Creation of Adam and deluge

Beneath a Celestial Dome, A Land Unlike Any Other in the History of Earth. Questioning the Global Flood: Part I

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Critics of the literal interpretation of the Bible have argued that the Genesis flood was a local flood. This interpretation has been vehemently opposed by Biblical literalists and fundamentalists, who maintain that the flood was global. But the skeptics have a point; at the very least, the proponents of a global flood have failed to come up with a convincing scientific explanation for a flood truly universal in extent. The theories that have been proposed, such as the vapor canopy theory and the hydroplate theory contradict known geological theories and facts. And while the flood could be explained by the intervention of a supernatural force or deity, such explanations are unscientific and are inadmissible in the empirical sciences.

There’s No Flood Like a Biblical Flood

Those who believe the Genesis flood was a local flood have reached a tentative consensus that it was caused by overflowing of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers following an unusually heavy rainstorm. But it is difficult to imagine, for instance, how the flooding of rivers could cause such widespread devastation. The magnitude and scale of the flood, which seemed to have been characterized as a singular event, is strikingly inconsistent with a river flood, which occurs repeatedly over time. Sufficient time has passed since the Genesis flood for even floods as rare as thousand-year floods to have recurred, and yet the Biblical flood is clearly described as a singular event.

What alternative causes of a local flood can account for the particular details of the Genesis flood, if river floods do not suffice? Extensive scientific research conducted over the last two decades has revealed that the Black Sea was once a much smaller freshwater lake that was isolated from the Mediterranean Sea until 5700 BC, when the Mediterranean burst through the Dardanelles, raising the level of the Black Sea by at least hundreds of feet.

Map of the Black Sea

Map of the Black Sea (Giorgi Balakhadze/ CC BY-SA 4.0 )

Robert Ballard, an underwater archaeologist and oceanographer who discovered the wreckage of the Titanic, believes that the Biblical flood was inspired by this very flood. This hypothesis, known as the Black Sea Deluge hypothesis, has gained acceptance among the scientific community and certainly qualifies as a local flood. In the remainder of this article, I shall present a somewhat circuitous argument in favor of the general hypothesis that the Biblical flood involved the flooding of some below sea level basin and the consequent formation of a sea, as opposed to arguing in favor of the Black Sea Deluge hypothesis in particular.

Black Sea today (light blue) and in 5600 BC (dark blue) according to the hypothesis.

Black Sea today (light blue) and in 5600 BC (dark blue) according to the hypothesis. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

The Creation of the World

To begin, I shall take the argument of the skeptics of a global flood even further and suppose that not only was the flood a local event, but that the creation preceding the flood was as well . The creation story of Genesis has been acknowledged to concern itself with the creation of the entire world—even by those who disbelieve in the narrative. Biblical scholars who interpret the Bible literally would oppose, but at least understand what is meant by those who claim that the Genesis flood was local in its extent. But the notion of a “local creation” seems to be utterly nonsensical at worst and confusing at best. After all, why would a creation narrative limit itself to a specific part of the earth rather than its entirety? One explanation is that people simply did not conceptualize that the world was as large as it actually is, and therefore limited the scope of the creation narrative to simply the part of the world that they were familiar with, out of ignorance.

But why would a people who were fully aware of the true size of the earth construct a creation narrative concerning itself with only a part of the earth as opposed to its whole? The most plausible reason, in my view, is that there once was a land that was unlike all other lands of the earth in its history and mode of origin, and thus merited its own creation story.

Joseph Mallord William Turner - The Morning after the Deluge

Joseph Mallord William Turner - The Morning after the Deluge ( Public Domain )


Excellent article. Love the scientific explanations. I’m a Christian but I do not take the Bible literally and your analysis makes sense. Looking forward to part 2

A well-presented case, thanks. Recorded in so many cultures in different geographical regions it tends to support that the deluge was a global event and devastating that it was preserved by oral account over millennia, the issue seems to be the dating of when and what occurred.
For me, the breach of the black sea makes sense but would have had limited impact, similarly, an eruption leading to Tsunami would be localised to coastal regions. What is recorded seems huge and global. It does seem odd that we cannot identify when this occurred, for example, seashells being washed far inland that can be carbon dated. It is an interesting subject but as you suggest we need hard evidence, our ancestors seemed to think it must be preserved and is by oral account across time, when writing invented it immediately was. This deserves respect and investigation. But where to look?
I did hear an argument for a large meteor strike around 10,000BCE, if this was at sea, would not leave on obvious surface Crater, but could have ridden over continents, only animals living at elevation surviving and then repopulating the earth, but surely there must be some evidence to support this. I do not believe the ancients were as primitive as so many make out, they seemed to have found ways to adapt with whatever is thrown at them, maybe the accounts record something in very ancient history. I’ve thought for a long time that we should do something about defeating meteorites, they can’t be detected until too late… Organising ourselves to overt such a catastrophe would be a huge achievement.

Thank you Nick!
Sorry Brad, your article was interesting, however, you lost me in the first paragraph failing any mention of the 10,000 BC meteor strike.
I agree that there is ample evidence for the local flood you mention, but believe 'The Great Flood' was much much earlier than generally believed.
There is much evidence going back to the 1920's (See J. Harlen Bretz, Randall Carlson, and The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis) of there being a massive meteor strike across the northern hemisphere and centering on the North American icecaps. THIS event caused the massive world-wide flooding that ancient cultures have been recording as well as the extinction of the mega-fauna.

The impact would have kicked up debris and dust into the air causing the reported 'black rain' and darkness.
The instant melting of the icecaps would cause immediate flooding in coastal areas worldwide as well as put massive amounts of steam/vapor into the air causing the reported rain for days.

IMO, This is where the story is. This research deserves writing about, or at least a mention.

Also, I do find your Caribbean origin theory interesting.
There is some evidence that suggests the Caribbean Basin may be the lost home of Atlantis.
The basin is rectangular, and fit the proportions suggested by Plato (Plato also says Atlantis was lost during the same period as the Younger Dryas event). I believe as you do, that this basin was landlocked and dry at the end of the last ice age, and the meteor impact of 10,000 BC caused the flooding that destroyed it (by overflowing both the Gulf of Mexico through the Mississippi River that it created, and overflowing the mountain ranges that previously held out the Atlantic).
The Caribbean lies across from the Straights of Gibraltar and would have been accessible to the ancients via the Atlantic current (as evidenced by the ancient Malian, Egyptian, and Sumerian presence in North and South America).
Your theory fits much better if it occurred after this flood in history.

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