessary at all?
5. The purpose of the flood was the punishment of world-wide sin. A local flood would not do; some could have escaped by just traveling to another region.
6. There are universal traditions of people with accounts of the flood.
7. The promise of no future floods (Gen. 9:15) would be false if it had been if it had been only a local flood.
8. A universal flood is the clearest meaning of the text and has priority.
9. Ending ice ages, dissolving canopies, continental drifting, and/or changes in the angle of the earth were all used to create necessary conditions.
10. The mountains of Ararat are high and since water seeks it own level and the ark came to rest there, they must have been covered.
11. There are world-wide traces of the flood. A universal flood is geologically supportable.
If it was local, then the whole Genesis account is simply a lie:
1. No possibility of forewarning
2. No time to build a boat
3. No reason to save any animals
4. Since Mesopotamia is located west of the Zagros Range and south of the Turkish Ararat Range, the Mesopotamians knew about those mountains and lied about "all the high mountains everywhere" being covered.
Localized flooding, such as that which produced the Pacific Northwest scablands and cut the Columbia Gorge can be devastating. We see flooding in China and India and the various monsoon countries that are awful. Flash flooding in dry areas can be deadly. But these are all missing the elements of THE flood story which is found in so many cultures around the world: all men were killed except a family who survived on a boat and saved the animals with them; a family who was forewarned so they could build that boat for that flood. The Noah story really has to stand or fall as a worldwide flood due to those elements in it. There is too much "wrong" with it for it to be a story of a local flood, no matter how bad.
Jesus referred to the Flood as factual ("as it was in the days of Noah...") and so claiming it was a lie makes Jesus a liar. Peter, also, referred to a world destroyed by water. One has to discard the words of both to reinterpret the Flood story.
Another thing a local flood cannot explain is the change in the ecosystem so that man could not live as long as the antediluvians. The average lifespan seems to have been cut in half (approximately) at the time of Peleg and then kept decreasing from there until they reached a top of 120 years. In fact, Abraham is listed as dying at, I think, 175 and is referred to as being of ripe old age at that point! Quite a difference compared with the lifespans given for the antediluvians. No localized flood would cause this to happen. The ecosystem change of a universal flood might have resulted in a much higher percentage of UV radiation reaching the ground, which could have accomplished just that. In other words, the change in the world environment might have been the means by which God fulfilled Gen. 6:3.
The best Biblically-based argument I know of that the Flood in Genesis was not merely some exaggerated local event but a world-wide one is Gen. 9:11. There God promised never to use a flood to destroy all flesh or the earth again. Since we still see deaths from localized flooding, God must have been talking about something truly global - or else Genesis is a lie.
Geological evidence also tends to indicate a global flood/floods origin of the sedimentary deposits that comprise the geological column. The fossils are entombed in sediments (sandstone, limestone and shale) which were liberated and deposited by water and many show literally no signs of maceration or significant decomposition. In addition the sedimentary layers are described as laterally continuous or horizontally indefinite. They completely blanket every continent and the underlying layers are naturally exposed only where erosion or uplift have occurred and simply taper off at the continental shelf. How can flood generated sediments be laterally continuous throughout an entire landmass without the flood exclusively having been responsible for the deaths of those fossilized within? And how can layers on the various continents be so closely associated temporally, and by constituents without them being caused by the same event, and therefore one which was globally encompassing?
If the story in the Bible had not preceded the discovery and realization of these laterally continuous sediments and the fossils contained within, then a global flood interpretation would have been inevitable. However, since doing so would require scientists to acknowledge the reintroduction of the animals which were alive at the event, and would therefore closely parallel the Biblical account and a miraculous and possible divine intervention; then to a secular scientific community such a thing could not possibly happen and another interpretation must therefore be sought.
All of Geology can be explained as the re-arranging of the earth's crust by the Flood. An example: the San Fernando Valley, and all of So. California, has a depth of 25,000 feet (feet!) of Flood material washed in, from probably the Grand Canyon! (I giant erosional drainage ditch!) There are some 20,000 volcanoes on the floor of the Pacific ocean, remnants of the Flood and the breaking up of the 'Great Deep' spoken of in Scripture. The Lompoc Fossil deposits were buried so suddenly that many huge (90 foot long) whales were captured intact!
Global Flood legends are found all over the world, and are difficult to pass off as just a lot of different local floods, particularly because, despite real differences, they have remarkable commonplaces which point back to one original event, the story of which got corrupted in various ways in the retelling over time. At http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/7547/genflood.html. it draws from an old article by John Morris exploring the details of over 200 of the global flood legends (one example is http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-214.htm, "Genesis According to the Miao People"). An excellent source is Byron Nelson's DELUGE STORY IN STONE. It tabulates dozens of Flood accounts and their similarities and dissimilarities from the Biblical account.
There's more, but I think this is a fair sampling of the evidence in favor of a global flood. See also "The Global Flood of Noah's Day" at http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-311.htm.
Website Coordinator, Associates for Biblical Research
Keep looking up, Bernard
Related Essays and Links:
World Wide Flood, Tim Lovett, Jim King (excellent resources).
A Universal Flood: 3000 BC, by Dr. David Livingston.
The Global Flood of Noah's Day, by John D. Morris Facts on the Ark of Noah and the Flood (Christian Information Ministries)
Did Moses really write Genesis? Is the Bible reliable? by Bob and Gretchen Passantino
The Bible: Accurate and True Can archaeology prove the Bible to be true? by Greg Koukl
Archaeology and the Bible The Bible and the Nineteenth Century by Luther T. Townsend. This unique book published in 1889. A defense of the Bible by comparing it to other ancient literature.
For information on the controversial explorer and amateur archaeologist, Ron Wyatt (d. 1999), see the following URLs:
Archaeology with Ron Wyatt: a personal account, by Bernard Brandstater
Wyatt Archaeological Research
Allen Roy: Another Viewpoint
Addendum February 29, 2000: Internet Resources for Flood legends (special thanks to Helen Fryman Setterfield):
Web Pages: http://ldolphin.org/
Above taken from class notes originated in 1983, revised July 6, 1999, December 22, 2001, April 28, 2004. August 17, 2005. JUne 15, 2008