Board index Noah's Ark & the Flood

How would Noah get animals from around the world?

Postby Wabahoobie » Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:31 pm

How would Noah get animals from around the world?

So God told Noah to get two of every animal before the flood so they could survive right? How did he get animals from places like to south pole where he couldn't have survived, or the Americas which hadn't even been discovered yet? Also, did he also get like monkeys from the canopies of rainforests? How did he get bugs that live deep in the Earth? Finally, wouldn't all of the sea creatures die? All the rainfall would have mixed oceans with fresh water lakes killing fresh water creatures, and the rain would greatly reduce the levels of salt in the ocean to the point that salt water creatures wouldn't survive either. Finally, what did Noah, his family, and the animals eat? I guess some could eat dried plants and stuff, but what about the carnivores? They couldn't exactly just eat each other.
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Re: How would Noah get animals from around the world?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:38 pm

The flood was not global, but massively regional. This is where a little more probing beyond the simple words of the text is beneficial.

What does "all" mean? In Gn. 41.57 (same book, same author), we read that "all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe in all the world." Was Brazil experiencing famine? Did the Australians come to Joseph? No. "All" means the countries of the immediate vicinity in the ancient Near East.

Also, Deut. 2.25 (same author): "I will put the...fear of you on all the nations under heaven." Did that include the Mayans? The people of Madagascar? I don't think anyone would argue that this refers to more than the nations of Canaan, and perhaps a few others.

There are plenty of other references like this throughout the Bible (Acts 17.6; 19.35; 24.5; Rom. 1.8). We have to give serious consideration that quite possibly "all" doesn't mean "global".

Also, the flood didn't have to be global to accomplish God's purposes. God was dealing with Canaan and the surrounding neighbors. God was dealing with Noah's context. A flood in South America would be totally inexplicable to the people there, as well as patently unfair (which the Bible teaches that God is not). Noah was a preacher of righteousness, but not to the people of Africa, China, Australia, and the Americas. The language of the Noah story is normal for Scripture, describing everyday matters from the narrator's vantage point and within the customary frame of reference of his readers.

So the animals assembled for the ark were the local animals, not koalas, penguins, monkeys, bugs, and animals unique to the Americas. There was no mixing of all the salt and fresh water on the planet. The Genesis account appropriately presents a hyperbolic account of the Flood. It presents it as global for two reasons (1) that was the perspective of the ancient participants (Noah & his family), and (2) a local cataclysmic flood is described as global for rhetorical and theological purposes.
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Re: How would Noah get animals from around the world?

Postby Manequinn » Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:57 pm

Then why have any animals on the ark? As the flood waters receded having a small number of each species on the ark would be insignificant compared to the full populations of those animals thriving in the surrounding areas.
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Re: How would Noah get animals from around the world?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:58 pm

Such a large regional (continental?) flood would cause mass devastation to the fauna of the region. Noah took the animals on board to be environmentally responsible, so that after the flood there could be quicker repopulation of the area. It also showed that God was considerate (respectful) to animal life and not just to human life.
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Re: How would Noah get animals from around the world?

Postby Manequinn » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:27 am

If you've got two of some species on the ark, but full populations on the periphery of the flood, how are two more going to make any significant difference?

Also, if I recall correctly, the ark wasn't opened until after the earth was dry, and plants had regrown enough that the dove could bring back an olive branch. So that's a delay of however long it takes for olive trees to grow big enough to have branches with leaves. If it's a global flood then seeds are growing and not much else is happening while the ark is still sealed up, but if it's a local flood then as those plants are growing the surrounding population are going to spread rapidly throughout the region, just as soon as there's enough vegetation to support life there. By the time the ark is opened having two more of some species is completely insignificant.
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Re: How would Noah get animals from around the world?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:48 am

Your questions are good. Thanks for asking.

> If you've got two of some species on the ark, but full populations on the periphery of the flood, how are two more going to make any significant difference?

Since it's impossible to know the full extent of the flood, and what animal species and populations were affected, it's impossible to determine how allegedly "full" the populations were on the periphery. All we know is that God was preserving species, which would have been an environmentally responsible strategy.

> So that's a delay of however long it takes for olive trees to grow big enough to have branches with leaves.

Olive trees are very difficult to kill, and the resprout quickly and easily. We need not have a fully grown tree and foliation to fulfill what the verse is talking about. Even a small new leaf would give an indication that the lower elevations (olive trees don't grow in high elevations) have drained sufficiently for vegetation to sprout. It shows Noah that the floodwaters are almost gone and that recovery has begun.

> if it's a local flood

By "local" flood I'm not talking about the kind of event that's happening in Iowa and Nebraska right now. I'm talking more like what Glenn Morton theorizes happened about 5.5 million yrs ago (not that I'm claiming this was the biblical flood). Morton suggests that the Mediterranean was not a sea at all, but that the Straight of Gibraltar, which was once a solid dam, was broken and water from the Atlantic Ocean inundated the entire continental region. Such a deluge would have affect close to a million square miles of land, and the rains from such an event would be lengthy and torrential.

Another geological example is when the waters from the Mediterranean found a pathway to the Black Sea area (happened in about 5500 BC). About 60,000 square miles of the region became part of the sea very quickly.

I'm talking this kind of inundation, not a "local" flood like when the Mississippi or Missouri Rivers overflows their banks. It's possible, given this scenario, that having two more of some species could have helped the species survive.

Since we know so little about the date and extent of the flood, it's difficult to gauge such things with any confidence.


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