Genesis 7:19

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And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high mountains that were under the whole heaven were covered. (ASV)

Pro

According to the Bible, the entire world was flooded within historical times: but no such event actually occurred. Therefore this is a major scientific and historical error.

Scientific evidence against the Flood includes the existence of layered deposits extending into the distant past (notably annual ice layers in polar regions, which could not have survived this event), footprints and dessication cracks in strata laid down at various levels "during the Flood", the sequence of the fossil record (which contradicts creationist notions of "Flood sorting" of fossils by size and/or mobility of species: sloths and grasses outrunning velociraptors in the rush to high ground, for instance), and the general lack of any significant worldwide event since the end of the last Ice Age (which was itself about twice as far back in the past as the alleged Biblical creation of the world).

Historical evidence includes the survival of ancient civilizations unaffected by the Flood, notably Egypt (this was noted by Jean-François Champollion, translator of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, in a diary published after his death). From the Biblical genealogies, it can be calculated that this event would have occurred in the middle of Egypt's Old Kingdom, when the pyramids were being built (circa 2500-2300 BC).

Apologists are divided on this issue. Some simply maintain that all evidence which contradicts the Bible is somehow "wrong", whereas others prefer to believe that the Flood was a local event (despite the Bible's reference to "all the high mountains that were under the whole heaven" being covered, and the bizarre instruction to build a huge boat to save all animal life rather than simply moving out of the affected area). It is possible to move the date back another millenium by using the Septuagint genealogies (this Bible gives greater ages for each Biblical character when he fathered the next), but copious "antediluvian" arcaeological remains would still exist (with no trace of flood damage), as does the geological counter-evidence.

It has been claimed that "Flood myths exist all over the world". This claim is somewhat misleading: yes, such myths are common worldwide, but they aren't universal. In many places around the world, humans live next to major rivers prone to flooding. Myths similar to the Genesis one (with an Ark containing all the animals) are almost entirely confined to the Middle East and surrounding regions, indicating a common origin (apparently Sumerian). Other Flood myths contradict the Bible, with people surviving in small boats, by clinging to floating trees, and so forth (the Bible says that only Noah and his family survived). Some in the New World have quite obviously been adapted since the arrival of Christian missionaries: they are identical to Genesis in some respects but very different in others. --Robert Stevens 07:14, 6 Dec 2005 (CST)

Con

On the contrary to the last paragraph of the above, Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, New York, 1950, acknowledges that a ‘world cataclysm’ with the whole earth covered in water, sent by a god(s) as punishment is ‘a concept found in almost every mythology of the world’. Not every culture was near a large body of water, though the gullibility that such natural phenomena can procure are certainly a historical fact (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Book 1, Chapter 20).

Neutral

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