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How did various animals get from the Ark to isolated places, such as Australia?

 

 

 

Map of Australia. Copyrighted. Courtesy of Eden Communications.

Photo copyrighted, Eden Communications/Films for Christ.
Artist's reconstruction of Noah's Ark, from the movie "The World That Perished"

Let us begin by reaffirming that God's Word does indeed reveal, in the plainest possible terms, that the whole globe was inundated with a violent, watery cataclysm -- Noah's flood. All land-dwelling, air-breathing creatures not on the ark perished and the world was re-populated by those surviving on the ark.

How Did the Animals Get to the Ark?

Skeptics paint a picture of Noah going to countries remote from the Middle East to gather animals such as kangaroos and koalas from Australia, and kiwis from New Zealand. However, the Bible states that the animals came to Noah; he did not have to round them up (Genesis 6:20). God apparently caused the animals to come to Noah. The Bible does not state how this was done.

We also do not know what the geography of the world was like before the flood. If there was only one continent at that time, then questions of getting animals from remote regions to the ark are not relevant.

Animal Distribution After the Flood

There are severe practical limitations on our attempts to understand the hows and whys of something that happened once, was not recorded in detail, and cannot be repeated.

Difficulties in our ability to explain every single situation in detail result from our limited understanding. We cannot go back in a time machine to check what has happened, and our mental reconstructions of what the world was like after the flood will inevitably be deficient. Because of this, the patterns of post-flood animal migration present some problems and research challenges for the biblical creation model. However, there are clues from various sources which suggest answers to the questions.

Clues from Modern Times

When Krakatoa erupted in 1883, the island remnant remained lifeless for some years, but was eventually colonized by a surprising variety of creatures, including not only insects and earthworms, but birds, lizards, snakes and even a few mammals. One would not have expected some of this surprising array of creatures to have crossed the ocean, but they obviously did. Even though these were mostly smaller than some of the creatures we will discuss here, it illustrates the limits of our imaginings on such things.

Land Bridges

Evolutionists acknowledge that men and animals could once freely cross the Bering Strait, which separates Asia and the Americas.[1] Before the idea of continental drift became popular, evolutionists depended entirely upon a lowering of the sea level during an ice age (which locked up water in the ice) to create land bridges, enabling dry-land passage from Europe most of the way to Australasia, for example.

The existence of some deep-water stretches along the route to australia is still consistent with this explanation. Evolutionist geologists themselves believe there have been major tectonic upheavals, accompanied by substantial rising and falling of sea floors, in the time period which they associate with an ice age. For instance, parts of California are believed to have been raised many thousands of feet from what was the sea floor during this ice age period, which they call "Pleistocene" (one of the most recent of the supposed geological periods). creationist geologists generally regard Pleistocene sediments as post-flood, the period in which these major migrations took place.

In the same way, other dry-land areas, including parts of these land bridges, subsided to become submerged at around the same time.[2]

There is a widespread, but mistaken, belief that marsupials are found only in Australia, thus supporting the idea that they must have evolved there. However, living marsupials, opossums, are found also in North and South America, and fossil marsupials have been found on every continent. Likewise, monotremes were once thought to be unique to Australia, but the discovery in 1991 of a fossil platypus tooth in South America stunned the scientific community.[3] Therefore, since evolutionists believe all organisms came from a common ancestor, migration between Australia and other areas must be conceded as possible by all scientists, whether evolutionist or creationist.

creationists generally believe there was only one Ice Age after, and as a consequence of, the flood. The lowered sea level at this time made it possible for animals to migrate over land bridges for centuries. Some creationists propose a form of continental break-up after the flood, in the days of Peleg. This again would mean several centuries for animals to disperse, in this instance without the necessity of land-bridges. However, continental break-up in the time of Peleg is not widely accepted in creationist circles.

Did the Kangaroo Hop All the Way to Australia?

How did animals make the long journey from the Ararat region? Even though there have been isolated reports of individual animals making startling journeys of hundreds of miles, such abilities are not even necessary. Early settlers released a very small number of rabbits in Australia. Wild rabbits are now found at the very opposite corner (in fact, every corner) of this vast continent. Does that mean that an individual rabbit had to be capable of crossing the whole of Australia? Of course not. Creation speakers are sometimes asked mockingly, "Did the kangaroo hop all the way to Australia?" We see by the rabbit example that this is a somewhat foolish question.

KangarooPopulations of animals may have had centuries to migrate, relatively slowly, over many generations. Incidentally, the opposite question (also common), as to whether the two kangaroos hopped all the way from Australia to the ark, is also easily answered. The continents we now have, with their load of flood-deposited sedimentary rock, are not the same as whatever continent or continents there may have been in the pre-flood world.

We also lack information as to how animals were distributed before the flood. Kangaroos (as is true for any other creature) may not have been on any isolated landmass. Genesis 1:9 suggests that there may have been only one landmass. ("Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.") For all we know, kangaroos might have been feeding within a stone's throw of Noah while he was building the Ark.

It may be asked, if creatures were migrating to Australia over a long time (which journey would have included such places as indonesia, presumably) why do we not find their fossils en route in such countries?

Fossilization is a rare event, requiring, as a rule, sudden burial (as in the flood) to prevent decomposition. Lions lived in israel until relatively recently. We don't find lion fossils in Israel, yet this doesn't prevent us believing the many historical reports of their presence. The millions of bison that once roamed the United States of America have left virtually no fossils. So why should it be a surprise that small populations, presumably under migration pressure from competitors and/or predators, and thus living in only one area for a few generations at most, should leave no fossils?

Unique Organisms

Another issue is why certain animals (and plants) are uniquely found in only one place. Why is species x found only in madagascar and species y only in the Seychelles? Many times, questions on this are phrased to indicate that the questioner believes that this means that species y headed only in that one direction, and never migrated anywhere else. While that is possible, it is not necessarily the case at all. All that the present situation indicates is that these are now the only places where x or y still survive.

The ancestors of present-day kangaroos may have established daughter populations in different parts of the world, most of which subsequently became extinct. Perhaps those marsupials only survived in Australia because they migrated there ahead of the placental mammals (we are not suggesting anything other than "random" processes in choice of destination), and were subsequently isolated from the placentals, and so protected from competition and predation.

Palm Valley in central Australia is host to a unique species of palm, Livingstonia mariae, found nowhere else in the world. Does this necessarily mean that the seeds for this species floated only to this one little spot? Not at all. Current models of post-flood climate indicate that the world is much drier now than it was in the early post-flood centuries. Evolutionists themselves agree that in recent times (by evolutionary standards), the sahara was lush and green, and central Australia had a moist, tropical climate. For all we know, the Livingstonia mariae palm may have been widespread over much of Australia, perhaps even in other places which are now dry, such as parts of africa.

The palm has survived in Palm Valley because there it happens to be protected from the drying out which affected the rest of its vast central Australian surroundings. Everywhere else, it died out.

Incidentally, this concept of changing vegetation with changing climate should be kept in mind when considering post-flood animal migration -- especially because of the objections (and caricatures) which may be presented. For instance, how could creatures that today need a rain forest environment trudge across thousands of miles of parched desert on the way to where they now live? The answer is that it wasn't desert then!

Koalas in Australia. Copyrighted: Paul S. Taylor (Eden Comm.)
Koalas in a tree in Australia.

The Koala and Other Specialized Types

Some problems are more difficult to solve. For instance, there are creatures that require special conditions or a very specialized diet, such as the giant panda of China or Australia's koala. We don't know, of course, that bamboo shoots or blue gum leaves[4] were not then flourishing all along their eventual respective migratory paths. In fact, this may have influenced the direction they took.

But, in any case, there is another possibility. A need for unique or special conditions to survive may be a result of specialization, a downhill change in some populations. That is, it may result from a loss in genetic information, from thinning out of the gene pool or by degenerative mutation. A good example is the many modern breeds of dog, selected by man (although natural conditions can do likewise), which are much less hardy in the wild than their "mongrel" ancestors. For example, the St. Bernard carries a mutational defect, an overactive thyroid, which means it needs to live in a cold environment to avoid overheating.

This suggests that the ancestors of such creatures, when they came off the Ark, were not as specialized. Thus they were more hardy than their descendants, who carry only a portion of that original gene pool of information.[5] In other words, the koala's ancestor may have been able to survive on a much greater range of vegetation. Such an explanation has been made possible only with modern biological insights. Perhaps as knowledge increases some of the remaining difficulties will become less so.

Such changes do not require large time periods for animals under migratory pressure. The first small population that formed would tend to break up rapidly into daughter populations, going in different directions, each carrying only a portion of the gene pool of the original pair that came off the ark.

Sometimes all of a population will eventually become extinct; sometimes all but one specialized type. Where all the sub-types survive and proliferate, we find some of the tremendous diversity seen among some groups of creatures which are apparently derived from one created kind. This explains why some very obviously related species are found far apart from each other.

The sloth, a very slow-moving creature, may seem to require much more time than Scripture allows to make the journey from Ararat to its present home. Perhaps its present condition is also explicable by a similar evolutionary process. However, to account for today's animal distribution, evolutionists themselves have had to propose that certain primates have traveled across hundreds of miles of open ocean on huge rafts of matted vegetation torn off in storms.[6] Indeed, iguanas have recently been documented traveling hundreds of miles in this manner between islands in the caribbean.[7]

The Bible suggests a pattern of post-flood dispersal of animals and humans that accounts for fossil distribution of apes and humans, for example. In post-flood deposits in Africa, ape fossils are found below human fossils. Evolutionists claim that this arose because humans evolved from the apes, but there is another explanation. Animals, including apes, would have begun spreading out over the earth straight after the flood, whereas the Bible indicates that people refused to do this (Genesis 9:1, 11:1-9). Human dispersal did not start until Babel, some hundreds of years after the flood. Such a delay would have meant that some ape fossils would be found consistently below human fossils, since people would have arrived in Africa after the apes.[8]

We may never know the exact answer to every one of such questions, but certainly one can see that the problems are far less formidable than they may at first appear.[9] Coupled with all the biblical, geological, and anthropological evidence for noah's flood, one is justified in regarding the Genesis account of the animals dispersing from a central point as perfectly reasonable.[10] Not only that, but the biblical model provides an excellent framework for the scientific study of these questions.

Footnotes

  1. S.A. Elias, S.K. Short, C.H. Nelson, and H.H. Birks, "Life and Times of the Bering Land Bridge," Nature, 1996, 382:60-63.
  2. Note that the region around the north of Australia to Southeast asia is a tectonically active part of the world.
  3. Anon., "Platypus Tooth Bites Hard into Long-held Beliefs," Creation, 1992, 14(1):13, based on an article in New Scientist, August 24, 1991. A platypus is a monotreme (an egg-laying mammal).
  4. Actually, the koala can eat other types of gum leaves. Australia has around 500 species of eucalypt (gum) trees. Koalas eat the leaves of about 20 species, with the blue gum a favorite. Recent work has shown that the koala's insistence on eucalypt is actually an addiction to certain chemicals in the leaf which it first eats in the mother's milk. Bottle-raised koalas can survive on a non-eucalypt diet (see CEN Technical Journal 8(2):126). Also, the giant panda, which normally only eats bamboo shoots, has been known to eat small animals occasionally.
  5. See Origin of Races for an example of the way in which a very light-skinned "race" deriving from a mid-brown one is missing some of the information in the parent population.
  6. Anon., "Hitchhiking Lemurs," Creation, 1993, 15(4):11, commenting on J. Tattersall, "Madagascar's Lemurs," Scientific American, 1993, 268(1):90-97.
  7. Anon., "Surfing Lizards Wipe Out Objections," Creation, 1999, 21(2):8.
  8. Dr. Sigrid Hartwig-Scherer, paleoanthropologist, on the video, The Image of God, Keziah Videos.
  9. In recent literature about some of the problems of animal distribution, even within an evolutionary framework, there has been an occasional suggestion that early man may have been a much better boat-builder and navigator than previously thought. Various types of animals may thus have accompanied people on boats across the sea. This should be kept in mind as a possibility in some instances. Animals brought in this way to a new continent may have prospered, even though the accompanying people did not stay, or perished.
  10. For further reading: J. Whitcomb and H. Morris, The Genesis Flood, (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Co., 1961); J. Woodmorappe, "Causes for the Biogeographic Distribution of Land Vertebrates After the Flood," Proc. Second ICC, Pittsburgh, PA, 1990, pp. 361-367.

 

How did FISH survive the Flood?

 

 

Salt water fish and diver (photo copyrighted) (Courtesy of Eden Communications.

If the whole earth were covered by water in the flood, then there would have been a mixing of fresh and salt waters. Many of today's fish species are specialized and do not survive in water of radically different saltiness to their usual habitat. So how did they survive the flood?

Note that the Bible tells us that only land-dwelling, air-breating animals and birds were taken on the ark (Genesis 7:14-15, 21-23).

We do not know how salty the sea was before the flood. The flood was initiated by the breaking up of the "fountains of the great deep" (Genesis 7:11). Whatever the "fountains of the great deep" were (see Noah's Flood - What did all the water come from?), the flood must have been associated with massive earth movements, because of the weight of the water alone, which would have resulted in great volcanic activity.

Volcanoes emit huge amounts of steam, and underwater lava creates hot water/steam, which dissolves minerals, adding salt to the water. Furthermore, erosion accompanying the movement of water off the continents after the flood would have added salt to the oceans. In other words, we would expect the pre-flood ocean waters to be less salty than they were after the flood.

The problem for fish coping with saltiness is this: fish in fresh water tend to absorb water, because the saltiness of their body fluids draws in water (by osmosis). Fish in saltwater tend to lose water from their bodies because the surrounding water is saltier than their body fluids.

Starfish (photo copyrighted) (Courtesy of Eden Communications).

Saltwater/Freshwater Adaptation in Fish Today

Many of today's marine organisms, especially estuarine and tidepool species, are able to survive large changes in salinity. For example, starfish will tolerate as low as 16-18 percent of the normal concentration of seawater.

Salmon (illustration copyrighted) (Courtesy of Eden Communications).

There are migratory species of fish that travel between salt and fresh water. For example, salmon, striped bass, and Atlantic spurgeon spawn in fresh water and mature in salt water. Eels reproduce in salt water and grow to maturity in fresh water streams and lakes. So, many of today's species of fish are able to adjust to both fresh water and salt water.

There is also evidence of post-flood specialization within a kind of fish. For example, the Atlantic sturgeon is a migratory salt/freshwater species but the Siberian sturgeon (a different species of the same kind) lives only in fresh water.

Many families[1] of fish contain both fresh and saltwater species. These include the families of toadfish, garpike, bowfin, sturgeon, herring/anchovy, salmon/trout/pike, catfish, clingfish, stickleback, scorpionfish, and flatfish. Indeed, most of the families alive today have both fresh and saltwater representatives. This suggests that the ability to tolerate large changes in salinity was present in most fish at the time of the flood. Specialization, through natural selection, may have resulted in the loss of this ability in many species since then.

Hybrids of wild trout (fresh water) and farmed salmon (migratory species) have been discovered in Scotland,[2] suggesting that the differences between freshwater and marine types may be quite minor. Indeed, the differences in physiology seem to be largely differences in degree rather than kind.

Saltwater fish.

The kidneys of freshwater species excrete excess water (the urine has low salt concentration) and those of marine species excrete excess salt (the urine has high salt concentration). Saltwater sharks have high concentrations of urea in the blood to retain water in the saltwater environment whereas freshwater sharks have low concentrations of urea to avoid accumulating water. When sawfish move from salt water to fresh water they increase their urine output 20 fold, and their blood urea concentration decreases to less than one-third.

Major public aquariums use the ability of fish to adapt to water of different salinity from their normal habitat to exhibit freshwater and saltwater species together. The fish can adapt if the salinity is changed slowly enough.

So, many fish species today have the capacity to adapt to both fresh and salt water within their own lifetimes.

Aquatic air-breathing mammals such as whales and dolphins would have been better placed than many fish to survive the flood because of the turbidity of the water, changes in temperature, etc. The fossil record testifies to the massive destruction of marine life, with marine creatures accounting for 95 percent of the fossil record.[3] Some, such as trilobites and ichthyosaurs, probably became extinct at that time. This is consistent with the Bible account of the flood beginning with the breaking up of the "fountains of the great deep" (i.e., beginning in the sea; "the great deep" means the oceans).

There is also a possibility that stable fresh and saltwater layers developed and persisted in some parts of the ocean. Fresh water can sit on top of salt water for extended periods of time. Turbulence may have been sufficiently low at high latitudes for such layering to persist and allow the survival of both freshwater and saltwater species in those areas.

Conclusion

There are many simple, plausible explanations for how fresh and saltwater fish could have survived the flood. There is no reason to doubt the reality of the flood as described in the Bible.

Footnotes

  1. "Family is one of the main levels of classification for fish. In fish there is plenty of evidence for hybridization within families -- the trout/salmon family, for example -- suggesting that families may represent the biblical "kind" in fish.
  2. B. Charron, "Escape to Sterility for Designer Fish" New Scientist, 1995, 146(1979):22.
  3. There is a huge number of marine fossils. If they really formed in the manner claimed by evolutionists (over hundreds of millions of years), then transitional fossils showing gradual change from one kind to another should be most evident here. But they are conspicuous by their absence. Furthermore, fossils of such things as jellyfish, starfish, and clams are found near the bottom of the fossil record of multi-cellular organisms, and yet they are still around today, fundamentally unchanged.

Recommended Reading

  • John Woodmorappe, Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study (Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1996).

 

 

How did LAND PLANTS survive the Flood?

 

 

 

Plants (photo copyrighted) (Courtesy of Eden Communications)

Many terrestrial seeds can survive long periods of soaking in various concentrations of salt water.[1] Indeed, salt water impedes the germination of some species so that the seed lasts better in salt water than fresh water.

Other plants could have survived in floating vegetation masses, or on pumice from the volcanic activity. Pieces of many plants are still capable of asexual sprouting.

Many plants could have survived as planned food stores on the ark, or accidental inclusions in such food stores (Genesis 6:21).

Many seeds have devices for attaching themselves to animals, and some could have survived the flood by this means. Others could have survived in the stomachs of the bloated, floating carcasses of dead herbivores.

The olive leaf brought back to Noah by the dove (Genesis 8:11) shows that plants were regenerating well before Noah and company left the ark.

Conclusion

There are many simple, plausible explanations for how plants could have survived the flood. There is no reason to doubt the reality of the flood as described in the Bible.

Footnotes

  1. G.F. Howe, "Seed Germination, Sea Water, and Plant Survival in the Great Flood," Creation Research Quarterly, 1968, 5:105-112. Ironically, Charles Darwin similarly proved that seeds could survive months of soaking in sea water.

Recommended Reading

  • John Woodmorappe, Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study (Santee, CA: Institute for Creation Research, 1996).

 

 

 

 

Where did the flood water come from?

 

 

Ocean. Photo copyrighted. Courtesy of Eden Communications.

In telling us about the world-changing Flood in the days of Noah, the Bible gives us much information about where the waters came from and where they went. The sources of the water are given in Genesis 7:11 as "the fountains of the great deep" and the "windows of heaven."

The Fountains of the Great Deep

The "fountains of the great deep" are mentioned before the "windows of heaven," indicating either relative importance or the order of events.

What are the "fountains of the great deep?" This phrase is used only in Genesis 7:11. "Fountains of the deep" is used in Genesis 8:2, where it clearly refers to the same thing, and Proverbs 8:28, where the precise meaning is not clear. "The great deep" is used three other times: Isaiah 51:10, where it clearly refers to the ocean; Amos 7:4, where God's fire of judgement is said to dry up the great deep, probably the oceans; and Psalm 36:6 where it is used metaphorically of the depth of God's justice/judgement. "The deep" is used more often, and usually refers to the oceans (e.g., Genesis 1:2; Job 38:30, 41:32; Psalm 42:7, 104:6; Isaiah 51:10, 63:13; Ezekiel 26:19; Jonah 2:3), but sometimes to subterranean sources of water (Ezekiel 31:4, 15). The Hebrew word (mayan) translated "fountains" means "fountain, spring, well."[1]

So, the "fountains of the great deep" are probably oceanic or possibly subterranean sources of water. In the context of the flood account, it could mean both.

fountains-of-deep3.jpg - 6962 Bytes

"Fountains of the great deep" scene from The World That Perished

 

If the fountains of the great deep were the major source of the waters, then they must have been a huge source of water. Some have suggested that when God made the dry land appear from under the waters on the third day of creation, some of the water that covered the earth became trapped underneath and within the dry land.[2]

Genesis 7:11 says that on the day the flood began, there was a "breaking up" of the fountains, which implies a release of the water, possibly through large fissures in the ground or in the sea floor. The waters that had been held back burst forth with catastrophic consequences.

There are many volcanic rocks interspersed between the fossil layers in the rock record -- layers that were obviously deposited during Noah's flood. So it is quite plausible that these fountains of the great deep involved a series of volcanic eruptions with prodigious amounts of water bursting up through the ground. It is interesting that up to 70 percent or more of what comes out of volcanoes today is water, often in the form of steam.

In their catastrophic plate tectonics model for the flood, Austin et al. have proposed that at the onset of the flood, the ocean floor rapidly lifted up to 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) due to an increase in temperature as horizontal movement of the tectonic plates accelerated.[3] This would spill the seawater onto the land and cause massive flooding -- perhaps what is aptly described as the breaking up of the "fountains of the great deep."

 

 

 

Rain. Photo copyrighted, Eden Communications.

During the Flood, the world was deluged in 40 days of rain. But this was not the major source of the Flood waters. (Scene from the award-winning Christian video, The World that Perished.)

 

The windows of heaven

The other source of the waters for Noah's flood was "the windows of heaven." Genesis 7:12 says that it rained for 40 days and 40 nights continuously.

Genesis 2:5 tells us that there was no rain before man was created. Some have suggested that there was no rainfall anywhere on the earth until the time of the flood. However, the Bible does not actually say this, so we should not be dogmatic.[4]

Some have argued that God's use of the rainbow as the sign of His covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:12-17) suggests that there were no rainbows, and therefore no clouds or rain, before the flood. However, if rainbows (and clouds) existed before the flood, this would not be the only time God used an existing thing as a special "new" sign of a covenant (e.g., bread and wine in the Lord's Supper).

Rainbow. Photo copyrighted. Courtesy of Eden Communications.

It is difficult to envisage a pre-flood water cycle without clouds and rain, as the sun's heat, even in that era, must have evaporated large volumes of surface waters which would have to eventually condense back into liquid water. And droplets of liquid water form clouds from which we get rain.

The expression "windows of heaven" is used twice in reference to the flood (Genesis 7:11, 8:2). It is used only three times elsewhere in the Old Testament: twice in 2 Kings 7:2 and 19, referring to God's miraculous intervention in sending rain, and once in Malachi 3:10, where the phrase is used again of God intervening to pour out abundant blessings on his people. Clearly, in Genesis the expression suggests the extraordinary nature of the rainfall attending the flood. It is not a term applied to ordinary rainfall.

What about "the waters above"?

We are told in Genesis 1:6-8 that on the second day of creation God divided the waters that were on the earth from the waters that He placed above the earth when He made a "firmament" (Hebrew: raqiya, meaning "expanse") between those waters.[5] Many have concluded that this "expanse" was the atmosphere, because God placed the birds in the expanse, suggesting that the expanse includes the atmosphere where the birds fly. This would put these waters above the atmosphere.

However, Genesis 1:20, speaking of the creation of the birds, says (literally) "let the birds fly above the ground across the face of the expanse of the heavens."[6] This at least allows that "the expanse" may include the space beyond the atmosphere.

Dr. Russell Humphreys has argued that since Genesis 1:17 tells us that God put the sun, moon, and stars also "in the expanse of the heaven" then the expanse must at least include interstellar space, and thus the waters above the expanse of Genesis 1:7 would be beyond the stars at the edge of the universe.[7]

However, prepositions (in, under, above, etc.) are somewhat flexible in Hebrew, as well as English. A submarine can be spoken of as both under and in the sea. Likewise, the waters could be above the expanse and in the expanse, so we should be careful no to draw too much from these expressions.

So what were these "waters above"? Some have said that they are simply the clouds. Others thought of them as a "water vapor canopy," implying a blanket of water vapor surrounding the earth.

Vapor canopy. Illustration copyrighted, Eden Communications.

Was there an ancient vapor canopy around the Earth that shielded pre-Flood inhabitants from harmful radiation that causes everything from skin cancer, mutations, and more? Illustration from The World that Perished video.

A water vapor canopy?

Dr. Joseph Dillow did much research into the idea of a blanket of water vapor surrounding the earth before the flood.[8] In a modification of the canopy theory, Dr. Larry Vardiman suggested that much of the "waters above" could have been stored in small ice particles distributed in equatorial rings around the earth similar to those around Venus.[9]

The Genesis 7:11 reference to the windows of heaven being opened has been interpreted as the collapse of such a water vapor canopy, which somehow became unstable and fell as rain. Volcanic eruptions associated with the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep could have thrown dust into the water vapor canopy, causing the water vapor to nucleate on the dust particles and make rain.

Dillow, Vardiman, and others have suggested that the vapor canopy caused a greenhouse effect before the Flood with a pleasant sub tropical-to-temperate climate all around the globe, even at the poles where today there is ice. This would have caused the growth of lush vegetation on the land all around the globe. The discovery of coal seams in Antarctica containing vegetation that is not now found growing at the poles, but which obviously grew under warmer conditions, was taken as support for these ideas.[10]

Ferns. Photo copyrighted, Eden Communications.

A vapor canopy would also affect the global wind systems. Also, the mountains were almost certainly not as high before the flood as they are today, as we shall see. In today's world, the major winds and high mountain ranges are a very important part of the water cycle that brings rain to the continents. Before the flood, however, these factors would have caused the weather systems to be different.

Those interested in studying this further should consult Dillow's and Vardiman's works.

A major problem with the canopy theory

Vardiman[11] recognized a major difficulty with the canopy theory. The best canopy model still gives an intolerably high temperature at the surface of the earth.

Rush and Vardiman have attempted a solution,[12] but found that they had to drastically reduce the amount of water vapor in the canopy from a rain equivalent of 40 feet (12 meters) to only 20 inches (.5 meters). Further modelling suggested that a maximum of 2 meters (6.5 feet) of water could be held in such a canopy, even if all relevant factors were adjusted to the best possible values to maximize the amount of water stored.[13] Such a reduced canopy would not significantly contribute to the 40 days and nights of rain at the beginning of the flood.

Many creation scientists are now either abandoning the water vapor canopy model[14] or no longer see any need for such a concept, particularly if other reasonable mechanisms could have supplied the rain.[15] In the catastrophic plate tectonics model for the flood,[16] volcanic activity associated with the breaking up of the pre-flood ocean floor would have created a linear geyser (like a wall) of superheated steam from the ocean, causing intense global rain.

Nevertheless, whatever the source or mechanism, the scriptural statement about the windows of heaven opening is an apt description of global torrential rain.

A vapor canopy holding more than 7 feet (two meters) of rain would cause the earth's surface to be intolerably hot, so a vapor canopy could not have been a significant source of the flood waters.

Footnotes

  1. Strong's Concordance
  2. Evidence is mounting that there is still a huge amount of water stored deep in the earth in crystal lattices of minerals, which is possible because of the immense pressure. See L. Bergeron, "Deep waters," New Scientist, 1997, 155(2097):22-26:"You have oceans and oceans of water stored in the transition zone. It's sopping wet."
  3. S.A. Austin, J.R. Baumgardner, D.R. Humphreys, A.A. Snelling, L. Vardiman, and K.P. Wise, "Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: A Global Flood Model of Earth History," Proc. Third ICC, 1994, pp. 609-621.
  4. Some have claimed that because the people scoffed at Noah's warnings of a coming flood, that they must not have seen rain. But people today have seen lots of rain and floods, and many still scoff at the global flood. Genesis 2:5 says there was no rain yet upon the earth, but whether or not it rained after that in the pre-flood world is not stated.
  5. In trying to disparage the Bible, some skeptics claim that the raqiya describes a solid dome and that the ancient Hebrews believed in a flat earth with a slotted dome over it. Such ideas are not in the Bible or raqiya. See J.P. Holding, "Is the Raqiya a Solid Dome?" Equivocal language in the cosmology of Genesis 1 and the Old Testament: a response to Paul H. Seely, CEN Technical Journal, 1999, 13(2):44-51.
  6. H.C. Leupold, Exposition of Genesis, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1942), p. 78.
  7. D.R. Humphreys, "A Biblical Basis for Creationist Cosmology," (Proc. Third ICC, Pittsburgh, PA, 1994, pp. 255-266).
  8. J.C. Dillow, The Waters Above (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1981).
  9. L. Vardiman, "The Sky Has Fallen", Proc. First ICC, 1986, 1:113-119.
  10. Movement of tectonic plates could also explain the polar occurrence of such warm-climate plant remains.
  11. Vardiman, "The Sky Has Fallen," pp. 116, 119.
  12. D.E. Rush and L. Vardiman, "Pre-flood Vapor Canopy Radiative Temperature Profiles," Proc. Fourth ICC, Pittsburgh, PA, 1990, 2:231-245.
  13. L. Vardiman and K. Bousselot, "Sensitivity Studies on Vapor Canopy Temperature Profiles," Proc. Fourth ICC, 1998, pp. 607-618.
  14. Psalm 148:4 seems to speak against the canopy theory. Written after the flood, this refers to "waters above the heavens" still existing, so this cannot mean a vapor canopy that collapsed at the flood. Calvin, Leupold, Keil, and Delitzsch all wrote of "the waters above" as merely being clouds.
  15. Of course, we may never arrive at a correct understanding of exactly how the flood occurred, but that does not change the fact that it did occur.
  16. Austin et al., Catastrophic Plate Tectonics....

 

 

Genesis and ancient Near Eastern stories of Creation and the Flood: an introduction

 

Much has been written about the relationship between the early chapters of Genesis and creation and flood stories from ancient Mesopotamia. This is the first of a series of articles presenting an up-to-date overview of this subject.

Creation

Creation has been one of the most interesting and intriguing subjects in the Old Testament. In modern Biblical scholarship a number of new interpretations of the early chapters of Genesis have been suggested, especially in the areas of comparative study and literary analysis.

Genesis 1-2

Double Creation Stories? A theory has long been advocated that the early chapters of Genesis contain a "doublet" of creation stories and that these stories, characterized by the distinctive divine names, Elohim and YHWH, are of different origins with two independent, and even opposing, cosmologies. According to this traditional critical theory, the former is the priestly account (P source) of creation from the postexilic period, while the latter is an earlier Yahwistic account (J source). Hence, it is usually assumed that there exist some discrepancies or contradictions between the two accounts.[1]

Recently, however, it has been emphasized by scholars like Alter that whatever their origins may be, "the two accounts are complementary rather than overlapping, each giving a different kind of information about how the world came into being." According to him, "the two different creation stories," i.e., the P and J stories, constitute a "composite narrative" that encompasses "divergent perspectives" by placing in sequence "two ostensibly contradictory accounts of the same event," such as two stories of the creation of woman.[2]

When one takes a closer look at both stories, it is evident that they are not two "parallel" versions of the same or similar "creation" stories, since the theme and purpose of the two are certainly different. Castellino distinguishes Genesis 1, "un vrai recit de creation" ("a true creation account"), from Genesis 2, which is in a strict sense not a creation story but "un texte d'organisation" ("an organizational text") and serves as an "introduction" to Genesis 3 (Castellino 1957). A story without any reference to the sun, the moon and the stars, or the sea is certainly not a true cosmological myth. Genesis 2 and following, therefore, should not be treated as the same literary genre as Genesis 1, which locates the creation of humankind at the grand climax of the creation of the cosmos,[3] while the former is concerned with the immediate situation of mankind on the earth.

However, as I recently demonstrated, both chapters do reflect essentially the same cosmology. In Genesis 1:2, the initial situation of the "world" is described positively in terms of the still unproductive and uninhabited (toh- waboh-)[4] "earth" totally covered by "ocean-water," while in 2:5-6 the initial state of the "earth" is described negatively in terms of the not-yet-productive "earth" in more concrete expressions, "no vegetation" and "no man." And the underground-water was flooding out to inundate the whole area of the "land," but not the entire earth as in Genesis 1:2.[5] Thus, Genesis 1 describes an earlier stage in the one creation process in which the waters cover the earth, Genesis 2a a later stage (in 1:9-10) in which the waters have separated and the dry land has appeared.

The Double Creation of Mankind? The Genesis account as it stands mentions the creation of mankind twice, in 1:27 and 2:7. Kikawada hence suggests that there are two creations of mankind in Genesis, comparing Genesis 1-2 with the myth of Enki and Ninmah and the "Atra-Hasis Epic" (I 1-351) (Kikawada 1983; Kikawada and Quinn 1985: 39ff). According to him, Genesis 1 refers to "the first creation of mankind," while Genesis 2 refers to "the second creation of mankind," namely the creation of the specific persons Adam and Eve, and these two Biblical creation accounts are parallel to each other.

It should be noted, however, that in Genesis those "double creation stories" deal with the same topic, the origin of humankind ('adam), and do not necessarily refer to "two" separate creative actions regarding human creation. The debate is whether the reason for this twofold description is (1) that there were actually two independent creation stories of the same event or (2) that there were actually two separate creation acts or (3) that a technique of narrative discourse was used that recounts one and the same event from two different viewpoints. To this third possibility I now turn.

Discourse Grammar.[6] It has been noted by scholars such as U. Casssuto (1961: 89-92; also Kitchen 1966: 116-17) that Genesis 1 gives a general description of mankind in the framework of the entire creation of the world and Genesis 2 gives a detailed description of humankind and their immediate context on the earth.[7] From a discourse grammatical point of view, this relationship between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 may be explained as a generic-specific relationship (Longacre 1983: 119, 122) and the two constitute a "hyponymous"[8] parallelism, so to speak.

This feature might also be explained as a phenomenon of what Grimes calls a "scope change" in narrative discourse, which is a phenomenon of "zooming in from an overall perspective to a closeup, with a corresponding shift in reference" (1975: 46-47). This is the way I have described the nature of the relationship between the two "creation" stories of Genesis elsewhere (1985); they have different scopes or viewpoints by which the author or narrator describes one and the same creation of mankind, first with relation to the cosmos, and then with a narrower focus on the man's relationship with the woman, the animals, and the environment in the second story. Therefore, the flow of discourse runs from Genesis 1 to Genesis 2 and following, not vice versa, as assumed by the traditional source critics.

As for 2:4, whose two halves constitute a chiastic parallelism, Wenham takes this verse as serving "both as a title to 2:5-4:26 and as a link with the introduction 1:1-2:3.[9] In another context I have suggested that it serves as a link between the two stories and that this linkage is a kind of transitional technique that according to Parunak points to a surface pattern of repetition or similarity that joins successive textual units together (Tsumura 1985: 48; Purunak 1983). Genesis 1-2 could thus be explained as Parunak's A/aB pattern; in 2:4a (a) the narrator repeats the keywords of Genesis 1:1-2:3 (A) and initiates a new section of story, 2:4b-4:26 (B).

Genesis 1

Genesis 1 and "Enuma Elish." Ever since H. Gunkel's famous book Sch"pfung und Chaos in Urzeit und Endzeit (1895), scholars have taken it for granted that the Hebrew teh"m in Genesis 1:2 has its mythological background in the ancient Babylonian goddess Tiamat of the "creation" myth "Enuma elish," in which the storm-god Marduk fights with and wins over the sea dragon Tiamat, establishing the cosmos.[10] I have thoroughly reexamined the problem from a linguistic point of view, and it is now clear that it is phonologically impossible to conclude that teh"m 'ocean' was borrowed from Tiamat. The Hebrew teh"m 'ocean' together with the Ugaritic thm, the Akkadian tiamtu, the Arabic tihamat, and the Eblaite ti-'...-ma-tum /tiham(a)tum/ is simply a reflection of a common Semitic term *tiham- (1989: 45-52).

While the Hebrew and Akkadian terms refer to the "primeval" water, as Lambert notes, "the watery beginning of Genesis in itself is no evidence of Mesopotamian influence" (Lambert 1965: 293). He also notes that while the horizontal division of the cosmic water in Genesis 1:6-8 has its parallel description in Ee IV 135-V 62, "the case for a battle as a prelude to God's dividing of the cosmic waters is unproven." In other words, "neither on the Hebrew side nor on the Mesopotamian is there any clear proof that a battle is necessarily tied to the dividing of the waters." So, Genesis 1 and "Enuma elish," which was composed primarily to exalt Marduk in the pantheon of Babylon,[11] have no direct relation to each other. Not only is the creation by divine fiat in Genesis unique in the ancient Near East, the creation of light as the first creating act appears only in Genesis (Lambert 1980: 71; 1965). Thus the creation in the Genesis story is quite different from the idea of "order out of chaos," though the latter is also often called "creation" (McCarthy 1967).

It is not correct to say that "Enuma elish" was adopted and adapted by the Israelites to produce the Genesis stories. As Lambert holds, there is "no evidence of Hebrew borrowing from Babylon" (1965: 296). Sj"berg accepts Lambert's opinion that "there was hardly any influence from that Babylonian text on the Old Testament creation accounts" (1984: 217). Hasel thinks rather that the creation account of Genesis 1 functions as an antimythological polemic in some cases (e.g., with the "sun," the "moon," and tnnm ('sea monsters'?), etc. (1974). One thing is clear with regard to the religious nature of the creation story of Genesis: in Genesis 1 and 2 no female deity exists or is involved in producing the cosmos and humanity. This is unique among ancient creation stories that treat of deities having personality.

Canaanite Background to Genesis 1? According to Jacobsen, "the story of the battle between the god of thunderstorms and the sea originated on the coast of the Mediterranean and wandered eastward from there to Babylon" (1968: 107). Along the same line, Sj"berg as an Assyriologist warns Old Testament scholars that "it is no longer scientifically sound to assume that all ideas originated in Mesopotamia and moved westward" (1984: 218).

Recently Day asserted that Genesis 1:2 was a demythologization of an original Chaoskampf ('chaos-battle') myth from ancient Canaan (1985: 53). However, the conflict of the storm-god Baal with the sea-deity Yam in the Ugaritic myth has nothing to do with a creation of cosmos like that of Marduk with Tiamat in "Enuma elish." Kapelrud notes that "with the existing texts and the material present so far we may conclude that they have no creation narrative" (1980: 9). Also de Moor recently demonstrated that Baal in Ugaritic literature is never treated as a creator-god (1980). I have noted elsewhere that if the Genesis account were the demythologization of a Canaanite dragon myth, we would expect the term yam 'sea,' which is the counterpart of the Ugaritic sea-god Yam, in the initial portion of the account. However, the term yam does not appear in Genesis 1 until v. 10. It is difficult to assume that an earlier Canaanite dragon myth existed in the background of Genesis 1:2.[12]

Chaos in Genesis 1:2? (a) toh- waboh-. The expression toh- waboh-, which is traditionally translated in English as "without form and void" (RSV) or the like, is often taken as signifying the primeval "chaos," in direct opposition to "creation." I have demonstrated, however, that the phrase toh- waboh- has nothing to do with primeval chaos; it simply means 'emptiness' and refers to the earth in a "bare" state, without vegetation and animals as well as without humans. This "unproductive and empty, uninhabited" earth becomes productive with vegetation and inhabited by animals and humankind by God's fiats (Tsumura 1989: 41-43).

I have also pointed out that in Genesis 1:2 ha'ares and teh"m are a "hyponymous" word pair and hence the 'ocean' (teh"m) is a part of the 'earth' (ha'ares), since the term ha'ares, which constitutes an antonymous word pair with hassamayim 'the heavens' in Genesis 1:1, must refer to everything under the heaven.[13] However, vv. 6ff. suggest that the water of teh"m in Genesis 1:2 covered all the 'earth' (Tsumura 1989: 78-79). This water-covered earth is described in this passage by a pair of expressions, toh- waboh- // hosek, not yet normal, that is to say, not yet productive or inhabited and without light. But it was not chaotic. It should be noted that even in "Enuma elish" the initial mingling of Apsu and Tiamat (Ee I 5) was orderly, not chaotic (Tsumura 1989: 60 n. 70).

(b) r-ah 'elohîm. Albright, who rejected the "world egg theory" (Gunkel) and the view that "the r-ah corresponds to the winds which Marduk sends against Tiâmat," suggested as the most probable view that "r-ah 'elohîm means 'spirit of God,' but is substituted for an original r-ah, 'wind,' in order to bring the personality of God into the cosmogony from the beginning." Albright, however, thinks that "the r-ah 'elohîm was evidently still thought of as exercising a 'sexual' influence upon the teh"m." The verb rahap ('hovered'), according to him, suggests that "the r-ah 'elohîm was conceived of originally in the form of a bird (Albright 1924: 368 and n. 10).

Recently, DeRoche suggested that just as the r-ah 'wind' in Genesis 8:1 and Exodus 14:21 "leads to the division within the bodies of water, and consequently, the appearance of dry land," so "the r-ah 'elohîm 'wind or spirit of God' of Genesis 1:2c must also be a reference to the creative activity of the deity" (1988: 314-15). However, he holds, r-ah 'elohîm is not "a wind sent by God," that is to say, a creature, but "a hypostasis for 'elohîm." He does not think that it is "part of the description of chaos." According to him, "It expresses Elohim's control over the cosmos and his ability to impose his will upon it. As part of v 2 it is part of the description of the way things were before Elohim executes any specific act of creation" (1988: 318).

To be continued...

(Reprinted by permission from I Studied Inscriptions From Before the Flood, ed. R.S. Hess and D.T. Tsumura, Winona Lake IN: Eisenbrauns, pp. 27-34.)

David T. Tsumura is Professor of Old Testament at Japan Bible Seminary, Tokyo. He is author of The Earth and the Waters in Genesis 1 and 2: A Linguistic Investigation (1989), as well as numerous articles on the Hebrew Bible and Semitic languages.


 

NOTES

  1. For a useful summary of recent critical discussions, see Wenham 1987: xxv-xlii; Wenham 1988; Whybray 1987: 17-131.
  2. Alter 1981: 141-17. As an example of contradiction between Genesis 1 and 2, he notes that in Genesis 1 the woman was created "at the same time and in the same manner" as the man (p. 145). However, in Genesis 1:27, which constitutes a three-line "parallelism," the human being is simply described as being created as male and female. The text does not necessarily imply the simultaneous creation of both sexes.
  3. For the literary structure of Genesis 1, see below.
  4. See below.
  5. Tsumura 1989: 168. This conclusion is entirely different from the traditional critical view, represented by von Rad that the nature of the earth-waters relationship in 1:2 ("watery chaos") is totally different from that in 2:5-6 ("dry chaos"). See von Rad 1961: 76-77; also Otzen 1980: 40-41.
  6. For recent works on the discourse analysis of Genesis, see Longacre 1989 and Anderson 1987. For a brief summary of discourse analysis with bibliographies see Bodine 1987.
  7. For this "general-detailed pattern" in Ugaritic, Akkadian and Egyptian literatures, see Tsumura 1984: 18-19 n. 37. The same pattern appears also in Japanese narrative stories such as the initial section of "Suma" in The Story of Genji; see Tsumura 1984: 77 n. 64. For the pattern in the genealogical doublets, see Hess 1990: 146-47.
  8. On this term, see Tsumura 1988: 258-60.
  9. For the chiastic structure of 2:4, see Cassuto 1961: 98-99; Wenham 1987: 55.
  10. For a useful translation and discussion of this text, see Heidel 1963; also Speiser 1969. The most recent translation can be found in Dalley 1991: 233-74.
  11. Lambert (1980: 71-72) discusses the nature of "Enuma elish," which is "in reality occupied with the ascent of Marduk in the pantheon" and whose "creation account takes only a subordinate position within the whole." The myth, according to him, was probably composed around 1100 BC and it is "extremely eclectic." In A New Look (1965: 291), he concludes similarly: "The Epic of Creation is not a norm of Babylonian or Sumerian cosmology. It is a sectarian and aberrant combination of mythological threads woven into an unparalleled compositum."
  12. For a detailed discussion, see Tsumura 1989: 62-65. I also note that if any comparison with Genesis 1:2 should be drawn from Ugaritic materials, it would be with the Canaanite god El's residence at the source of 'two oceans' (thmtm). This association of a creator-god with his watery abode or domain can be seen also in the case of Ea, one of the Mesopotamian triad deities. This motif of a watery beginning appears also in Egyptian, Anatolian, and Greek myths. For a detailed discussion, see Tsumura 1989, chapter 8.
  13. The cosmology in vv. 1-2 is bipartite, not tripartite, describing the entire world in terms of "heavens and earth."

REFERENCES

What does the fossil record teach us about evolution?

 

Fossils

What does the fossil record really teach concerning the theory of evolution? Do the fossils demonstrate the progression from simple structures to complex organisms? The following facts need to be considered:

The fossil record does not provide evidence in support for Evolution. "Fossils are a great embarrassment to Evolutionary theory and offer strong support for the concept of Creation." (Dr. Gary Parker, Ph.D., Biologist/paleontologist and former Evolutionist)

 

Where are all the human fossils?

 

What happened to all the people who were not on board Noah's Ark? If there were many millions of people populating the earth at the time of the Flood as creationists have suggested, wouldn't many of those people have been buried in Flood sediments? So why do we not find hundreds or even thousands of human fossils in the rock layers regarded as Flood sediments, with perhaps even some human fossils alongside, say, dinosaur fossils?

These are, of course, fair questions that are commonly asked. Because of our understanding of the Flood from the Scriptures, we might expect to find human fossils in Flood strata, so it is rather surprising, at first glance, that we don't find any. However, Scripture (backed up by so much other evidence) is very clear that there was a global Flood and the pre-Flood people were destroyed, so there must obviously be an explanation for this lack of human fossils. Consequently, we are going to attempt an explanation by exploring possible processes during the Flood and logical deductions from present observations that could help us understand why there are no undisputed human fossils found in Flood strata.

Reported artifacts and skeletons

There are some claims and reports of human artifacts and remains in rock layers that are clearly part of the Flood sediments. However, many of these claims are not adequately documented in any scientific sense, while those few reports that have appeared in the scientific and related literature remain open to question or other interpretations. For example, the book Ancient Man: A Handbook of Puzzling Artifacts(1) looks like an impressive and voluminous collection of such evidence, but on closer examination many of the artifacts, though puzzling archaeologically, still belong to the post-Flood era, while other reports and claims are either antiquated or sketchy and amateurish.

Often lay scientists claiming to have found human artifacts or fossils have not recorded specific location details, so that professional scientists investigating the claims have had difficulty finding the location from which the sample in question came. ALSO, lay scientists have in the past not kept some of the rock which encloses the fossil or artifact as proof of its in situ occurrence. These two oversights have often made it well nigh impossible to reconstruct and/or prove where fossils or artifacts came from, thus rendering such finds virtually useless.

Fossilized hammers and supposed human footprints in ancient geological strata, regarded by evolutionists as deposited millions of years before man evolved, but regarded by creationists as Flood deposits, are extremely difficult to document scientifically above reproach and/or with any conclusive finality. (Merely finding rock around an implement does not prove it is pre-Flood.)

For example, it has been claimed that a gold chain was found in black coal.(2) However, the artifact evidently was exhibited as a clean gold chain with no coal clinging to it, so we see no evidence that the chain was actually found in the coal, just the claim that it was. While one would never assume any dishonesty on the part of the people concerned, because proper scientific procedures have not been followed the exhibit has proven to be almost useless in convincing a generally skeptical scientific community and apathetic lay public.

Thus, should genuine human fossils or artifacts from the time of Noah's Flood be found, then it is mandatory that proper scientific procedures be followed to document the geological context, in order to guarantee that the scientific significance of such a find is unequivocally demonstrated. Regretfully, of course, the hardened skeptic would still remain unconvinced, but at least such a find may still awaken some in the apathetic public and a few of the more open-minded scientists.

What is needed, of course, are actual human bones fossilized in situ as an integral part of rock strata that are demonstrably ancient in evolutionary terms, and therefore are usually Flood sediments of the creationist framework for earth history. Yet here is where the real hard unequivocal evidence is lacking and why people ask the question "Where are all the human fossils?"

We simply cannot point to the report of a human skull found in so-called Tertiary brown coal in Germany, for there is no definitive scientific report available on this object, even though its existence has been verified by the staff of the Mining Academy in Freiberg.(3) If it is a coalified human skull, how is it possible to distinguish it from a clever carving in such a way that it becomes conclusive proof? Even if it were demonstrated as genuine, are we sure that the Tertiary brown coal in question was a Flood stratum? In some parts of the world some of the isolated so-called Tertiary sedimentary basins could easily be classified, according to some creationist geological schemes, as post-Flood strata. After all, the early Flood geologists, prior to the advent of Lyellian uniformitarianism and the evolutionary geological time-scale, applied the term "Tertiary" to those rock strata that they believed to be postFlood.

The controversial Guadeloupe skeletons are another case in point.(4) Without wishing to take sides in the debate, and in any case the hard data are still inconclusive either way, the fact remains that even if perchance these skeletons were so-called Miocene, that in and of itself would still not prove that the skeletons were in Flood sediments and therefore represented the remains of pre-Flood people. Being a subdivision of the so-called Tertiary, these Miocene rocks may still be post-Flood sediments and so these Guadeloupe skeletons may still not be human fossils from Noah's Flood.

Perhaps the fossilized human skeletons that come closest to having been pre-Flood humans buried in Flood strata are those skeletons found at Moab, Utah (USA).(5) In a copper mine there, two definitely human skeletons were found in Cretaceous "age" sandstone (supposedly more than 65 million years old), the bones still joined together naturally and stained green with copper carbonate. While many regard these bones as recently buried, there still remains the remote possibility that they are pre-Flood human "fossils".

We can only concur that there is no definite unequivocal evidence of human remains in those rock strata that can definitely be identified as Flood sediments. This realization is at first rather perplexing. But some clues to unravelling this puzzle emerge on investigation.

The nature of the fossil record

Let's begin by considering the nature of the fossil record. Most people don't realize that in terms of numbers of fossils 95% of the fossil record consists of shallow marine organisms such as corals and shellfish.(6) Within the remaining 5%, 95% are all the algae and plant/tree fossils, including the vegetation that now makes up the trillions of tonnes of coal, and all the other invertebrate fossils including the insects. Thus the vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) together make up very little of the fossil record -- in fact, 5% of 5%, which is a mere 0.25% of the entire fossil record. So comparatively speaking there are very, very few amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal fossils, yet so much is often made of them. For example, the number of dinosaur skeletons in all the world's museums (both public and university) totals only about 2,100.(7) Furthermore, of this 0.25% of the fossil record which is vertebrates, only 1% of that 0.25% (or 0.0025%) are vertebrate fossils that consist of more than a single bone! For example, there's only one Stegosaurus skull that has been found, and many of the horse species are each represented by only one specimen of one tooth!(8)

In any regional area where vertebrate fossils are found, there is a general tendency for these land animals to be higher up in the rock strata sequence on top of the strata containing marine organisms. This has been interpreted by evolutionists as representing the evolutionary sequence of life from marine invertebrates through fish and amphibians to the land-based vertebrates.

However, this same observation can be more reasonably explained by Flood geologists as due to the order of burial of the different ecological zones of organisms by the Flood waters. For example, shallow marine organisms/ ecological zones would be the first destroyed by the fountains of the great deep breaking open, with the erosional runoff from the land due to the torrential rainfall concurrently burying them. On this basis then we would probably not expect to find human remains in the early Flood strata, which would contain only shallow marine organisms. The fossil record as we understand it at the moment certainly fits with this.

Additionally, the majority of the few mammal fossils in the fossil record are in the so-called Tertiary strata, which most creationist geologists nowadays regard as post-Flood strata. If this is the case, then there really aren't very many mammal fossils in the late Flood sediments (there are a few mammal fossils in the so-called Mesozoic rocks). Consequently, it's not only human fossils that are not found in the Flood sediments, but there is a relative lack of other mammal fossils also.

Of course, in the post-Flood era humans would have been able to make the necessary decisions to get away from the local residual catastrophes responsible for the post-Flood (Tertiary) strata, so we wouldn't expect to find humans fossilized in post-Flood sediments like we find other mammals.

Another problem in the fossil record is, as we have already seen, the fragmentary nature of what is often found, which makes identification difficult. For example, "a five million year-old piece of one tooth!(8)

Destruction of skeletons

The next question to ask is: Would all the people still alive when the Flood waters finally covered all the land and swept them away be buried and preserved as fossils in the later Flood sediments? Can we assume that there was no destruction of the people's bodies in the Flood waters and by other processes operating during the Flood and subsequently? Probably not!

The turbulence of the water, even in a local flood, can be horrific, particularly when the fast-moving current picks up not only sand and mud, but large boulders. Under such conditions, human bodies would probably be thrown around like flotsam and would tend to be destroyed by the agitation and abrasion.

But even if human bodies were buried in the later Flood sediments, destruction could still occur subsequently (that is, post-deposition). For example, if ground waters permeating through the sediments (such as sandstone) contain sufficient oxygen, then the oxygen would probably oxidize the organic molecules in the buried bodies and so destroy them. (This could be regarded as a type of weathering.) Likewise, chemically active ground waters could also be capable of dissolving human bones, removing all trace of buried people.

Many Flood sediments have also undergone chemical and mineralogical changes due to the temperatures and pressures of burial, plus the presence of the water trapped in between the sediment grains. This process of change, known technically as metamorphism, eventually obliterates many fossils in the original sediments, whether they be fossils of shellfish, corals or mammals, particularly with increasing depth of burial, and higher temperatures and pressures.

Yet another process that could destroy buried human bodies would be the intrusion of molten (igneous) rock into the Flood sediments, and through them to the surface to form volcanoes and lava flows. Such processes involve heat intense enough to melt rocks and recrystallize them. As the hot molten rock rises through the sediments, the sediments are often baked by the heat, and again chemical and mineralogical changes occur that obliterate many contained fossils.

All of these factors greatly lengthen the odds of finding a human fossil today.

Differential suspension

Not only would the turbulence of the sediment-laden Flood waters probably destroy some of the human bodies swept away, but differential suspension in the waters could have made it hard to bury those bodies that survived the turbulence. This is because human bodies when immersed in water tend to bloat, and therefore become lighter and float to the surface. This is what is meant by differential suspension. The human bodies floating on the water surface could therefore for some time be carrion for whatever birds were still flying around seeking places to land and food to eat. Likewise, marine carnivores still alive in their watery habitat would also devour corpses.

Furthermore, if the bodies floated long enough and were not eaten as carrion, then they would still have tended to either decompose or be battered to destruction on and in the waters before any burial could take place. This could explain why we still don't find human fossils higher up in the fossil record/geological column, that is, the later Flood sediments.

When we take all these factors into account, it would seem unlikely that many of the people present at the time the Flood waters came could have ended up being fossilized. Even if a handful, perhaps a few thousand, were preserved, when such a small number is distributed through the vast volume of Flood sediments, the chances of one being found at the surface are mathematically very, very low, let alone of being found by a professional scientist who could recognize its significance and document it properly.

Putting all these factors together and assuming that they are all realistic possibilities, then the probability of finding a human fossil in the Flood sediments today would be very, very small. To date, our investigations of the fossil record indicate that there are no human fossils in Flood strata, so perhaps the above explanations could be some of the reasons why this is so.

God's purpose for the Flood

Finally, however, we need to consider the purpose for which God sent the Flood, for this provides yet another reason, and perhaps the main reason, why we do not find any human fossils in the Flood sediments and why we should not expect to find any. In Genesis 6:7 we read that God said He would destroy man, whom He had created from the face of the earth. So perhaps God deliberately made sure that the Flood waters did just that, destroying every trace of man and his artifacts from the pre-Flood world, if this is what He meant by what He had recorded in the Scriptures.

Yes, God did say that He would send a Flood to destroy the beasts of the field and every living thing in whose nostrils was the breath of life also, but yet we find fossils of all the animals, etc. How then can it be that we find animal fossils and not human fossils or artifacts, when God said that He was equally going to destroy the animals and man from the face of the earth by the Flood?

Elsewhere in Scripture we learn that as far as God's judgment of sin is concerned, when God says that He wants the offenders removed, then this means utter destruction. We see this in the case of the children of Israel moving into the Promised Land. They were told to utterly destroy the Canaanites because of their evil and evil practices. God had pronounced judgment on the Canaanites and the Israelites were but His instruments in executing judgment. The fact that they didn't utterly destroy the Canaanites ended up being a lingering malignant problem, as the Israelites repeatedly lapsed into the sinful practices of the Canaanites who had survived the conquest.

Similarly, we see that God issued the instruction to King Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites, again as a judgment on them for their evil (1 Samuel 15). Again, when God meant His judgment to be utter destruction, He meant what He said, and Saul's disobedience in not carrying through this instruction led to his own downfall.

It would seem to us unloving of God to execute such relentless judgment, but such is God's abhorrence of sin that its penalty must be seen for what it is -utter destruction and removal of all trace. If God cannot tolerate sin (His holiness cannot "look" on sin), then all trace of sin has to be removed in judgment, which necessitates utter destruction. Should human remains have been allowed to survive the Flood as fossils, then there could also have been the possibility of such remains being worshiped and revered.

However, at least some of the animals became fossilized. Though Genesis 6 implies that they were affected by the entry of sin into the world, they were not morally accountable. Also, they serve as a witness to God's judgment at the time of the Flood. In other words, when we look at the fossil record and seem not to see any human fossils, this should remind us how much God hates sin. We should see the fossils as a sober reminder of the penalty of sin and the character of God's judgment, and as a testimony to the reality of Noah's Flood and the trustworthiness of the Scriptural record.

The Apostle Peter takes up this theme in 2 Peter 3. He says that just as God created the world and judged the world the first time by the Flood, then so too He is going to keep His word and judge the world the second time by fire. Man therefore should take heed and make peace with his Creator while there is still time, before God comes again as Judge with sudden and swift judgment.

Conclusions

As far as we are aware at the present time, there are no indisputable human fossils in the fossil record that we could say belong to the pre-Flood human culture(s). When we endeavour to understand some of the processes that may have occurred during the Flood, and also the real nature of the fossil record, we are not embarrassed by the seeming lack of human fossils.

We don't have all the explanations as to how the evidence came to be that way, and it may be that in the future we will discover some human fossils. However, there is also much about the fossil record that the evolutionists have a hard time explaining. On the other hand, we should also realize that we don't have all the answers either, and we never will.

Even though God has left us with evidence for creation and the Flood, the Bible still says that without faith it is impossible to please and believe Him (Hebrews 11:6). Because we weren't there at the time of the Flood we cannot scientifically prove exactly what happened, so there will always be aspects that will involve our faith. However, it is not blind faith. As we have investigated the evidence, we have seen nothing to contradict what the Bible says about a world Flood. We can be satisfied that there are reasonable explanations, consistent with Scripture, for the seeming lack of human fossils in Flood rocks.

Footnotes

  1. Ancient Man: A Handbook of Puzzling Artifacts, compiled by William R. Corliss, The Sourcebook Project, Glen Ann, Maryland, USA, 1978.
  2. "A Necklace of a Prehistoric God", Morrisonville Times, Illinois, June 11, 1891.

Evidently, in 1889 a Mrs S.W. Culp broke a chunk of coal and found embedded therein a 10- inch [25.4 centimeters], eight-carat gold chain, or so it was claimed (Wysong R.L., The Creation/Evolution Controversy, Inquiry Press, Midland, Michigan, 1976, p. 370).

  1. Whitcomb, J.C. and Morris, H.M., The Genesis Flood, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Philadelphia, 1961, pp. 175-176 quote from Otto Stutzer, Geology of Coal (translated by A.C. Noe, University of Chicago Press, 1940), p. 271:

"In the coal collection in the Mining Academy in Freiberg [Stutzer was Professor of Geology and Mineralogy in the School of Mines at Freiberg, in Saxony], there is a puzzling human skull composed of brown coal and manganiferous and phosphatie limonite, but its source is not known. This skull was described by Karsten and Dechen in 1842." I (the present author) have personally verified the existence of this object via correspondence with Prof. Dr R. Vulpius, Professor of Coal Geology at the Freiberg Mining Academy. He describes it as a petrified object which resembles a human skull, and indicated that wide-ranging scientific studies to elucidate its composition and origin were in progress.

  1. The existence and potential significance of these skeletons were first brought to our attention by Bill Cooper, "Human fossils from Noah's Flood", Ex Nihilo, vol. 5, no. 3, January 1983, pp. 6-9. Since then debate has raged in the pages of Ex Nihilo (vol. 6, no. 2, November 1983, pp. 31-35) and the Ex Nihilo Technical Journal (vol. 1, 1984, pp. 3051; vol. 2, 1986, pp. 119-153 and vol. 4, 1990, pp. 108-137).

The skeletons do exist, one being housed in the collections of the British Museum (Natural History) in London, and the report of the excavators indicate that more are in the limestone strata east of the village of Moule on the island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.

  1. Burdick, C.L., "Discovery of human skeletons in Cretaceous Formation", Creation Research Society Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 2, September 1973, pp. 109-110.
  2. Wise, K.P., "The Flood and the fossil record", an informal talk given at the Institute for Creation Research, San Diego (USA) on August 17, 1988.
  3. Lewin, R., 1990. New Scientist, vol. 128, no. 1745, p. 30.
  4. Wise, Ref. 6.
  5. Dr Tim White (anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley), as quoted by lan Anderson, "Hominoid collar-bone exposed as dolphin's rib", New Scientist, 28 April 1983, p. 199.

How could all the human races come from Noah, his three sons and their wives?

 

According to the Bible, all humans on earth today are descended from Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives, and before that from Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-11). But today we have many different groups, often called "races," with what seem to be greatly differing features. The most obvious of these is skin color. Many see this as a reason to doubt the Bible's record of history. They believe that the various groups could have arisen only by evolving separately over tens of thousands of years. However, as we shall see, this does not follow from the biological evidence.

The Bible tells us how the population that descended from Noah's family had one language and by living in one place were disobeying God's command to "fill the earth" (Genesis 9:1, 11:4). God confused their language, causing a break-up of the population into smaller groups which scattered over the earth (Genesis 11:8-9). Modern genetics show how, following such a break-up of a population, variations in skin color, for example, can develop in only a few generations. There is good evidence that the various people groups we have today have not been separated for huge periods of time.1

What Is a "Race"?

There is really only one race -- the human race. The Bible teaches us that God has "made of one blood all nations of men" (Acts 17:26). Scripture distinguishes people by tribal or national groupings, not by skin color or physical appearance. Clearly, though, there are groups of people who have certain features (e.g., skin color) in common, which distinguish them from other groups. We prefer to call these "people groups" rather than "races," to avoid the evolutionary connotations associated with the word "race."

All peoples can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. This shows that the biological differences between the "races" are not very great. In fact, the DNA differences are trivial. The DNA of any two people in the world would typically differ by just 0.2 percent.2 Of this, only 6 percent can be linked to racial categories; the rest is "within race" variation.

Variation in DNA between human individuals
The variation in DNA between human individuals shows that racial differences are trivial. This genetic unity means, for instance, that white Americans, although ostensibly far removed from black Americans in phenotype, can sometimes be better tissue matches for them than are other black Americans.


Anthropologists generally classify people into a small number of main racial groups, such as the Caucasoid (European or "white"),3 the Mongoloid (which includes the Chinese, Inuit or Eskimo, and Native Americans), the Negroid (black Africans), and the Australoid (the Australian Aborigines). Within each classification, there may be many different sub-groups.

Virtually all evolutionists would now say that the various people groups did not have separate origins. That is, different people groups did not each evolve from a different group of animals. So they would agree with the biblical creationist that all people groups have come from the same original population. Of course, they believe that such groups as the Aborigines and the Chinese have had many tens of thousands of years of separation. Most believe that there are such vast differences between the groups that there had to be many years for these differences to develop.

One reason for this is that many people believe that the observable differences arise from some people having unique features in their hereditary make-up which others lack. This is an understandable but incorrect idea. Let's look at skin color, for instance.

What about SKIN COLORS?

It is easy to think that since different groups of people have "yellow" skin, "red" skin, "black" skin, "white" skin, and "brown" skin, there must be many different skin pigments or colorings. And since different chemicals for coloring would mean a different genetic recipe or code in the hereditary blueprint in each people group, it appears to be a real problem. How could all those differences develop within a short time?

Black woman and man. Photo copyrighted. Courtesy of Eden Comm.

However, we all have the same coloring pigment in our skin -- melanin. This is a dark-brownish pigment that is produced in different amounts in special cells in our skin. If we had none (as do people called albinos, who inherit a mutation-caused defect, and cannot produce melanin), then we would have a very white or pink skin coloring. If we produced a little melanin, we would be European white. If our skin produced a great deal of melanin, we would be a very dark black. And in between, of course, are all shades of brown. There are no other significant skin pigments.4

In summary, from currently available information, the really important factor in determining skin color is melanin -- the amount produced.

Eye differences - Caucasian vs. Asian. Illustration copyrighted.This situation is true not only for skin color. Generally, whatever feature we may look at, no people group has anything that is essentially different from that possessed by any other. For example, the Asian, or almond, eye differs from a typical Caucasian eye in having more fat around them. Both Asian and Caucasian eyes have fat -- the latter simply have less.

Man in bathing suit. Photo copyrighted. Provided by Eden Communications.What does melanin do?

It protects the skin against damage by ultraviolet light from the sun. If you have too little melanin in a very sunny environment, you will easily suffer sunburn and skin cancer. If you have a great deal of melanin, and you live in a country where there is little sunshine, it will be harder for you to get enough vitamin D (which needs sunshine for its production in your body). You may then suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which could cause a bone disorder such as rickets.

We also need to be aware that we are not born with a genetically fixed amount of melanin. Rather, we have a genetically fixed potential to produce a certain amount, and the amount increases in response to sunlight. For example, you may have noticed that when your Caucasian friends (who spent their time indoors during winter) headed for the beach at the beginning of summer they all had more or less the same pale white skin color. As the summer went on, however, some became much darker than others.

How is it that many different skin colors can arise in a short time? Remember, whenever we speak of different "colors" we are referring to different shades of the one color, melanin.

Child. Photo copyrighted. Provided by Eden Comm.

If a person from a very black people group marries someone from a very white group, their offspring (called mulattos) are mid-brown. It has long been known that when mulattos marry each other, their offspring may be virtually any "color," ranging from very dark to very light. Understanding this gives us the clues we need to answer our question, but first we must look, in a simple way, at some of the basic principles of heredity.

Heredity

DNA drawing. Copyrighted, Eden Communications.

Each of us carries information in our body that describes us in the way a blueprint and specifications describe a furnished building. It determines not only that we will be human beings, rather than cabbages or crocodiles, but also whether we will have blue eyes, short nose, long legs, etc. When a sperm fertilizes an egg, all the information that specifies how the person will be built (ignoring such superimposed factors as exercise and diet) is already present. Most of this information is in coded form in our DNA.5

To illustrate coding, a piece of string with beads on it can carry a message in Morse code. The piece of string, by the use of a simple sequence of short beads, long beads (to represent the dots and dashes of Morse code), and spaces, can carry the same information as the English word "help" typed on a sheet of paper. The entire Bible could be written thus in Morse code on a long enough piece of string.

In a similar way, the human blueprint is written in a code (or language convention) which is carried on very long chemical strings of DNA. This is by far the most efficient information storage system known, greatly surpassing any foreseeable computer technology.6This information is copied (and reshuffled) from generation to generation as people reproduce.

The word "gene" refers to a small part of that information which has the instructions for only one type of enzyme, for example.7 It may be simply understood as a portion of the "message string" containing only one specification.

For example, there is one gene that carries the instructions for making hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. If that gene has been damaged by mutation (such as copying mistakes during reproduction), the instructions will be faulty, so it will often make a crippled form of hemoglobin, if any. (Diseases such as sickle-cell anemia and thalassemia result from such mistakes.)

So, with an egg which has just been fertilized -- where does all its information, its genes, come from? One half comes from the father (carried in the sperm), and the other half from the mother (carried in the egg).

Genes come in pairs, so in the case of hemoglobin, for example, we have two sets of code (instruction) for hemoglobin manufacture, one coming from the mother and one from the father.

This is a very useful arrangement, because if you inherit a damaged gene from one parent hat could instruct your cells to produce a defective hemoglobin, you are still likely to get a normal one from the other parent which will continue to give the right instructions. Thus, only half the hemoglobin in your body will be defective. (In fact, each of us carries hundreds of genetic mistakes, inherited from one or the other of our parents, which are usefully "covered up" by being matched with a normal gene from the other parent ľ