Board index Noah's Ark & the Flood

What actually caused the flood?

Postby Scape211 » Thu Apr 27, 2023 9:18 am

I was listening to someone critique the flood accounts recently. They focused on the idea of God being genocidal to wipe out the whole earth, how it was unfair, and how it may not even be real. I of course disagree on all accounts. The flood could easily be regional and therefore not genocidal. This was justice due to the depravity of man. And again, the evidence appears to show it was possible and also recorded in other cultures.

I also had the thought recently that this form of justice could even be viewed as just a cause-and-effect relationship; not God carrying out the act specifically. Recent studies have started to show how natural disasters could be linked to human activity ( and it makes me think differently about this narrative. If this was a cause of human activity or negligence as ambassadors of this planet, then God was merely trying to warn them of impending doom and Noah was the only one who listened. From his current knowledge, Noah viewed it as God bringing judgment on the entire earth and that's why we see it this way in scripture (they didn't have the scientific means back then). In reality, it could've been God allowing free will to be carried out, but showing mercy by sparring Noah who actually listened to Him. It also leads me to think differently about other narratives in the bible as we often contemplate the natural effects of the parting of the Red Sea, the fall of Jericho, the 10 plagues, etc, etc.

Could this be possible to the narrative or do you think this is just a exorcise in what atheists typically call 'mental gymnastics'?
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Re: What actually caused the flood?

Postby jimwalton » Wed May 03, 2023 10:43 am

Scape, I have no problem with God using a natural event to accomplish His purposes. It could have been an earthquake that knocked a hole in Jericho's wall defense, an easterly wind that pushed back the Red Sea, and an airburst that burned Sodom and Gomorrah. In these cases, the miracle would consist of the perfect timing and the accurate target of the phenomenon, executing God's purposes exactly where, when, and for whom it was targeted.

As far as Noah's flood, it could possibly be the same thing, something like the expansion of the Black Sea.* I have a harder time perceiving such a cataclysmic natural event, in this case, as a result of human causation, and therefore, as you are wondering, they caused their own judgment. These people weren't generating greenhouse gasses, depleting the ozone layer, increasing carbon emissions, etc. etc. They were common farmers, hunters, and craftsmen. While we may be participating in ruining our environmental balances, it's harder to see them as doing this. Estimates of the population of the world at the time of the flood, which I take to be around 5500 BC, range from 1-10 million, less than the current population of New York City. It's hard to imagine they could effect some natural occurrence like the Flood. And if the population of the world were 1-10 million, and the Flood was regional, the population of the entire Middle East may have been around 200,000. The region of the Flood, then, may have only been a few thousand people—not a large enough population to have caused the Flood that brought about their demise.

Even in the other cases I mentioned, though God's miracle used natural events, none of those events could have been caused by human behavior.

* The geology of the Black Sea suggests a flooding that occurred when the then-small lake in the center of the Sea rapidly became a large sea. This happened when waters from the Mediterranean found a pathway to the much lower Black Sea area. This change in the lake has been known since the 1920s. Since then, it has become clear that the flooding occurred about 7500 years ago (5500 BC) and that about 60,000 square miles (more than 100,000 square km) of the coastal areas of the lake became part of the sea in a relatively short time. Human settlements were destroyed. (BAR, Nov/Dec 2007 p. 74). A flood “burst through Bosporus in 5600 BC so violently [that it] cleaved Europe from Anatolia.” The flood was so overpowering that it turned a freshwater lake into what is now the Black Sea. Many who lived on the shores of that non-longer existent freshwater lake and in the general vicinity either were killed or displaced from their homes (Longman and Walton, pp. 147-148).
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Re: What actually caused the flood?

Postby Scape211 » Thu May 04, 2023 9:15 am

Makes sense Jim. It was just an interesting thought, but I can see that given the conditions it would be unrealistic to expect that to happen on this scale given their industrial/economic development and population at the time. Thanks!
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