The Location of the Flood

As a geo scientist I absolutely cringe when I hear people putting Noah’s flood in the Mesopotamian basin. First there is zero evidence from deposits that there was any widespread flood. Just normal ones. The famous flood layer of Mallory was not even found across town in another test hole.

Secondly the whole area slopes south and the water would flow south flushing the ark into the Persian gulf and then into the Indian Ocean. And given water speeds and distance the flood wouldn’t last for a year.

No way an ark carried south is going to land in mountains of turkey.

I have my view of the flood but everyone finds it unacceptable but it is the only one that matches the details of the story

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Yeah who wouldn’t cringe at locating the flood where there is actual evidence of a flood with human remains no less in an area and time frame for the earliest signs of human civilization. Much better to go with a worldwide flood with no evidence whatsoever and invoke divine magic so people will believe in God more.

We are talking about an area with frequent floods. Just because some floods were evidently small doesn’t mean they all were. You have to do better than that to justify such contempt you displaying.

The evidence I see is that the gradient is quite small.

No way is it certain that Noah landed in Turkey. Biblical scholars disagree that the mountain in Genesis is the same as the one in Turkey.

Do want to put your view out to face the cringe of others?

Mitch, My view has been out there for about 20 years in print. My view is too complicated for here, it gets into too many topics. But Mitch, my desire not to debate it here doesn’t change the facts that Mesopotamia dips south, all the water flows south, and there are no widespread flood deposits that covered much more than the flood basins of those rivers (a geologic term). If all we want is cheap and simple for apologetics that sound good on the surface but that make no sense (regardless of whether my view satisifes or not) ,then Mesopotamia or the Black Sea will work just fine.

I really don’t have the energy to debate the details of this. Suffice it to say floods leave geologic evidence of themselves. Any flood that could last a year has to be a very unusual event. My view requires one thing, that Mankind is very very old. By mankind I mean having the image of God. Most people won’t like the time frame, but I said earlier to Jay, modern genetics has ruled out a single pair of humans for the time period people are looking to find Adam and Eve. But what if they were older? Art: earliest hominid manufactured art was found by Mary Leakey dated 1.6 myr ago and appears to be a baboons face. the earliest art recognized by a hominid, goes back 3.2 million years, the Makapansgat pebble, which was carried a km or so away to a cave and it is an australopithecine face on that pebble, and evidence of speech and evidence of religion goes back at least 750,000 years ago but probably go back further because of the use of perishable material. Language is a prerequisite for religion because one must have religious concepts first.

Hominids were making stone tools that required days of planning (traveling to quarries, making the tools and then going back where they came) as long ago as 1.5 million years.

Only slightly later (1.5mya) we find Acheulian assemblages with sharp and retouched flakes and a greater proportion of bifaced (>40%) shaped into tools of distinct form, almond shaped hand axes or transverse edged cleavers. These tend to be larger, better balanced and more symmetrical than pebble tools, and are more regularly flaked over a greater proportion of the surface. They are often made by retouching large flakes, or struck from large boulders, so that one side is flatter than the other. Materials are carefully chosen for specific tools and transported to a factory: at Gadeb in Ethiopia obsidian used for hand axes has been transported from 100km away."Dr. D. R. Johnson, "Lower and Middle Pleistocene - Homo erectus and Homo sapiens

Earliest ocean crossing requiring a boat 700,000 years ago: Crossing the ocean has apparently been accomplished by man and his ancient, archaic ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years. Ancient man was on Flores, an island in the Indonesian archipelago, at least 700,000 years ago. see P.Y. Sondaar, et al., "Middle Pleistocene faunal turnover and Colonization of Flores (Indonesia) by Homo erectus," Comptes Rendus de l’Academie des Sciences. Paris 319:1255-1262.

To get to Flores, mankind must have been able to build a boat because even at the lowest sealevels of the glacial ages, Flores required an ocean voyage. Flores also was never connected to the Asian mainland during low sealevel stands. Indeed it required the crossing of at least 2 straits. Plus cross currents going through those straits take everything straight out to sea away from land. They had to be able to steer.

Flores is the island where the ‘hobbits’ were found and many say they were descended from Homo erectus and were short because of island dwarfism, a well known evolutionary process.

No apologetical account of human history takes the above facts into consideration. Someone engaging in religion simply has to be human in the sense of having the image of God, but mespotamian floods and late Adam and Eve stories ignore these important details. You want my flood story, here it is published in 1997 but also in a book that is now out there in the public domain. No one likes the view because of the antiquity of the events. But I will guarantee you my flood view matches what Scripture says in detail. The events described in my paper happened JUST AFTER the first appearance of hominids on planet earth. But Mitch, you will have to go to a link, something you refused to do earlier.

Cringe indeed… Typical god of the gaps response. Evidence rules something out so you move your dogmas to where there currently is not enough evidence. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Hopeless.

A single couple being the sole genetic source of the human race not only contradicts the scientific evidence but doesn’t even agree with the Biblical evidence. Frankly this is no more sensible than the rest of the Walt Disney interpretation of Genesis with magical fruit, talking snake and golems of dust and flesh animated by necromancy.

What I don’t like is the non-Biblical purely modern obsession with genetics and its racist implications. What I categorically deny is that our humanity, the image of God, or our relation ship with God is to be found anywhere whatsoever in genetics.

This is the advantage of understanding the mind as a whole other physical living organism in a different medium with a different inheritance. All God had to do was communicate with any couple in any time frame giving them the memetic inheritance that is the foundation of the human mind, our humanity, and by that inheritance making us the literal children of God. That memetic inheritance can then pass to the rest of the species via human communication without any genetic relationship at all.

I will go with some evidence of a flood rather than no evidence of a flood and definitely over jumping to gaps in the evidence so you can make up whatever fanciful things you like to stuff into those gaps.

I followed the link looking for some evidence of a flood anywhere in any time frame but rapidly lost interest in what was there. That stuff was science fiction and fantasy and not very good at that – if I want SF&F, I will stick to the ones I have already.

So as usual, criticize without understanding the topic. Sad really. And you haven’t changed the fact that the Mesopotamian basin dips south and water poured on that basin will flow south, away from Turkey, carrying any ark floating on those waters into the Persian Gulf.

edited to add: since I am one who believes things I think are factual or have a chance of being factual, my flood theory was built as part of my need to have at least the possibility of the Flood account being true. In other words it was made for my needs of historicity in Genesis or at least the possibility of historicity. Something made up out of whole cloth; faery tale and things untrue in religious documents, does not increase my confidence that the religion is true. Thus, in one sense, the theory was to solve a problem I had similar to what the originator of this thread has. I too was on that slippery slope. If you don’t like it, I really don’t care. If anyone doesn’t like it, I don’t give a rat’s ear’s worth of care. It wasn’t I who demanded for it to be put out there.

Did read more and got past the rather unbelievable hypothesis of a people living in a land where there was no rain. The idea that people would live in such a place is utterly incredible, let alone that such a place could ever be a prosperous human civilization. Thus my first response… The idea of an unexpected and overwhelming rainfall creating the Mediteranean sea is slightly more interesting but still too far fetched and still the realm of SF&F without any evidence back it up. Seems the consensus is that it was a flood from the Atlantic 5.3 million years ago that created the Mediteranean sea. Yeah I don’t like that time frame at all.

If we are going for science fiction I think I prefer the theory that came up in Orscon Scott Card’s book “The Redemption of Christopher Columbus.”

Already explained why I don’t even see a problem with that even if it were true.

Let me help you out Mitch, there were 4, count them 4 rivers pouring into the basin when the Med was dry. That provided lots of water in that part of the basin. Even if my view is totally wrong, and it might be, I can’t prove it anymore than we can actually prove Caesar lived, the fact remains that the Messian Crisis is a very important event in geologic history. It is the event Lyell used to demarcate the Miocene from the Pliocene–i.e. set the boundary.

Hippos during this time walked from Africa to Cyprus where dwarf hippos are found in the Pliocene sediments. Because the Nile was pouring water into the basin and digging out a 4500 foot deep canyon in the granite rock of Egypt, Hippos had plenty of water to take their journey. Rivers provide WATER for all the inhabitants down there. As I said earlier, it is best not to criticize until you actually understand what is going on and my view is very complex. It isn’t bubblegum apologetic whose flavor goes away at the first sign of a factoid.
Mine may not taste good, but it honors the facts of geology AND the outline of the Biblical Flood. It has stood up for 20 years against new discoveries.

The reason I cringed, and you didn’t ask why. Is because if we send our kiddies off to school and they meet the modern equivalent of Will Provine with the Mesopotamian flood idea, they will be just as susceptible to atheist questions, like, Hey kid, don’t you know that the Mesopotamian basin flows SOUTH and there is no way the Ark is going to float to the Mountains in southern Turkey? And again we leave them apologetically prepped to have their faith destroyed. Isn’t it nice what we do for our kids? Anyway, I digress.

Fine if you don’t like the time frame. Not my problem. One has to explain all those evidences of religion prior to Adam. If all religion practicing peoples are descendants of Adam, then Adam is before all this went on. I didn’t put up older evidences of religion because they require too much effort and no doubt will be criticized without any actual understanding on the part of the critic. I don’t deal in a wish and a promise kind of bubble gum apologetics.

Let me give you evidence of religion in detail, going way back. First I want to note that modern circumpolar peoples often worshipped and sacrificed bears. They would take a cub, raise it to adulthood and then sacrifice it as a means of communicating with the spiritual world. Chippewas, the Ainu of Japan, Tungus, Orochis and Samoyeds of northern Asia all worshipped the bear in a similar fashion. I won’t put the details of this sentence in this note but some of their practices match those of Neanderthals, raising the possibility of cultural continuity as modern humans interbred with the Neanderthals when they came into Europe. Lets start with El Juyo, a modern human site dated at 13000 years and go back. All of this is from an old web page of mine. References at the bottom If I missed a reference let me know and I will provide it:

^^^old web page below^^^
Recent discoveries have revived the debate about how old religion is. I will follow several evidences of religion back into anthropological history. El Juyo is around 13,000 years ago. Freeman and Echegaray describe it:

Presiding over all these associated features, from a position directly overlooking the small structure (in the middle of its southeast side), was a good-sized vertical stone, one of whose surfaces, that facing the structure and the old cave entrance, had been deliberately transformed into a semi-human face. The stone measures thirty-five by thirty-two centimeters and is twenty-one centimeters thick.” (Freeman and Echegaray, 1981, p. 10.)

“From the description given above and an examination of the photograph and drawing, the reader will realize that the stone face represents a being whose nature is dual, although the two sides of its character have been harmoniously integrated into one single face. The proper right side of the face is that of an adult male human, with moustache and beard. The proper left side is a large carnivore, with oblique eye, large lachrymal, and a moderately long nose, ending in a good depiction of a naked rhinarium. The chin is triangular, and a sharply pointed tooth projects above the mouth. On the muzzle there are three subparallel lines of black spots suggesting the bases of whiskers or vibrissae, a characteristic feature of felids. Taken as a whole, these features represent a large cat, probably a lion or leopard (both existed near El Juyo in Magdalenian times).” (Freeman and Echegaray, 1981, p. 15-16.)

“The form of the structures and the peculiar way in which they were built also call for an explanation from beyond the realm of ordinary domestic activities. As examples, we may cite the careful disposition of the regular lots of earth which go to form the bulk of the mounds, either in rosettes or in double lines; the fact that the several rosettes were plastered over with clay of vividly different colors; the sprinkling of red ochre over the whole at several different stages of construction; the channel uniting the two mounds, by which something organic and greasy was evidently poured from the small structure into the large one; the vertical antler tine found in the middle of an ochre layer in the bottom of the larger trench; the positioning of the two large slabs, one horizontally over the large structure, the other on edge nearby. the symmetry of spatial relationships, with pits between and at either end of the two mounds, other pits on either side of the large horizontal slab, the vertical slab oriented parallel to the small mound and both perpendicular to the large one; and, finally, the very presence of these enigmatic mound-trench complexes, which have no apparent economic explanation. The behavior involved in the construction of this structural aggregate is obviously symbolic and its meaning obscure.” (Freeman and Echegaray, 1981, p. 15.)

Clearly, this religious monument goes much further back in time than Ross and Fischer believes.

There was apparently an altar in Chauvet Cave (dated 31,000 years ago[Balter, 1996, p. 449]). A bear skull was precariously placed on a flat topped stone and fire was burned just behind the skull. Chauvet et al, write:

“A little further on we were deeply impressed by what we discovered. In the middle of the chamber, on a block of grey stone of regular shape that had fallen from the ceiling, the skull of a bear was placed as if on an altar. The animal’s fangs projected beyond it into the air. On top of the stone there were still pieces of charcoal, the remains of a fireplace. All around, on the floor, there were more than thirty bear skulls; now covered in a frosting of amber-coloured calcite, they were purposely set out on the earth. There were no traces of skeletons. This intentional arrangement troubled us because of its solemn peculiarity.” (Chauvet et al, 1996, p. 50)

The lack of bear skeletal parts proves that these were not stray bears that got trapped and died in the cave. Their heads were removed elsewhere and brought into the cave. There were no postcranial elements.

The fact that 30,000 years ago man was apparently worshipping the bear lends credence to the next oldest probable religious site. Except this one was built by Neanderthal. At Bruniquel, France, archeologists have excavated a square stone structure dating to more than 47,000 years ago (prior to the advent of modern man in Europe) in which the Neanderthals burned a bear. Bednarik (1996, p. 104) writes:

“The cave of Bruniquel in southern France has just produced fascinating new evidence. Several hundred metres in from the cave entrance, a stone structure has been discovered. It is quadrilineal, measures four by five metres and has been constructed from pieces of stalagmite and stalactite. A burnt fragment of a bear bone found in it was radiocarbon analysed, yielding a ‘date’ of greater than 47 600 years BP. This suggests that the structure is the work of Neanderthals. It is located in complete darkness, which proves that the people who ventured so deep into the large cave system had reliable lighting and had the confidence to explore such depths. Bruniquel is one of several French caves that became closed subsequent to their Pleistocene use, but were artificially opened this century.”

This appears to have been the ritual sacrifice of a bear. It is also the first proof that man went deep into caves long before they painted the walls. (Balter, 1996, p. 449)

Neanderthals at Nahr Ibrahim, Lebanon, appear to have ritually sacrificed a deer. Marshack writes:

“In the Mousterian cave shelter of Nahr Ibrahim in Lebanon the bones of a fallow deer (Dama mesopotamia) were gathered in a pile and topped by the skull cap. Many of the bones were unbroken and still articulated. Around the animal were bits of red ochre. While red ochre was common in the area and so may have been introduced inadvertently, the arrangement of the largely unbroken bones suggests a ritual use of parts of the animal.” (Marschack 1990, p. 481)

The ochre was proven to have been brought in from elsewhere by the discoverer (Solecki, 1982). This site is greater than 40,000 years old. This is animal sacrifice long before Dick says it exists. Perhaps these ancient peoples should have read The Origins Solution so that they wouldn’t do these things.

The 80,000 year old site of Drachenloch, Switzerland, also appears to have been a religious site, once again a Neanderthal site. Bachler found what appeared to be ritually arranged cave bear bones and ashes on what he called a sacrificial altar. (Lissner, 1961, 187-188). Campbell and Loy write:

“The most famous example of what has been claimed to be Neandertal hunting magic is the so-called bear cult. It came to light when a German archaeologist, Emil Bachler, excavated the cave of Drachenloch between 1917 and 1923. Located 8,000 ft (2,400 m) up in the Swiss Alps, this ‘lair of the dragons’ tunnels deep into a mountainside. The front part of the cave, Bachler’s work made clear, served as an occasional dwelling place for Neandertals. Farther back, Bachler found a cubical chest made of stones and measuring approximately 3.25 ft (1 m) on a side. The top of the chest was covered by a massive slab of stone. Inside were seven bear skulls, all apparently arranged with their muzzles facing the cave entrance. Still deeper in the cave were six bear skulls, seemingly set in niches along the walls. The Drachenloch find is not unique. At Regourdou in southern France, a rectangular pit, covered by a flat stone weighing nearly a ton, held the bones of more than 20 bears.” (Campbell and Loy, 1996, p. 441)

Honesty demands that one note that Drachenloch (not Regourdou) is controversial so for an alternative view, see Kurten (1976, p. 84-86) For a discussion of why I don’t think Kurten’s critique is correct see Morton (1997, p.73-75)

There is an even earlier altar, which is not controversial, found at Bilzingsleben, Germany. The excavators, Dietrich and Ursula Mania have found a 27-foot-diameter paved area that they say was used for “special cultural activities” (Mania et al,1994, p. 124; See also Mania and Mania, 1988, p. 92). Gore writes:

"But Mania’s most intriguing find lies under a protective shed. As he opens the door sunlight illuminates a cluster of smooth stones and pieces of bone that he believes were arranged by humans to pave a 27-foot-wide circle. “‘They intentionally paved this area for cultural activities,’ says Mania. ‘We found here a large anvil of quartzite set between the horns of a huge bison, near it were fractured human skulls.’” (1997,p. 110)

I would contend that the symbolism here, if found in a modern village, would be enough to cause one to turn and flee for his life. Such an arrangement of objects would immediately be interpreted as evidence of religion, and a hostile religion at that. And the Homo erectus site of Bilzingsleben dates to around 425,000 years, not the mere 24,000 years that Ross prefers for the oldest evidence of religion. If Ross wishes to claim that religion doesn’t go back further than 24,000 years, he should explain why the above five examples don’t qualify as examples of religion? It is clear that evidence of religion in the anthropological record prior to 24,000 years is not rare. Ross can’t prove his case by ignoring these sites and this data.

Balter, Michael, 1996, “Cave Structure Boosts Neandertal Image”, Science, 271:449

Campbell, Bernard G. and James D. Loy, 1996 Humankind Emerging, (New York: HarperCollins)

Kurten, Bjorn 1976, The Cave Bear Story, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976)

Freeman, L. G. and J. G. Echegaray, “El Juyo: A 14,000-year-old Sanctuary From Northern Spain,” History of Religion, Aug. 1981.

Lissner,Ivar The Living Past, translated by J. Maxwell Brownjohn, (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1957)

Lissner, Ivar 1961, Man, God and Magic, (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons)

Mania D., and U. Mania and E. Vlcek, 1994. “Latest Finds of Skull Remains of Homo erectus from Bilzingsleben (Thuringia)”, Naturwissenschaften, 81, p. 123-127.

Marshack, Alexander, 1990 “Early Hominid Symbol and Evolution of the Human Capacity,” in Paul Mellars, The Emergence of Modern Humans, (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1990), pp 457-498.

Morton, G. R., 1997, Adam, Apes and Anthropology, (Dallas: DMD Publishers)

Solecki, Ralph S. 1982. “A Ritual Middle Palaeolithic Deer Burial at Nahr Ibrahim Cave, Lebanon,” Archeologie au Levant, Recueil R. Saidah, CMO 12, Arch. 9, Lyon, 1982, pp 47-56

Here is a better idea… Instead of sending kids to school with dogma shoved into bigger gaps, I teach them to think for themselves and find real value in things so maybe they can find value for themselves in the Bible just as I did. You see, I wasn’t raised Christian at all. And so for me this is not about propping up some pathetic culture long past its expiration date, but about the different ways we can get at the truth.

I think I want to tell the story of the ‘peer review’ my flood view went through before it was accepted for publication. I sent it to Perspectives on science and Christian faith, and it was quickly rejected. At the time the ASA had a rather free wheeling list like Biologos, and when I mentioned some of my flood views, a guy, I think it was one who might have reviewed my paper, thought it would be a grand idea to set up a debate between me and a guy who was a strong Mesopotamian flood argument. I think the idea was to have the entertainment of this advocate destroying me. It didn’t turn out quit as they envisioned as when I started calculating how much energy must be put into the ark to move it uphill a km elevation and about 100 miles horizontally and showed that 8 humans couldn’t possibly put out that much energy to push the ark against the current via long poles (for that is what the guy believed). This guy had a relatively small ark. He also couldn’t answer why the cities in southern Iraq were not all wiped out by this Mesopotamian flood.

From an old web page on the topic: Ur was inhabited from the 5th millennium BC (at least 4000 B.C) until 400 B.C. The city existed uninterrupted over that period (even the famous flood layer at Ur did not cover the entire town). It is difficult to see how there could have been a flood of such a magnitude that would get special note, last a year etc. Ur was along the river bank right at the ocean’s shore 6000 years ago. If there had been a great flood during that period, it would have wipe Ur out. Remember that their bricks were not that hard and a good soaking with water could destroy the structural integrity of the city. Thus any flood had to have been prior to 4000 BC. But because of the geologic evidence, there is little evidence for a Flood earlier.

A lot of the ASA members got to see that debate (they had underestimated me as so many do) So after the debate didn’t go well, cause I kept ridiculing the idea that the ark would float upstream, I sent a note again to the editor saying, You will publish an ark theory that would have objects floating upstream but not publish an article where the laws of physics are obeyed? He told me to send the article to him again and it got published. Later the Journal published another Mesopotamian flood idea in which a hurricane pushed the ark uphill to Turkey, I sent in a note that got published, pointing out that gee, hurricanes don’t last a year on land (cause you would have to have a land centered Iraqi hurricane and we have never seen a land based hurricane in Iraq), and the winds would have to change direction at each bend in the river so as not to ground the ark on a river bank so one might as well just say it was just a miracle, which it could be. I cant deny that if God wants to do it that way he could, but it isn’t a naturalistic phenomenon. Just say it is miraculous and go home.

Anyway it seems Christians are stuck on the Mesopotamian flood no matter what the problems are. Seems to me, matching facts with the account, yes, good old concordism, is better because that is the way science works. We are not supposed to believe things in science that don’t match the observational data. Why do we think it is ok ignore facts(either biblical or scientific) when it comes to religion?

Your note made me think of my three sons who tell me our dinner time debates at home while they were growing up were like philosophy classes. We debated everything and allowed questions about Free Will, determinism, religion, theology, politics, science you name it we debated it. And when in 2015 or so, my 3 sons took me to McDonald observatory, we spent 10 hours out and 10 hours back debating everything. My daughters-in-law all hate to hear us debate because sometimes it gets a bit raucus. They think for themselves, but they are all strong beleivers because I gave them reasons to believe, even though I don’t think they hold my flood view either. But they were taught Christianity at home. But my kids also saw my doubts, which began while they were in High School and Jr. High.

My middle son is a preacher and he told me about a month ago some statistics that say what you suggest about letting kids figure it out for themselves won’t work. while the absolute numbers from memory probably aren’t correct the order of magnitude is correct. Something like 80% of children raised in a home where the parents practice their religion and take it seriously remain Christians. A very small percentage (fixed this) remain Christian if the parents don’t practice it. The final number I am pretty sure of because it was closer to my situation. My dad and grandfather were atheists and my religious mother, a socipathic child abuser, but she did pay me to go to church rather than stay home with dad–I sold out cheaply :sunglasses:. Only 1% of children who don’t go to church become Christians later in life. You are a statistical oddity. Left to our own devices few find God.

As I have said to you a lot, if you don’t like my ideas, fine, I don’t care. But telling someone to believe the bible because it is true, inspite of the historical events being untrue, does not foster a warm cuddly feeling that one is engaging in something real.

Like it or not, Christianity is a historical religion. Jesus came because Adam sinned. His resurrection is the very basis upon which our sin is taken care of. As H. G. Wells, a famous SF author since you have been fond of SF in this thread, said:

“If all the animals and man have been evolved in this ascendant manner, then there would have been no first parents, no Eden, and no Fall. And if there had been no Fall, the entire historical fabric of Christianity, the story of the first sin and the reason for an atonement, upon which current teaching bases Christian emotion and morality, collapses like a house of cards.” H. G. Wells, The Outline of History, (Garden City: Doubleday, 1961), p. 776-777

I don’t agree that evolution is incompatible with first parents, so long as we allow a bit of God’s intervention into the creation of man, but his point is well taken. If there are no first parents, no Fall then the dominoes of Christianity fall to the floor. So my views of Genesis and the flood are not for the purpose of propping up some pathetic culture, they are for maintaining the logic of Christian atonement. The YECs have a point about Jesus, supposedly the son of God, using Noah as an example. Matthew 24, 37-39 says:

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man”

If I take your position and not worry about the historicity of the flood, then I would have to ask: Did the son of God not know the flood was false? Could God not foresee what people might think about using a false statement, especially atheists? And in any event, the great Mesopotamian flood didn’t even wipe out Ur which was at the mouth of the river at that time, so how is the coming of the son of man like a bunch of people who were never wiped out when the non-flood didn’t happen? --if anything should have been wiped out in the Mesopotamian flood, it should have been the city of Ur. All of these are the atheist questions still rattling around in my mind, from my years of doubt. If we can’t answer them, how logical is our religion?

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@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.

“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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