Part I: The Extent of the Flood
Physical Causes, Time, and the
Location of the Flood
AT THE present
moment there simply does not seem to be any way to reconcile
current anthropological opinion regarding the antiquity of man
with the biblical statement that some 5,000 years ago the world's
population was reduced to eight souls in one single family.
1 of 15
It is believed on the basis of
C14 dating methods and some other less precise means of age-determination
that the New World was quite widely settled at least 10,000 years
ago by people who appear to be related to the modern native population
by the existence of unbroken cultural traditions. In other parts
of the world manis traced back in a semi-civilized state to at
least the same date though the continuity of cultural traditions
is not always so clearly discernible.
Almost all the claims made by Bible
students for missing generations in biblical genealogies, which
are inspired by the desire to extend the over-all chronology
of Scripture, apply only to the period from Adam to Noah. Such
gaps as can be demonstrated cannot be employed to set the date
of the Flood much beyond 5,000 years ago and therefore serve
little toward a reconciliation of the secular and biblical chronologies.
At the moment almost all the currently acceptable methods of
age-determination stand against such a late date for the reduction
of the world's population to only eight people. But it has often
happened in the history of science that a single discovery has
initiated a shift of opinion allowing contrary views to be accepted.
In the meantime it serves no useful purpose to deny the existence
of this conflict of the evidence: we can only wait.
But we can at least examine the
evidence which exists for: (1) a recent Flood of considerable
proportions in the general
area of Asia Minor; (2) the initiation and spread of the basic
civilization of the modern world from this locality thereafter;
and (3) a subsequent population growth rate which makes very
good sense if we allow a fresh start to have been made by a single
family of eight people something less than 5,000 years ago.
Briefly, the evidence for each of these
three claims lies in the existence of young and rapidly drying
lakes and raised beaches and progressive desiccation within recent
years of the area in question, in archaeological research tracing
back the roots of civilization in the Middle East not to Egypt
as was once thought, nor to Mesopotamia as was later held, but
to the Iranian Highland Plateau; in population growth. This last
is hard to assess since there is no guarantee that it has been
uniform. Yet the growth curve which can be established on the
basis of fairly dependable information shows that there is nothing
unreasonable about the biblical record in this respect. We shall
consider each of these points in greater detail.
1. Evidence of Recent Inundation
It is stated
in Genesis 11:1, 2 that the whole earth (i.e., land) was of one
language and one speech and that "as they journeyed from
the east" they discovered a plain in the land of Shinar
(Sumer), and they settled there. Verse 3 introduces the reader
to the building of the Tower of Babel and states that they had
no stone to build with, and therefore resorted to the use of
mud bricks. Hence there is no question of the identity of this
"land of Shinar"; it was a land whose people specialized
in building with sun-dried bricks for this very reason. But it
is important to note that this plain was settled by people who
"journeyed from the east". Archaeology indicates clearly
that those who settled in Babylonia first entered the country
from the south, evidently coming from Elam to the east. Tracing
these people back from Elam, we find prior settlements to the
north as, for example, at Sialk. It is fairly certain that the
people who settled both in Sumeria, in Elam, and in the Indus
Valley originated in the Iranian Highland Plateau.
St. Chad Boscawen, one of the earlier
prominent Cuneiform scholars, points out that the ideographs
used by these early settlers in Mesopotamia bore witness to the
place of their origin: (12)
12. Boscawen, St. Chad, "Historical Evidence
of the Migration of Abram," Transactions of the Victorian
Institute, vol.20, 1886, p. 94.
writings, like the Egyptian and Hittite characters, in the more
ancient forms picture the home surroundings of the people who
invented them. The picture would be derived from objects around,
as an Eskimo would draw a reindeer but not a lion, a bear but
not a tiger and firs but not palms. So, when we turn to this
ancient series of sketches, placed before us in the earliest
forms of the Cuneiform characters, we at once see that they must
have been developed in a locality different from Babylonia --
a more northern and mountainous one.
Thus the sign for Mountain
and for Country are synonymous,
showing that the Country, and par excellence the home
Country, was a mountainous one. . . .
In the fauna of the land we find
individual ideographs for the bear and the wolf, but not for
the lion, tiger, and jackal, which were common in Mesopotamia.
And still more important is the fact that the compound ideograph
for camel denotes an animal with two humps -- that is, the species
of Upper Asia as distinct from the Arabian species. In the flora
we find the pine and the cedar but not the palm, while the earliest
form of the house or dwelling is a cave.
All these facts tend to show that
if the Cuneiform writing did undergo a considerable enlargement
and modification in Chaldea, yet, at any rate, the first elements
were invented in a land differing in many respects from the Delta
of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley.
brings us close to the place where the ark settled and the world
began to be re-populated. There, then, is the scene of the Flood
-- in which case it did not take place in the Mesopotamian plain.
To me, this seems clear, yet a great many commentators assume
the Flood to have been in Mesopotamia, and it is on this basis
that the so-called Flood Deposits found by Woolley and others
in a few cities have been widely heralded as "proof"
of the reality of the Flood. (Sir Leonard Woolley made this claim,
not, I think, because he was concerned with supporting the veracity
of Scripture but rather because it was a selling point which
gained Christian support for his labours.) However, it is evident
that these Flood Deposits are exceedingly limited in extent and
although locally the continuity of the life of the particular
settlements affected was broken, other contemporary cities continued
without any such disruption. This in itself would surely indicate
that we are not here dealing with Noah's Flood at all.
If Armenia was the scene of the
Flood, and Mesopotamia was only settled afterward, then the site
of the Garden of Eden was not in Babylonia at all. This is no
new idea -- but, popularly, it is generally assumed that it was,
simply because of the mention of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers
always associated with this area. However, two other rivers are
mentioned in Eden and though their identity
is not certain, it seems
clear that they do not exist in Mesopotamia. In all, four rivers
are thus mentioned.
In Armenia, which is a Highland
Zone as we have seen, a number of rivers have their source, including
the Tigris and Euphrates. One of the four rivers named is said
to flow about the land of Cush, but this is only one of several
localities named Cush which are known to have existed. The best
known of these later came to be identified with Ethiopia. But
Ethiopia was not the only Cush. There was evidently one locality
of this name in the Highland Zone. Various attempts have been
made to identify Pison and Gihon, but quite possibly the site
of Eden was so modified by the Flood as to be no longer recognizable.
At any rate the existence of four rivers seems to exclude Mesopotamia.
Pison has been identified with
a certain river, Phasis, known to the ancient Greeks, which rose
in the Caucasus and flowed into the Black Sea. Havilah is perhaps
that area known by this name between the Black Sea and the Caspian
Sea, where gold and precious stones have been found. Jason, whose
name is associated with the "Golden Fleece" (probably
a sheepskin used to filter the gold from the streams of that
area) went to Colchis, a district through which the river Phasis
(or Pison?) flowed. Gihon is more obscure.
It seems, therefore, in view of
the existence of these four rivers, three of which are reasonably
well identified, that Eden was in Armenia, and this is in keeping
with the conclusion that the Flood was sent to this area to destroy
There is one piece of evidence
that the Garden of Eden was in Babylonia, namely, the existence
of a very ancient city called Enoch (or Unuk, or Ereck as various
tablets render it). This is the name given by Cain to the first
city he built (Genesis 4:17). But the re-appearance in Babylonia
of this name has no more significance than the re-appearance
of the name London for a city in Ontario. It is not necessary
to suppose that Cain built the Unuk in Mesopotamia, but only
that his descendants long afterward remembered the name of the
original city and chose it for their new settlement -- a common
Moreover, we find considerable
evidence today of progressive desiccation turning what was quite
recently a well-watered area into a dry one. Rendle Short, referring
to the findings of George Frederick Wright, had this to say:
13. Short, A. Rendle, The Bible and Modern
Research, Marshall, Morgan and Scott, London undated, 2nd
edition, p. 63.
plenty of proof that the early home of the human race, Northern
Persia, Armenia and the neighbouring countries, has been under
water at a comparatively recent date geologically speaking --
certainly since the Ice Age.
At Trebizond, on the Black
Sea, there is a raised beach of 750 feet up the mountain. The
Caspian, the Sea of Aral and Lake Balkash have no outlet, but
their waters are still comparatively fresh. Therefore, they must
be of recent origin.
of Rendle Short's last remark is apparent when it is remembered
that the Dead Sea is anything but fresh, because it, too, has
no outlet. The water accumulates the salts carried into it by
various means, and the evaporation of the water serves only to
concentrate these salts. That the Caspian Sea should still be
fresh could be taken to mean that it has not been there any very
great length of time, or that it has been flushed out, or that
it has been added to very considerably.
Vere Gordon Childe remarks upon
this same circumstance, although he attributes it solely to a
much heavier rainfall at one time. (14)
On the Iranian Plateau the precipitation
[which he predicates], though insufficient to feed extensive
glaciers, filled the great hollows that are now salt deserts
with shallow inland seas whose presence tempered the severity
of the climate. . . .
In Persia and Baluchistan the high
strand lines encircling the old lakes bear witness to the flooding
of these inland seas, and into them flowed many streams that
are now lost in the desert.
In the same vein another authority, J. C.
Curry, made the following observation: (15)
There are several strands at
varying heights along the southern shores of the Caspian, among
the most clearly marked of which are those 600, 250, and 150
feet above the present level. Their weak development shows that,
as a rule, the Sea did not stand at any one level for a long
time. The state of their preservation shows that they are of
very recent origin.
Standard Bible Encyclopedia under
"Ararat" remarks upon the fact that this area was a
very appropriate place for man to make a fresh start. It is correctly
pointed out that the ark is said to have rested "upon the
mountains of Ararat" (Genesis 8:4), that is to say, in the
14. Childe, V. G., Fresh Light On the Most
Ancient East, Kegan Paul, London, 1935, p.24.
15. Curry, J. C., "Climate and Migration" in Antiquity,
September, 1928, p.295.
mountainous region of
Armenia rather than specifically upon one particular mountain.
In fact, the peak known today as Ararat rises to a height of
17,000 feet and therefore, if what we have said previously is
true, the ark cannot possibly have rested at the top of it. Moreover,
it is only in comparatively recent times that it has received
the name "Ararat." It is pointed out also "that
in early historic times there was a much more abundant rainfall
than there is now, so that the climate was then better adapted
to the wants of primitive man". Further it is stated that
. . . this elevated plateau of Armenia has still many attractions
and is eminently suited to have been the centre from which the
human race spread in all directions. Notwithstanding its high
elevation the region is fertile, furnishing abundant pasture,
and producing good crops of wheat and barley, while the vine
is indigenous (rather significant in
the light of Genesis 9:20).
elevation of the plateau is about 6,000 feet, and that of the
Iranian Highland Plateau, which is in one sense a continuation
of it, is about 4,000 feet. The gradual movement of the population
as it began to grow seems to have been into Asia Minor to the
west, into the Caucasus to the north, and down into Iran on the
east side of the Zagros Mountains, where a division led to the
settlement of the Indus Valley on the one hand and Southern Mesopotamia
on the other. The archaeological evidence here is quite strong,
and this is the direction
of flow -- and not the reverse.
We come, therefore, to a consideration
of this general area as the Cradle of Civilization and the centre
of dispersion of both men and animals.
2. The Iranian Highland Plateau: The Source of Domesticated Species and of Civilization
Until the late nineteenth century, the Middle
East had always been thought of as the Cradle of Civilization.
This was a natural conclusion since most of what we knew of proto-historic
times had been derived from Genesis. In confirmation of this
there existed the unanimous testimony of classical writers, both
Greek and Roman. If we limit ourselves to proto-history, i.e.,
that period which immediately preceded the sudden appearance
of civilized man, almost every archaeological find has supported
the more ancient view. Little by little the routes of migration
of existing nations and tribes in the New World, in the Far East,
in India, in Africa, in Scandinavia, in Russia, and in Europe
have been reconstructed and the flow-lines consistently converge
upon this area. Culturally
16. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia,
Howard-Severance, Chicago, 1915, vol.I.
speaking there is no
other competitor as a Cradle of Civilization.
But the fossil remains of early
man have been found almost everywhere except in this Cradle.
This proved to be a source of embarrassment to pre-historians,
because from an evolutionary point of view one would expect to
find the first half-men multiplying in this area and leaving
their fossil remains there. In the very nature of the case, more
highly evolved hominids as they arose would move out, away from
the central area.
Thus a kind of law would arise
that as one moved from the centre to the periphery one would
find the fossil remains becoming increasingly modern and advanced
in type. When the reverse was discovered it was customary to
assume that these peripheral individuals -- peripheral, that
is, to the Middle East -- were nature's first attempts
to evolve man and that they each came to nothing and died out.
Just exactly what happened at the centre that ultimately led
to modern man was never quite clear. It was a great relief to
these authorities when the South African fossils seemed to supply
good grounds for believing that modern types really did, after
all, arise from among such peripheral specimens, from which point
they presumably converged toward the Middle East.
At the present time, however, there
are serious grounds for challenging the claims of South Africa,
since from an evolutionary point of view these remains are far
too recent, and from a cultural point of view we do not have
the evidence to demonstrate any such convergence toward the center.
As a matter of fact, though the doctrine is not a popular one
today, cultural and physical degradation could easily account
for the existence of "low" types at the periphery.
In speaking of pre-historic man in Europe, H. J. Fleure made
this statement: (17)
traces of the men and cultures of the later part of the Old Stone
Age (known in Europe as the Aurignacian, Solutrean, and Magdalenian
phases) have been discovered in the Central Highland of Asia.
is not surprising. If the assumption is made that our ancestors
must always have been more primitive, it seems clear that they
may never be found, for they may in fact not have been more primitive.
The examination of this point is the subject of another Doorway
17. Fleure, H. J., The Races of Mankind,
Benn, London, 1930, p.45.
18. See "Fossil Remains of Early Man and the Record of Genesis",
Part I in Genesis and Early Man, vol.2 in The Doorway
Papers Series, Zondervan Pblishing Company.
Field, no mean authority, writing of the Iranian Plateau, pointed
out that (19)
. . . as a centre of dispersion Iran
has the unique position of being approximately equidistant from
China, Java, South Africa, and England, where the earliest human
remains have been found.
whose theories of climatic influence upon history are not accepted
too widely but whose knowledge in this area is unquestionable,
has postulated "that during the late Pleistocene times Southern
Iran was the only region in which temperature and humidity
were ideal not only for human conception and fertility, but also
for chances of survival" [his emphasis]. (20)
was of the opinion that Western Asia is the true home of man
because of the distribution pattern of early and of primitive
man. Thus he wrote: (21)
We know that the races were
differentiated before the dawn of civilization. Indeed, one result
of the study of the distribution of Man is to lead the writer
to the belief that the so-called "yellow" or Mongolian
type of man is a later product of human evolution than many Western
members of the so-called White or European type. . . . .
A series of zones is shown to exist
in the East Indies and Australasia which is so arranged that
the most primitive are found farthest from Asia, and the most
advanced nearest to Asia. This distribution about Asia is shown
to be true of the other "peninsulas" (Europe is such
a "peninsula"), and is of fundamental importance in
discussing the evolution and ethnological status of the peoples
concerned. . .
Whichever region we consider, Africa,
Europe, Australia, or America, we find that the major migrations
have always been from Asia.
points out how very similar these early marginal societies were
both physically and culturally, and he concludes that "Only
the spreading of racial zones from a common cradle-land can
possibly explain these affinities" [his emphasis].
The logic of this kind of argument
has been denied by anthropologists, but their counter arguments
are not very convincing. The distribution of fossil forms is
clearly not ideal from the
19. Field, Henry, "The Iranian Plateau
Race" in Asia, April,1940, p.217.
20. Huntington, Ellsworth: quoted by Henry Field, ref.19, p.217.
21. Taylor, Griffith, Environment, Race and Migration, University
of Toronto, 1945, 2nd edition., p.88.
evolutionary point of
view. Thus, E. A. Hooton, in opposing this view that the more
primitive fossils are found farthest from the centre of origin,
had this to say: (22)
The adoption of such a principle
would necessitate the conclusion that the places where one finds
existing primitive forms of any order of animal (including man)
are exactly the places where these animals could not have originated.
. . . But
this is the principle of "lucus a non lucendo" [finding
light where one ought not to] which, pushed to its logical extreme,
would lead us to seek for the birthplace of man in that area
where there are no traces of ancient man and none of any of his
But this is
exactly what we may be required to do. There are no truly primitive
precursors here, because man had none.
However, while such precursors
of man are absent in this central area, this is not at all true
of the plants and animals which are now domesticated. One of
the greatest authorities on plant and animal life from the point
of view of origins and migrations was the Russian scientist N.
I. Vavilov, who has since disappeared along with many others
who could not wholeheartedly support the government in power.
He spent many years tracing back species of plants and animals
to their probable "home". A few years ago he wrote
an article entitled "Asia: the Source of Species".
In this he demonstrated clearly that the majority of those species
of cultivated plants and domesticated animals which seemed to
have accompanied human settlements from very early times can
be traced back to wild forms in this area. He sums up the matter
in this way: (23)
The total number of species
of flowering plants in the entire world now known to botanists
is about one hundred and sixty thousand. These species are not
distributed equally over the face of the globe. . . .
The great majority of the cultivated
plants of the world trace their origin to Asia. Out of 640 important
cultivated plants, about 500 originated in Southern Asia. In
Asia alone we have established five of the principle regions
of cultivated plants. . . . The fifth region of origin in Asia
is the Southwestern Asiatic centre and includes Asia Minor, Trans-Caucasia,
Iran and Western Turkmenistan. This region is remarkable, first
of all, for its richness in numbers of species of wheat resistant
to different diseases. . . . There is no doubt that Armenia
is the chief home of cultivated wheat. Asia Minor and Trans-Caucasia
gave origin to rye which is represented here by a great number
of varieties and species. . . .
Our studies show definitely that
Asia is not only the home of the majority of modern cultivated
plants, but also of our chief domesticated animals such as the
cow, the yak, the buffalo, the zebu, sheep, goat, horse, and
pig. . . . The chief home of the cow and other cattle,
the Oriental type of horse, the goat and the sheep is specifically
Iran. . . .
22. Hooten, A. E., "Where Did Man Originate?"
in Antiquity, June, 1927, p.149.
23. Vavilov, N. 1., "Asia: Source of Species" in Asia,
February, 1937, p.113.
As the result
of a brilliant work of Dr. Sinskaya, the discovery was recently
made that the home of alfalfa, the world's most important forage
crop, is located in Trans-Caucasia and Iran. . .
From all these definitely established
facts the importance of Asia as the primary home of the
majority of cultivated plants and domesticated animals is quite
Osborn wrote some forty years ago , his observations as
follows are still fundamentally true: (24)
Both the human and the animal
inhabitants [of Europe] migrated in great waves from Asia and
from Africa, in the latter case, it being probably that the source
of the migratory wave was also in Asia, North Africa being merely
the route of passage for the majority of the forms. . . .
The great Cultures and great cultire
Races of Europe in pre-historic times came doubtless from Asia.
The men who used metals, who owned flocks and herds, and who
grew crops -- that is, the men out of whom it was possible to
develop modern civilization -- were all immigrants in Europe
who had originated and started up elsewhere.
In this extract
from Men of the Old Stone Age, Osborn had in mind, not
the subsequent migrations in historic times of people who brought
new cultural elements, but rather the pioneers who laid the foundations.
3. Population Growth Rate Since the Time
of the Flood
time periods based on population growth rates are not very reliable.
I have seen figures given for the population at the time of the
Flood which run from a few hundred thousand to several hundred
million. These calculations were based on certain premises which
the authors who made them considered quite reasonable. In all
such estimates it is these premises which are critical. It is
not by any means safe to assume that great longevity would necessarily
lead to a greatly accelerated population growth rate, though
it seems logical to suppose that it has some effect. For example,
a man whose normal life span is seventy years can reasonably
expect to begin raising children by the time he is twenty-five,
or approximately one-third of his total life span. On the other
hand, those who lived to be eight hundred or nine hundred years
old began to raise children, according to Genesis,
when they had achieved about one-seventh of their total span
of life. This in itself could be expected to lead to a somewhat
different population growth rate than is true today.
The number of variables involved
is so difficult to evaluate that it seems rather fruitless to
attempt any estimate of the number of people who perished in
the Flood. On the other hand, the population
24. 0sborn, Henry, Children of the Old
Stone Age, Scribners, N.Y., 1936, p.19.
growth rate since
that time can be treated with a little more precision. In
the first place, the date of the Flood can be established fairly
accurately from the Bible, because there do not appear to be
any serious gaps in the subsequent genealogies. Moreover,
the span of life soon fell to a level not greatly differing from
our own, in contrast to pre-Flood longevity. Furthermore, certain
information can be derived from Scripture regarding the initiation
of the Jewish people as a distinct family, which is useful here.
In estimating the time required
for the evolution of a new species from an old stock, it is quite
customary to calculate the number of supposed mutations required
to transform one type of animal into another. Allowing so many
centuries for each mutation to spread significantly through a
population, and multiplying this time unit by the number of mutations,
a period is estimated, usually in hundreds of thousands of years,
as a minimum within which such speciation could occur. These
estimates, based on intelligent guesswork, are given considerable
credence. The use of such methods of calculation is therefore
considered quite valid.
A similar method can be applied
to population increase, and this leads to some interesting results.
World census figures are inevitably approximate only. This is
obviously true also of mutation rates for extinct species, yet
the use of such figures is nonetheless allowed. World War II
created some major disruptions in population in certain groups,
for which useful figures were available at the time of the 1922
Berlin census. For this review, therefore, the 1922 figures are
being used, since they antedate these disruptions. Other contemporary
sources give slightly variant figures, but the differences are
The population of the world at
that time was estimated to have been 1,804,187,000. The human
race must have doubled itself some 30.75 times to reach this
According to the chronology of
the Hebrew text, as interpreted by Anstey -- probably the most
dependable and learned biblical chronologer -- we find that some
4,481 years have elapsed since the Flood, or 4,581 years since
the birth of Noah's firstborn, at which time we may say in a
manner of speaking that the present world population began with
two individuals. This assumes for the sake of argument that the
present population of the world is to be derived from those who
escaped from the ark. Now, by dividing 4,581 by 30.75, we find
that it requires an average of 146 years for the human race to
double its numbers.
The same census states that the
number of Jews was 15,383,815. It is readily admitted that the
exact definition of the term "Jews" would be very difficult
to ascertain. But allowing for the moment
that this figure represents
the descendants of Jacob in 1922, and using Anstey's date for
the marriage of Jacob which he places approximately 3,795 years
ago, we find that the Jewish people must have doubled their numbers
once every 159 years. (25) We should not expect such figures to be accurate,
but the correspondence for the period of doubling is rather remarkable
and is surely significant.
Raymond Pearl gives figures which
indicate that since A.D. 1630 the population of the world has
doubled once every 129 years approximately. (26) He then provides a graph showing this rise from 1630
to the present time, but finds himself embarrassed by the problem
of what to do with the curve from that date backward. We have
reproduced this graph in Figure 2, but with a slight modification,
namely, a vertical line which is intended to indicate the point
in time at which the Flood occurred according to Anstey's reckoning.
Any attempt to apply the present rates of increase to the world's
population, if we place the first human pair some 500,000 years
ago, leads to absurd results. In considering this aspect of the
problem, Dudley Kirk, like Pearl, is forced to the same conclusion,
namely, that the present rate of increase could not possibly
have applied in the past. (27)
This may be quite true. It must
surely be true if man is as ancient as we are required to believe
he is by other lines of evidence held to be valid.
Yet the form of the graph shown
here for population since 1630 indicates rather significantly
that the curve, projected reasonably until it reaches zero population,
would probably cross the vertical line representing the time
of the Flood at a point indicating a very small population, thus
confirming the biblical records of the early chapters of Genesis.
There is plenty of time since then for the settling of the world.
History shows that long migrations are made in a remarkably short
25. Anstey, Martin, The Romance of Bible
Chronology, Marshall Bros., London, 1913, vol.II.
26. Pearl, Raymond, Man the Animal, Principia Press, Bloomington,
Ind., 1946, p.91.
27 .Kirk, Dudley, "Dynamics of Human Population" in
Eugenics Quarterly, March, 1955, p.18.
Macgowan has shown that with respect to a Middle East "Cradle,"
the most distant settlement is in the very southern tip of South
America, approximately 15,000 miles. (28) How long would such a trip take? He says it has been
estimated that men might have covered the 4,000 miles from Harbin,
Manchuria, to Vancouver Island in as little as twenty years.
What about the rest of the distance southward? Alfred Kidder
says, "A hunting pattern based primarily on big game could
have carried man to southern South America without the necessity
at that time of great localized adaptation. It could have been
effected with relative rapidity, so long as camel, horse, sloth,
and elephant were available. All the indications point to the
fact that they were". (29)
According to de Quatrefages, 600,000
people made a trip from a point in Mongolia to China during the
winter and under constant attack in just five months, covering
a distance of 2100 miles;(30) and though this seems to be a staggering trip in
so short a time, it actually works out to an average of fourteen
miles per day. A. C. Haddon says many long migrations are
known to have taken place in the past. (31)
We may sum up
this chapter, therefore, by pointing out that there may well
have been a very extensive Flood in the area under review; that
this area was in many respects ideal for a fresh beginning; that
this area may well have been the original home of the majority
of plants and animal species which have since been domesticated;
that this area was almost certainly the Cradle of Civilization;
that from this area has since spread the whole of the world's
present population; and finally that the date set by Scripture
for the beginning of this movement is not unreasonable although
at the present moment modern scientific opinion regarding the
age of man hopelessly contradicts it.
We do not need to surrender our faith
too easily. It has often happened in the past that some little
discovery has completely overthrown a universally accepted theory.
This may well happen again with respect to modern methods of
dating the past. Rightly understood, all else in the biblical
account of the Flood makes good sense. And the existence of world-wide
traditions strongly supports the reality of a catastrophe which
wiped out mankind still congregated in one area, with the exception
28. Macgowan, Kenneth, Early Man in the
New World, Macmillan, New York, 1950, p.3.
29. Kidder, Alfred, Appraisal of Anthropology Today, University
of Chicago Press, 1953, p.46.
30. de Quatrefages, A., L'Espece Humaine, Balliere et
Cie., Paris, 14th edition., 1905, pp. 135-36.
31. Haddon, A. C., History of Anthropology, Watts, London,
a single family and
a select number of animals and birds necessary for their well-being
after the event was over.
7:1 the Lord said to Noah, "Come thou and all thy house
into the ark" -- a very gracious invitation to join
the Lord who was already there. The RSV has rendered this, "Go
thou. . . ." This is not an invitation, but a command.
In Genesis 8:16 the Lord naturally instructs Noah to "go
forth" after it is all over. (32)
32. There are often sound reasons for preferring the King
James Version to the Revised Standard Version. I think in surprising
ways the former has caught the Mind of the Spirit where the latter
is a truer expression of the mind of man. At any rate, in the
Flood story as given in the KJV, there is a wonderfully revealing
statement that has been entirely lost in the RSV. Here is a beautiful
insight into the ways of God which the RSV translators entirely
failed to discern. It is true that their rendering is allowable.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
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However, the Hebrew in Genesis
7:1 for "come" is a word which is translated thus well
over a thousand times and rendered "go" far less frequently.
There was every reason in the world to have left it as the KJV
has it. Exactly the same observation can be made of the Hebrew
in Genesis 8:16 for the word "go."
So much of translation work is
interpretation, and in the case of Scripture one needs the help
of its true Author in a special way and at all times. The
KJV reveals that the Lord was in the ark and that it was He who
closed the door from the inside.