My theory about the Flood

@Bill_II

A close examination of the complexities displayed in Figure 15 shows that peat formation goes back more than 9000 years to 10,000 years ago (from the current surface elevation down to a little less than 50 meters). At this near 50m level, there isn’t any peat formation until well into the glacial period, some 21,000 years ago. The gap between the black line at 100m down (at 15,000 years) and rapid curve up to 0m down (at 9000 years) shows that the flooding didn’t start until 9000 years ago.

Anastasia G. , Ryan W., McManus J. , Dimitrov P. , Dimitrov D., Slavova K., Filipova-Marinova M. (2016-2017), Compilation of geophysical, geochronological, and geochemical evidence indicates a rapid Mediterranean-derived submergence of the Black Sea’s shelf and subsequent substantial salinification in the early Holocene, Marine Geology. Vol. 383, 14-34.

The reason people want to believe the Black Sea Deluge occurred as recently as 5600 BCE is so they can corroborate the Ark story - - which, in reality, is no more corroborated than the more ordinary massive flooding in Mesopotamia. Why do I say that?:

Whether it be a Mesop. Flood, or a Black Sea Flood, the following logic still applies:
a) It would not take a year to find dry land;
b) It would not take a year for birds to find dry land;
c) It would not be necessary to stockpile animals and get on a boat, because “Hey, look behind you, higher ground!”
d) Any animals on the boat would have been part of a cargo to be delivered, not in anticipation of intentionally moving into the flooding waters, to stave off months of hunger;
e) There would have been no intrinsic logic of preserving mankind, as Noah stepped off the boat to be greeted by bewildered villagers, living at higher levels, asking: “Noah, didn’t you see us waving at you? We had barbecue and everything!”

The entire Flood story, from God’s early warnings, to the ark’s amazing dimensions, to its extended voyage, and the resulting survival of only one family, are all plot elements incompatible with any regional flood.

A massive flood story plotline can be inspired by a less massive flood. But none of the elements we actually find in the story of Noah is consistent with a “less massive flood”. And this is true whether it is an ANE regional flood or a Black Sea regional flood.

The story only makes sense if it was intended to mean a global deluge.

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I will admit that I haven’t followed the work being done. It just struck me as a possibility when I first heard.

But they are all good plot elements for a good story. That doesn’t make the story true.

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It may not make the story historical, but it may nonetheless be true.

@jpm

My brain just threw a rod…

The story contains Truth™ just not historical facts. Modern readers tend to equate truth to facts.

I don’t believe they were endowed by God with the sense of law. By the time they were homo sapiens, they already had the capacity for moral awareness, and they were already forming social laws, mores, taboos, and norms. They were not yet aware of God’s specific laws however, so they were not responsible to them. Adam and Eve were the first homo sapiens to whom God revealed His law.

If by “person” we mean “homo sapiens”, it’s easy; if they’re homo sapiens they are people. If by “person” we mean something else, then that depends on our definition of “person”.

Yes.

The Intensification Debate has no impact on whether or not the Australian Aboriginals had moral awareness and their own social order and moral laws long before 3,000 BCE. The fact that they had moral awareness and their own social order and moral laws for tens of thousands of years, is not even debated in the literature. It is certainly not part of the Intensification Debate. No one is writing articles asking “Did the Australian Aboriginals have moral laws 30,000 years ago?”.

I conclude that living beings are morally responsible to God’s law only when that law has been revealed to them and they are aware of it and convicted of it. I don’t see this as a single date beyond which all people became responsible at the same time. So my basis of their responsibility to moral law is different to yours.

No. We also have oral traditions. We also have archaeological evidence of social customs. When we have evidence for executions we know we have a sense of law.

This doesn’t require texts.

Thanks Jon for this comment.

In a previous posting you declared your agreement to my “Conclusion 2”:

Consider the population P of Homo sapiens to whom God had not yet revealed His law before the Flood like He revealed to Adam and Eve.

From your agreement above we are led to infer that:

  • God revealed His law to this population P of Homo sapiens at the end of the Flood, and they became responsible to God’s law and capable of sinning against it,

and

  • Since the end of the Flood all human beings living on earth (the Australian aboriginals included) are morally responsible to God’s law and capable of sinning against it.

But now in your last reply you claim:

In my view this claim contradicts your agreement above.

I would be thankful if you could clarify this point: This may help to establish which tenets we share and where the reason for possible differences lies, and so proceed with a useful discussion.

Additionally you state:

Evidence for trials and judgments would certainly prove sense of law.

However, if by “executions” you mean “prehistoric massacres”, then in my opinion they would not suffice to prove sense of law. So I would be thankful to know which concrete evidence you are referring to.

Have a blessed Good Friday and Easter!

If the Flood happened around 3000 BCE, Genesis 4:17 may very well refer to events that happened around 3500 BCE, and hence at the beginning of recorded history.

In this respect “archaeological or paleoanthropological relics” would be more relevant. Could you please tell us which concrete evidence do you have that “reveals sense of law before 6000 BCE”?

You are putting Adam only 500 years before the flood? Hard to do when Adam lived for 900+ years. Bishop Ussher places him more like 2500 years before the flood.

And if you want archaeological evidence I just read a news story about a village found in Canada that dates back to 14,000 BCE. And for humans to live together in groups large enough to be considered cities I believe they had to have some sense of law, or rules of conduct if you wish. There is probably paleoanthropological research that shows this but I don’t have any at hand.

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Let me flip this around. If humans had no sense of law what types of behavior would you expect? Cavemen clubbing their women and dragging them back to the cave by their hair? :wink: Survival of the fittest? Kill or be killed?

And you haven’t answered my question. Can humans live in a large group with no sense of law?

And that takes me back to Genesis 4
13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear.
14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
15 But the LORD said to him, “Not so ; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. NIV

Wouldn’t a sense of punishment imply that Cain understood the consequences of breaking the law?
For the mark on Cain to work implies that the people who saw it knew the consequence of killing him and therefore they also had a sense of law?

I cannot imagine a human society where people have no sense of what is right, decent, and good, at least to one’s own tribe. Even social animals manage to live by unwritten rules.

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When in college, someone tried very hard to convince me that the Vikings-of-old were such a brutal people, it could be said they didn’t have a society that could be called a “civilization” … only a culture. A culture of blood libel, conquest and revenge.

I’m still trying to decide if that was possible…

You can still have a civilization no matter how horrible you are. Look at the Roman Empire. Civilization is simply the highest level of organization for humans.

@beaglelady

Of course, the magic is in the definition. And my classmate was attempting to refine the definition the term “Civilization” to mean “lawful”. And he wanted to make the point that a society without any real laws, or judges, could be considered to be un-civilized - - at least, that’s what he was asserting.

But even if Vikings only had “kings”, or “chiefs”, I would hazard a guess that they imposed “their” rules… even if it was only oral law.

I’ve seen alternate treatments where some Native American tribes, having war band leaders rather than chiefs, punishment or judgement was based on each individual deciding on their own whether to participate in shunning or not. The point being asserted here was such a group (if it indeed ever existed), would be as close to theoretical anarchy as one might expect is possible.

In a more recent discussion of last year, the topic of “civilization” again came up … and a fellow blog participant insisted on a more classical definition: “Civilization is society based on at least a minority of its members being literate.”

Different kinds of definitions with different kinds of repercussions…

I took cultural anthropology many moons ago, and I recall that civilization has a precise meaning, even though others might use the term loosely. It’s the most complex form of organization. That doesn’t imply superiority, of course.

This French gal … she was clobbering me … I was using the term “civilization” in a fairly loose manner,
as in Definition #3 from Dictionary.com -

**noun **
3. “any type of culture, society, etc., of a specific place, time, or group: Greek civilization.”

But she insisted that was a terrible use of the word and that I needed to restrict its use to:

  1. "an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry, and government has been reached. "

I guess I mis-remembered the nuance about literacy, because I don’t really see anything about that in the dictionary. Though it is likely her position was that if a nation/people were non-literate, how could they make a claim on “a high level of culture, science, etc.”.

Using the latter definition, she probably would have insisted that the Vikings were not a “civilization”, at least before they became the rulers of a third of the Western portion of the ancient known world!

In fact I am making a guesstimate on the basis of what the New Testament tells us: According to Luke 3:36-38 there are 8 generations from Adam to Noah.

The ages of the antediluvian patriarchs can be considered rather fictional, and in this respect a fitting reason is provided by Gordon Wenham, p.186: The precision of the characters conveys the notion that these patriarchs were real people, while their age scale represents their remoteness from the author of Genesis.

Also chimps, elephants, vampire bats manage very well to live in a large group with in-group behavioral rules. Nonetheless they neither have sense of law, nor free-will, nor do we consider them capable of sinning against God’s commandments. The hints of morality or proto-morality that we do find in non-human species clearly suggest that there is a natural process by which God brought about the cognitive capacities necessary for developing the sense of law and moral responsibility.

I suppose you are referring to the village found in Triquet Island (British Columbia). As you very well suggest, the humans living there had certainly rules of conduct or sort of proto-morality. But this does not mean they were aware of responsibility to God’s law and capable of sinning. Apparently they had developed sophisticated tools, but to my knowledge signs of worship have not been found so far, not even signs of proto-religious awareness.

Additionally, the date of 14,000 BCE is largely before writing appears in Mesopotamia. The importance of writing for ascertaining the time when the first human persons were created by God is also supported by the fact that monogamous marriage was a primeval God’s commandment, as Jesus Christ himself teaches us (Matthew 19: 3-9 and Mark 10:1-12). And some form of writing is needed to register who is married to whom.

Cain had undoubtedly sense of law, and was aware of his responsibility to God’s law and his capability of sinning. According to my theory Cain and his descendants can be considered part of the population living in Sumer, the region which later became submerged by the Flood.

The story with the mark is highly relevant: The people living in Mesopotamia who saw Cain, had also sense of law and knew the consequence of killing him. Nonetheless astonishingly God does not proclaim here the principle of Genesis 9: 5-6: “And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being…for in the image of God has God made mankind.” Why?

According to my theory the reason is that such a universal principle could fittingly be proclaimed only after the 14,000,000 humans living outside Mesopotamia spread all over the world were endowed with free-will by God and thereby became persons capable of sinning and in the stage of need of Salvation. Genesis 9: 3-6 is telling us that this happened at the end of the Flood.

OK so you are throwing out Genesis as a historical document correct? And the NT references to the OT as history?

But humans do have free will which is where the requirement for some set of agreed to behaviors comes in when you are talking about large numbers of people living together.

So now morality is a natural process. I guess God just poofed this into existence for the humans outside the scope of the non-historical local flood? Not to say that He couldn’t do it of course.

First, animals that mate for life don’t need any form of writing so why should humans?

Second, dna studies have show humans have been largely monogamous for a very, very long time. So I guess writing is not required for humans.

And yet according to Genesis 9:6 Cain should have been put to death. So Cain had the sense of a law that didn’t exist yet?

Or perhapes the writer was telling a story that contains a message and the fact that there were people outside the scope of the flood didn’t matter.

@Bill_II

The Roman Catholic Church, @AntoineSuarez’s mother communion long ago adopted a more nuanced interpretation of the Scriptures in the face of the obvious facts presented to human witness - - the Earth being quite old and the reality of Speciation unavoidable.

So, there has been a massive pivot within Christianity, where the Vatican has become a bulwark in the defense of scientific wisdom, while the vast sections of Protestants who have had a long-standing animus against the Catholic Church have inherited the mantle of the desire to suppress some categories of human investigation and wisdom.

Why does it appear to you to be a contradiction? Remember, I don’t believe in Original Sin.