In the Bible, this is the story of how God drowned every person on earth with a great flood, sparing only a man named Noah and his family of seven. Fundamentalists believe that the story is literally true, and there have been many claims to have found the ark on which Noah and his family sailed.
The story of Noah's ark is told in Genesis 6:11-8:22 . God sees that the world has become full of evil, and decides to kill everyone on Earth, with the exception of Noah, Noah's unnamed wife, and his three sons and their respective unnamed wives.
God explains to Noah that he is going to flood Earth, and tells him to build an ark. God gives instructions on how to build the ark, what its dimensions should be, and so forth. He also tells Noah to bring representative samples of all living creatures: either one pair of each animal (Genesis 6:19-20 ) or seven of each clean animal (or seven pairs) and two of each unclean animal (Genesis 7:2-3 ).
After the animals have been loaded onto the ark, God sends rain and opens up the "fountains of the great deep" for forty days and forty nights, until the earth is covered with water and every living being has died, except for those on the ark. The floodwaters start subsiding, and a year later the ark rests on "the mountains of Ararat."
Noah releases a raven through the window of the ark, but it can't find any dry land, and keeps flying around until the water subsides. Noah sends out a dove, but it returns, not having found any dry land. A week later, Noah releases the dove again, and this time it returns with an olive leaf in its beak, indicating that the water level is getting low. A week later, he releases the dove again, but it fails to return, and Noah looks out to see that the world has dried out.
- This story assumes that a perfectly loving Omnibenevolent God killed the whole human population including innocent babies and children. A perfectly just God judges that these babies and children deserved death by drowning. A God such as the christian God should have been able to take a different route rather than killing everyone, and he would have wanted to take practically any other route because he is supposedly omnibenevolent.
- There are millions of known animal species in the world; it would take an impossibly large ship to hold representatives of all species, not to mention food for at least a year.
- Assuming that Noah did not take two of each species, but two of each "kind", that still requires an awfully rapid evolution explosion to account for the biological diversity today. If all creatures on earth were destroyed some five thousand years ago in the Great Flood, it would require incredibly fast evolution to cause, for instance, the dog "kind" to produce both dire wolves and Chihuahuas. If we take a very conservative estimate of 1 million species that descended from creatures on Noah's ark, and assume that 16,000 "kinds" of animal were on the ark, each "kind" would have had to evolve into over 62 species in the 4,000 years since Noah's flood.
- The flood story does not explain the present geographic distribution of species, e.g., how did marsupials wind up in Australia, and only in Australia?
- The story of Noah is not unique. For one, there are several versions of the Noah account itself, passed down and changed over time, with only the latest version being used in the Bible. But even it is derivative of previous flood myths.
- The flood myth in the Epic of Gilgamesh, similar in many respects to that of Noah, is dated as early as 2150 BCE (Sumerian version) with the latest "standard" Akkadian tablets dated between 1,300 and 1,000 BCE.
- The oldest fragments of the Septuagint, which forms the basis of modern version of Genesis in the Bible, is dated to 132 AD with its composition beginning between 300 and 200 BCE. The Wellhausen hypothesis dates the composition of the earliest forms of Genesis to between 950 and 500 BCE.
- Note that this is the dating of the tablets and texts themselves, not of the timeline of the story. The earlier date of composition is a factor in showing the Biblical version of the story to be derivative.
- The Deluge would have meant the resetting of DNA lines for nearly every living thing on earth. All DNA lines should curiously and rapidly narrow to small breeding populations located in the Middle East. Ignoring every other creature on earth, we can say with some confidence, that human DNA lines appear to originate in Africa. Most lines do not appear to have stopped in the middle east 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.
- The Deluge, according to the Ussher chronology, occurred circa 2348 BCE. It should have represented a clear historical breaking point for every civilization around the world. No such breaking point exists. History appears to continue uninterrupted through the flood in every other part of the world.
- Once the animals got off the ark, they would have nothing to eat. All the plants would have died in the flood, so the herbivores would have nothing to eat. The carnivores would wipe them out anyway, and then they would die too.
- Creationists often claim that there were only babies of each species and only seeds of each plant on the ark, but then this would require a time for them to grow. For every ten units of mass on one level of the food chain, only one unit of mass can be created on the next level. That means for a lion, which weighs over 400 pounds, to become fully grown, he needs to eat 4,000 pounds of meat, and that animal would have to eat 40,000 pounds of plant to get that much weight.
- A single worldwide deluge cannot explain the distribution of fossils in the fossil record:
- Radiometric dating, geological layering (both fossils and otherwise), major extinction events, corrosion, and mountain range formation all line up to show the same age. Any argument that attacks a single dating method has to address why all of them show the same thing.
- Even if the dating method is not accepted as accurate (i.e. you don't believe a fossil is 250 million years old), every dating method shows the same relative difference. So to be successful, even an argument that attacks every dating method would have to show why they're all out by the same amount, to account for the agreement over the relative age.
- Given the distribution of fossils, even if fossilization were accelerated under high-pressure water, which it is not, there have still been several times when almost all life has been wiped out (we're talking 50-75% of all species going extinct, not 50-75% of all individual animals dying). No apologist argument addresses all five major extinction events.
- What about the complex ecosystems that would have been destroyed from the flood? All it would have taken is one animal dying and then the other couldn't reproduce and would die, and the animals that require that species alive for any number of reasons would have died, and subsequently would have killed off an entire ecosystem or more. A birth defect would have a remarkable chance of occuring which could have caused an outcome such as this.
- Considering that the waters from around the world would have mixed, the content of salt would have been altered resulting in the sea life being killed worldwide.
- Isn't God all-knowing, and therefore knowing of all possibilities aside from a global flood which killed babies and that required a family to commit incest and their subsequent children to do the same down all generations?
This is the Flood Model in which the water was suspended above Earth in ice, liquid water, or water vapor state. At the end of the seven days, it came down to the surface as rain.
If a canopy of more than 40 feet of water were suspended above Earth, atmospheric pressure would skyrocket to 64 times the norm; nitrogen and oxygen would reach toxic levels causing the bends worldwide. If the canopy began as vapor, it would have to be at a minimum of 100 degrees Celsius to remain in a gaseous state. As this heat dispersed, Earth would have been cooked. If the suspended water were in ice form, the gravitational potential energy would also have raised the temperature past the boiling point. Some models have the ice orbiting Earth; if it were not within the ozone layer, UV radiation would have broken them apart.
A canopy thick enough to provide the water for a global flood would have blocked a great deal of sunlight, lowering the temperature greatly.
This model proposes that roughly ten miles below the Earth's surface was a layer of water, and at the end of the seven days, the crust of the earth ruptured and the pressurized water shot out and fell as rains.
Rock (with the exception of pumice) doesn't float, a layer of water below Earth's crust would have been forced to the surface long before the flood. Even a mile deep, the earth is hot enough to boil water. When it did finally come out it would have been superheated, as that heat dispersed throughout the atmosphere the global temperature would have increased dramatically and the ark would be cooked. There is also a large lack of evidence. When the water escaped from the ground, it would have left huge gashes in Earth's crust. Blowing through ten miles of rock is no small task, there should be large holes, and poorly sorted basaltic deposits (Noah also would have had to watch his head for falling rocks). Such formations should be easily visible but we see none.
Kent Hovind proposed that the flood waters came from comets that broke up in the atmosphere and rained water down to Earth.
Any comet large enough to contain all the water needed to flood Earth would have been too large to just break up in the atmosphere, and it would have taken far too many smaller ones for them to all come at Earth at the same time. Comets entering the atmosphere would have been burned up, and the water would be steam.
This flood model proposes that the pre-flood ocean floor sank into the mantle, the heat released caused the plate to melt faster. All the original plate subducted and the new magma raised the ocean floor and boiled off water that then fell as rains. When this magma cooled, the sea floor lowered again and the oceans got deeper. Isostatic rebound formed mountains like the Rocky Mountains and the Andes.
To get the proposed subduction rates, the thermal diffusivity of Earth (how well heat moves through Earth) would have to increase 10,000 fold. Additional miracles are required to cool the new ocean floor in months in stead of the millions of years it should take. Studies estimated that the energy released would be 10^28 joules, more then enough to boil off the oceans. The mantle also would have had to be hotter for this model to work. All this heat would have to be radiated to the surface, and eventually out of the atmosphere.
New ocean basins
This is the model that most others use to explain where the flood water went after the flood. It states that the water became our present day oceans, Earth's topography was much flatter in the time before the flood, and during the flood there was widespread reconstruction of the surface. After the flood the water drained into the new ocean basins.
The heat required to make the crust malleable enough for such widespread reconstruction packed into a few months would require additional miracles. Most sediments are found on high ground. Most sediments are transported with the water until the water slows down. Since it is expected that the water was rushing off the continents and into the basins, there should be much more sediment on the ocean floor, where the water slowed down and deposited to sediment. The opposite is true. With all that water rushing to the lower ground, there should be evidence of large torrents crossing the continents. There are similar marks in Washington when an ice dam broke and a lake drained.
- Torpedo Ye Arke, by Pat James
- The Skeptic's Dictionary
- Nick Gisburne's analysis of Noah's Ark
- "Nelson"'s analysis of the two interwoven, contradictory Flood stories
- About.com Religious Timelines
- The Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary Timeline
- Word Sight's Bible Time-line
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art historical timeline
- Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago historical timeline
- Infoplease.com Ancient history timeline