Okay, so where are we in the story? Well, at the end of Chapter 7 in the Book of Genesis we are told that ‘only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.’ Then in chapter 8 it continues:
‘But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky.3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.’
Oh my goodness! It looks like I’ve got it wrong! There was a Global Flood after all! Not only that, the ark came to rest on top of Mount Ararat (Turkey)!
Hmmm, well, maybe? While there is evidence for the Flood, there is little to suggest it was an extinction event for reasons we shall consider next.
One reason ‘The Flood’ cannot be considered an extinction event is because of what happens after Noah runs aground – and lets be clear here: when Noah looks out from the Ark at the watery world before him, his conclusion is that the entire world is completely flooded. Or put another way, Noah’s world was flooded and (by extension) so too, presumably everybody else’s world with it. After all, God had told Noah to build an ark so that he, his family and the animals could be spared, to which he presumed everyone else would incur death for their nefarious sins and rejection of God. All of which leads to:
Firstly, God blesses Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.’ However, there is nothing in the biblical accounts to suggest any women were onboard the ark which makes this instruction problematic for Noah and the boys – especially when you have been instructed by God to go forward and multiply after an extinction event has occurred on earth?
Secondly, the more likely reason why it wasn’t a global Flood in which all humans died is that had it been an extinction event, there wouldn’t have been anyone around to resist Noah and his family from taking the land – which is what happens for no sooner has Noah and his sons set foot on dry ground and begun to explore the land and mark out the areas they want, then they encounter people with the same lifestyles and cultic practices as to those they presumed had died in the Flood. (Now, I’m no microbiologist but even with a best guess at the length of time needed for human life to be restored after an extinction event has occurred, I would think at least 500,000 years for amoebas to form. And yet, Noah and his family encounter human resistance to their claim for land within weeks of departing the ark – and that from a people who are presumably the same age as his sons.)
And thirdly, if Noah and his sons populate the whole world after it has suffered an extinction event, then how do we explain the diversity of ethnic groups such as Aboriginals, Maoris, American Indian, etc that continue to exist today? (Either they did not die in the Flood or it was a localised Flood that affected Noah’s world and the surrounding areas).
Til next time, a question to think on: What odds on four men repopulating the earth after an extinction event?
(Answers on a postcard to…)