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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Noahic Flood - Part Two

The antediluvian world had one continent. It is very likely that the oceans were less salty, the mountains not as high, the oxygen content of the atmosphere more rich, the pollutants from natural sources much less. It was also a world that was not pleasing to God.

Genesis 6:5-7 - 5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them."

Had Genesis ended right there, we would not be reading Genesis because all the world would be gone. But then we read Genesis 6:8 -"But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD."

By one man, Adam, sin had entered into the world. Later by one man, Jesus Christ, sin's penalty would be paid. In this instance, one believing man caused God to decide to save mankind and the line of Adam through Noah and his immediate family.


1) God intended to destroy the culture and ecosphere that existed before the flood.

2) God intended to wipe out all of mankind other than Noah's family

3) God intended to save animal life to the extent that representatives of each kind would be preserved.


1) Protect the people and the animals he wished to preserve in a vessel that could withstand the flood conditions before, during and after the 150 days of the primary flood stage.

2) Keep enough aquatic life, insects and other organisms alive to repopulate the globe with a viable ecosystem.

3) Destroy the former world using flood waters, earthquakes and volcanic activity so that the previous works of men would be unavailable to the survivors.

Genesis 6:9-22 - 9 This is the account of Noah.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress [a] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. [b] 16 Make a roof for it and finish [c] the ark to within 18 inches [d] of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them."

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

So God brought forth the flood, beginning with 40 days and 40 nights of rain.

Genesis 7:11 & 12 - "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights."


Here is where it gets trickier. God caused it to rain for 40 days and 40 nights. In addition, water that was under the earth was released in association with earthquakes and volcanic activity. The one continent was not simply immersed, but was ripped asunder and completely redone. The surface of the earth was largely washed away and laid down again in sedimentary layers. Some layering would have taken place at the beginning of the flood events as much of the ocean's floors were subducted during the continental division. Flood waters layed down sediments, underwater avalanches produced sediment flows and volcanic activity and earthquakes played a part.

Most dwellers of the oceans floors would be buried in the first waves of sediment. The more developed animals would have been better equipped to evade the disaster in some areas, although quickly buried in mudslides and avalanches in others. Some would survive the first onslaughts but all would be eventually overcome. The fossil record is one of quick, catastrophic burials of every kind of living organism.

The ocean, which was not likely nearly as saline as the ocean's today, was inundated with new, fresh waters from underground. The waters, heated above normal temperatures, helped to cause the entire surface of the planet to be liquid water with no ice formation. The brackish waters would be likely a bit less saline than had been previously and more saline than the fresh waters that were available. Some fish varieties would be able to withstand the difference and some would not.

Large floating islands of vegetable debris would provide a haven for some insects, for seeds, for other organisms. No doubt many of these varieties of life would also become extinct during the flood. But some types did survive. Much of the plant life found on earth would be buried and the intense heat and pressures of the flood events would help form vast pools of crude oil under the new earth.

As the continents divided and the ocean floors deepened and new, taller mountain formations appeared, the dry land began to emerge. Some new sediment deposits could occur. Minerals from under the ground and those on the earth began to leach into the new oceans. Rivulets, and then canyons, would form in the new sedimentary layers of the earth, carving spectacular formations in the process.

It was over a year's time from the beginning of the Noahic journey that Noah and the rest of the Ark's passengers would have, er, dismembarked. Littered over the countryside would be plant life newly begun, some not-so-fresh carcasses of every kind, clumps of dead plant matter everywhere. It would have been like stepping out onto a new planet.

New continents, new oceans, new climates. Oddly, the somewhat warmer ocean temperatures would produce much more moisture in the upper climes during the winters, so that great quantities of snow would fall and in fact glaciation largely from snowfall and of course bodies of water left behind by the flood would produce an ice age, and said glaciation was fed by large amounts of winter snowfall for undetermined years. Polar ice caps formed as the ocean temperatures normalized. Soon the dryer winters would leave to the melting of the glaciation that covered much of the temperate regions. The still-new rock layers would be more easily cut by running waters. The shifting of the new earth would make rock layers bend and fold like taffy, leaving spectacular formations for modern man to observe in wonder.

There were apparently many land bridges available for the spread of animal life that are no longer there. In fact, some processes since the flood have changed the world considerably. Today's ocean is far more saline than that of the floodwaters. Waters running off of the earth would have added more sodium and other minerals to the water. Over time, the aquatic life able to adjust to saltier water would survive. Even today, waters become more saline in the oceans. Meanwhile, the available inland seas and rivers are freshwater. Yet Salmon are born in the freshwaters, head out to sea in saltwater to live, come back to the fresh headwaters of their birth to spawn. It is not amazing to think that the floodwaters, mixed from ocean and fresh and underground stores, would have kept many kinds of fishes and other aquatic creatures alive.

Once the animals of the Ark were free to go, they spread over the available earth, some varieties not adjusting well to the post-flood conditions and the presence of man...and enmity with him.

Genesis 9:1-7 - 1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

4 "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.

6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed;
for in the image of God
has God made man.

7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it."

Had God kept a certain relationship between animals and mankind before the flood? Had man been designed as a vegetarian race and had animals lacked fear of mankind? Had it been yet another sin against God for a man to kill and eat meat? These verses suggest that this had been the case. Thus whereas a predatory cat of the Lion kind would have been no threat to mankind previously, and vice versa, now a new paradigm had been entered into in the world. God would permit the slaughter and consumption of animals, but he would also put a fear of man into those same animals, giving them a fighting chance, as it were, to survive even if hunted.

Among the animals brought into the Ark were dinosaurs, according to the evidence. That will be an entire posting later on. But the Bible records the existence of saurians hundreds of years after the Flood and all peoples around the world have records of interactions with dinosaurs. Now with a new fear of man linked with a tendency to see man as game, dinosaurs would have become both hunter and hunted. No longer would Fred Flintstone be glad when Dino knocked him to the ground, for Dino was likely going for his neck!

Few things bring on more ridicule from macroevolutionists than the idea of dinosaurs co-existing with mankind. It of course does not fit the idea that dinosaurs actually evolved into other creatures. I remember reading a long article in the pre-computer days (wish I could find it now) in which the author laid out his case for Tyrannosaurus Rex evolving into a Robin. I took delight in watching a few Robins tilting their heads, listening for worms, getting ready to peck. T. Rex had certainly downsized!

But from the fossil records it seems quite clear that dinosaurs were among the most numerous of pre-flood wildlife. It only makes sense that God would have their kinds represented in the next world. Particularly in a world that would have so many new ecosystems in so many new places. Dinosaurs may have played an important part in the world of our ancestors. But then eventually they became a scourge to be destroyed, as historical records tell us.

This post contains a great deal of general information. One specific post to come will discuss the salinity of ocean water and one will go over evidences for the existence of dinosaurs both during and after the flood. Other posts will come from the discourse that habitually follows as commenters challenge statements and ask for other evidences or more specific references. It should be an interesting topic.


creeper said...

An alternative account of the flood myth can be found here. The detail appears to be in a book you have to buy, but he gives a good bit of information about his take on all of this. It differs somewhat from Radar's account, but from what I've seen it has the benefit of tying in with observable evidence.

I had a longer post about the contents of Radar's post, but then my computer crashed. Will reconstruct some of these points later.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of water:
Fossil Fish Sheds Light on Transition . . .

-Dan S.

Jake said...

Wow. What a great story. Myths sure are awesome for reading to the kids.


What testable predictions does this story make? How would you go about testing them? How many of them have been tested? What results have those tests yeilded?

Those are the questions that destinguish science from just-so stories, and until you can answer them adequately, all you have is an (admittedly very nice) just-so story.

Jake said...

yielded. oy.

Anonymous said...

More on Tiktaalik: "Walking Towards Land, a post by Carl Zimmer (author of At the Water's Edge, cool book about evolution out of - and back into - the water).

Dinos in Eden? Have you been watching the Sopranos?

Anonymous said...

. . . and here for more transitional fishy fun about Tiktaalik - including an artist's representation. It looks much cuter in fossil form, really - kinda sheepish and friendly. In the picture, not so much . . . .

-Dan S.

radar said...

Makes you wonder when "Walking Catfish" will finally get around to abandoning water and become Mudpuppies, eh?

"NEW YORK (AP) - Scientists have caught a fossil fish in the act of adapting toward a life on land, a discovery that sheds new light one of the greatest transformations in the history of animals.

Scientists have long known that fish evolved into the first creatures on land with four legs and backbones more than 365 million years ago, but they've had precious little fossil evidence to document how it happened.

The new find of several specimens looks more like a land-dweller than the few other fossil fish known from the transitional period, and researchers speculate that it may have taken brief excursions out of the water."

Ha! I love it! They just knew fish evolved, too bad they don't have evidence! Ain't science grand?

It is a cool fossil. Not a transition from one thing to another necessarily. We have Lungfish today, for instance, and no record of them giving up the family pool. Now if you had a series of these guys gradually turning fins into legs it would be pretty compelling. For now, they don't even know if it did anything but stay completely in the water, kind of an Rambo of fishes...

"Flood Myth"? Wow. Well, within this week I am posting on water salinity and also Dinosaurs so hang loose...

I do appreciate you guys who include references and links in your comments. I am so busy with so many things in my life it is hard to keep up with the blog but it is so darned interesting I do it anyway.

Anonymous said...

"Now if you had a series of these guys gradually turning fins into legs it would be pretty compelling."


From Kristine, commenting on the ironically titled Pharyngula post Tiktaalik makes another gap: Though some nay-sayers will never be satisfied unless science provides a childish and improbable list of "begats," with one fossil proven to be the mommy of another and the grandmother of the next. Sheesh.

As Carl Zimmer points out (it is interesting, isn't it? Glad you enjoy 'em) in his post, way way back, when we just had tetrapods (us land-lubbing vetebrates) and fishes and lobefins (fish that confusingly resembled tetrapods in many ways), it seemed pretty possible that amphhibians and everything after had evolved from fishes. Then we had a few - a precious, extremely suggestive, but still, I grant you, few fossils, like Eusthenoperon (a lobe fin with some limb-like fin bones) and Ichthyostega (a squat, odd-looking tetrapod with a really fishy tail). And then we had genetics, showing those same old lobefins were indeed closely related to us land-dwellers. And then we had crazy 8-fingered Acanthostega, and other fossils . . . and now, we have Tiktaalik, just what folks were expecting (although without a guarantee that they'd find it) - as ZImmer puts it: So why is Tiktaalik big news and not news at all? It is big news because it blurs the distinction between fish and tetrapod more spectacularly than ever before. It is no news at all, because it is just the sort of creature that one would predict from previously discovered fossils. Its place on our family tree has been cleared and waiting for some time now. And now it's filled.

We have a series of these guys gradually turning fins into legs, as one (albeit pretty cool) line of evidence (the others including resemblences between modern creatures and testimony of DNA). As we discover more, the 'series' (a bit misleading, since being a family tree, there are a lot of aunts and uncles and etc., some of whom never had any kids) becomes more fleshed out. It's unlikely, however, that we're ever going to discover every single tiny paddle-wiggle-step along the way. Think of a camera set up to take pcitures of the kitchen at random intervals, to discover why the cookies are disappearing from their jar on the top of the fridge (out of camera range). If the next morning you have a stack of time-dated photos showing 1) your small child appearing in the kitchen, 2) standing in the middle of the floor holding a step ladder, 3) not in view, 4) leaving the room - and their bed is full of cookie crumbs that weren't there when you tucked them in . . . well, I suppose there's other possible explanations . . .

"kind of an Rambo of fishes..."
maybe that's what it was - giant dragonflies were holding its fishy brothes-in-arms, er, fins in a POW camp, so Tikta tied on a bandana, loaded up, and crawled out to make sure we didn't leave any of our guys behind . . .

" We have Lungfish today, for instance, and no record of them giving up the family pool."

Well, yeah. We're here. Remember, evolution isn't actually random, or simply unaffected by the world. Things are a bit different nowadays. They're doing well with what they have.

"Makes you wonder when "Walking Catfish" will finally get around to abandoning water and become Mudpuppies, eh?"

Why should they? Walking Catfish are pretty set - back in SE Asia if their homes dry up, which they seem to have a habit of doing, they can walk over to a new one. Here they can go out for a snack. Works for them. It would be pretty unlikely for them to turn into an aquatic salamander, although it's possible to imagine a scenario where over a long time they'd evolve into a more terrestrial-adapted form (for example, if all their better adapted cousins stopped blocking that adaptive space that they filled up all a few hundred million years ago . . .

-Dan S.

creeper said...

"Ha! I love it! They just knew fish evolved, too bad they don't have evidence! Ain't science grand?"

It doesn't say they didn't have evidence that fish evolved (into the first creatures on land with four legs and backbones more than 365 million years ago), Radar. It says they had very little fossil evidence to document how it happened.

"We have Lungfish today, for instance, and no record of them giving up the family pool."

Would those records include traveling into the future?

This kind of leaks into a larger point that may affect Christian fundamentalists' perception - the idea that sometime soon the world will come to an end, and therefore there is no future: this is the final state of everything, and nothing will evolve from here.

Regarding the flood - are there any estimates from the "creation scientists" as to how high the waters actually rose?

Anonymous said...

"Well, yeah. We're here."

Let me clarify, just in case. Yeah, it's true, our extremely distant lungfish cousins stay in the water, using their lungs to deal with low oxygen levels. It's a good niche for them. Were they to try to invade the land, like distant relatives of them did, they'd find it filled with the many descendants of those relatives. Think of it in economic terms - kinda as if Blockbuster Video suddenly decided to compete with Walmart for the 'mega-store with poor working conditions' slot.

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

"the idea that sometime soon the world will come to an end, and therefore there is no future:"

It's been argued that Reagan's Sec. of the Interior, James Watt, pushed for no-holds-barred exploitation of public lands because hey, the End is Coming, and it'll just all go to waste - what's the point of conservation if there's nothing to conserve for? but I think this is more of an somewhat shaky inference (based on his policies and his statement that "my responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns"), rather than a definite fact. In giving testimony before Congress, earlier that year, he had stated "[t]hat is the delicate balance the Secretary of the Interior must have: to be steward for the natural resources for this generation as well as future generations. I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns; whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations," which suggests either he had a more conventional view of his job, or basic political survival skills.

However, since he banned the Beach Boys from performing on the Mall for the 4th of July in '83 on the grounds that rock concerts draw "an undesirable element," we know where he's going . . . : )

-Dan S.
Soundtrack: It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)

Anonymous said...

btw, that should be vertebrates and amphibians. No, I can't spell. Yes, evolution happened.

-Dan S.

Jake said...

Radar, are you going to answer my questions, or do you just give up any pretense that there is anything scientific about your beliefs?

Anonymous said...

Taktaalik roseae has its own website now! (though it's still clearly a work in progress . . .)

-Dan S.