The Noachian flood again
Tue, 17 Nov 1998 06:38:00 EST

Glenn and Paul,

The exchange between you two in the messages below is the best summary I have
seen of the possible interpretations of the Noachian flood. The final
sentence of Paul's, however, does not clearly state that the flood was not
written as a legend, but rather as the "ordinary opinion of the writer's day,"
a phrase that he has used elsewhere. There was a real flood in Mesopotamia in
the time frame of Genesis, as Paul states. Presumably the story of the flood
was in common circulation in the writer's day. What the penman of Genesis
added to it was its theological significance. That's what we should be
trying to understand. What was the theological meaning of the flood to the
writer of Genesis in his day and to us in ours? One possibility is that God
will save the righteous, and creation in the process; and the wicked will
perish. This is the hope and belief of God's people through the ages.

Hope this helps,


In a message dated 11/16/98 11:28:43 PM, wrote:

<<In a message dated 11/16/98 7:02:15 PM Pacific Standard Time,
Glenn wrote:

<< Hi Paul,

the problem with the Chalcolithic time is that there is NO place on earth
that can host a flood that comes anywhere near matching the account in
Genesis. Mesopotamia and the Black Sea localities can not match the
following facts:

1. last a year
2. land the ark on a mountain
3. put the ark out of site of land for lots of this time
4. Mesopotamia can't land the ark in the Mountains of Ararat unless one can
make the Ark go upstream (which is impossible given the energy available to
the 8 occupants of the ark).
5. Mesopotamia would wash the ark into the Indian Ocean in about a week.
6. No way to have associated rainfall
7. Can't cover high mountains
8. In Mesopotamia there is no widespread Holocene deposit which SHOULD have
resulted from the flood
9. In the Black Sea the rate of infilling was about a foot per day. hardly
the stuff of legends. I could stand in one place for 5 days without

If what we Christians want is any ole flood to substitute for the Noachian
account then I would nominate the 1993 Mississippi River flood. It works as
well as anything else out there and we know a whole lot more about it than
any of the other flood locales. I can even point to sediments that came
from that flood. Of course it won't match any of the above facts either.

It seems to me that we Christians will accept any ole story so long as it
has water in it, as the source of the flood legend. There is no
correspondence between the account (which must be totally false) if
Mesopotamia or the Black Sea is the locality. And if we want a story with
no correspondence with the Biblical account then once again I nominate the
1993 Mississippi flood.


I love your details; and am convinced you have scoured the geological data
probably more than anyone else trying to find a flood that would match the
biblical description. You have proven that a flood which matches the biblical
description did not occur within the time frame given in the biblical
description. Thus, you have an excellent case against the way YEC's are
looking at the Flood as well as against the concordists who say a local
Mesopotamian flood fulfills the biblical description. I believe you are
correct that neither one of them fits both the scientific data and the
biblical description. The way you have closely documented your conclusion is
to my mind a very important contribution.

But, unless you can find such a flood within the temporal framework which
the Bible describes, you just have another concordist solution which does not
fit the biblical description. The time frame is of the essence when you are
describing an historical event. The concordists who say the Bible is
describing a local Mesopotamian flood are in agreement with the time frame of
the Bible, but not in agreement with the scientific data. Your hypothesis is
(presumably) in agreement with the scientific data, but not even remotely
close to being in agreement with the biblical time frame. So, as I see it you
are like the kettle calling the pot black.

I think, however, that you have implicitly mentioned the best solution in
the latter part of your above statement: "It seems to me that we Christians
will accept any ole story so long as it has water in it, as the source of the
flood legend." The what? Flood LEGEND. There really was a flood in the
ancient Near East in the time frame given in Scripture; but, the biblical
description is larger than life.