Re: Origins: rapid flooding

David Campbell (
Thu, 5 Sep 1996 11:39:13 -0500

>>The best geological explanation for the Flood I know of is the end of the
>>last glacial interval. Recent evidence suggests that it was a rather rapid
>>change. Most of the area especially affected would have been prime real
>>estate but now be under the ocean. The sea level doesn't have to have
>>risen above the mountains-forty days of rain would make higher elevations
>>very soggy.
>No, but the rise in sealevel was not that rapid. Deglaciation began around
>18,000 years ago and was finished around 12,000 years ago. From the geologic
>evidence found on continental shelves, the sea leve was between 90 and 130 m
>below present sea level 17,000 years ago. (See D.Q. Bowen, Quaternary Geology,
>Pergamon, 1978,p., 159.) (Say the average sea level then was -100 m)
>Using these values we have a rise in sealevel during this time of
>100/17,000=5 mm per year.
>These are a raging rate of flooding. If that is the best model of the flood
>you know of it is truly a bad one. While the climate was believed to have
>changed fairly rapidly, the ice was not able to melt so quickly.
The "madhouse" climate model (versus icehouse or greenhouse) was based on
some geologic evidence of very rapid change in sea level-less than a
century. It's not necessary to melt the glaciers all at once, though-if
they started to float, that would displace a lot of sea water very fast
(and not show up in 18O records). It's been suggested as a possible global
warming disaster and as an explanation for Pliocene marine diatoms in the
interior of Antarctica (though the latter are probably wind-deposited).

I agree that dismissing Genesis 1-10 seems no more arbitrary than
dismissing Exodus 1-20 or Matthew 1-20. However, all passages must be
examined to figure out what they mean, using all the evidence we can
gather. Not that we should assume every passage is obscure, but rather
that reactionary defense of our understanding of a passage (as opposed to
the passage) tends to get us into trouble. I suspect that the lack of
unignorable evidence supporting Biblical accounts is a bit of an allowance
for free will-we need faith to believe it, or if we insist on rejecting it,
we can delude ourselves into justifying our disbelief.

The volcano probably involved in the Exodus was Thera, the remnants of
which are the island of Santorini. The eruption could have easily produced
darkness which could be felt, and ash has been found in the Nile Delta
region. Of course, Moses's foreknowledge of the event was miraculous.
Bruins and Van der Plicht (Nature, 1996, 382:213-214) use the
dendrochronological record of this event to propose an exact date for the
Exodus and conquest of Canaan. Although it would have produced quite a
tsunami, the mention of "wind" in the text supports the other theory.