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The Biblical Flood, Fact or Fantasy?

It's a lovely children's story that almost every child in both the Middle East and the West knows and can retell.  Several films have featured the flood, in one way or another, some tong-in-cheek others as serious interpretations of the Genesis account, toy shops have sold model arks with their animal contents for over a hundred years.  It's an enduring story that will no doubt continue for more generations.  However is that all there is to the flood, just a story, or is there a foundation in fact?  Is the Genesis account, a true record of the period, or one that has been embellished over the millennium between the incident and the time when Moses wrote the tradition down for posterity?  This page looks to investigate the flood, to find what physical evidence there may be, why, because the Flood Event is an important point in God's dealings with His people.  Jesus refers to the flood and Noah several times, so if the flood is indeed a myth, as modern science (and many so called Christians) claim, then that makes Jesus into a liar or worse, and impostor. 

Dr. Melville B. Grosvenor, one time editor of the National Geographic Magazine, said of the hunt to find the Ark of Noah, "If the Ark of Noah is ever discovered, it would be the greatest archaeological find in human history, the greatest event since the resurrection of Christ and it would alter all the currents of scientific thought." [ref: G.S. McLean, Roger Oakland, Larry McLean. The Early Earth. Oklahoma City: Hearthstone Publications, 1987.]  If this is so, then no wonder there is so much pressure to discover the Ark, and why there is such a temptation to manufacture the evidence for that discovery.  There have been so many claims that the Ark has been found, that no one knows any longer, which are fake and which one, if any, is genuine, these people, many of them Christians, do the faith no service by these fraudulent claims.

What of the Evidence?

Often the best starting place for research of events in ancient times is to look a the legends, often legends are peculiar to specific civilisations, which then cannot be taken as evidence.  However, in the case of the flood the legends are world-wide, some sources maintain that there are over five hundred such legends, others propose a more modest number of two-hundred and seventy separate flood legends.  In reality the legends are widespread for civilisations a varied as, China Cree and Tolec Indian cultures, ancient Persia, Greece, India, Mesopotamia, and Hawaii, to name just a few.  Whilst this does not prove a universal flood it does provide strong evidence,  that the flood was either world wide, or those cultures took the legend from a common source / civilisation.  Many of the legends have three things in common:

  1. The flood destroyed all animal life on the earth,
  2. A vessel of safety was provided.
  3. Animals and people were on board.

One legend, that of the Chinese tradition, is preserved in the pictogram for a boat, which depicts a craft with eight people onboard, also the name of the Chinese flood hero is a man named as Nu Wah, a little more than a coincidence. 

Geological Evidence

Geology is a world wide phenomena, it's as common as dirt, in fact it is the very dirt our planer is made of, and it provides a great deal of evidence in favour of a the catastrophic flood.  I am no geologist, so I will make this as simple as possible.  If in the case of  a catastrophic flood one would expect to see that each layer of the Earth's crust was deposited before the previous layer could turn to rock. We would see  simultaneous plasticity of layers and intermingling of layers in the geological column. This is exactly what we see universally in the geological the column.  The slow evolutionary model of the Earth states that the plasticity of rock plates is caused by heat and pressure, but most of the sedimentary layers show no evidence of heat or pressure.

Further evidence in support of a universal flood model comes in the form of Clastic intrusions, these are finger like stone structures.  These are formed when the underlying strata of wet mud is overlaid by other layers that solidify quickly causing a downward pressure.  This forces the mud up through holes or weak areas in the upper layers, and the mud later solidifies with the upper layers.  If then, the surrounding upper layers are later eroded it leaves a pillar as a geological feature.  If the layers had formed over millions of years and the rocky plates had been under pressure, the intrusions would have broken, instead of forming these pillars.  In the case of a flood the original mud layer would have been trapped by the sediment as the water receded, the sediment will harden first and relatively quickly, trapping the mud layer beneath the sedimentary rock. 

Layer Bending

One fascinating geological feature is Layer Folding, many of us will have seen great swirls of rock strata in places like cliff-faces or stone quarries and open-cast mines.   Only the flood model can explain this as contortion induced in soft material during an earthquake or upheaval of a portion of the earth would bend and stretch layers. If  the layers were hard to begin with it would be impossible for folding such as this to take place and the effect would be rather like a dry stone wall, with layers cracking and shifting in sections.

Rapid Washout

Have you ever been on a sandy beach, maybe as a child, and seen the effect water has on the semi-wet sand, it cuts a river canyon and creates ridges in the walls, with a basin shaped bottom as the water abates.  All across the Earth there are examples of Rapid Washout, the greatest of these is in the USA's Grand Canyon where water quickly cut through the sedimentary layers.  Fairly recently, geologists have been forced to accept that the great Dry Falls of the Columbia River are of catastrophic origin. The Goosenecks of the Colorado River, have had their explanation of origins modified also [ref: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD - South Africa’s Cape Town University].   In recent floods, these effects have been created in a matter of days, rather than the slow erosion over millions of years.

Simply. . . . . . .

So to sum up, the evidence falls into three categories, culture, geology (world-wide silt layer) and ancient river beds.

Almost every culture with an ancient root has a tradition of a flood, mostly featuring a man and his wife and family being the ONLY survivors aboard some kind of boat. Some of these traditions have their roots as far back in time as the first humans who inhabited the 'Fertile Crescent', the acknowledged birthplace of mankind.

Almost the whole land surface of the Earth has beneath more recent layers, a layer of water laid sediment (mud), this is even found beneath the Antarctica ice sheet.  This layer contains the same constituents, no matter where we find it.  Another feature of this layer is that it forms the border between, reptilian life and mammals.  The layer is known by most geologists but they cannot agree on the cause.

This planet is a planet of oceans, seas and rivers, indeed it is a part of our ecosystem, many of these rivers are ancient and no longer carry water (Rapid Washout), some are quite massif, being up to ten miles wide.  Some of these river beds contain huge cashes of fossils of every description, from trees to birds, from mammals to fish and amphibians, as a result of receding flood waters.

Dinosaurs and the Ice-age

As as engineer, I tend to apply physics to most issues, and of course see them in the light of what the Bible tells me, or especially, what the oldest scriptures actually say.  So I would challenge most of the timelines yet produced, especially the secular science sector.  I also tend to use the laws of probability to suggest the possibility of conditions and situations.

I believe that, at least a few, dinosaurs came across the flood, actually on the ark with Noah.  These individuals were possibly juveniles.  We need to bear in mind that little about the flood was under the control of man, God instigated both the Ark and the flood itself.  It was God who instructed Noah on how to build the Ark, there would have been little experience in building anything but river vessels at the time, and there was no need for ocean-going vessels as the probability is that there was only one continent, so there was no where to go, other than possibly coastal trading.  It was God who chose the animals that were to board the Ark, it was an impossibility for Noah to collect and chose the right specimens, and, then to get them to board the Ark in peace.  It was God also, who closed the Ark's door, not Noah.

We know that dinosaurs existed contemporary with man, relief carvings at Babylon, cave paintings at various locations, and of course the Bible records their existence with unmistakable descriptions.  However  their existence in the post-flood world was doomed from the start, entirely due to climatic conditions.  Dinosaurs were lizards and as such cold-blooded creatures, just as lizards are today, they need heat to live.  The world that existed directly after the flood must have been a very wet place, the land could have been little other than waterlogged, and it needed to dry out.  Drying out involves evaporation and evaporation causes a cooling effect, this would have quickly cooled the air, just like a shower on a hot summer's day, and despite the light radiation from the Sun the world would have been a very cold place, especially at night.  I am a supporter of the canopy hypothesis, simply because it fits the physics.  The canopy hypothesis maintains that prior to the flood, the Earth was surrounded by a shell of water or vapor.  So if that canopy existed, the post-flood days may have been the first time that heat would have escaped into space in any great quantity, making nights relatively much colder than anything as yet experienced.  The oceans would have been much warmer, as this huge body of water  would loose heat much slower than the air, so again we have a situation where evaporation can be evident.  The result of this was an even quicker cooling of the atmosphere.  Within days the moisture laden atmosphere would have precipitated, firstly rain (wetting the land again) and then snow.  Any snow covering would then reflect the solar radiation and stop the life-giving heat of the Sun from warming the Earth.  Once we get tho this point we achieve a domino effect (or snowball effect, no pun intended).  As an aside, 60% is the magical figure for the point of no return, achieve more than 60% snow/ice cover and the effect accelerates to cover the whole planet from which there is no return.

I believe that the ice age lasted for between one hundred and five hundred years and extended as far as 51° north and south, this would cover much of Canada and northern Europe, but surprisingly little of the southern hemisphere land mass other the southern tip of south America and the Falkland Islands. Climate change was also being effected by the break up of the landmass, which I believe started during the flood period, by the asteroid impact effects or by God's intervention. Note that Genesis implied one land mass thousands of years before geologists suggested the possibility of Pangaea (the single land-mass). I therefore believe that the dinosaurs became extinct in the early years of the ice-age possibly total extinction by two hundred years post flood.

I also have a problem with the ideas of migration to Australia and the Americas that many seem to accept, it is my belief that much of the so called migration was initially down to the migration of the land, with the humans being mere passengers, until the separation widened beyond around six miles or so (loss of visual contact).

The ice age would certainly not have affected to any great extent the current middle-eastern areas, however we do not have information on how Pangaea broke up or at what latitudes the continent initially rested. However I believe that it is significant that the major land masses are in the northern hemisphere (essentially, North America, Europe and Asia) , and their present configuration suggests that the land was dispersed from the north, in which case the ice-age may well have affected the history of the post-flood peoples. Again maybe there is some significance in the fact that the Arctic consists of frozen sea-water only and that the Antarctica is a land mass surmounted by ice, not that I know what that significance is.

What is the Evidence of the Ice-age?

Firstly there is plenty of evidence that mega fauna were caught in the ice age, in the number of mammoth that have been found and excavated in the last few decades.  Some of these animals were caught so suddenly that food has been found in their mouths and the contents of stomachs have easily been analysed.  These existed in northern climes where the effects of the ice age were more deeply felt, the great lizards of course, being mostly cold blooded creatures would mostly all have moved south with the warmer climate.  It may have been the climate that spelled the end of their domination of the mega fauna.

Snow and ice are not something that the middle east sees often, jet these are subjects that are mentioned in the Book of Job several times.  The Book of Job in our Bible is placed out of chronological sequence.  The over riding opinion today is that Job existed very soon after the flood, i.e. much older that has been thought earlier.  There are five references to snow in Job, and Job 6:16 mentions ice that is dark, which indicates very thick ice "which are dark with ice, and where the snow hides itself."  The appearance of ice in the middle east is mentioned in Psalms just as we use something that is very, very rare, so we take it that snow is indeed rare.  Job them must have lived at a time when thick ice existed.