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The Flood

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The Flood, or Deluge, is an event depicted in chapters 6-8 of Genesis, the first book in the Holy Bible. In the story, God, angry at the corrupt and violent nature of mankind (Gen. 6:11-13), decides to destroy the human race but for one virtuous man, Noah, and his family. God commands Noah (who is said to be 600 years old at the time) to build a giant boat, the Ark, out of cypress wood, measuring 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet in height. They are then told to "Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth." (Gen. 7:2-3)

Noah, with his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, do as God commands, and they and their families are saved as God sends rain for forty days and forty nights, after which the flood waters cover the earth for 150 days before receding. On the "seventeenth day of the seventh month", the receding waters bring the Ark to rest on the "mountains of Ararat."

There are a number of antecedents to the biblical flood story that point to a probable mythological origin. The Epic of Gilgamesh from Sumeria relates the adventure of one Ziusudra, who survived a global flood by building a raft when the god Enlil decided to destroy the earth. Another name for Ziusudra was Utnapishtim.

As many Creationists (the YEC variety in particular) are religious fundamentalists who regard the Bible as being 100% literal, historical truth, it isn't surprising that many of them reject the idea their flood story is a myth like those others, and instead insist that it was an actual historical event faithfully portrayed by the biblical account. Such Creationists assert that all of the planet's geographical features can be accounted for as by-products of a global flood which occured within historical times, as opposed to the mainstream scientific view, which is that the Earth's geographical features provide evidence of the planet's billions of years of history.

YECs vehemently oppose the localized Flood version of Noah's ark because to them, "local Flood" means that God only judged part of the Earth, and their interpretation of Christianity says God judged all of the Earth. Accordingly, Flood-believing YECs demand that all Christians must believe that Noah's Flood was a truly global event, and likewise must believe in the YEC interpretation of verses such as II Peter 3:6.

If the flood was global and destroyed everything on earth just as YECs insist it did happened, those that left the ark will suffer its aftermath like this:

Noah and his family may have to eat only meat just as God has told them they can in Genesis 9 because they will have no choice. They'll find that all of the soil have been washed away so they can't plant crops; They will witness many animals that are meat eaters killing off all of the plant eaters that are starving because all of the plants will all be killed off in the flood and die of starvation themselves; lobsters, whales, and all other saltwater sea creatures have all die out too because they cannot survive in fresh water and vice versa; coral will be destroyed; insects would die off; the water would all be brackish (salty) and totally unfit for anyone to drink; Parasites and diseases will all do the animals and people in; and the people will finally starve.

Thus, if the story of Noah's Flood has any basis in reality at all, that basis is most likely a local event that was regarded as highly catastrophic by the people who managed to survive it. Given a massive (yet still localized) flood, Noah and his family will not have much trouble planting and raising crops for food after the water drops to its normal level. Likewise, animals will have no trouble finding food to help sustain themselves, the coral will flourish, all the fresh and salt water animals will live, etc.

Many creationists have argued that the water of the global flood came from a water canopy, and that the flood explains geology (i.e., sedimentary rocks) better than conventional geology. The former argument ignored the fact that a water canopy containing sufficient water to form the Flood would have rendered the pre-Flood world utterly uninhabitable, and the latter argument is seriously marred by the fact that no two YECs can seem to agree on exactly which strata were or were not laid down by the Flood.

In recent years, noted oceanographer Robert Ballard, famous for discovering the wreck of the Titanic, found evidence in the Black Sea of a natural disaster dating back to about 7500 BCE. Known as the Black Sea Inundation, the event was a massive flash flood that occured when the natural land bridge at the Bosporus gave way, allowing the Mediterranean Sea to rush in and occupy the area of the present-day Black Sea, which was, at the time, little more than a large lake. While not all geologists are in agreement about the exact nature of the event, there is a possibility that such a natural disaster could have provided the inspiration that led to the telling and retelling of a myth that grew into the now well-known biblical flood account.

It is interesting to note that the passage in Genesis 8:5 says that the Ark came to rest in "the mountains of Ararat." Many Creationists and other believers have interpreted this to mean Mt. Ararat in present-day Turkey, although the biblical text indicates an unnamed mountain in a country or land called Ararat — and the scripture doesn't say where Ararat is. Over the years numerous expeditions have swarmed Mt. Ararat, a 16,940 foot dormant volcano, looking for remains of the Ark; despite their always coming home empty-handed, such expeditions persist. The most recent was announced in April 2004.


Unanswered questions about the flood

There have been a number of questions asked of creationists about the Flood on Talk.Origins, for which no satisfactory answers have been given:

Creationist claims about the flood

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