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The Flood

Reader comment on item: Musing on History
in response to reader comment: pre-history

Submitted by Michael S (United States), May 28, 2015 at 16:56

Hi, Waz

I replied to most of what you said, but it hasn't cleared the system yet. While I'm waiting, let me comment on the "Great Flood" remark you made.

Perhaps that flood was the Black Sea Basin event, in which case the "Garden of Eden" would have been located under the present Black Sea. The geography for the place is described pretty awkwardly -- the great rivers read, in translation at least, as flowing from the garden instead of into it; and some claim that the Bible says there was no rainfall on it when Adam lived there. I find it all rather bewildering.

I got out my globe once, and tried to figure out how the flood could affect Eden, wherever it was, and not the rest of the world. Many cultures have a "flood" tradition of sorts, but none of them have all the essential elements of the Bible story. Outside of the Fertile Crescent, the Greek legend comes the closest; and the Egyptians, whose country is completely dependent on the Nile, seem to have no legend at all. I tried to envision the waters heaping up in the area of Mount Ararat, in some reasonable manner; but that introduced the problem that if Ararat were the area most flooded, the waters (and the ark on them) would have flowed away from the mountain instead of toward it. Your suggestion that the sudden flooding of the Black Sea was responsible, and considering that the sudden inrush of water might cause it to lap over Mount Ararat, might have something to it.

Whatever the nature of the flood, the Bible says the ark rested on the "mountains of Ararat" (not necessarily Ararat itself). It was certainly local; and mythologies in the area (such as the Dagon myth, Dagon being a type of Noah) indicate that it was a highly unsusual flood that made a lasting impression on the people of the area. The survivors migrated from Ararat to "Shinar", which seems to be Sumer, and settled there.

Considering the Biblical chronology, and matching it up with the history and archealogy of Sumer, it seems that the Sumerian civilization, which had a rich literature and tradition that survived into post-deluvial times, consisted of pre-Adamic people. An article entitled "Scientists Prepare to Solve Mystery of Sumerian DNA" notes:

"A complete skeleton from the Sumerian capital of Ur, dating back to about 4,500 BCE, was recently rediscovered in the Penn Museum—and its intact teeth may include enough soft tissue to allow DNA testing. Nicknamed "Noah," the skeleton appears to have survived an ancient flood and everything that followed..."

-- http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2014/08/scientists-prepare-to-solve-mystery-of-sumerian-dna/

Nevertheless, I haven't seen any results posted on the Internet; so we don't know the genetic makeup of the original inhabitants of the area. The Marsh Arabs, who inabit Sumer today, have DNA similar to the Hebrews and Arabs -- which includes the "Noahic" J2 haplogroup (and possibly Noahic J1); but the female-side "mitochondrial" DNA of all these peoples, including the Jews, is extremely diverse, with haplogroups H, J, T and U all well represented. These all derive from mtDNA macro-haplogroup R, which spread into the area from the Indian subcontinent before around 24,000 BP -- long before the Great Flood (about 4,400 BP, according to the Biblical chronology in Genesis).

For the purists, I suppose one could argue that Noah and his sons had yDNA Hg J and the four women (including Mrs. Noah) had mtDNA H, J, T and U. I doubt this, though. The Bible itself suggests that two groups of people lived in the area, both before and after the flood, namely, (1) the Sons (and Daughters) of God (those descended from Adam, who had a relationahip with God) and (2) the (Sons and) Daughters of Men:

Genesis 6:
[1] And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
[2] That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
[3] And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
[4] There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
[5] And GOD 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.

Besides the Black Sea suddenly filling, the Persian Gulf likewise filled -- probably in an earlier time, though I haven't researched this. That seems to have been long before the Biblical date of the Flood.

To have the cultural impact that it seems to have had, I would guess that Noah's Flood would have to have inundated all of Mesopotamia. Strong evidence that there were survivors, comes from the fact that the Sumerian Language continued to be spoken and read, alongside the invading Semitic languages, for thousands of years after the flood. Invading peoples in the ancient world tended to kill the indigenous men and save the women, which would explain why Noah's J2 yDNA predominated in the area. I think the expression "the mountains of Ararat" could have referred specifically to the lower mountains bordering the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, because the very stormy weather could easily have obscured more distant peaks. That would support the idea of a local flood.

Does that make sense? My daughter still teaches her children the simplistic story that all the people of the world, including the Chinese, physically descend from Noah. This is one of those cases, where the serious student of the Bible needs to rightly divide hyperbole and allegory from fact. The most sensible division I have come up with, is to consider that those who have received the Bible have become spiritual descendants of Adam, and not to assume too much about the nature of his flesh. Paul said,

2 Corinthians 5:
[16] Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

Cheers :-)

Submitting....

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