Spin-off thread where gbob explains his Gen 1-11 view for all the liberal accomodationists here

Sure, but nothing in logic says a story about a ewe must actually tell us true things about a historical ewe, or a story about a woman named Jerusalem must tell us factual details about an actual woman, or a story about a man named Humanity must tell us factual details about an actual man. There are different ways of conveying truth, and there’s nothing illogical about that diversity.

When I accept that a story about someone called Humanity can actually tell me about humanity, including myself, I’m not giving up on truth content. I don’t trust the story because it contains some details that scientists in my generation can confirm as accurate, but because I trust who’s telling it. I listen to the story because of my faith rather than expecting the story to generate my faith.

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I missed your original post Marshall while I was writing the Ba’al reply. Sorry, here goes.

The difference between the parables, again, is that most of them are so labeled and they are events which are quite possibly real.

Most Christians, not you and my friend Denis Lamoureaux, believe that Genesis 1:1 is telling us a truth that God created the Universe. But then, we deny historical/scientific truth to Genesis 1:2-31. Genesis 2 on through 11 is written as history, not as a poem, not as a framework, not as a parable but it reads as pure history. So setting aside the squabble about Genesis 1, what are we to do with 2-11? Most modern Christians claim it has no historicity. I disagree, but think the timing is quite different from what most say it is.

The problem I have with the widespread interpretations of Gen 1 is that it makes it a pink bunny rabbit, spouting and communicating nonsense and putting that nonsense in God’s mouth. If God spouts nonsense, then he is no better than the pink bunny I mentioned that leads us to Nirvana.Nonsense is nonsense. Period. But people are unwilling to say God spouted nonsense, so they say the pink bunny is making a wider point, or is good theology or whatever rather than calling a pink bunny a pink bunny.

Jesus’ parables are just the most obvious way we see that a story can be aimed at different kinds of truth than historical facts. That different aim doesn’t keep them from being true

On this we can agree. So what keeps Genesis 1-11 from being true? I would argue it is our lack of faith that God knows what he was speaking of even if we don’t understand it. Maybe we should look at what he said and the events in a different way than we do normally to see if there is any scenario underwhich God’s proclamations can be considered true, that the Flood could be considered a real event described correctly. But we don’t. We Christians sit and accept that the first chapters of our ‘revelation from God’ are not true at all. And we wonder why people think we are nuts.

I ’m going to go out on a limb and say that accommodation isn’t really where we disagree. You don’t have a problem with God using existing human languages to reveal things. Obviously no human language is perfect, and none of them is free of cultural baggage. If God has spoken through Hebrew, Aramaic and dumbed-down Greek (Koine, not classical), God has no aversion to accommodation.

But I have learned from my studies of decidedly non western language–Mandarin–that any language can describe truth of modern science. A train in Mandarin is Huo che–meaning fire car. That works as well as ‘train’ in English. Mandarin is capable of describing quantum mechanics, and any other western idea. Thus, I see no reason to believe that Hebrew couldn’t describe the truth. I honestly think it is because we don’t want to believe it could do that. the major difference between our language today and any Neolithic language is the number of nouns which have grown due to our technology.

Unless I’m reading you wrong, you are certain that God must have communicated key physical details of creation.

You are not reading me wrong–If God doesn’t communicate truth about creation, how can I distinguish between two possibilities? 1 God isn’t the creator and doesn’t have a clue about creation, and 2. God is unwilling to communicate truth about creation.

These two possibilities are all we have if God spouts nonsense about creation. And nothing can distinguish between them, meaning I would always have some wiggling little doubt in the back of my mind about whether God was really the God who created the universe. If as you say, God didn’t chose to do that communication, Please tell my how you know that he is really the creator rather than a human figment or a usurper God claiming credit for that which he didn’t do.

I look to Genesis to find out more about the God I already believe in, not to ground that belief.

Marshall, you end up with a faith without a firm foundation. If God says nothing true about creation, One has to have faith that one has faith in the correct God. and having lived around the world, and seen various religions everyone has faith that their God is real. This is a universal belief. But if we believe that no man comes to the father except through Jesus, then we must believe that those other faiths are not true and lead where the pink bunny leads.

I know it is widely believed that everyone gets to heaven, but that seems not to be what the Bible teaches, unless we claim that that teaching is also a parable and isn’t to be taken literally.

The problem is not one of taking Scripture literally. That isn’t what separates me from you or LM77 or even Christy (bless her heart). It is WHAT we take literally that separates us.

Most of Jesus’ parables aren’t labelled, and whether they could have actually happened is irrelevant to whether their truth value is bound up in their actually happening. The truth of what Jesus said about faith doesn’t depend on whether a bird somewhere decided to nest in a mustard plant’s skinny branches. The truth of Ezekiel 16 doesn’t depend on whether there once really was a woman named Jerusalem with two sisters named Sodom and Samaria. Just because it could happen doesn’t mean it did, and doesn’t mean what’s important is whether it did.

Not sure why you think I don’t believe that.

A story about someone named Humanity in a garden with fruit trees that give immortality or knowledge with a talking snake and a plot that involves being split into a man and woman and becoming one flesh again in marriage does not read like pure history. At least not to me.

I don’t see any pink bunnies, literally or metaphorically, in Genesis 1–11. Again, that phrasing reduces every parable of Jesus and every other account aimed at something deeper or just different than relating historical facts to speaking of pink bunnies – to nonsense. This is why the parables always come up. This way of reading treats Jesus’ favourite form of speaking as gibberish that doesn’t actually tell us anything.

For me, it starts with Jesus, not confirming facts in Genesis. That’s why I resist a form of reading that reduces his words to nonsense. That is what I would find toxic to faith.

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The truth of Ezekiel 16 doesn’t depend on whether there once really was a woman named Jerusalem with two sisters named Sodom and Samaria. Just because it could happen doesn’t mean it did, and doesn’t mean what’s important is whether it did.

The difference between Ezekiel 16 and Genesis is that the point is glaringly obvious in Ezekiel and there are a dozen different things people believe Genesis 1 to say. That means that the ‘truth’ it supposedly has isn’t very obvious.

I am again going to ask you to tell me how you distinguys the two situations:
If God doesn’t communicate truth about creation, how can I distinguish between two possibilities? 1 God isn’t the creator and doesn’t have a clue about creation, and 2. God is unwilling to communicate truth about creation.

This is an important question you shouldn’t ignore.

A story about someone named Humanity in a garden with fruit trees that give immortality or knowledge with a talking snake and a plot that involves being split into a man and woman and becoming one flesh again in marriage does not read like pure history. At least not to me.

People invent all sorts of reasons Genesis 1 is poetry, the first 3 days mirror the last 3 and other such things. Those don’t apply to Genesis 2-3, thus, while the events are different and odd, the writing style is the same for 4-11.

Now, the question I have is “Do we believe we have a God capable of performing miracles?” If we don’t then yea, Genesis 2-3 is nonsense–without miracles, that couldn’t have happened. But supposedly we Christians believe God bodily raised Jesus from the dead. Which miracle is more difficult, raising a man from the dead or making a snake talk? Is God limited to only the resurrection as a miracle? If so, most of the OT isn’t worth reading.

I don’t think the pink bunny reduced the parables. I think when discussing creation, something that is about actual history–either God created this world or he didn’t. If he didn’t we best find another God. If he spouts nonsense about creation, then he is spouting pink bunnies–things that are not true, falsehoods. Therein lies the problem for me. If I tell you the pink bunny will lead you into all truth and take you to Nirvana. That is false. If I say the universe was created just as it is 6000 years ago, that too is false. And we rightfully criticize the YECs for that belief. But we give God a pass when a reasonable reader of Genesis 1-11 might conclude that the earth is 6000 years old by understanding the normal meanings of the words. Thus, we either have a God who teaches a 6kyr universe, or he doesn’t know anything, or there is another way to read the account. One of the three.

Because I thought you said that to me in another thread. Maybe I misread what you said.

For me, it starts with Jesus, not confirming facts in Genesis. That’s why I resist a form of reading that reduces his words to nonsense. That is what I would find toxic to faith.

Some of this comes from our different backgrounds. I spent years discussing with atheists their criticisms of the Christian faith. That was part of what I did during my doubting years. Thus, I learned from them the issues in the logical structure of Christianity (theo + logic = theology). What is one to say to the Bahai who starts everything with the Baha’ullah and the Bab? What is the difference between you starting with Jesus and him starting with the Bab? Not much as far as I can see. One is right and one is wrong, we believe. So, I think we need something more than just saying I believe xyz and that settles it.

Now I’m confused. Surely if you take Genesis 1-11 at face value (as you say you do) isn’t the inevitable conclusion that the universe was created in six 24 hours days and that the earth (and universe) is only 6000 - 8000 years old?

Assuming one takes Genesis 1-11 as history, where does one inject the several billions of years necessary to make to make the text and the science agree?

Thanks, Liam

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No I don’t Liam because 1. yelad, the word used for ‘father of’ in the genealogies of Genesis 4,5, 10 and 11 also means ‘ancestor of’. And that is demonstrable in that some men were said to be ‘yeled’ of various tribes. So there is no father and son relationship in the genealogies, or at least it isn’t a certitude that the relationship is father and son. Once that is gone, one can’t date the age of the earth.

  1. Jesus is said to be the son of Man. I believe that ‘Man’ here is Adamah. That title is a short but true genealogy. Jesus is a son of Adam as are you and I. So, the genealogies don’t do anything to pin down the age of the earth. YECs miss that or ignore the point about yelad.
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I want to add something in my reply to Marshall. I think part of the issue is the epistemological starting point. This is important in what perspective one takes.

If one starts by assuming Christianity is true and all other relgions don’t need to be thought of, then questions I ask, like what is the difference between starting with Jesus and starting with Bahai’s Bab, make no impact, because Bahai is already ruled out.

But, I have lived around the world and been in 34 different countries and seen very devout followers everywhere I went. Plus I spent years listening to atheist arguments against Christianity which don’t start with the assumption that Christianity is true. Thus, in this wider epistemological view, Questions like that of the Bab vs Jesus as a starting point makes sense. So does the question of how do you tell the difference a god who is clueless about Creation and a God who is unwilling or unable to tell us about creation, make sense? By not starting with the assumption that Christianity is unassailably true, one finds a wider group of questions which require answers.

Examples of very devout people I have run into:
These Tibetan monks in Lhasa, Tibet are debating Buddhist scripture. All these men have devoted their lives to Buddha, betting everything on Buddha.

From a Temple in Hang Zhou, a woman profoundly worried about something burning a huge stack of incense to Buddha.

and this from the Lamatan in Beijing. As usual the man seems less devout than the woman. But not always. I have one photo of a guy with head bowed and incense held to his forehead.

These people firmly believe in their religion. Anyone who wishes to be logical in their approach to religion must deal with this obvious devotion and answer the question of why our devotion is true and theirs is not (or vice versa from their perspective).

Thus, I think part of the issue I have is that many folk who debate against me are thinking solely in terms of within the Christian faith, not in terms of all the world religions and trying to understand why our’s is true. A widened epistemology is a requirement in this multicultural world.

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It can, and sometimes does (Eg. Gen 4:20 (NIV2011): [Jabal] was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock.)*, but does that represent the exception or the rule?

Consider, Genesis 4:25-26 (NIV2011):

Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.

Here I think it is fairly clear that the text wants us to see a Father-Soon relationship between Adam and Seth, and then Seth and Enosh. The genealogy of Adam to Seth to Enosh is then retold in Genesis 5:3-7 (NIV2011):

When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.

When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters.

Again, the text of Genesis 5:3-7 assumes a Grandfather-Father-Son relationship between Adam, Seth, Enosh. At face value, this pattern seems to continue for the rest of the genealogy.

My question for you @gbob is at what point does the genealogy of Genesis 5 switch from recording direct, next-generation sons of fathers to recording ancestors of distant descendants? And what textual evidence is there within Genesis 5 to justify moving from rendering ‘yelad’ as ‘father of’ to rendering it as ‘ancestor of’? To apply your logic form previous posts, doesn’t God know everything? Couldn’t he have recorded an accurate genealogy of fathers and sons if he wanted to?

The thorn in my paw here, is that you’ve consistently accused people who don’t take Genesis 1-11 literally of changing the meaning of the bible to make it say what they want it to say. But don’t you think that arguing that ‘yelad’ actually means ‘ancestor of’ so that you can make room of millions of years leaves you open to the same charge?

Those in glass theological houses should be careful when throwing stones.

Unfortunately, the title Son of Man is not designed to function to let Jesus’ listeners know about his heritage but his identity. Consider Mark 14:61-64 (NIV2011):

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

They all condemned him as worthy of death.

Why does the High Priest tear his robes at this point and accuse Jesus of blasphemy? It isn’t because Jesus has claimed to be the Son of Adamah, but because Jesus is claiming to be the eschatological Son of Man from Daniel 7:13-15 (NIV2011):

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

So we see that Jesus use of Son of Man is messianic, not genealogical. When Jesus takes the title ‘Son of Man’ upon himself he is saying: “Attention, I am the one foretold who will usher in God’s everlasting kingdom which will bring salvation. Listen to me!”

As to your interpretation of the ‘Son of Man’, are you not here again open to the charge of making the bible say what you want it to say? After all, if one wants to take the bible seriously then one has to start with the definition of ‘Son of Man’ that the text provides.

From my time as a YEC I would say that most YEC writers are very aware that the intended meaning of ‘Son of Man’ is messianic, not genealogical. They are also able to see that Genesis 5 implies father-son relationships, not ancestor-descendant relationships. In the latter case, I believe they draw the wrong conclusions about Genesis 5, even though they read the text correctly.

Safely assume I have all the background material you do gbob.

You believe in and justify God the Killer.

I did for over 30 years too.

I took Him apart, with the momentum of my cult doing the same to Him and itself, and couldn’t put Him back together again.

The problem always using it as a father-son relationship can be seen in Genesis 10:15

And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, 16 And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, 17 And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite

Imagine the surprise of Canaan’s wife when babies by the hundreds pop out of her like clowns out of a clown car. Hundreds of Jebusite, hundreds of Amorite and hundred of Girgasites and so forth. This use clearly is not a father son relationship and it casts doubt on whether or not the begats were actually father son relationships. Jesus was the son of David, but not literally. There was about a 1000 years between them so, one can’t claim that the dates in Genesis are unbroken.

I won’t deny that some of them are father son. I think Adam and Eve had sons Cain, Abel and Seth. But even that could be wrong.

You quoted:

When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters.

Yeled is consistent with the idea that when my grandfather lived to be 29 he became the ancestor of me. The Theological Word Book of the Old Testament says:

"The word does not necessarily point to the generation immediately following. In Hebrew thought, an individual by the act of giving birth to a child becomes a parent or ancestor of all who will be descended from this child. Just as Christ is called a son of David and a son of Abraham, yālad may show the beginning of an individual’s relationship to any descendant."Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., Jr., & Waltke, B. K. (Eds.). (1999). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 379). Chicago: Moody Press.

So this isn’t just me making something up. Scholars hold this position.

I don’t know the answer to when it changed. All I know is that one can’t count on yelad/ yalad to definitively be father son relationship. And that means the genealogies can’t be used for dating.

you asked:
Couldn’t he have recorded an accurate genealogy of fathers and sons if he wanted to?

Of course, but what people often miss is that I don’t think that every detail has to be given in order for something to be true. This is why I gripe at those who say that the Hebrews would have to know modern science to understand evolution. That is utter poppycock because most Americans don’t understand all of modern science yet they understand the concept of evolution. Thus, merely listing a brief list of ‘ancestors of’ is true, but incomplete, just as saying ‘out of the mud came life’ is a true statement of evolution but a very incomplete one. Saying the red car collided with the blue car is a true description of an accident but it is very scientifically incomplete. Truth is not a synonym for completeness.

The thorn in my paw here, is that you’ve consistently accused people who don’t take Genesis 1-11 literally of changing the meaning of the bible to make it say what they want it to say. But don’t you think that arguing that ‘yelad’ actually means ‘ancestor of’ so that you can make room of millions of years leaves you open to the same charge?

Take the thorn out of your paw because as I showed above, it isn’t me just making this up. I will again quote the Theological Word Book of the Old Testament which goes into detail on every word in the OT.

*“The word does not necessarily point to the generation immediately following. In Hebrew thought, an individual by the act of giving birth to a child becomes a parent or ancestor of all who will be descended from this child. Just as Christ is called a son of David and a son of Abraham, yālad may show the beginning of an individual’s relationship to any descendant.”*Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., Jr., & Waltke, B. K. (Eds.). (1999). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 379). Chicago: Moody Press.

I would appreciate it if you would acknowledge this point–that I am not making up what I say. I have spent years, indeed my whole life looking at these issues. I try to stay within the boundaries of observational fact on these things.

You wrote: Those in glass theological houses should be careful when throwing stones.

And I think the stone you threw at my ‘glass house’ didn’t break the glass. lol

Yes you are correct that this passage is referring to Daniel. But then the question becomes what does Daniel refer to? The word for man is enos, which the TWOT says is equivalent to ‘is’ and ‘adam’. So, you might be correct that Son of man doesn’t refer to son of Adam or it might just be a synonym. One could chose to go either way on this I think. Even if I am wrong, Daniel’s son of man ties one of the Godhead to being a son of humans, which is quite a remarkable thing in and of itself.

No, because I am quite willing to change it if I am shown to be mistaken. see above. I very well might be wrong on that. I am going to do more study on this area precisely BECAUSE I don’t want to make the Bible say something it doesn’t say.

I spent 15 or so years as a yec and published 30 yec items, 28 of them in the CRSQ. Maybe I am the one YEC who was unaware of what the others were aware of. lol.

I will change my opinion if logic and data goes against me. You do too or you wouldn’t have changed from YEC to EC. We have a track record of being willing to change. I think that willingness is very important in scholarship so long as the change is based upon data and logic. The assumptions that go into our various theologies are also supremely important to what we believe. Assumptions can’t be proven and this is where most of the friction comes from. I am trying to change the assumption which is widespread in Christendom, that Genesis 1-11 is utter nonsense so we can sweep the problems under the rug by proclaiming it to be accommodated to the stupid ignorant views of the ancient Hebrews. Yes, I used perjoratives there because I am constantly told how ignorant of modern science Hebrews were and how they were incapable of every understanding it. I think that is false.

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I am not sure what you are saying here. You write very cryptically.

Suffice it to say that for my part, I don’t think God believes that the ultimate good for mankind is long healthy life in this world. I think his view is that the good of mankind comes from making as many get to heaven as possible. When one looks at life from that perspective, priorities change.

I live here in College Station, Texas where about 20 years ago the bonfire collapsed and killed and injured 12. Among them was a young freshman, Tim Kerlee. He was a devout Christian, 18 or 19 years of age. His body had been basically put through rollers of logs, turning his innards into mush. He was going to die. But in his last hours he directed the rescue crew to where other people were and told them to leave him alone get the others out first. Tim died a few days later after his parents had arrived in town from Tennessee to be with him. I can assure you that Tim, through this act, won more people to Christ than he would have had he lived a long long life. God isn’t concerned with that.

I have cancer. God isn’t concerned with how long I live. He is concerned with making me a better Christian, which is often a thankless job for Him, but hey, we are all human. My brother died of cancer at age 29 leaving a non-Christian wife and 2 kids. Anita was angry about Gary’s death for years, but eventually she became a believer. She told me that if Gary hadn’t died, she might not have ever become a Christians. Now my niece and nephew are Christians as well. That is what God is concerned with–making us believers

I am good friends (had lunch with him and his wife last week) with the engineer who was called upon to remove the logs from the pile one by one so as not to collapse the pile further. He stayed with John Comstock in the hospital day after day. John was the 13 man. The doctors kept saying he would die but he didn’t. My friend, Alton, convinced John Comstock to become a Christian and today John is an inspirational figure even though he sits in the wheel chair from his injuries. God has used John greatly. Much of the Christian life concerns how we react to what happens. God is concerned with our long term welfare, not our welfare per se on this earth.

it is the prosperity gospel that wrongly asserts that God wants us to be rich, handsome and healthy as the ultimate good. At MD Anderson I met a woman and her son who go to a large Houston Church that preaches the prosperity gospel. The son was sitting in his wheelchair, drooling into a cup, staring at the floor. We were both in the phase 1 trial waiting area–where you get brand new untried drugs as a last effort to defeat the cancer. His mother told me how God was going to heal her son, how she was claiming the blood of Christ for his healing. She practically told me God owed it to her because God cured the preacher’s mother of cancer. I told her I had a different theology. God owes me nothing but love. He doesn’t owe me a cure but he will be with me to the end even in the pain. I told her every disciple died. We all die. I don’t think I should expect better than what God had for Jesus on the Cross when he suffered pain and agony.

Then I looked over at the 30 something son. He was staring at me with wide eyes. He didn’t talk and I don’t know what kind of cancer he had, but he was incredibly aware of what I had told his mother. I felt sorry for this young man whose mother would not let him come to grips with his upcoming death. That is what I read in that young man’s eyes. He had never heard before what I had just told his mother. So, no, I don’t think God is interested in how long we live, how healthy we live, how rich we live; he is interested in how well we live.

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Yeah, how kind we are. Which has nothing to do with getting people in to Heaven. That’s His job. Not killing us.

He clearly killed Ananias and Sapphira. We are supposed to help our neighbors and be kind to them. But God’s priority is different than ours. If you want to believe in SantaGod, be my guest. Im going back to Early Genesis.

In a second hand account where the same source said that God had Herod Antipas assassinated with worms by an angel.

Again I am going to examine a formerly popular view of Noah’s flood. To refresh things, the story in the bible says these things happened.

  1. Eight people on the Ark
  2. Animals on the Ark
  3. Flood lasted for 1 year
  4. Ark landed in the Ararat region on a mountain

As we go through the Black Sea flood locale as a possible Noah’s flood we will see that none of these events could have been fulfilled by such an event. We will also learn that the infilling of the Black Sea Basin never happened so that alone disqualifies it as the source for the Flood story. After this, having ruled out Mesopotamia on geologic and physical grounds and ruled out the Black Sea local, we must ask, is there a flood location which will fulfill the criteria above. There is, but it requires that God has dealt with us humans far longer than we Christians believe.

In 1997, William Ryan and colleagues suggested that the partial filling of the Black Sea 7150 years ago was the source of the legend for Noah’s flood. They suggest that the flood spread farmers throughout Europe and moved people out of the Black Sea to the south, carrying the legend with them. I don’t think this will work for several reasons. It doesn’t match the description of the Biblical flood. If all we Christians want is a flood, any old flood regardless of what it is like the this will do as well as the next flood. But if we want to match the Biblical account, the Black Sea Flood won’t do at all.

[That was written in in 1998. In Oct 2002, as documented below, Marine Geology dedicates an entire issue to the Black Sea Flood hypothesis. Almost all authors are negative. The paper which includes William Ryan as an author who doesn’t mention or defend the Noah’s Flood hypothesis, which is surprising since he is one of the authors of that hypothesis. This is usually a sign that the idea is no longer supported.]

  1. Since the total amount of rise in water is very small, an ark would be needless. On the south shore of the Black Sea, the -400 ft contour is only 24 miles from the present coastline. Since it is unlikely that the animals found at the old shoreline were significantly different from the animals found only 24 miles away, there would be no need to take animals on board an ark.

  2. The 400 foot rise in water level would not cover anything that could be described as a mountain, especially given the topography of the coastal plain that would have surrounded the old Black Sea.

  3. While temporally it fits the preconception of most Christians, it has a number of problems. The rate of infill would not be very great–about 1 foot per day for a total of about a 400 foot rise in the level of the Black Sea over the year “We interpret the instantaneous submergence of a broad former land surface of 100,000 km2 as the consequence of Mediterranean waters invading an isolated inland lake whose surface had been drawn down beyond its shelf break by evaporation and reduced river input. Such a cascade, one underway, would possess the power to further enlarge its orifice through positive-feedback erosion. The bedrock cross-sections of the SOI- Bosporus and SOC-Dardanelles observed at dozens of points along their lengths present a flume capable [of] delivering a flux in excess of 50 km3 per day, initially filling the lake at a rate approaching 10’s of cm/day.” ~ William B. F. Ryan et al, “An Abrupt Drowning of the Black Sea Shelf,” Marine Geology, 138(1997), 119- 126, p. 124

And this would not cause rain nor cover any real hills (the slope of the land is rather low in that area), much less mountains. Also, my company does work in the Caspian which also has a gentle slope. We are trying to drill a well off shore and have to somehow get a drilling rig across the water to a man-made island. However, on days that the wind blows east, there is no water as far as the eye can see! When the wind stops, the water comes back. When it blows from the west, the water is deeper. Because of this phenomenon on a gently sloping lake edge, it probably would have occurred in the lowered Black Sea which then makes the explanation problematical. Ryan et al, suggest that farmers were flooded out at the edge of the sea. But it is difficult to farm when one day there is no water and the next there is water and the day after there is deep water. Thus I doubt the existence of a huge farming community along the shallow, gently sloping edges of the Black Sea as this theory requires. Also, all in all, I am not sure that it would have been written up the way that it has come down to us, IF the Black Sea flood was the basis of the event.

In their book, Noah’s Flood, they cite an even slower rate of filling for the Black Sea basin . They claim the sea would have risen 330 feet in two years which works out to .45 feet per day. (See Ryan and Pitman, Noah’s Flood, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998), p. 237). As we will see, this would make it even less likely for the Black Sea flood to have been the basis for the legend.

  1. There is no source for the rainfall. It simply would be a coincidence.

  2. There is one other fact about the Black Sea Flood which has come to my attention that may lessen the correlation of this event with the spread of farming and the origin of the Noah legend. Ryan et al, dated shells of Cerastoderma edule , Monodacna caspia and Mytius galloprovincialis which were taken from the base of a dark sapropel which immediately overlies the former coastal plain. The dates they got were 7150 BP. Due to the time needed to remove oxygen from the Black Sea waters, this date may easily represent two thousand years after the flood. Kerr notes,

Others aren’t so sure that the Black Sea flood was behind agriculture’s spread. Arthur, for one, argues that the timing may be off. He notes that Pitman and Ryan date the flood to the same radiocarbon age as the first sediments laid down after the flooding, which were black and organic rich and therefore formed in conditions lacking oxygen. But Arthur thinks that the flooding may in fact have occurred 2000 years earlier. According to his geochemical model, that’s how long it would take to remove all the oxygen from the dense, salty water that flowed into the deep Black Sea. If so, the flood would have been too early to account for the arrival of new farmers in Europe.” ~ Richard A. Kerr, “Black Sea Deluge May Have Helped Spread Farming,” Science, 279(1998):1132

6…I would also point out that on the southern part of the Black Sea the -400 foot contour is about 24 miles from the present coastline. Assuming a linear slope, the rise of 1 foot per day means that the shoreline moved 24/400=.06 miles per day. This is equivalent to moving about 3 houses down the street each day. And if their more recent, slower rate of infill is used as the basis for this calculation, the pre-flood Black Sea basin residents would only have to move 1.5 houses down the street each day. While this would be catastrophic if you had a farm that was about to be buried, I would expect that the event would have been written up as the great march rather than the great flood.

  1. There is much geologic data which is inconsistent with their hypothesis.

7 a. It appears from fossil fauna found in the sediment layers laid down immediately after the flood that the salinification of the sea took several hundred years. They point out (Noah’s Flood, p. 153) that 20 feet of sediment has been deposited in the past 7500 years. This works out to .032 inches per year of new sediment.

The hard clay that represents the fresh water lake deposits contain a brown mussel called Dreissena rostiformis . Above this, at the base of the re-fill sediments a brackish-water Mediterranean species, Cerastoderma edule appeared as well as two other brackishwater species Dreissena polymorpha and Monodacna caspia. Cerastoderma edule could only have come from the Mediterranean. During the deposition of the next five inches of sediment, these brackish-water species were replaced by species fully adapted to life in the sea. These species are Mytilus gallopprovincialis, Alba ovata,Retusa truncatula and Parvicardium exiguum. These five inches of sediment imply that it took 156 years for the Black Sea to change from fresh-water to salt-water. This is much longer than should have been the case.

7 b. Secondly, there is the mystery of Emiliania huxleyi. This is a Mediterranean algae which is passive surface dweller. It can’t swim and merely floats in the upper part of the ocean. Due to the fact that the surface waters of the Bosporus flows from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean it can’t enter the Black Sea today. This algae did not enter the Black Sea until the seventh century B.C., nearly 5000 years after the time of the flood. This fact had been used in the past to argue that the Black Sea had gradually become more salty. Ryan and Pitman argue that the algae was unable to enter the Black Sea because the surface flow had kept it out. (Noah’s Flood, p. 147). The problem with this suggestion is the mystery of why this passive surface dweller did not enter the Black Sea along with the Mediterranean waters when the catastrophic filling of the Black Sea was supposed to occur. A passive floating algae would be dragged along with the infilling waters and given the mixing of the fresh and saline waters, the Black Sea would have quickly become salty enough to support these marine algae. It would appear to this writer that there is a bit of an inconsistency in the explanation. Cerastoderma edule is able to immigrate but a tiny floating algae isn’t. That doesn’t make sense.

Given the late entry of Emiliania huxleyi into the Black Sea and the gradual change of salinity seen by the fauna found in the cores it would appear that the change from fresh to sea water in the Black Sea was not catastrophic but gradual .

7 c. A recent article, Aksu et al, “Persistent Holocene Outflow from the Black Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean Contradicts Noah’s Flood Hypothesis,” GSA Today 12(2002):5:4-10, points out many geological facts which contradict the views of Ryan and Pitman. Their data shows that the Black Sea has been continuously flowing out towards the Mediterranean Sea since 12,000 years ago. Ryan and Pitman’s hypothesis requires that at least at 7,500 BP the flow reversed contrary to the data of Aksu et al. What is their data?

First, there is a Peridinium ponticum , a species which is endemic in the Black Sea (doesn’t live in the Mediterranean or Sea of Marmara) which is found in the Sea of Marmara in sediment cores. The only way it could have gotten there is for water to have been flowing from the Black Sea towards the Mediterranean during the time these sediments were laid down. That time was from 11,000 to 6,000 years ago.

Secondly, the Noah’s flood hypothesis requires that the rivers which empty into the Black Sea were starved for water between 9 and 7.5 kyr ago. Yet the pollen data for southern Russia and the regions surrounding the Black Sea do not change to a more arid-tolerant vegetation. Indeed, there is no change at all. If the surrounding areas were not dry, then the Black Sea would not have been dried up and had a lower water level than the Mediterranean at that time. The pollen data doesn’t support the view that there was a catastrophic infilling of the Black Sea.

Thirdly, pollen cores show no evidence of farming (or the consequent deforestation as the land is cleared) around the Black Sea until 4,000 years ago, which is long after the time Ryan and Pitman believe the farmers were scattered by the flood.

Fourthly, in the eastern Aegean Sea, core data clearly shows that the surface waters were brackish throughout the entire interval from 10,000 kyr to the present. The presence of a brackish-water dynocyst S. cruciformis in the sediments there clearly show a large influx of fresh water to the eastern Aegean. There is only one source for this fresh water–the Black Sea.

Finally, Aksu et al write:

"Perhaps the best physical evidence for early and strong Black Sea outflow is a 10-9 ka delta lobe at the southern exit of the Bosphorus Strait (Fig. 4) . Its age is constrained by radiocarbon dates in the distal prodelta (Core 9, Fig. 4A ). The only source for the deltaic sediment is the strait itself. There is no shelf-edge delta here, only a mid-shelf delta with a topset-to-foreset transition that climbs in the seaward direction, indicating delta progradation into a rising water body."Aksu et al, “Persistent Holocene Outflow from the Black Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean Contradicts Noah’s Flood Hypothesis,” GSA Today 12(2002):5:4-10

This delta sits right at the mouth of the Bosphorus and points in the direction of the Mediterranean–opposite to the direction it should point if water flowed into the Black Sea. Below is the URL to that seismic line which is served from the GSA site.

Aksu et al conclude:

"Seismic, geochemical, sediment, microfossil, and palynological data provide no support whatsoever for a catastrophic northward flow of saline Mediterranean water."Aksu et al, “Persistent Holocene Outflow from the Black Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean Contradicts Noah’s Flood Hypothesis,” GSA Today 12(2002):5:4-10

8…One prediction that Ryan and Pitman have made has turned out to be doubtful. They suggest that the Indo-European language split at the time of the Black Sea flood (see William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Noah’s Flood, p. 194, pp 208-211). They write:

Little but knowledge and skill could be rescued. Ryan and Pitman believe that the Semites and Ubaids fled southward to the Levant and Mesopotamia; the Kartvelians retreated to the Caucasus; the LBK dashed across Europe, leapfrogging from one site to the next, pushing ahead their frontier for reasons never adequately explained; the Vinca retreated upstream to the enclosed valley of the Hungarian plain. Others went to the Adriatic and the islands of the Aegean. Some refugees migrated into the heartland of Eurasia via the Don. Still others used the Volga as access to the distant steppes of the southern Ural Mountains. In due course the Indo-Europeans soon occupied an arc extending from the Adriatic, western Europe, and the Balkans across Ukraine to the Caspian Sea." William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Noah’s Flood, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998), p. 213.

The problem is that Indo-European didn’t split this early. James Trefil writes:

Unfortunately, the evidence for this diaspora is a good deal less solid than the evidence for the flood itself. Linguists have long known how to reconstruct ancient languages by looking at words that have survived in the descendants of those languages today. The date of an event like the split-up of the Indo-European languages can then be estimated by comparing those words with artifacts found in excavations–a language probably won’t have a word for ‘wheel,’ for example unless it actually uses wheeled vehicles. ‘it is unlikely that the Indo-European languages split up before 3500 B.C. (that is, 2000 years after the Black Sea flood),’ says University of Chicago linguist Bill Darden, basing his conclusion on this sort of argument. If he and his colleagues are right, then the diaspora part of the flood story will be just another beautiful theory shot down by ugly facts." James Trefil, "Evidence for a Flood," Smithsonian, April, 2000, p. 20

As mentioned above, it appears that Ryan is giving up on the concept of the infilling of the Black Sea as a source for the Noah’s Flood story. In October 2002, an entire issue of Marine Geology was devoted to the history of the Black Sea. Aksu et al., write:

“*A number of radiocarbon dates from gravity cores show that the sedimentary architecture of Unit 1 contain a detailed sedimentary record for the post-glacial sea-level rise along the southwestern Black Sea shelf. These data do not support the catastrophic refilling of the Black Sea by waters from the Mediterranean Sea at 7.1 ka postulated … * Ryan, Pitman, Major, Shimkus, Maskalenko, Jones, Dimitrov, Görür, Saknç, Yüce, Mar. Geol. 138 (1997) 119-126], [Ryan, Pitman, Touchstone Book (1999) 319 pp.], and [Ballard, Coleman, Rosenberg, Mar. Geol. 170 (2000) 253-261].”
In another article, Aksu et al . write:

The presence of fauna and flora with Black Sea affinities and the absence of Mediterranean fauna and flora in sapropels M1 and M2 strongly suggest that communication existed with the Black Sea during these times. A benthic foraminiferal oxygen index shows that the onset of suboxic conditions in the Marmara Sea rapidly followed the establishment of fully marine conditions at ~11-10.5 ka, and are attributed to Black Sea outflow into the Marmara Sea since 10.5 ka. These suboxic conditions have persisted to the present. The data discussed in this paper are completely at odds with the `Flood Hypothesis’ of Ryan et al. (1997), and Ryan and Pitman (1999).” Aksu et al. “Last glacial-Holocene paleoceanography of the Black Sea and Marmara Sea: stable isotopic, foraminiferal and coccolith evidence,” Marine Geology, 190(2002):1-2:119-149

Kaminski et al., show that the stratification of the Marmara Sea is incompatible with the Black Sea Flood hypothesis:

Quantitative analysis of benthic foraminiferal morphogroups reveals that the oxygen content of sub-halocline water was low (below ~1.5 ml/l) throughout the Holocene, and the occurrence of sapropel sediment in the deeper part of the basin suggests bottom waters may have been anoxic at times. After ~4.5 ka, an increase in benthic foraminiferal oxic morphotypes suggests a reduction in Black Sea outflow and weakening of the halocline. The strong and persistent stratification of the water column in the Marmara Sea throughout the Holocene is entirely incompatible with the `Noah’s Flood Hypothesis’.” Kaminski et al . “Late Glacial to Holocene benthic foraminifera in the Marmara Sea: implications for Black Sea-Mediterranean Sea connections following the last deglaciation,” Marine Geology, 190(2002):1-2:165-202.

Mudie et al, show that the Black Sea was never a freshwater lake as the Black Sea Noah’s Flood hypothesis requires:

Seismic profiles and mollusks have been used to suggest that from ~12500 to 7000 yr BP, the Black Sea was an isolated freshwater lake containing potable water and implying a surface salinity of <1. According to Ryan and Pitman (1999), these circumstances encouraged Neolithic settlement and farming on the shore of the Black Sea. This model conflicts with previous studies of dinoflagellate cysts and seismic profiles from the Marmara Sea. Here we investigate Ryan and Pittman’s model using palynological studies of organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts, acritarchs, freshwater algae, microforaminifera, and fungal remains as tracers of changes in surface salinity for seven cores of pleniglacial to Holocene sediments from the Marmara and Black seas.”
. . .
Overall, there is no palynological evidence that the surface salinity of the Black or Marmara seas was ever as low as a freshwater lake. This finding is consistent with models that estimate the time required to desalinate the Black Sea after closing of the Marmara-Bosphorus gateway.” Mudie et al. , “Dinoflagellate cysts, freshwater algae and fungal spores as salinity indicators in Late Quaternary cores from Marmara and Black seas,” Marine Geology, 190(2002):1-2:203-231.

Finally, even pollen evidence indicates that the farmers, postulated by Ryan and Pitman to have existed and spread the story of Noah’s Flood, were not there on the Black Sea Floor at the time. The area was forested, not farmed. Mudi et al write:

Using the steppe-forest index of Traverse (1975), it is shown that the only intervals of severely dry conditions occurred briefly during the LGM and its transition; during most of the Pleniglacial and all of the Postglacial time, precipitation versus evaporation rates were sufficiently high to permit persistence of oro-Mediterranean forest vegetation. Furthermore, there is no evidence for environmental conditions in the Black Sea-Marmara region that would have encouraged pastoral or agricultural settlement in the littoral region prior to the Bronze Age, commencing 4600 years ago.” Mudie, Rochan and Aksu, “Pollen stratigraphy of Late Quaternary cores from Marmara Sea: land-sea correlation and paleoclimatic history,” Marine Geology, 190(2002):1-2:233-260.

(In 1997, William Ryan and colleagues suggested that the partial filling of the Black Sea 7150 years ago was the source of the legend for Noah’s flood. They suggest that the flood spread farmers throughout Europe and moved people out of the Black Sea to the south, carrying the legend with them. I don’t think this will work for several reasons. It doesn’t match the description of the Biblical flood. If all we Christians want is a flood, any old flood regardless of what it is like the this will do as well as the next flood. But if we want to match the Biblical account, the Black Sea Flood won’t do at all. [That was written in in 1998. In Oct 2002, as documented below, Marine Geology dedicates an entire issue to the Black Sea Flood hypothesis. Almost all authors are negative. The paper which includes William Ryan as an author doesn’t mention or defend the Noah’s Flood hypothesis, which is surprising since he is one of the authors of that hypothesis. This is usually a sign that the idea is no longer supported.] 1. Since the total amount of rise in water is very small, an ark would be needless. On the south shore of the Black Sea, the -400 ft contour is only 24 miles from the present coastline. Since it is unlikely that the animals found at the old shoreline were significantly different from the animals found only 24 miles away, there would be no need to take animals on board an ark.

2…The 400 foot rise in water level would not cover anything that could be described as a mountain, especially given the topography of the coastal plain that would have surrounded the old Black Sea.

3…While temporally it fits the preconception of most Christians, it has a number of problems. The rate of infill would not be very great–about 1 foot per day for a total of about a 400 foot rise in the level of the Black Sea over the year “We interpret the instantaneous submergence of a broad former land surface of 100,000 km2 as the consequence of Mediterranean waters invading an isolated inland lake whose surface had been drawn down beyond its shelf break by evaporation and reduced river input. Such a cascade, one underway, would possess the power to further enlarge its orifice through positive-feedback erosion. The bedrock cross-sections of the SOI- Bosporus and SOC-Dardanelles observed at dozens of points along their lengths present a flume capable [of] delivering a flux in excess of 50 km3 per day, initially filling the lake at a rate approaching 10’s of cm/day.” ~ William B. F. Ryan et al, “An Abrupt Drowning of the Black Sea Shelf,” Marine Geology, 138(1997), 119- 126, p. 124

And this would not cause rain nor cover any real hills (the slope of the land is rather low in that area), much less mountains. Also, my company does work in the Caspian which also has a gentle slope. We are trying to drill a well off shore and have to somehow get a drilling rig across the water to a man-made island. However, on days that the wind blows east, there is no water as far as the eye can see! When the wind stops, the water comes back. When it blows from the west, the water is deeper. Because of this phenomenon on a gently sloping lake edge, it probably would have occurred in the lowered Black Sea which then makes the explanation problematical. Ryan et al, suggest that farmers were flooded out at the edge of the sea. But it is difficult to farm when one day there is no water and the next there is water and the day after there is deep water. Thus I doubt the existence of a huge farming community along the shallow, gently sloping edges of the Black Sea as this theory requires. Also, all in all, I am not sure that it would have been written up the way that it has come down to us, IF the Black Sea flood was the basis of the event. In their book, Noah’s Flood, they cite an even slower rate of filling for the Black Sea basin . They claim the sea would have risen 330 feet in two years which works out to .45 feet per day. (See Ryan and Pitman, Noah’s Flood, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998), p. 237). As we will see, this would make it even less likely for the Black Sea flood to have been the basis for the legend.

4…There is no source for the rainfall. It simply would be a coincidence.

5…There is one other fact about the Black Sea Flood which has come to my attention that may lessen the correlation of this event with the spread of farming and the origin of the Noah legend. Ryan et al, dated shells of Cerastoderma edule, Monodacna caspia and Mytius galloprovincialis which were taken from the base of a dark sapropel which immediately overlies the former coastal plain. The dates they got were 7150 BP. Due to the time needed to remove oxygen from the Black Sea waters, this date may easily represent two thousand years after the flood. Kerr notes, “Others aren’t so sure that the Black Sea flood was behind agriculture’s spread. Arthur, for one, argues that the timing may be off. He notes that Pitman and Ryan date the flood to the same radiocarbon age as the first sediments laid down after the flooding, which were black and organic rich and therefore formed in conditions lacking oxygen. But Arthur thinks that the flooding may in fact have occurred 2000 years earlier. According to his geochemical model, that’s how long it would take to remove all the oxygen from the dense, salty water that flowed into the deep Black Sea. If so, the flood would have been too early to account for the arrival of new farmers in Europe.” ~ Richard A. Kerr, “Black Sea Deluge May Have Helped Spread Farming,” Science, 279(1998):1132 6.

I would also point out that on the southern part of the Black Sea the -400 foot contour is about 24 miles from the present coastline. Assuming a linear slope, the rise of 1 foot per day means that the shoreline moved 24/400=.06 miles per day. This is equivalent to moving about 3 houses down the street each day. And if their more recent, slower rate of infill is used as the basis for this calculation, the pre-flood Black Sea basin residents would only have to move 1.5 houses down the street each day. While this would be catastrophic if you had a farm that was about to be buried, I would expect that the event would have been written up as the great march rather than the great flood.

7…There is much geologic data which is inconsistent with their hypothesis.

7 a. It appears from fossil fauna found in the sediment layers laid down immediately after the flood that the salinification of the sea took several hundred years. They point out (Noah’s Flood, p. 153) that 20 feet of sediment has been deposited in the past 7500 years. This works out to .032 inches per year of new sediment. The hard clay that represents the fresh water lake deposits contain a brown mussel called Dreissena rostiformis . Above this, at the base of the re-fill sediments a brackish-water Mediterranean species, Cerastoderma edule appeared as well as two other brackishwater species Dreissena polymorpha and Monodacna caspia. Cerastoderma edule could only have come from the Mediterranean. During the deposition of the next five inches of sediment, these brackish-water species were replaced by species fully adapted to life in the sea. These species are Mytilus gallopprovincialis, Alba ovata,Retusa truncatula and Parvicardium exiguum. These five inches of sediment imply that it took 156 years for the Black Sea to change from fresh-water to salt-water. This is much longer than should have been the case.

7 b. Secondly, there is the mystery of Emiliania huxleyi. This is a Mediterranean algae which is passive surface dweller. It can’t swim and merely floats in the upper part of the ocean. Due to the fact that the surface waters of the Bosporus flows from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean it can’t enter the Black Sea today. This algae did not enter the Black Sea until the seventh century B.C., nearly 5000 years after the time of the flood. This fact had been used in the past to argue that the Black Sea had gradually become more salty. Ryan and Pitman argue that the algae was unable to enter the Black Sea because the surface flow had kept it out. (Noah’s Flood, p. 147). The problem with this suggestion is the mystery of why this passive surface dweller did not enter the Black Sea along with the Mediterranean waters when the catastrophic filling of the Black Sea was supposed to occur. A passive floating algae would be dragged along with the infilling waters and given the mixing of the fresh and saline waters, the Black Sea would have quickly become salty enough to support these marine algae. It would appear to this writer that there is a bit of an inconsistency in the explanation. Cerastoderma edule is able to immigrate but a tiny floating algae isn’t. That doesn’t make sense. Given the late entry of Emiliania huxleyi into the Black Sea and the gradual change of salinity seen by the fauna found in the cores it would appear that the change from fresh to sea water in the Black Sea was not catastrophic but gradual .

7 c. A recent article, Aksu et al, “Persistent Holocene Outflow from the Black Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean Contradicts Noah’s Flood Hypothesis,” GSA Today 12(2002):5:4-10, points out many geological facts which contradict the views of Ryan and Pitman. Their data shows that the Black Sea has been continuously flowing out towards the Mediterranean Sea since 12,000 years ago. Ryan and Pitman’s hypothesis requires that at least at 7,500 BP the flow reversed contrary to the data of Aksu et al. What is their data? First, there is a Peridinium ponticum, a species which is endemic in the Black Sea (doesn’t live in the Mediterranean or Sea of Marmara) which is found in the Sea of Marmara in sediment cores. The only way it could have gotten there is for water to have been flowing from the Black Sea towards the Mediterranean during the time these sediments were laid down. That time was from 11,000 to 6,000 years ago. Secondly, the Noah’s flood hypothesis requires that the rivers which empty into the Black Sea were starved for water between 9 and 7.5 kyr ago. Yet the pollen data for southern Russia and the regions surrounding the Black Sea do not change to a more arid-tolerant vegetation. Indeed, there is no change at all. If the surrounding areas were not dry, then the Black Sea would not have been dried up and had a lower water level than the Mediterranean at that time. The pollen data doesn’t support the view that there was a catastrophic infilling of the Black Sea. Thirdly, pollen cores show no evidence of farming (or the consequent deforestation as the land is cleared) around the Black Sea until 4,000 years ago, which is long after the time Ryan and Pitman believe the farmers were scattered by the flood. Fourthly, in the eastern Aegean Sea, core data clearly shows that the surface waters were brackish throughout the entire interval from 10,000 kyr to the present. The presence of a brackish-water dynocyst S. cruciformis in the sediments there clearly show a large influx of fresh water to the eastern Aegean. There is only one source for this fresh water–the Black Sea. Finally, Aksu et al write: “Perhaps the best physical evidence for early and strong Black Sea outflow is a 10-9 ka delta lobe at the southern exit of the Bosphorus Strait (Fig. 4) . Its age is constrained by radiocarbon dates in the distal prodelta (Core 9, Fig. 4A ). The only source for the deltaic sediment is the strait itself. There is no shelf-edge delta here, only a mid-shelf delta with a topset-to-foreset transition that climbs in the seaward direction, indicating delta progradation into a rising water body.” This delta sits right at the mouth of the Bosphorus and points in the direction of the Mediterranean–opposite to the direction it should point if water flowed into the Black Sea. Below is the URL to that seismic line which is served from the GSA site.

Aksu et al conclude: “Seismic, geochemical, sediment, microfossil, and palynological data provide no support whatsoever for a catastrophic northward flow of saline Mediterranean water.

  1. One prediction that Ryan and Pitman have made has turned out to be doubtful. They suggest that the Indo-European language split at the time of the Black Sea flood (see William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Noah’s Flood, p. 194, pp 208-211). They write: “Little but knowledge and skill could be rescued. Ryan and Pitman believe that the Semites and Ubaids fled southward to the Levant and Mesopotamia; the Kartvelians retreated to the Caucasus; the LBK dashed across Europe, leapfrogging from one site to the next, pushing ahead their frontier for reasons never adequately explained; the Vinca retreated upstream to the enclosed valley of the Hungarian plain. Others went to the Adriatic and the islands of the Aegean. Some refugees migrated into the heartland of Eurasia via the Don. Still others used the Volga as access to the distant steppes of the southern Ural Mountains. In due course the Indo-Europeans soon occupied an arc extending from the Adriatic, western Europe, and the Balkans across Ukraine to the Caspian Sea." William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Noah’s Flood, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998), p. 213. The problem is that Indo-European didn’t split this early.

James Trefil writes: “Unfortunately, the evidence for this diaspora is a good deal less solid than the evidence for the flood itself. Linguists have long known how to reconstruct ancient languages by looking at words that have survived in the descendants of those languages today. The date of an event like the split-up of the Indo-European languages can then be estimated by comparing those words with artifacts found in excavations–a language probably won’t have a word for ‘wheel,’ for example unless it actually uses wheeled vehicles. ‘it is unlikely that the Indo-European languages split up before 3500 B.C. (that is, 2000 years after the Black Sea flood),’ says University of Chicago linguist Bill Darden, basing his conclusion on this sort of argument. If he and his colleagues are right, then the diaspora part of the flood story will be just another beautiful theory shot down by ugly facts." James Trefil, “Evidence for a Flood,” Smithsonian, April, 2000, p. 20 As mentioned above, it appears that Ryan is giving up on the concept of the infilling of the Black Sea as a source for the Noah’s Flood story. In October 2002, an entire issue of Marine Geology was devoted to the history of the Black Sea. Aksu et al., write: “A number of radiocarbon dates from gravity cores show that the sedimentary architecture of Unit 1 contain a detailed sedimentary record for the post-glacial sea-level rise along the southwestern Black Sea shelf. These data do not support the catastrophic refilling of the Black Sea by waters from the Mediterranean Sea at 7.1 ka postulated by [Ryan, Pitman, Major, Shimkus, Maskalenko, Jones, Dimitrov, Görür, Saknç, Yüce, Mar. Geol. 138 (1997) 119-126], [Ryan, Pitman, Touchstone Book (1999) 319 pp.], and [Ballard, Coleman, Rosenberg, Mar. Geol. 170 (2000) 253-261].” Aksu et al., “Seismic stratigraphy of Late Quaternary deposits from the southwestern Black Sea shelf: evidence for non-catastrophic variations in sea-level during the last ~10000 yr,” Marine Geology, 190(2002):1-2:61-94

In another article, Aksu et al. write: “The presence of fauna and flora with Black Sea affinities and the absence of Mediterranean fauna and flora in sapropels M1 and M2 strongly suggest that communication existed with the Black Sea during these times. A benthic foraminiferal oxygen index shows that the onset of suboxic conditions in the Marmara Sea rapidly followed the establishment of fully marine conditions at ~11-10.5 ka, and are attributed to Black Sea outflow into the Marmara Sea since 10.5 ka. These suboxic conditions have persisted to the present. The data discussed in this paper are completely at odds with the `Flood Hypothesis’ of Ryan et al. (1997), and Ryan and Pitman (1999).” Aksu et al. “Last glacial-Holocene paleoceanography of the Black Sea and Marmara Sea: stable isotopic, foraminiferal and coccolith evidence,” Marine Geology, 190(2002):1-2:119-149

Kaminski et al., show that the stratification of the Marmara Sea is incompatible with the Black Sea Flood hypothesis: “Quantitative analysis of benthic foraminiferal morphogroups reveals that the oxygen content of sub-halocline water was low (below ~1.5 ml/l) throughout the Holocene, and the occurrence of sapropel sediment in the deeper part of the basin suggests bottom waters may have been anoxic at times. After ~4.5 ka, an increase in benthic foraminiferal oxic morphotypes suggests a reduction in Black Sea outflow and weakening of the halocline. The strong and persistent stratification of the water column in the Marmara Sea throughout the Holocene is entirely incompatible with the `Noah’s Flood Hypothesis’.” Kaminski et al. “Late Glacial to Holocene benthic foraminifera in the Marmara Sea: implications for Black Sea-Mediterranean Sea connections following the last deglaciation,” Marine Geology, 190(2002):1-2:165-202.

Mudie et al, show that the Black Sea was never a freshwater lake as the Black Sea Noah’s Flood hypothesis requires: “Seismic profiles and mollusks have been used to suggest that from ~12500 to 7000 yr BP, the Black Sea was an isolated freshwater lake containing potable water and implying a surface salinity of <1. According to Ryan and Pitman (1999), these circumstances encouraged Neolithic settlement and farming on the shore of the Black Sea. This model conflicts with previous studies of dinoflagellate cysts and seismic profiles from the Marmara Sea. Here we investigate Ryan and Pittman’s model using palynological studies of organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts, acritarchs, freshwater algae, microforaminifera, and fungal remains as tracers of changes in surface salinity for seven cores of pleniglacial to Holocene sediments from the Marmara and Black seas." . . . "Overall, there is no palynological evidence that the surface salinity of the Black or Marmara seas was ever as low as a freshwater lake. This finding is consistent with models that estimate the time required to desalinate the Black Sea after closing of the Marmara-Bosphorus gateway.” Mudie et al., “Dinoflagellate cysts, freshwater algae and fungal spores as salinity indicators in Late Quaternary cores from Marmara and Black seas,” Marine Geology, 190(2002):1-2:203-231.

Finally, even pollen evidence indicates that the farmers, postulated by Ryan and Pitman to have existed and spread the story of Noah’s Flood, were not there on the Black Sea Floor at the time. The area was forested, not farmed. Mudi et al write: “Using the steppe-forest index of Traverse (1975), it is shown that the only intervals of severely dry conditions occurred briefly during the LGM and its transition; during most of the Pleniglacial and all of the Postglacial time, precipitation versus evaporation rates were sufficiently high to permit persistence of oro-Mediterranean forest vegetation. Furthermore, there is no evidence for environmental conditions in the Black Sea-Marmara region that would have encouraged pastoral or agricultural settlement in the littoral region prior to the Bronze Age, commencing 4600 years ago.” Mudie, Rochan and Aksu, “Pollen stratigraphy of Late Quaternary cores from Marmara Sea: land-sea correlation and paleoclimatic history,” Marine Geology, 190(2002):1-2:233-260.

Start a thread on that issue. It isn’t my issue here in this thread

I do think God communicates truth about creation: that creation is from God and not God; that it is created good, that humans are to rule creation in a way that reflects God’s goodness; that God creates everything orderly according to a sovereign plan (Genesis 1) and providentially in response to the needs of creatures (Genesis 2). That’s just getting started. How can I choose one of your possibilities when neither applies to what I believe?

The poetic features of Genesis 1 are noticed, not invented. It’s hard to miss the six stanzas with the repeated refrain, “And there was evening, and there was morning, the ___ day”. It’s not exactly poetry, but it’s poetic. After that, Genesis 2–11, with the exception of a few poetic and genealogical interludes, takes the form of stories. But just because something sounds like a story doesn’t tell you how it relates to history. The writing style of Jesus’ most well-known parables is closer to Genesis 2 than Genesis 1.

Yes, I believe God does miracles. Jesus’ resurrection is described as a miracle. The snake talks because it’s the most clever beast. God could make a snake talk, but like the talking trees that Jotham told a story about (Judges 9), this talking isn’t described as a miracle. I’m not willing to read in a miracle where it isn’t stated or even implied. To me, a talking snake, fruit that gives immortality and Jotham’s talking trees all suggest a different kind of story-telling.

Yes, that would be a tautology because a pink bunny is your symbol for speaking nonsensical falsehoods. So if God spouts nonsense then God spouts nonsense, but I don’t think God spouts nonsense. I don’t think the takeaways about creation I get from Genesis 1–2 are nonsense.

Agreed, and that post was eloquently stated. I have spent a lot of time thinking about why I think my devotion is true, and even more on how I believe other devotion will be received. I don’t typically post about that here, but I see the importance of the questions.

I’ve written elsewhere on why I think there are some general beliefs about a higher power and morality that come naturally (here). Beyond that, I’ve been fortunate enough to hear the story of Jesus in a way that made it compelling and convicting. I know not everyone does, and I’ve spent more time pondering what that means – why divine hiddenness has advantages for everyone – than working on a universally compelling case for faith independent of my own experiences.

A big part of my faith is how I see so much more in Scripture than I allowed myself to see as a YEC. Just as evolutionary creation relates to YEC much like the difference between a movie and a frozen snapshot, so also the Bible became deeper and more personal as I moved from expecting the early stories of Genesis to convey history lessons about long-dead people to recognizing their enduring power to reach out from the Ancient Near East and stab my soul. I treasure them for so much more than the few places I think they reveal accurate details about the past.

So, it’s not going to be easy to convince me that everything I get from Genesis is a pink bunny and I need to focus on uncovering historically verifiable facts. You may as well tell me I could find a black-and-white photo of a real woman under the Mona Lisa if I was just willing to scrape off all that paint. Or, perhaps, convince me that this restorationist was on the right track:

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[quote=“Marshall, post:59, topic:42368”]

I do think God communicates truth about creation: that creation is from God and not God; that it is created good, that humans are to rule creation in a way that reflects God’s goodness; that God creates everything orderly according to a sovereign plan (Genesis 1) and providentially in response to the needs of creatures (Genesis 2). That’s just getting started. How can I choose one of your possibilities when neither applies to what I believe?

I am glad to hear that. I have got to go look in the accommodation thread to see why I though you said, Genesis 1:1 wasn’t history.

Agreed, and a story can be historically true or historically false. Aesops fables are historically false. They do teach some lessons, but if that is all the Bible does, then the lesson ought to be as glaringly clear as the lessons in Aesops fables–or even those from Brr Rabbit. If the lesson isn’t glaringly obvious, then the ‘story as a conveyor of moral truth’ is a failure.

The burning bush was a talking tree. Does that mean, applying your standard here, that the story of Moses is ‘a different kind of story-telling’ too?

I am not against analogy or the use of symbols, but when it occurs, and a moral point is being taught, as in the case of Jotham who is using trees as symbols for Israel and other countries or tribes, the lesson ought to be glaringly obvious. For the life of me I can’t figure out what the ‘moral’ of either a false creation story is, or the moral of the false creation of man story, or the moral of the false talking snake episode. People say these passages teach truth, but never say what that truth is, except occasionally with Genesis 1 they say it is to show that God is greater than the surrounding Gods (who all say they are greater than Jehovah God). Down here we call that a standoff.

If God wished to communicate that man was a sinner, just state that. Why come up with a story written in a style that might be taken as historical, and have all the gobbledygook of a tree, the tree of life, and all that, just to say ‘we are sinners.’ This is surely a simpler way to communicate that we are sinners: And god said, “You guys are sinners.”

I am glad you see the importance of that issue. We need a better apologetic with regard to those questions than merely ‘Christianity is true’. Because they will either reverse it “Hiinduism is true!” or ask why we would say such a thing when their religion says we too will go to their heaven.

Marshall, it is in part an answer to these questions that I feel it is important that god say something real about creation. I have read the founding documents of the world’s major religions and many of the creation stories from tribal times. The bible is somewhat unique in its approach to the creation story. It appears neither magical (peapod man or duck bringing up mud from an endless ocean to make the land), nor does it appear to be totally ruled out as telling us real information about the creation. The other religions don’t have a creation story per se, although they say their gods created the world. Hindu’s excepted.

They can stab your soul even if they are real. I fear YEC does so much damage that people never again want to believe Scripture is real. and that, to me, is very very sad.

Marshall, you are a very special person to me, for the reason that you actually took time to understand my views–unlike most other people. And as I have said before, I thank you for that.

Having talked about why the Mesopotamian and the Black sea locals for the flood won’t match the Biblical description of Noah’s flood, a few months ago I posted here an account of a flood that matches Noah’s flood and describes exactly the geological items of Eden. You can find it here:

or here https://themigrantmind.blogspot.com/2019/06/eden-and-flood-historical-reading-of.html

This is the only suggested flood local that actually matches the description of the flood

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