Board index Noah's Ark & the Flood

How can the flood have occurred?

Postby Greg » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:56 pm

Thesis: the flood that wiped out humans outside the ark didn't actually happen, so several chapters are describing a fictional story

We have genetic evidence and actual bodies of Americans who crossed the Bering region to the Americas 11,000 years ago. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/arc ... as/549572/

The ancient Egyptians had built the pyramids before 2100 BC eg the pyramid of Giza and had an uninterrupted civilization so they weren't wiped out.

Problems with a global flood: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

Problems with a local flood: http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVansw ... 02-01.html

A flood that would cover the mountains of Ararat among all the other "high mountains" for so long would have covered all of the planet.

But a global flood would have wiped out the rainforest, and so on. Plus how did the animals get back to their natural habitats? Koalas for example are only found in Australia and their fossils go back millions of years. Did they swim back? How about sloths?

In short, the flood story seems to not match what happened in reality. And if that is the case with Genesis 5 all the way through to Genesis 11, how do we know the other stories are true, like the Exodus?
Greg
 

Re: How can the flood have occurred?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:56 pm

It seems that you're basing your case on an assumed date which may or may not be accurate.

The Bible doesn't tell us when the flood happened, or even what era. I have heard several scholars estimate it at before 20,000 BC.

So your native Americans crossing the Bering region 11,000 years ago (I have heard numbers up to 20,000 yrs ago) could still be within the pocket of biblical possibilities.

The ancient Egyptians and 2100 BC, no problem.

I happen to believe the flood was massively regional, even continental. We can discuss that if you wish, because the case can be longer and more involved. I don't want to bring it out just to dump it on you. I will only continue if you wish to discuss it further.

If the Flood happened before 20,000 BC, and if it was a regional flood, it matches reality.

We can talk more as you wish, or not. Let me know.
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Re: How can the flood have occurred?

Postby Zacky » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:43 pm

The Greenland Ice Shelf Project 2 completed by 2003 used 2 mile long ice core samples that are chronologically compatible with known times of volcanic eruptions, contain pollen of extinct plants, validate differing oxygen concentrations and weather events. Net result: No global flood in the last 110,000 yrs. Source of article was Perspective on Science and Christian Faith, Dec 2003 written by Dr Paul Seely, who is a bible historian as well as a scientist. However, there is evidence of a Black Sea/ Mediterranean regional event that I followed 2 years ago where fossils of fresh water diatoms were found on the continental shelf near Russia. The evidence against a worldwide flood is damning.
Zacky
 

Re: How can the flood have occurred?

Postby Filled Up » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:47 pm

I’d be interested in reading your theory. I’m not trying to be combative, but I do have one question: I thought Christianity believes the earth is around 4,000 years old - if that’s the case, how did this happen 18,000 years before there were people on earth?
Filled Up
 

Re: How can the flood have occurred?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:51 pm

Glad to post it here.

> I thought Christianity believes the earth is around 4,000 years old

Nope. That's absurd and has been proved to be wildly incorrect. Jericho has been occupied off and on since about 9,000 BC. Remains of animals and humans predate 4004 BC. It's a ludicrous theory built on adding up the years of the genealogies in Genesis. But we have learned in the last 200 years that the ancient genealogies never intended to include every generation as ours are. They were assembled for political or religious reasons. People have been around for far more than 6,000 years.

But you wanted my case to the flood. Here's part of it (there's too much to put in one post). Most of the opinion about a global flood comes from the "all" language of the text: All the earth, all the people, all the mountains, every living being, etc. But we have to examine it all closer.

What does "all" mean? In Gn. 41.57 (same book, same author), we read that "all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe in all the world." Was Brazil experiencing famine? Did the Australians come to Joseph? No. "All" means the countries of the immediate vicinity in the ancient Near East.

Also, Deut. 2.25 (same author): "I will put the...fear of you on all the nations under heaven." Did that include the Mayans? The people of Madagascar? I don't think anyone would argue that this refers to more than the nations of Canaan, and perhaps a few others.

There are plenty of other references like this throughout the Bible (Acts 17.6; 19.35; 24.5; Rom. 1.8). We have to give serious consideration that quite possibly "all" doesn't mean "global".

Also, the flood didn't have to be global to accomplish God's purposes. God was dealing with Canaan and the surrounding neighbors. God was dealing with Noah's context. A flood in South America would be totally inexplicable to the people there, as well as patently unfair (which the Bible teaches that God is not). Noah was a preacher of righteousness, but not to the people of Africa, China, Australia, and the Americas. The language of the Noah story is normal for Scripture, describing everyday matters from the narrator's vantage point and within the customary frame of reference of his readers.

But what about "covering the mountains"? Again, a little detective work (rather than superficial reading) can be of value. First of all, the high mountains were not generally considered mountains, but pillars holding up the firmament. When they talk about mountains, they are referring to the local geological shapes, not the Alps and Himalayas. And what does "cover" mean? The Hebrew root is *ksh*, and is used in a wide variety of nuances:
- A people so vast they "cover" the land (Num. 22.11)
- Weeds "cover" the land (Prov. 24.31)
- clothing (1 Ki. 1.1)
- Overshadowed (2 Chr. 5.8; Ps. 147.8)

In Job 38.34; Jer. 46.8; Mal. 2.13, "covered" is figurative. If Gn. 7.19 is read in the same way, it suggests that the mountains were drenched with water or coursing with flash floods, but it doesn't demand they were submerged.

What about "15 cubits above" (Gn. 7.20)? The Hebrew reads "15 cubits *from above* (*milme'la*) rose the waters, and the mountains were covered." It is therefore not at all clear that it is suggesting the waters rose 15 cubits higher than the mountains. It can mean "above"; it can mean "upward" or “upstream". If this were the case in Genesis, it would suggest that the water reached 15 cubits upward from the plain, covering at least some part of the mountains.

What about all the animals dying? Again, we have to define "all", but based on what I previously said, it could easily refer to "all" the ones within the scope of the flood, not necessarily global destruction. Again, look at Gn. 2.13, where the river "winds through all (same word as Gn. 7.21) the land of Cush." Does it mean every square inch of it? Not likely. It means through the center of it from end to end, sort of maybe, just like the Nile flows through "all" of Egypt.

Genesis 7.22 says, "Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died." I know this could have been expressed in multiple ways, but I don't fault the writer to choosing what he did. "All" not only denotes the scope of the physical flood for the intended population, but it can also connote the completeness of the judgment. If he had said something like "as far as the eye could see" it might be assumed that the judgment was less than accomplished. That wording would have been less adequate for the situation, in my opinion. to point was to express the completeness of the judgment on the target audience, and "all" expresses that, though it obviously leads to other misunderstandings as well. We do have to entertain the thought that the ancients understood quite well the intent of the text, but through the millennia it got lost in "Enlightenment literalism", and we are the victims of the misunderstanding. It's time to get back to seeing the event through ancient eyes.

Besides, we have to look at a few other things.

1. A global flood is totally out of character with all of God's other miracles in the Bible. It's not His m.o.. It's not the way he does things, and it doesn't fit His pattern of working.

2. A global flood is unjust, and God is not unjust. What fits the Biblical description of God is that God judged the people who were worthy of judgment, who had been warned, and who had adequate opportunities to change their ways. A global flood doesn't fit this picture.

I hope that helps. But this is only part of the argument. We can talk more as you wish.
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Re: How can the flood have occurred?

Postby Filled Up » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:20 pm

Thank you for the sharing! I’m always interested in reading/learning what others think, and I appreciate you taking the time.
Filled Up
 

Re: How can the flood have occurred?

Postby Dogs Circling » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:35 pm

Does it not concern you that you dismiss a literal reading as "superficial" while your "investigation" included redefining "all" to mean "not all"?
Dogs Circling
 

Re: How can the flood have occurred?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:47 am

It doesn't bother me because our interpretive task is to understand the meaning and intent of the author.

Therefore "literal" is almost a meaningless and worthless word in this discussion. The Bible is a rich literary collection containing music, poetry, metaphor, allegory, archetypes, parable, hyperbole, metonymy, irony, simile, and many other literary forms, as well as genres such as prayer, prophecy, blessing, covenant language, legal language, etc. "Literally" quickly becomes a word with very little meaning or helpfulness. If a poet says the trees of the field will clap their hands and the mountains will jump for joy, is that literal? Of course not, it's poetry. If a man prays, "God, kill all those people", we may all understand that his prayer is inappropriate and is not blessed by God, but is it literal? Well, how does that word even apply? And how does it apply to archetype, allegory, parable, and all the others? It's a word that should be dropped from the discussion because it doesn't take us anywhere except to the Land of Misunderstanding.

It's better to think that the Bible should be taken the way the author intended it to be taken. If he was using hyperbole, we're to take it that way. So also allegorically, historically, parabolic, poetic, etc. Our quest is to understand the intent of the author. In that case we'll take the Bible *seriously*, but "literally" doesn't take us anywhere.

> while your "investigation" included redefining "all" to mean "not all"?

I'm not redefining anything. I'm trying to determine what the author of Genesis meant when he used a term like that. What I showed in my evidence is that there are clearly times when "all" means the geographic region, not the entire globe (they didn't even know what a globe was, in any case). In the minds of the ancients, the world (according to an ancient Babylonian map) was a fact disk a few thousand miles in diameter, a single landmass resting on pillars that held it above the cosmic ocean. Given that mindset, if Noah saw water "endlessly" in every direction, he would certainly use the word "all" to describe the destruction. The "high mountains" were considered the pillars holding up the heavens, so if he saw water lapping up against them and creeping up their slopes, he would consider that all the world had been flooded. I have shown that when they used the term "all" they meant the region—the story of Joseph is a clear example. We have to get back to the intent of the author instead of reading the text with our mindset and our geographical and scientific knowledge base.


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