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Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII



Part I:  The Extent of the Flood

Chapter 3

Physical Causes, Time, and the Location of the Flood

     AT THE present moment there simply does not seem to be any way to reconcile current anthropological opinion regarding the antiquity of man with the biblical statement that some 5,000 years ago the world's population was reduced to eight souls in one single family.
     It is believed on the basis of C14 dating methods and some other less precise means of age-determination that the New World was quite widely settled at least 10,000 years ago by people who appear to be related to the modern native population by the existence of unbroken cultural traditions. In other parts of the world manis traced back in a semi-civilized state to at least the same date though the continuity of cultural traditions is not always so clearly discernible.
     Almost all the claims made by Bible students for missing generations in biblical genealogies, which are inspired by the desire to extend the over-all chronology of Scripture, apply only to the period from Adam to Noah. Such gaps as can be demonstrated cannot be employed to set the date of the Flood much beyond 5,000 years ago and therefore serve little toward a reconciliation of the secular and biblical chronologies. At the moment almost all the currently acceptable methods of age-determination stand against such a late date for the reduction of the world's population to only eight people. But it has often happened in the history of science that a single discovery has initiated a shift of opinion allowing contrary views to be accepted. In the meantime it serves no useful purpose to deny the existence of this conflict of the evidence: we can only wait.
     But we can at least examine the evidence which exists for: (1) a recent Flood of considerable

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proportions in the general area of Asia Minor; (2) the initiation and spread of the basic civilization of the modern world from this locality thereafter; and (3) a subsequent population growth rate which makes very good sense if we allow a fresh start to have been made by a single family of eight people something less than 5,000 years ago.
    Briefly, the evidence for each of these three claims lies in the existence of young and rapidly drying lakes and raised beaches and progressive desiccation within recent years of the area in question, in archaeological research tracing back the roots of civilization in the Middle East not to Egypt as was once thought, nor to Mesopotamia as was later held, but to the Iranian Highland Plateau; in population growth. This last is hard to assess since there is no guarantee that it has been uniform. Yet the growth curve which can be established on the basis of fairly dependable information shows that there is nothing unreasonable about the biblical record in this respect. We shall consider each of these points in greater detail.

1. Evidence of Recent Inundation

     It is stated in Genesis 11:1, 2 that the whole earth (i.e., land) was of one language and one speech and that "as they journeyed from the east" they discovered a plain in the land of Shinar (Sumer), and they settled there. Verse 3 introduces the reader to the building of the Tower of Babel and states that they had no stone to build with, and therefore resorted to the use of mud bricks. Hence there is no question of the identity of this "land of Shinar"; it was a land whose people specialized in building with sun-dried bricks for this very reason. But it is important to note that this plain was settled by people who "journeyed from the east". Archaeology indicates clearly that those who settled in Babylonia first entered the country from the south, evidently coming from Elam to the east. Tracing these people back from Elam, we find prior settlements to the north as, for example, at Sialk. It is fairly certain that the people who settled both in Sumeria, in Elam, and in the Indus Valley originated in the Iranian Highland Plateau.
     St. Chad Boscawen, one of the earlier prominent Cuneiform scholars, points out that the ideographs used by these early settlers in Mesopotamia bore witness to the place of their origin:

12. Boscawen, St. Chad, "Historical Evidence of the Migration of Abram," Transactions of the Victorian Institute, vol.20, 1886, p. 94.

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     The Cuneiform writings, like the Egyptian and Hittite characters, in the more ancient forms picture the home surroundings of the people who invented them. The picture would be derived from objects around, as an Eskimo would draw a reindeer but not a lion, a bear but not a tiger and firs but not palms. So, when we turn to this ancient series of sketches, placed before us in the earliest forms of the Cuneiform characters, we at once see that they must have been developed in a locality different from Babylonia -- a more northern and mountainous one.
    Thus the sign for Mountain and for Country are synonymous, showing that the Country, and par excellence the home Country, was a mountainous one. . . .
     In the fauna of the land we find individual ideographs for the bear and the wolf, but not for the lion, tiger, and jackal, which were common in Mesopotamia. And still more important is the fact that the compound ideograph for camel denotes an animal with two humps -- that is, the species of Upper Asia as distinct from the Arabian species. In the flora we find the pine and the cedar but not the palm, while the earliest form of the house or dwelling is a cave.
     All these facts tend to show that if the Cuneiform writing did undergo a considerable enlargement and modification in Chaldea, yet, at any rate, the first elements were invented in a land differing in many respects from the Delta of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley.

     This, therefore, brings us close to the place where the ark settled and the world began to be re-populated. There, then, is the scene of the Flood -- in which case it did not take place in the Mesopotamian plain. To me, this seems clear, yet a great many commentators assume the Flood to have been in Mesopotamia, and it is on this basis that the so-called Flood Deposits found by Woolley and others in a few cities have been widely heralded as "proof" of the reality of the Flood. (Sir Leonard Woolley made this claim, not, I think, because he was concerned with supporting the veracity of Scripture but rather because it was a selling point which gained Christian support for his labours.) However, it is evident that these Flood Deposits are exceedingly limited in extent and although locally the continuity of the life of the particular settlements affected was broken, other contemporary cities continued without any such disruption. This in itself would surely indicate that we are not here dealing with Noah's Flood at all.
     If Armenia was the scene of the Flood, and Mesopotamia was only settled afterward, then the site of the Garden of Eden was not in Babylonia at all. This is no new idea -- but, popularly, it is generally assumed that it was, simply because of the mention of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers always associated with this area. However, two other rivers are mentioned in Eden and though their identity  

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is not certain, it seems clear that they do not exist in Mesopotamia. In all, four rivers are thus mentioned.
     In Armenia, which is a Highland Zone as we have seen, a number of rivers have their source, including the Tigris and Euphrates. One of the four rivers named is said to flow about the land of Cush, but this is only one of several localities named Cush which are known to have existed. The best known of these later came to be identified with Ethiopia. But Ethiopia was not the only Cush. There was evidently one locality of this name in the Highland Zone. Various attempts have been made to identify Pison and Gihon, but quite possibly the site of Eden was so modified by the Flood as to be no longer recognizable. At any rate the existence of four rivers seems to exclude Mesopotamia.
     Pison has been identified with a certain river, Phasis, known to the ancient Greeks, which rose in the Caucasus and flowed into the Black Sea. Havilah is perhaps that area known by this name between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, where gold and precious stones have been found. Jason, whose name is associated with the "Golden Fleece" (probably a sheepskin used to filter the gold from the streams of that area) went to Colchis, a district through which the river Phasis (or Pison?) flowed. Gihon is more obscure.
     It seems, therefore, in view of the existence of these four rivers, three of which are reasonably well identified, that Eden was in Armenia, and this is in keeping with the conclusion that the Flood was sent to this area to destroy mankind.
     There is one piece of evidence that the Garden of Eden was in Babylonia, namely, the existence of a very ancient city called Enoch (or Unuk, or Ereck as various tablets render it). This is the name given by Cain to the first city he built (Genesis 4:17). But the re-appearance in Babylonia of this name has no more significance than the re-appearance of the name London for a city in Ontario. It is not necessary to suppose that Cain built the Unuk in Mesopotamia, but only that his descendants long afterward remembered the name of the original city and chose it for their new settlement -- a common practice.
     Moreover, we find considerable evidence today of progressive desiccation turning what was quite recently a well-watered area into a dry one. Rendle Short, referring to the findings of George Frederick Wright, had this to say:

13. Short, A. Rendle, The Bible and Modern Research, Marshall, Morgan and Scott, London undated, 2nd edition, p. 63.

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     There is plenty of proof that the early home of the human race, Northern Persia, Armenia and the neighbouring countries, has been under water at a comparatively recent date geologically speaking -- certainly since the Ice Age.
      At Trebizond, on the Black Sea, there is a raised beach of 750 feet up the mountain. The Caspian, the Sea of Aral and Lake Balkash have no outlet, but their waters are still comparatively fresh. Therefore, they must be of recent origin.

     The significance of Rendle Short's last remark is apparent when it is remembered that the Dead Sea is anything but fresh, because it, too, has no outlet. The water accumulates the salts carried into it by various means, and the evaporation of the water serves only to concentrate these salts. That the Caspian Sea should still be fresh could be taken to mean that it has not been there any very great length of time, or that it has been flushed out, or that it has been added to very considerably.
     Vere Gordon Childe remarks upon this same circumstance, although he attributes it solely to a much heavier rainfall at one time.

     On the Iranian Plateau the precipitation [which he predicates], though insufficient to feed extensive glaciers, filled the great hollows that are now salt deserts with shallow inland seas whose presence tempered the severity of the climate. . . .
     In Persia and Baluchistan the high strand lines encircling the old lakes bear witness to the flooding of these inland seas, and into them flowed many streams that are now lost in the desert.

In the same vein another authority, J. C. Curry, made the following observation: (15)

     There are several strands at varying heights along the southern shores of the Caspian, among the most clearly marked of which are those 600, 250, and 150 feet above the present level. Their weak development shows that, as a rule, the Sea did not stand at any one level for a long time. The state of their preservation shows that they are of very recent origin.

     The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia under "Ararat" remarks upon the fact that this area was a very appropriate place for man to make a fresh start. It is correctly pointed out that the ark is said to have rested "upon the mountains of Ararat" (Genesis 8:4), that is to say, in the

14. Childe, V. G., Fresh Light On the Most Ancient East, Kegan Paul, London, 1935, p.24.
15. Curry, J. C., "Climate and Migration" in Antiquity, September, 1928, p.295.

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mountainous region of Armenia rather than specifically upon one particular mountain. In fact, the peak known today as Ararat rises to a height of 17,000 feet and therefore, if what we have said previously is true, the ark cannot possibly have rested at the top of it. Moreover, it is only in comparatively recent times that it has received the name "Ararat." It is pointed out also "that in early historic times there was a much more abundant rainfall than there is now, so that the climate was then better adapted to the wants of primitive man". Further it is stated that (16)

. . . this elevated plateau of Armenia has still many attractions and is eminently suited to have been the centre from which the human race spread in all directions. Notwithstanding its high elevation the region is fertile, furnishing abundant pasture, and producing good crops of wheat and barley, while the vine is indigenous (rather significant in
the light of Genesis 9:20).

     The general elevation of the plateau is about 6,000 feet, and that of the Iranian Highland Plateau, which is in one sense a continuation of it, is about 4,000 feet. The gradual movement of the population as it began to grow seems to have been into Asia Minor to the west, into the Caucasus to the north, and down into Iran on the east side of the Zagros Mountains, where a division led to the settlement of the Indus Valley on the one hand and Southern Mesopotamia on the other. The archaeological evidence here is quite strong, and this is the direction
of flow -- and not the reverse.
     We come, therefore, to a consideration of this general area as the Cradle of Civilization and the centre of dispersion of both men and animals.


2. The Iranian Highland Plateau: The Source of Domesticated Species and of Civilization

Until the late nineteenth century, the Middle East had always been thought of as the Cradle of Civilization. This was a natural conclusion since most of what we knew of proto-historic times had been derived from Genesis. In confirmation of this there existed the unanimous testimony of classical writers, both Greek and Roman. If we limit ourselves to proto-history, i.e., that period which immediately preceded the sudden appearance of civilized man, almost every archaeological find has supported the more ancient view. Little by little the routes of migration of existing nations and tribes in the New World, in the Far East, in India, in Africa, in Scandinavia, in Russia, and in Europe have been reconstructed and the flow-lines consistently converge upon this area. Culturally

16. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Howard-Severance, Chicago, 1915, vol.I. 

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speaking there is no other competitor as a Cradle of Civilization.
     But the fossil remains of early man have been found almost everywhere except in this Cradle. This proved to be a source of embarrassment to pre-historians, because from an evolutionary point of view one would expect to find the first half-men multiplying in this area and leaving their fossil remains there. In the very nature of the case, more highly evolved hominids as they arose would move out, away from the central area.
     Thus a kind of law would arise that as one moved from the centre to the periphery one would find the fossil remains becoming increasingly modern and advanced in type. When the reverse was discovered it was customary to assume that these peripheral individuals -- peripheral, that is, to the Middle East -- were nature's first attempts
to evolve man and that they each came to nothing and died out. Just exactly what happened at the centre that ultimately led to modern man was never quite clear. It was a great relief to these authorities when the South African fossils seemed to supply good grounds for believing that modern types really did, after all, arise from among such peripheral specimens, from which point they presumably converged toward the Middle East.
     At the present time, however, there are serious grounds for challenging the claims of South Africa, since from an evolutionary point of view these remains are far too recent, and from a cultural point of view we do not have the evidence to demonstrate any such convergence toward the center. As a matter of fact, though the doctrine is not a popular one today, cultural and physical degradation could easily account for the existence of "low" types at the periphery. In speaking of pre-historic man in Europe, H. J. Fleure made this statement:

     No clear traces of the men and cultures of the later part of the Old Stone Age (known in Europe as the Aurignacian, Solutrean, and Magdalenian phases) have been discovered in the Central Highland of Asia.

     Perhaps this is not surprising. If the assumption is made that our ancestors must always have been more primitive, it seems clear that they may never be found, for they may in fact not have been more primitive. The examination of this point is the subject of another Doorway Paper. (18) 

17. Fleure, H. J., The Races of Mankind, Benn, London, 1930, p.45.
18. See "Fossil Remains of Early Man and the Record of Genesis", Part I in Genesis and Early Man, vol.2 in The Doorway Papers Series, Zondervan Pblishing Company.

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     Henry Field, no mean authority, writing of the Iranian Plateau, pointed out that (19)

. . . as a centre of dispersion Iran has the unique position of being approximately equidistant from China, Java, South Africa, and England, where the earliest human remains have been found.

     Ellsworth Huntington, whose theories of climatic influence upon history are not accepted too widely but whose knowledge in this area is unquestionable, has postulated "that during the late Pleistocene times Southern Iran was the only region in which temperature and humidity were ideal not only for human conception and fertility, but also for chances of survival" [his emphasis]. (20)

     Griffith Taylor was of the opinion that Western Asia is the true home of man because of the distribution pattern of early and of primitive man. Thus he wrote: (21)

     We know that the races were differentiated before the dawn of civilization. Indeed, one result of the study of the distribution of Man is to lead the writer to the belief that the so-called "yellow" or Mongolian type of man is a later product of human evolution than many Western members of the so-called White or European type. . . . .
     A series of zones is shown to exist in the East Indies and Australasia which is so arranged that the most primitive are found farthest from Asia, and the most advanced nearest to Asia. This distribution about Asia is shown to be true of the other "peninsulas" (Europe is such a "peninsula"), and is of fundamental importance in discussing the evolution and ethnological status of the peoples concerned. . .
     Whichever region we consider, Africa, Europe, Australia, or America, we find that the major migrations have always been from Asia.

     Taylor then points out how very similar these early marginal societies were both physically and culturally, and he concludes that "Only the spreading of racial zones from a common cradle-land can possibly explain these affinities" [his emphasis].
     The logic of this kind of argument has been denied by anthropologists, but their counter arguments are not very convincing. The distribution of fossil forms is clearly not ideal from the

19. Field, Henry, "The Iranian Plateau Race" in Asia, April,1940, p.217.
20. Huntington, Ellsworth: quoted by Henry Field, ref.19, p.217.
21. Taylor, Griffith, Environment, Race and Migration, University of Toronto, 1945, 2nd edition., p.88.

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evolutionary point of view. Thus, E. A. Hooton, in opposing this view that the more primitive fossils are found farthest from the centre of origin, had this to say: (22) 

     The adoption of such a principle would necessitate the conclusion that the places where one finds existing primitive forms of any order of animal (including man) are exactly the places where these animals could not have originated. . . .      But this is the principle of "lucus a non lucendo" [finding light where one ought not to] which, pushed to its logical extreme, would lead us to seek for the birthplace of man in that area where there are no traces of ancient man and none of any of his primate precursors.

     But this is exactly what we may be required to do. There are no truly primitive precursors here, because man had none.
     However, while such precursors of man are absent in this central area, this is not at all true of the plants and animals which are now domesticated. One of the greatest authorities on plant and animal life from the point of view of origins and migrations was the Russian scientist N. I. Vavilov, who has since disappeared along with many others who could not wholeheartedly support the government in power. He spent many years tracing back species of plants and animals to their probable "home". A few years ago he wrote an article entitled "Asia: the Source of Species". In this he demonstrated clearly that the majority of those species of cultivated plants and domesticated animals which seemed to have accompanied human settlements from very early times can be traced back to wild forms in this area. He sums up the matter in this way:

     The total number of species of flowering plants in the entire world now known to botanists is about one hundred and sixty thousand. These species are not distributed equally over the face of the globe. . . .
    The great majority of the cultivated plants of the world trace their origin to Asia. Out of 640 important cultivated plants, about 500 originated in Southern Asia. In Asia alone we have established five of the principle regions of cultivated plants. . . . The fifth region of origin in Asia is the Southwestern Asiatic centre and includes Asia Minor, Trans-Caucasia, Iran and Western Turkmenistan. This region is remarkable, first of all, for its richness in numbers of species of wheat resistant to different diseases. . . .  There is no doubt that Armenia is the chief home of cultivated wheat. Asia Minor and Trans-Caucasia gave origin to rye which is represented here by a great number of varieties and species. . . .
     Our studies show definitely that Asia is not only the home of the majority of modern cultivated plants, but also of our chief domesticated animals such as the cow, the yak, the buffalo, the zebu, sheep, goat, horse, and pig. . . .  The chief home of the cow and other cattle, the Oriental type of horse, the goat and the sheep is specifically Iran. . . .

22. Hooten, A. E., "Where Did Man Originate?" in Antiquity, June, 1927, p.149.
23. Vavilov, N. 1., "Asia: Source of Species" in Asia, February, 1937, p.113.

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    As the result of a brilliant work of Dr. Sinskaya, the discovery was recently made that the home of alfalfa, the world's most important forage crop, is located in Trans-Caucasia and Iran. . .
     From all these definitely established facts the importance of Asia as the  primary home of the greatest
majority of cultivated plants and domesticated animals is quite clear.

     Although Henry Osborn wrote some forty years ago [1936], his observations as follows are still fundamentally true: (24)

     Both the human and the animal inhabitants [of Europe] migrated in great waves from Asia and from Africa, in the latter case, it being probably that the source of the migratory wave was also in Asia, North Africa being merely the route of passage for the majority of the forms. . . .
     The great Cultures and great cultire Races of Europe in pre-historic times came doubtless from Asia. The men who used metals, who owned flocks and herds, and who grew crops -- that is, the men out of whom it was possible to develop modern civilization -- were all immigrants in Europe who had originated and started up elsewhere.

     In this extract from Men of the Old Stone Age, Osborn had in mind, not the subsequent migrations in historic times of people who brought new cultural elements, but rather the pioneers who laid the foundations.


3. Population Growth Rate Since the Time of the Flood

     Estimates of time periods based on population growth rates are not very reliable. I have seen figures given for the population at the time of the Flood which run from a few hundred thousand to several hundred million. These calculations were based on certain premises which the authors who made them considered quite reasonable. In all such estimates it is these premises which are critical. It is not by any means safe to assume that great longevity would necessarily lead to a greatly accelerated population growth rate, though it seems logical to suppose that it has some effect. For example, a man whose normal life span is seventy years can reasonably expect to begin raising children by the time he is twenty-five, or approximately one-third of his total life span. On the other hand, those who lived to be eight hundred or nine hundred years old began to raise children, according to Genesis,
when they had achieved about one-seventh of their total span of life. This in itself could be expected to lead to a somewhat different population growth rate than is true today.
     The number of variables involved is so difficult to evaluate that it seems rather fruitless to attempt any estimate of the number of people who perished in the Flood. On the other hand, the population

24. 0sborn, Henry, Children of the Old Stone Age, Scribners, N.Y., 1936, p.19.

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growth rate since that time can be treated with a little more precision. In the first place, the date of the Flood can be established fairly accurately from the Bible, because there do not appear to be any serious gaps in the subsequent genealogies. Moreover, the span of life soon fell to a level not greatly differing from our own, in contrast to pre-Flood longevity. Furthermore, certain information can be derived from Scripture regarding the initiation of the Jewish people as a distinct family, which is useful here.
     In estimating the time required for the evolution of a new species from an old stock, it is quite customary to calculate the number of supposed mutations required to transform one type of animal into another. Allowing so many centuries for each mutation to spread significantly through a population, and multiplying this time unit by the number of mutations, a period is estimated, usually in hundreds of thousands of years, as a minimum within which such speciation could occur. These estimates, based on intelligent guesswork, are given considerable credence. The use of such methods of calculation is therefore considered quite valid.
     A similar method can be applied to population increase, and this leads to some interesting results. World census figures are inevitably approximate only. This is obviously true also of mutation rates for extinct species, yet the use of such figures is nonetheless allowed. World War II created some major disruptions in population in certain groups, for which useful figures were available at the time of the 1922 Berlin census. For this review, therefore, the 1922 figures are being used, since they antedate these disruptions. Other contemporary sources give slightly variant figures, but the differences are not serious.
     The population of the world at that time was estimated to have been 1,804,187,000. The human race must have doubled itself some 30.75 times to reach this figure.
     According to the chronology of the Hebrew text, as interpreted by Anstey -- probably the most dependable and learned biblical chronologer -- we find that some 4,481 years have elapsed since the Flood, or 4,581 years since the birth of Noah's firstborn, at which time we may say in a manner of speaking that the present world population began with two individuals. This assumes for the sake of argument that the present population of the world is to be derived from those who escaped from the ark. Now, by dividing 4,581 by 30.75, we find that it requires an average of 146 years for the human race to double its numbers. 
     The same census states that the number of Jews was 15,383,815. It is readily admitted that the exact definition of the term "Jews" would be very difficult to ascertain. But allowing for the moment  

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that this figure represents the descendants of Jacob in 1922, and using Anstey's date for the marriage of Jacob which he places approximately 3,795 years ago, we find that the Jewish people must have doubled their numbers once every 159 years. (25) We should not expect such figures to be accurate, but the correspondence for the period of doubling is rather remarkable and is surely significant.
     Raymond Pearl gives figures which indicate that since A.D. 1630 the population of the world has doubled once every 129 years approximately.
(26) He then provides a graph showing this rise from 1630 to the present time, but finds himself embarrassed by the problem of what to do with the curve from that date backward. We have reproduced this graph in Figure 2, but with a slight modification, namely, a vertical line which is intended to indicate the point in time at which the Flood occurred according to Anstey's reckoning. Any attempt to apply the present rates of increase to the world's population, if we place the first human pair some 500,000 years ago, leads to absurd results. In considering this aspect of the problem, Dudley Kirk, like Pearl, is forced to the same conclusion, namely, that the present rate of increase could not possibly have applied in the past. (27)
     This may be quite true. It must surely be true if man is as ancient as we are required to believe he is by other lines of evidence held to be valid.
     Yet the form of the graph shown here for population since 1630 indicates rather significantly that the curve, projected reasonably until it reaches zero population, would probably cross the vertical line representing the time of the Flood at a point indicating a very small population, thus confirming the biblical records of the early chapters of Genesis. There is plenty of time since then for the settling of the world. History shows that long migrations are made in a remarkably short interval.  

25. Anstey, Martin, The Romance of Bible Chronology, Marshall Bros., London, 1913, vol.II.
26. Pearl, Raymond, Man the Animal, Principia Press, Bloomington, Ind., 1946, p.91.
27 .Kirk, Dudley, "Dynamics of Human Population" in Eugenics Quarterly, March, 1955, p.18.

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     pg.13 of  15     

     Kenneth Macgowan has shown that with respect to a Middle East "Cradle," the most distant settlement is in the very southern tip of South America, approximately 15,000 miles. (28) How long would such a trip take? He says it has been estimated that men might have covered the 4,000 miles from Harbin, Manchuria, to Vancouver Island in as little as twenty years. What about the rest of the distance southward?  Alfred Kidder says, "A hunting pattern based primarily on big game could have carried man to southern South America without the necessity at that time of great localized adaptation. It could have been effected with relative rapidity, so long as camel, horse, sloth, and elephant were available. All the indications point to the fact that they were". (29)
     According to de Quatrefages, 600,000 people made a trip from a point in Mongolia to China during the winter and under constant attack in just five months, covering a distance of 2100 miles;
(30) and though this seems to be a staggering trip in so short a time, it actually works out to an average of fourteen miles per day.  A. C. Haddon says many long migrations are known to have taken place in the past. (31)

     We may sum up this chapter, therefore, by pointing out that there may well have been a very extensive Flood in the area under review; that this area was in many respects ideal for a fresh beginning; that this area may well have been the original home of the majority of plants and animal species which have since been domesticated; that this area was almost certainly the Cradle of Civilization; that from this area has since spread the whole of the world's present population; and finally that the date set by Scripture for the beginning of this movement is not unreasonable although at the present moment modern scientific opinion regarding the age of man hopelessly contradicts it.
    We do not need to surrender our faith too easily. It has often happened in the past that some little discovery has completely overthrown a universally accepted theory. This may well happen again with respect to modern methods of dating the past. Rightly understood, all else in the biblical account of the Flood makes good sense. And the existence of world-wide traditions strongly supports the reality of a catastrophe which wiped out mankind still congregated in one area, with the exception of

28. Macgowan, Kenneth, Early Man in the New World, Macmillan, New York, 1950, p.3.
29. Kidder, Alfred, Appraisal of Anthropology Today, University of Chicago Press, 1953, p.46.
30. de Quatrefages, A., L'Espece Humaine, Balliere et Cie., Paris, 14th edition., 1905, pp. 135-36.
31. Haddon, A. C., History of Anthropology, Watts, London, 1949, p.123.


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a single family and a select number of animals and birds necessary for their well-being after the event was over.
     In Genesis 7:1 the Lord said to Noah, "Come thou and all thy house into the ark" -- a very gracious invitation to join the Lord who was already there. The RSV has rendered this, "Go thou. . . ."  This is not an invitation, but a command. In Genesis 8:16 the Lord naturally instructs Noah to "go forth" after it is all over. (32) 


32. There are often sound reasons for preferring the King James Version to the Revised Standard Version. I think in surprising ways the former has caught the Mind of the Spirit where the latter is a truer expression of the mind of man. At any rate, in the Flood story as given in the KJV, there is a wonderfully revealing statement that has been entirely lost in the RSV. Here is a beautiful insight into the ways of God which the RSV translators entirely failed to discern. It is true that their rendering is allowable.    
     However, the Hebrew in Genesis 7:1 for "come" is a word which is translated thus well over a thousand times and rendered "go" far less frequently. There was every reason in the world to have left it as the KJV has it. Exactly the same observation can be made of the Hebrew in Genesis 8:16 for the word "go."
     So much of translation work is interpretation, and in the case of Scripture one needs the help of its true Author in a special way and at all times. The KJV reveals that the Lord was in the ark and that it was He who closed the door from the inside.   

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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