Re: [asa] Noah's Ark- the debate over floods... and biblical interpretation

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Date: Mon Apr 13 2009 - 19:39:42 EDT


I would argue the opposite in response to Bernie.  I'd agree with Bernie that mankind did indeed spread out prior to the flood.  The DNA evidence makes it impossible to believe that mankind was ever congregated exclusively in Mesopotamia.  Instead, man spent roughly half its time (about 100k years) exclusively in Africa, and then a tiny subset spread out from there during the 2nd half of our existence (another 100k years) to the rest of the globe.  There is no way to reconcile that with a universal mesopotamian flood.  It is especially impossible to reconcile that with the table of nations following the flood as if that represents all mankind populating the Earth.  To match the DNA, Noah's descendents would have needed to return to Africa and then spend another 100,000 years there before a tiny fraction spread out.  The idea that his three sons and their wives became all humanity is utterly impossible.  There is no way that a mesopotamian flood could have been universal.

However, there is no reason to take the biblical language as implying the flood was universal.  Every phrase used in the flood to describe its utter power and inescapability is also used in the OT to describe localized, non-universal events.  For example, in the famine in Joseph's time it says that all the nations of the earth were coming to Egypt for bread.  Oh really -- what about the Eskimos, who didn't even eat bread?  Or the Aztecs, who wouldn't have even heard of Egypt=2
0or known how to get there?  I doubt even the Persians went to Egypt for bread.  Imagine the impossible logistics of such an operation!  But all the nations right around Egypt certainly could have.  Also, some of the Persian kings boasted how the gods had given them dominion over the entire earth, everywhere under the heavens (the exact same universal-sounding phrase used for the flood!---even though they knew quite well that their kingdoms had limited borders; their inability to conquer Greece being especially disturbing). It sounds like you are already comfortable saying that the universal-sounding language for the flood-waters did not really mean the whole globe was flooded.  In just the same way, the similar phrases describing the destruction of humans did really mean that all humanity was affected.  The purpose of the universal-sounding language is just to say that when God judges, none can escape from Him.  It doesn't mean that He literally tried or intended to judge every human on the entire Earth.




-----Original Message-----
From: Kirk Bertsche <>
To: Bernie Dehler <>; ASA Affiliation <>
Sent: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 2:04 pm
Subject: Re: [asa] Noah's Ark- the debate over floods... and biblical interpretation

I think we're losing the point of this sub-thread.  Bernie had argued against a historical local flood on the grounds that man would naturally have been spread out across the earth, so could not ha
ve been wiped out by a local flood.  I pointed out that Gen 11 implies that man did not spread out until his language was confused.  Thus, man was likely not spread out very far in Gen 7-9, either.  A historical, local flood does not seem to be ruled out on this basis.

A second question has been suggested in this sub-thread: "If the account of Babel is non-historical, what is its point?"  Whether the account is historical or not, it is divine communication intended to TEACH something.  It tells us something about man's character (desire for a self-aggrandizing community), which is true irrespective of historicity.


On Apr 13, 2009, at 9:02 AM, Dehler, Bernie wrote:

Kirk said:
“The implication of the text is that early man was together until God forced mankind to spread out.  “


It also implies that just prior there was a worldwide flood that wiped out all humans except those who were on the ark- something I think neither of us accept.  So if we believe that all humans weren’t wiped-out, why believe all men lived in one city and had one language???






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Received on Mon Apr 13 19:40:35 2009

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