The Location of the Flood

@gbob – if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that the Zanclean Flood was the Flood of Noah?

I won’t say good or bad about this hypothesis, but I will mention that a similar scenario featured on an xkcd epic a few years back:

interesting. lol, I can say I had precedence over him. lol

I first learned of this flood event in the late 1970s when I was training people how to process (a job that led to me becoming in charge of recruiting and training all geophysicists for Atlantic Richfield and was my ticket out of processing). Anyway, I worked with a guy (forget his name now) whose geologic master’s thesis was calculating how long it would take to evaporate the waters of the Mediterranean if the Strait of Gibraltar was dammed today. His answer was about 4000 years and he kept the present day river influx. I had no idea that I would think along the lines I do now but I kept his thesis for years, and I think I have some quote from it in my database but can’t find it just now.

To me it is amazing how quickly that water would disappear. This flood was the largest flooding event in earth history. As I said earlier the Biblical description is certainly not that of a normal flood, which is why everyone discounts what it says and settles for smaller floods that don’t match the description. All I cared about was finding an event that actually matched the description in Scripture. This does.

I said nothing about an incompatibility with first parents. I believe in an historical Adam and Eve. I just don’t think they were magical golems of dust and bone and I don’t think the idea of them being the sole genetic progenitors of the human species is even close to compatible with the evidence either in science or in the Bible. Furthermore, I don’t like this reduction of humanity and Christianity to genetics. I think that is the Xtianity of racism, eugenics, and genocide. AND I don’t think much of invoking divine magic to fix logical inconsistencies in a bunch of man-made dogma.

Adam and Eve as the first human beings, which has to do with a memetic inheritance from God rather than some imaginary perfect racist genetics, works a 1000 times better for the logic of the atonement because Jesus had no children and thus contributed NOTHING to any repair of human genetics. His entire focus was on the restoration of human thinking and a relationship with God…

Though… you are probably right in thinking that we don’t have the same view with regards to the atonement because you probably think this comes from some magical power of human sacrifice to overcome God’s inability to forgive, and I don’t buy into any of that. I don’t believe God has any inability forgive but simply know how destructive cheap forgiveness can be. And I don’t believe in any magical power of human sacrifice but I do know that causing the innocent to suffer is a powerful motivation for people to change. I also think this idea of the innocent being able to pay for the crimes of the guilty is the deranged invention of the criminals who ruled in the dark ages. Thus my understanding of the atonement is more in line with the Eastern Orthodox is all about changing how people think and not some magical spell to change the human genetic makeup.

Mitch wrote:

I said nothing about an incompatibility with first parents. I believe in an historical Adam and Eve. I just don’t think they were magical golems of dust and bone and I don’t think the idea of them being the sole genetic progenitors of the human species is even close to compatible with the evidence either in science or in the Bible. Furthermore, I don’t like this reduction of humanity and Christianity to genetics. I think that is the Xtianity of racism, eugenics, and genocide. AND I don’t think much of invoking divine magic to fix logical inconsistencies in a bunch of man-made dogma.

Good grief Mitch bury the racism card. If all humans are descended from one pair we would all be related with no one better than anyone else. Secondly you are talking to a guy whose extended family is multi-ethnic and multicultural and I think your claim is an utter red herring distraction.

I don’t have a clue what you are talking about that atonement changes peoples genetic make up. It most certainly doesn’t. I certainly never said anything like that and utterly resent the implication you make here.

None of that changes the fact that a sector of Xtianity was teaching the “mark of Cain” to justify slavery and racism and yes this and Xtianity of eugenics goes back to some idea of God creating Adam and Eve with perfect genetics that became corrupted. Some claim that the corruption came from fallen angels. But I believe that evil, sin, redemption, and our humanity has nothing whatsoever to do with genetics. If we got pigs or chimps to talk like we do then I think they should be considered human just as much as we are. I reject the whole idea that some people are superior because of their genetics.

You are the one connecting Adam and Eve to the atonement and somehow think this requires them to be the sole genetic progenitors of humanity – not me.

I appreciate the discussion on the subject matter and exchange of ideas, but can we perhaps revisit the guidelines for this forum?

@gbob Your discussion with @mitchellmckain (at least in my opinion) involves the most important problem facing Christianity today, and everyone who looks to BioLogos for guidance should read it. The current Catholic Catechism agrees pretty much with your statement I have highlighted above, and since all the scientific knowledge I have accumulated refutes the reality of ‘first parents’, their ‘Fall into Sin’, and the universal Flood of Genesis, I at first thought I had to choose between my Faith and my Science. Fortunately for me, I discovered the works of Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit priest/archeologist who found that human evolution provided a rational explanation of 'human brokenness’ that is compatible with God’s goodness and with Jesus as the Christ and our savior. This explanation involves replacing Original Sin with Original Blessing and requires an alternative view of “atonement”. Since two Catholic priests (Teilhard and later Mathew Fox) failed to find significant support in the Vatican for this worldview, it seems highly unlikely that it will be accepted by the rest of Christianity, at least in the near future. Nevertheless, IMHO, it currently is the best, intellectually honest way to reconcile Faith with science.

From my experience as a parent, attempting to use Christian Faith as a guide for my offspring to live a purposeful (and thus happy) life, that Faith should be able to withstand the inevitable doubts that arise upon reaching intellectual maturity. In judging how an interpretation of Scripture can affect one’s future attempts at leading a productive life, it is of NO importance whatsoever whether or not there is evidence of a global Flood. (Not that searching for evidence, or lack thereof, cannot be fun.) The question that needs answering, tho, is: “Could a loving God really destroy almost all of humankind because they didn’t live up to His expectations?”

“Too soon alt; too late smart”. I wish I had come to this worldview when my three kids were starting school. I’m not sure I could have managed to home school them, but they attended a parochial grade school as I did. Even tho their Christian Faith is not as orthodox as my mother would have liked, it definitely helped them lead purposeful lives. I have more concerns about generations 2 thru 5. It seems more difficult in this more materialistic, internet culture to focus on what really matters in life. I really admire those in the BioLogos community who have made the effort to home school their kids. Does that positive effect continue to the second and following generations?
Al Leo

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I don’t know if I believe in an objectively best way. gbob thinks his is best, you think yours is best and I think mine is best. The problem is that there is no objective means of measuring this quality of best we see in our explanations. What is more objectively best is the frank acceptance that there is going to be a diversity of thought and opinion about these things because they are fundamentally subjective.

Genesis 6:5 “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” That is WAY beyond “didn’t live up to His expectations.” That is more like overwhelming misery with the innocent abused until their humanity is stripped from them if they manage to survive only if they become just like their tormentors. Then the question becomes whether a good God can let such a horror continue? It is a situation where there is no hope whatsoever for humanity without destroying this unified system and culture of evil and making sure such thing never happens again (Genesis 11). Even so, at the end of Genesis 8, God seems to think this price for hope in mankind was a little high.

This will be my last response to you on this topic Mitch. I have no problem with someone believing their system is best. It is what we all should think if we think we have done a good job. Other than that, I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole you seem to be headed to.

Hi Aleo, I have read a couple of books by Teilhard. It was a long time ago and I found him fascinating, in some ways similar to the ideas later by Frank Tipler who may have taken some of his ideas from de Chardin. Maybe because I read the scriptures and maybe because of my home life as a child, I have a much harder time seeing the increasing perfectability of man offered by these views. I think we will probably disagree on that very fundamental issue of the nature of man as well.

Contrary to your view, doing all that research was quite fun. I love digging deep into whatever I study. I have enjoyed research all my life.

I am going to throw my hat into this tempest. I have to agree that we don’t need to focus on the veracity of all of Genesis to have Christian faith. However, contextual understanding of the cultural and archealogical records does give a possible deeper understanding of those events that led to the Bible narrative and the coming of Christ. Genesis is written in broad brushstrokes and is really a loose origins story to give some foundations to how things started. There are some very basic events that somehow seemed to be retained over time that the authors continued to see as relevant to their origins. These events are also recorded in many other early cultures and civilizations correlating what happened. First of all, the archeological record shows the foundation of civilization in the region to be in Anatolia. The Gobekli Tepe Site dating to 12000 plus years ago is incredibly advanced megalithic structures showing knowledge of building, social organization, religious organization, celestial knowledge of the astrological constellations and perhaps even precession. This site is an anomaly that doesn’t fit in with the old line of thinking of human cultural history. It’s too advanced. Not coincidently around this same time the earth was experiencing a series of apparent cataclysms. Evidence supports that there was at least one significant meteor strike in Greenland and maybe North America that would have had devastating effects on the planet. Around this same time the Younger Dryas glaciation begun rapidly lowering global temperatures around the planet. The planet had been warming significantly for many thousand years before in an interglacial period with sea levels rising 100’s of feet. About this time the megafauna of North and South America along with 100’s of other Pleistocene fauna die off. Then around 11600 years ago the earth experiences a rapid warming melting the majority of the remaining ice age glaciers and a sea level rises of over 60 feet in a very short time. Nothing like this has happened like this since that time. Nothing close. This was a global series of cataclysms that the many cultures of the world go onto remembering. In Genesis the curse upon man at the fall is that he must now toil in the fields growing his food. This is recording the transition from hunter gather to farmer. All domesticated wheat derives from nearby Gobekli Tepe originating from about this time 12000 years ago. That is no coincidence. Within a 1000 years or so early neolithic human farmers are proliferating in this area building structure similar to a Göbekli Tepe all around and small towns such as catalhoyuk. These proliferative Anatolian neolithic farmers go on to starting about 9000 years ago spread their technology and genes far and wide as far as being the ancestors of those that built Stonehenge. The Bible also records that the sons of god came down to mix with the daughters of men that caused much evil. The book of Enoch and Giants found at Qumran describe the fallen sons of god teaching all the vices of civilization such as warfare to man. This was what led to Noah’s flood which many now believe was this series of cataclysm around 12000 years ago. The fallen Sons of God acts were looked upon as a great evil and corruption by the Hebrews but looked upon more favorably by the Sumerians and even Egyptians. This suggests that the sons of god were a people from an advanced culture that possibly was mostly wiped out in these cataclysms and were trying to restart the civilization that they knew by developing or co opting the more primitive local hunter gathers. The Bible from the start is about a battle of darkness versus the light by describing the enmity between the two. The serpent who is related to the fallen sons of god, his progeny will strike the heel of man and man will crush the serpents progeny head. This sets the course for the Bible narrative and eventual coming of Christ.

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Misleading. They claim it refers to the mountains in the kingdom of Urartu, which was in Turkey.

I think the flood was probably ‘based’ on a very real flood which occured in the Shurrupak region of Mesopotamia. The Mesopotamians probably had a better memory of the flood than the Hebrews did.

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As a geoscientist, How do you feel about the analysis from Heiz Bloom in the attached article “Erwaemung bewrket die Sintflut?” Specifically this claim:

> The excavations of Tell Abu Huraira on the Euphrates in northern Syria revealed dwellings as far back as the first half of the 9th millennium BC. were used; above it, over a layer of deposits up to two meters thick - created by huge floods - were built of adobe walls of the time around 8000 BC.

What I think is that one needs more information. Is that deposit widespread? What is it made of? Tells are raised above the plain and are hard to flood. I own a lot of geologic maps of Iraq, Syria and generally that region, and the thing they show is that the quaternary sediments, sediments of the age you are dealing in here, are found only along the river channels themselves. If there were some widespread Quaternary deposit, it should show up on the geologic maps–it doesn’t. So I don’t know what the guy is referring to. Flood deposits can be either sand or shale, and he doesn’t even specify as far as I can see the lithology of the deposit. Wiki makes no mention of that bed in its discussion of this Tell. So, I really can’t comment other than to say I don’t know and would need to know a whole lot more.

Edited to Add, the Tell’s elevation is clearly above 500 feet. I conclude from the fact that every town below that level along that river wasn’t destroyed by this ‘widespread’ flood, that it is unlikely to be a flood at all. Something that wiped out a city that high up (but not in a mountain canyon), would most assuredly do lots of damage to cities down stream at the same archaeological time.

So you are saying that the towns at a lower altitude have been dated prior to 9000 BCE?

Ok, not towns, but settlements

I looked at a geologic map of Syria, found ** Abu Hureyra** and marked it with a red dot. It is near the gray recent quaternary sediments running along the river, Abu Hureya lies on the light brown which is Middle Eocene Nummulitic limestones and marls. These are ocean deposits. The grayish band running along the river are recent sediments–within historical times, Quaternary 4. The darker brown to the left are Paleocene ocean deposits. As you can see, the only floods are along the river basin. One must remember that the land can rise a couple of hundred or more feet quickly as one moves away from the river. No sediments of Recent age extend out side of the flood plain of the Euphrates, thus, nothing was very ‘widespread’. If the Tell is in the flood plan, and it might have been, then this deposit is nothing more than what the Mississippi River does from time to time–cover things with 6 feet of sediment. I remember reading back in the early 1990s when I was having a debate about polystrate fossils, that the Mississippi had dumped 6 feet of sand over a bunch of trees. The tree tops stuck out but the trees were going to die because the roots couldn’t get air. I suspect the sediment the guy is talking about is just like that. No recent flooding more widespread than the normal river flood plain is found in either Syria or Iraq.

I did not state that my worldview (reconciling Faith with science) was BEST for everyone–only that, for me, it was the most HONEST that I was able to construct after many years of trying. I’m sure the same applies for you and for @gbob.
many blessings,
Al Leo

I guess I have given you the wrong impression of my opinion regarding biblical research; e.g., the geological evidence for the location and extent of the Flood of Genesis. Had I the time to do so, I’m sure I would also have found such research fun. As it turns out, the predominant reason I read Scripture is to see if anyone who lived in the past found better ways of interacting with their God than I was attempting i.e., reading Scripture to improve my chances of leading a productive life that would be most pleasing to Him. (And which, of necessity, would not be insulting to His greatest gift to humankind, Intellect) Before hooking up with BioLogos, I must admit that, with only ‘shallow reading’, I found much of the O.T. was a “turn off” instead of being inspiring. I am most grateful to the biblical experts who contribute to this Forum for giving me a more favorable view of the O.T.–in many, but not all, instances. (I still shudder when someone claims that Abraham is the Father of my Christian Faith.)
Al Leo

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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