This post is the third in a series. The first post covered some rather strange ground about two ancient Socratic Dialogues and their UNCANNY relationship they had to some modern scientific knowledge. The second post explained some rather enlightening stuff about what a “myth” really is, according to those that told them.
Now, we are moving on to the first “weird” part of scripture: Noah’s Flood.
Noah’s Flood just might be the craziest thing we read about in the Old Testament. As I intend to show in this post and the next, it’s not as crazy as you think. Instead, it’s far, FAR crazier than you think. It’s crazy because truth is stranger than fiction, and lots of “fiction” you’ve heard just might be the truth.
A Summary of “Flood Myths” from Susan Wise Bauer
There is something strange about “Flood Myths” in the world. It isn’t so much that “Flood Myths” exist in adjacent cultures to the Hebrews. The weird part is that these Flood Myths exist EVERYWHERE on Earth, even in places that don’t seem like they should have them. Here is how one historian put it:
The history of the earth (so geologists tell us) has been punctuated by great catastrophes which apparently wiped out entire categories of life forms. But only one echoes down in the words and stories of a dozen different races. We don’t have a universal story that begins “And then the weather began to grow VERY, VERY COLD.” But at some point during the living, storytelling memory of the human race, water threatened man’s fragile hold on the earth. The historian cannot ignore the Great Flood; it is the closest thing to a universal story that the human race possesses.
. . .
But the most familiar flood story is undoubtedly the one told in Genesis. God determines to cleanse his creation of corruption, so he tells Noah, “blameless among his people,” to build an ark which will save him and his family from destruction. Rain falls, and the “great springs of the deep burst, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened,” and water swallows the earth.
Three cultures, three stories: too much coincidence of detail to be dismissed.
. . .
More intriguing are the flood stories from the Americas, some of which bear an uncanny resemblance to the Mesopotamian stories (and seem to predate Christian missionaries who brought the book of Genesis with them, although this is not always certain). In the Mayan version, “four hundred sons” survive the flood by turning into fish; afterwards, the celebrate their deliverance by getting drunk, at which point they ascend into the heaven and become the Pleiades. (Alert readers will notice the odd parallels to the Noah story, in which signs also appear in the sky, and in which Noah gets insensibly drunk once he’s on dry land.) In Peru, a llama refuses to eat; when its owner asks why, the llama warns him that in five days water will rise and overwhelm the earth. The man climbs the highest mountain, survives, and repopulates the earth. (No woman climbs up with him, which seems an unfortunate oversight.) If these American flood stories are related to the Mesopotamian tales, teh flood could not have happened in 17000 BC; as the historian John Bright suggests, the shared disaster must have taken place before 10,000 BC, when hunters migrated across the Bering Strait.
(Susan Wise Bauer, A History of the Ancient World, pp 37-41)
Here is why this is so significant to me. I am a lawyer, and I know that it is very, VERY difficult to find the truth in many situations. Sometimes parties and witnesses lie, but most often, they forget. Witnesses think they remember things, but in fact, they only remember things they were told by others. Perspectives cause details to differ. Documents are unclear. Documents are lost. Some people misunderstand while other people lie. All in all: the truth is messy.
However, when lots of different witnesses who are unconnected to each other (and sometimes opposed in their interests) all agree on a core set of facts, that is excellent evidence that whatever “IT” is, IT happened.
Amazingly, when it comes to “the Flood,” that’s precisely what we have. We have tons of flood myths all saying the same thing. We also have a bunch of scientific data saying the same thing. Finally, there are some odd details in the Genesis account and “Flood Myths” that correspond to actual scientific information.
Part 1: The Similarity of “Flood Myths” Across Cultures
In the previous posts in this series, we read an account of “the great deluge of all” in the Timaeus and of “Deucalion” whose name is a cross of “wine” and “sailor” in Greek. That is funny enough, but things go much further than that. In the 1908, a man named Sir James G. Frazer collected the flood myths from around the world. I bought the book, and I read it. The book is a review of flood myths all across the world. The similarities are striking.
The most similar of them all is twelfth tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh. There, Gilgamesh tells a character named Utanapishtim that a great flood will be coming. Utanapishtim builds a boat of quite specific proportions. Then comes the flood. After the flood subsides, Utanapishtim sends out a dove, a raven, and a swallow to see if there is land. Gilgamesh then does some rather magical stuff going down into the water to retrieve a plant that does not die, and then the epic ends, because we don’t have the complete copy, but we at least have enough of it to see the similarities.
The similarities continue, even in places that you might not notice at first. Along those lines, we can look to the Welsh/British version of the deluge that I have taken from Edward Davies, The Mythology and Rites of the British Druids (London, 1809). It was also summarized by Sir James G. Frazer. The characters of Noah and his wife are named Dwyvan and Dwyfach (or Dwyfan and Dwyfach) and the story goes like this:
The Britons, then, had a tradition of a deluge, which had overwhelmed all lands; but this deluge, according to them, was occasioned by the sudden bursting of a lake. One vessel had escaped the catastrphe: in this a single man and woman were preserved; and as Britain and its inhabitants were, in their estimation, the most important objects in the world, so we are told, that this island, in an especial manner, was repeopled by the man and woman who had escaped. This has no appearance of having been drawn from the record of Moses: it is a mere mutilated tradition, such as was common to most heathen nations.
So again, the Britons had a tradition, that a vessel had been provided, somewhere or other, to preserve a single family, and the race of animals, from the destruction of a deluge; but they possessed only a mutilated part of the real history: and, as tradition positively affirmed, that their own ancestors were concerned in the building of this vessel, they naturally ascribed the achievement to that country, in which their progenitors had been settled from remote antiquity. And lastly, they had a tradition, that some great operating cause protected the world from a repetition of the deluge. They had lost sight of the true history, which rests this security upon the promise of the supreme Being, and ascribed it to the feat of a yoke of oxen, which drew the avanc, or beaver, out of the lake. (Edward Davies, The Mythology and Rites of the British Druids (London, 1809))
While the author above seems to dismissively show that the Welsh believed that an “Ox” brought a beaver out of “the lake.” That sounds a little weird, but Wikipedia, which has done a good job of going back to the older Welsh Triads of British folklore gives some more information about what this “avanc” actually is:
Sometimes described as taking the form of a crocodile, giant beaver or dwarf, it is also said to be a demonic creature. The afanc was said to attack and devour anyone who entered its waters.
This description of something that is in “the form of a crocodile” is quite strange when we realize that there are no crocodiles or alligators that are native to the British isles.
We also see in the myth that the flood was stopped when an “ox” drew the beast out of the lake. But strangely, this has a symbolic synthesis with the story of the flood in Genesis. Remember what it says:
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:20-22)
Only after the sacrifice does the Lord smell the pleasing aroma and vow that all will proceed on as it always had. Therefore, the “clean animals” that were sacrificed seem to have a causal relationship to God’s promise not to flood the Earth again.
What is the largest clean animal? That would be “the Ox.” Hm… Do you see the symbolic story of the “Ox” stopping the flood? I can make that connection.
And these similarities exist in Africa, Europe, Greece, Mesopotamia, Central America, South America, and even the Native Americans of the Southwest. These stories are EVERYWHERE, and they all have similar tales of being saved by a “boat” or an “ark” or a “chest” or by getting to “a mountain.” All of them involve some forewarning of the coming disaster. They are FREAKISHLY similar, and they span the globe. They reach beyond the communication lines of Mesopotamia and the Hebrew scriptures.
Summary and Conclusion
In conclusion, there are LOTS of Flood Myths across ALL cultures. They extend beyond the geographic boundary of what could have been “shared” or “copied.” It’s something more than that.
One of the explanations for these similarities is that the Hebrew scriptures “copy” from the Epic of Gilgamesh or the Epic of Gilgamesh “copies” from the Bible.
A final explanation is that BOTH of these accounts “copy” from something that ACTUALLY HAPPENED. I think that’s a better explanation, especially when we see that “flood myths” expand beyond the geographic boundaries of what is able to be shared between cultures.
As we found in tales of Atlantis in the Timaeus, there is a better explanation. ALL of these stories are “copying” from something else. They are preserving the details of a REAL EVENT in memory. As we are going to explore, that “real event” may have been the impact of an asteroid or fragments of a comet. Or as the Timaeus said:
Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals (Plato, The Timaeus)
Part 2: The Strange Scientific Case for a World-Wide Flood
Now, in the story of the Flood in Genesis, we read some very strange things. For instance:
And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits [or about 22.5 feet] deep. (Genesis 7:19-20)
There are several questions that arise here. And we should ask them. They are quite obvious.
- First, where does all the water of this flood come from?
- Second, how is all this water released (and don’t just say “rain” because that’s cheating)
- Third, where did all this water go?
Well, as well-settled science can show, the answers to these questions are quite clear. They will be covered in the four following subsections.
Subsection 1: Where Did the Water of the Flood Come From?
Let’s look at this article: Dowdeswell, J. A., and J. W. C. White. “Greenland Ice Core Records and Rapid Climate Change.” Philosophical Transactions: Physical Sciences and Engineering, vol. 352, no. 1699, 1995, pp. 359–371. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/54456. Here’s a key quote:
Evidence derived recently from both ice cores and marine sediments in Greenland and the North Atlantic region, respectively, suggests that marked climatic and other environmental changes have taken place over relatively short periods. The identification of layers of iceberg-rafted debris, ‘Heinrich layers’, in North Atlantic sediment cores at several times during the last 50,000 years is an example of the rapid collapse of the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet and the release of very large numbers of debris-laden icebergs into the North Atlantic (Bond et al. 1992). The duration of such events is on the order of 250-1000 years (MacAyeal 1993; Dowdeswell et al. 1995). However, it is the finer resolution provided by the ice-core record that allows the most detailed examination of the rapid nature of Late Quarternary climate change, demonstrating that a number of major climatic shifts in the North Atlantic region have occurred on the timescales of clear relevance to human activities, sometimes as short as decades.
Let me translate that for you. Basically, they’re saying that we have lots of evidence that icebergs carried tons of ginormous boulders across the North American continent, and randomly left ginormous boulders in places that ginormous boulders have no business being.
They also say that there was a “rapid collapse of the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet.” What is the Laurentide Ice Sheet? Well, it doesn’t exist anymore, but here’s the Wikipedia page for it. Here’s a picture from the internet describing what it was:
Wow. That’s a lot of ice. But how thick was it? Well, that depends on the location, but here is an idea of how thick this enormous ice sheet was compared to different cities, from the ever-reliable xkcd comic:
That is A DARN LOT OF ICE, which of course leads to a darn lot of water.
Evidence of the Release of a Darn Lot of Water
And we can see today the remnants of what happened when you release that amount of water across a continent in the Western United States. Take the Grand Canyon for instance. The typical explanation for the formation of the Grand Canyon is the Colorado River forming it “over millions of years.” The objection to this “millions of years” explanation is that the sides should be far more eroded and less steep it this erosion were “gradual.”
Also: why would there be that stepped segmentation of the Grand Canyon’s sides? If it was ONE river doing the eroding, why wouldn’t we have ONE level of erosion on the sides?
Those sound like a pretty obvious objections.
Additionally, there’s a second segment of evidence. You’ve probably noticed the phenomenon if you’ve ever gone to a creek or a river. When water flows over something and then recedes, it leaves ripples in the sand or dirt. I found one of those photos of a sandbank near a river doing just that on the bank to the right:
Just estimating, the water that caused those ripples was anywhere from one foot to four feet higher than the water in the picture.
But now look at the following Google Earth Image at a place called Camus Prairie, MT. You can see this same pattern of ripples on the earth, except they are much larger.
Now, if you look close, you can see those ripples in this plain. But here, I’d like to point out that normally those ripples on creek beds that I see are usually about a half an inch tall. I estimate the creeks can get about a foot of water or so in their flow to create those ripples. But I’m just going to zoom in to show you how large these ripples are.
I’ve pulled a measurement out for one mile. The ripples are tens of feet high. That road running parallel to the line should give a measure of scale. Where is the river or stream that caused these ripples? There is no river. That’s the strange part. These geographic features showing water coverage are EVERYWHERE. The cover image to this post is one such example of the results of this flood at Potholes State Park in Washington State. Here is the full image:
That gorge is more than a mile and a half wide. There is no river there anymore that would have formed it “over millions of years.” So what made it?
The only possible answer is “a darn lot of water.”
These geographic landmarks are well-recognized features of water-damage that I have reproduced from other presentations. The events that caused these features are typically referred to as the Great Missoula Floods. That’s a name for the phenomena that happened at the end of the last ice age. The theory is that a great deal of ice melted, was blocked up by an ice-dam of some sort, but was suddenly released. What we see here and in countless other places in the United States is the leftover remnants of a DARN lot of water.
The cause of such an enormous amount of water being released is still undecided. The best guess is “ice dam.” Unfortunately, we can’t point to any particular ice-dam, because it would have melted.
Anyway, that’s enough of that “science” of ice dams and now we need to move back to our flood “myths.”
Subsection 2: How Was the Water of the Flood Released?
Remember that in Genesis 6, we read about HOW the Flood happened. We read the following:
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:11-12)
When we read that “the windows of the heavens were opened,” we shouldn’t think that “the heavens” is merely the clouds and the atmosphere. Instead, “the heavens” INCLUDES SPACE. This is especially relevant because the idea of how the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet went away, which was what we covered in the previous post: It was from the impact of fragments of a comet.
Now, we don’t have any experience with mass-extinction event asteroid impacts on Earth.
Well, let me clarify, we don’t have REAL first hand experience with large asteroids hitting the earth.
However, we do have a couple of examples from Russia in living memory. The first was called the Tunguska event. Here is an eyewitness account of what that looked like:
At breakfast time I was sitting by the house at Vanavara Trading Post [approximately 65 kilometres (40 mi) south of the explosion], facing north. […] I suddenly saw that directly to the north, over Onkoul’s Tunguska Road, the sky split in two and fire appeared high and wide over the forest [as Semenov showed, about 50 degrees up – expedition note]. The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire northern side was covered with fire. At that moment I became so hot that I couldn’t bear it as if my shirt was on fire; from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat. I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few metres. I lost my senses for a moment, but then my wife ran out and led me to the house. After that such noise came, as if rocks were falling or cannons were firing, the Earth shook, and when I was on the ground, I pressed my head down, fearing rocks would smash it. When the sky opened up, hot wind raced between the houses, like from cannons, which left traces in the ground like pathways, and it damaged some crops. Later we saw that many windows were shattered, and in the barn, a part of the iron lock snapped.
According to the Wikipedia page for it, the estimated size of this asteroid was 65-100 metres (330 feet) in diameter.
Even more recently in 2013, we were treated to the Chelyabinsk meteor that broke up over Russia in 2013 and captured on hundreds of dash-cams.
According to the Wikipedia page for it, that one was about 20 meters in diameter.
But let’s also take note of the estimated sizes of these asteroids that caused such violent impacts. This comes from the Wikipedia pages above:
According to this article in Science Magazine, which we discussed in the previous post in this series, the size of the impact that created he Hiawatha crater in Greenland was 1.5 kilometers in size. Using the same scale, here is the size of that asteroid or comet:
Now, I’m no scientist, but to me, that looks like a melt-the-North-American-Laurentide-Ice-Sheet-sized object, especially when we remember that the speed of these objects. That Chelyabinsk meteor was moving about 40,000 miles per hour. If a 1.5 kilometer comet or asteroid made of IRON were to strike the earth, that’s not the equivalent of getting hit with a bullet. It’s like getting hit with an artillery shell.
Subsection 3: Where Did All the Water Go?
The next question is also a big one. Regardless of how “plausible” a comet impact is on releasing a bunch of water on the Earth after it hits a ginormous ice-sheet, we need to recognize that there is NOT a “worldwide flood” right now. So where did all the water go?
The answer is this: It’s all still here. It’s in the ocean.
But let me explain. According to this article from LiveScience, the volume of the oceans is 1.332 billion cubic kilometers of water. According to the Earth’s Wikipedia page, the radius of the earth is 3,958.8 miles. According to this handy-dandy calculator for the area of the sphere and using the radius of the Earth, we find that the surface area of the Earth’s surface is 196,941,385 square miles. That’s 316,878,688.5 square kilometers. If we put a 1 km sea on the entire surface of the flat earth, that would mean we have (more or less) a 316,878,688.5 cubic kilometer sea. But as we just learned, we actually have enough water on earth to make a 1,332,000,000 cubic kilometer sea. In other words, there is more than enough water to cover the entire globe in a 1 kilometer deep ocean.
But if that was too confusing, I’ll just quote this random educational science-video on Youtube that makes the same point (even though it wasn’t even trying to comment on the Genesis Flood):
As it says in the relevant part:
If you were to shave off all of the land from the tops of every continent and island in the world and fill up the ocean’s deepest points with that land, then the entire earth would be covered in an ocean two miles deep.
Well…. that’s interesting.
But wait, wait, wait, wait. Moving entire continents is just about as crazy as a worldwide flood. We haven’t solved the problem. We’ve just changed the problem.
Is the continental shift of the Earth’s landmass REALLY a good explanation for how the water of “the flood” could cover the entire Earth? Is it really logical to believe that entire CONTINENTS shifted to make this happen?
Surprisingly…. yes. And it’s actually quite settled science that this stuff happens.
Subsection 4: How Does Land Move When Ice-Sheets Melt?
If you want to know how the retreat of the water of the Flood happened, obviously evaporation isn’t going to do it. As we described above, you’d need to increase the VOLUME of the oceans while keeping the same SURFACE AREA of the oceans. In other words, you need to make the oceans DEEPER. And you need to do it on a GLOBAL scale.
In other words, the thing we need is something called glacial isostatic adjustment. And that’s precisely what we have. So I’d like to explain how this works, but first, you need to understand the make-up of the Earth.
The surface of the Earth is the solid crust, but that crust is not a single piece. It consists of several large tectonic plates.
To understand why that is important, we also need to understand what is underneath those plates:
Below the plates is the “mantle,” which is what these plates somewhat “float” on. The United States Geological Survey describes this mantle as “a dense, hot layer of semi-solid rock approximately 2,900 km thick.”
The key phrase is “semi-solid.” In other words, it somewhat acts like a liquid, with the outside of the Earth being solid. Because of that interaction, if you have something heavy enough (like the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet), it will push the crust of earth DOWN, causing other places on Earth to RISE, just like a water balloon, a mattress, or an asphalt road when you apply the pressure of your finger, your body, or a tractor trailer. With enough pressure, ANYTHING that is not rigid will move to achieve equilibrium.
This is why on the scale of continents, the Earth’s oceans can change their depth.
And that’s not just a theoretical thing that’s happening. It’s something that is actually observed. Here is an article from NOAA about this phenomenon:
Earth is always on the move, constantly, if slowly, changing. Temperatures rise and fall in cycles over millions of years. The last ice age occurred just 16,000 years ago, when great sheets of ice, two miles thick, covered much of Earth’s Northern Hemisphere. Though the ice melted long ago, the land once under and around the ice is still rising and falling in reaction to its ice-age burden.
This ongoing movement of land is called glacial isostatic adjustment. Here’s how it works: Imagine lying down on a soft mattress and then getting up from the same spot. You see an indentation in the mattress where your body had been, and a puffed-up area around the indentation where the mattress rose. Once you get up, the mattress takes a little time before it relaxes back to its original shape.
Even the strongest materials (including the Earth’s crust) move, or deform, when enough pressure is applied. So when ice by the megaton settled on parts of the Earth for several thousand years, the ice bore down on the land beneath it, and the land rose up beyond the ice’s perimeter—just like the mattress did when you lay down on and then got up off of it.
That’s what happened over large portions of the Northern Hemisphere during the last ice age, when ice covered the Midwest and Northeast United States as well as much of Canada. Even though the ice retreated long ago, North America is still rising where the massive layers of ice pushed it down
So not only CAN the continents do this, it is quite well-documented that they ARE doing this. To somewhat prove it to you, I will show you this article from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA which has tracked the glacial isostatic adjustment across Earth. As a part of that article, here is a description of the parts of Earth’s surface that are ascending and descending:
Dark blue means rising. Purple means descending. You can see the rise of the spot where the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet.
What we see is that the oceans (Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian) are falling, becoming relatively DEEPER. In contrast, the land of North America is rising. Also, do you remember where we said “Atlantis” was located in the first post in this series?
It’s precisely where the deepest-descending purple color is on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory glacial isostatic adjustment map, indicating rapid SINKING.
However, it should be noted that right now, the motion of the glacial isostatic adjustment is 0.7 mm PER YEAR. That obviously isn’t enough to cause Atlantis (or anywhere, really) to “sink beneath the ocean” in a single day.
But on the other hand, the currently acceptable model for the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet is gradual melting due to 1,000s of years of global warming out of the Ice Age. It is NOT generally accepted yet that the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet disappeared almost instantaneously because a ginormous asteroid almost wiped out all life on Earth. Even without assuming an asteroid impact, peer-reviewed papers (like this one published in 2018) treat glacial isostatic adjustment as a relatively RAPID process causing hundreds of meters of sea level change in a short time:
GIA is a relatively rapid process, triggering 100 m scale changes in sea level and solid Earth deformation over just a few tens of thousands of years.
That article has no mention of any impact from space speeding up the melting of the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet or the other Ice Sheets covering Europe and Russia, either. And though I’m no scientist, I think that the cataclysmic fiery explosions and heat that would come from one (or multiple) 1.5 km comet fragments or asteroids hitting the Earth and eliminating TWO MILES of ice covering Canada JUUUUUUUST might change the currently-accepted timescale of isostatic adjustment.
Part 5: Review and Conclusion
So…. when it comes to the “Deluge” or “Flood” or “Noah’s Ark” or whatever, we’ve shown that modern, well accepted science gives:
- an explanation of the existence of the flood waters
- an explanation of how the flood waters were released
- an explanation of how the flood waters could cover the whole Earth
- an explanation of how the flood waters could retreat to reveal land again
Additionally, I’d also like to remind everyone of some of the more popular-internet-version stuff that has been presented about how some very visible landscapes are almost-certainly the result of unbelievably ginormous floods that swept over the North American continent. Here’s a different Joe Rogan interview on the topic.
The same disclaimers apply to the broader worldview of Randall Carlson, but it’s difficult to dismiss the information he gives. Evidence is evidence no matter who is giving it, and Randall Carlson is pretty knowledgeable on geology and geography.
But here’s the real point. First, we covered lots of “mytical” evidence that “the Flood” happened. Now, we’ve show that there is lots of SCIENTIFIC evidence that “the Flood” happened. In other words, whatever “IT” is, IT happened.
Part 3: The Strange Agreement on Small Details Between Myth and Reality
For the remainder of this post, we’re going to assume that “the Flood” was caused by a meteor/comet/asteroid striking the polar ice caps and releasing a great deal of water onto the earth as a result of the enormous heat and violence of the impact.
What we are going to find is how strangely coherent the myths (and the Bible’s Genesis story) are in their DETAILS about the event. So let’s return to the place we started with the Timaeus and what we read about the Myth of Phaethon:
There is a story, which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Paethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father’s chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals (Plato, The Timaeus)
Strange Thing 1: The “Sun Chariot.”
We see the story that we have a “sun chariot” that was driven erratically. But look at the following gif of the asteroid over Chelyabinsk. Strangely enough, it looks a lot like a “Sun Chariot” that peels out, leaving dust in the atmosphere:
Strange Thing 2: The “Windows of Heaven”
Now, in Genesis, the account says the following:
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. (Genesis 7:11)
But remember what we read in the eye-witness account of the Tunguska event:
I suddenly saw . . . the sky split in two and fire appeared high and wide over the forest . . . The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire northern side was covered with fire. . . .When the sky opened up, hot wind raced between the houses, like from cannons, which left traces in the ground like pathways, and it damaged some crops.
Well….. that’s….. odd.
Strange Thing 3: The “Scalding Seas” and “Smoking Heaven”
We should remember that in the Timaeus, the myth of Phaethon is connected to the “Great Deluge of All.” And in that myth in Ovid, we see something very strange. We see “scalding seas.” In other words, they are BOILING as if they have been made hot by something.
At this point in the story, Phaethon has already done terrible damage by unleashing an enormous amount of heat onto the earth. And then we read the following about how the Earth pleads with Jove (Zeus/Jupiter) to save her:
The Earth at length, on ev’ry side embrac’d
With scalding seas that floated round her waste,
When now she felt the springs and rivers come,
And crowd within the hollow of her womb,
Up-lifted to the Heav’ns her blasted head,
And clapt her hand upon her brows, and said
(But first, impatient of the sultry heat,
Sunk deeper down, and sought a cooler seat):
“If you, great king of Gods, my death approve,
And I deserve it, let me die by Jove;
If I must perish by the force of fire,
Let me transfix’d with thunder-bolts expire.
See, whilst I speak, my breath the vapours choak
(For now her face lay wrapt in clouds of smoak),
See my singe’d hair, behold my faded eye,
And wither’d face, where heaps of cinders lye!
And does the plow for this my body tear?
This the reward for all the fruits I bear,
Tortur’d with rakes, and harrass’d all the year?
That herbs for cattle daily I renew,
And food for Man, and frankincense for you?
But grant me guilty; what has Neptune done?
Why are his waters boiling in the sun?
The wavy empire, which by lot was giv’n,
Why does it waste, and further shrink from Heav’n?
If I nor he your pity can provoke,
See your own Heav’ns, the Heav’ns begin to smoke!
Shou’d once the sparkles catch those bright abodes,
Destruction seizes on the Heav’ns and Gods;
Atlas becomes unequal to his freight,
And almost faints beneath the glowing weight.
If Heav’n, and Earth, and sea, together burn,
All must again into their chaos turn.
Apply some speedy cure, prevent our fate,
And succour Nature, ere it be too late.”
She cea’sd, for choak’d with vapours round her spread,
Down to the deepest shades she sunk her head.
Wait… wait… scalding seas? The Heavens begin to smoke?
Doesn’t this sound like the after effects of an asteroid impact?
It does to me.
Strange Thing 4: The Thunderbolt of Jove
Additionally, we need to notice a consistent detail in the myth of Phaethon. It’s the thunderbolt of Jove:
Jove call’d to witness ev’ry Pow’r above,
And ev’n the God, whose son the chariot drove,
That what he acts he is compell’d to do,
Or universal ruin must ensue.
Strait he ascends the high aetherial throne,
From whence he us’d to dart his thunder down,
From whence his show’rs and storms he us’d to pour,
But now cou’d meet with neither storm nor show’r.
Then, aiming at the youth, with lifted hand,
Full at his head he hurl’d the forky brand,
In dreadful thund’rings. Thus th’ almighty sire
Suppress’d the raging of the fires with fire.
(Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book 2)
But we shouldn’t forget the enormous shockwave that happened after the Chelyabinsk meteor exploded in the atmosphere:
When I watch that video, I can easily see why people would put “dreadful thunderings” of the “almighty sire” in their stories about an event that the Timaeus tells us REALLY refers to “the declination of heavenly bodies” and the “great conflagration” that follows.
See where this is going?
Strange thing 5: Phaethon’s Myth is DIRECTLY connected to the Great Deluge
This is the following story of Phaethon in Hyginus’s Fabulae, a spark-notes version of Greek myths composed around the time of Caesar Augustus:
PHAETHON Phaethon, son of Sol and Clymene, who had secretly mounted his father’s car, and had been borne too high above the earth, from fear fell into the river Eridanus. When Jupiter struck him with a thunderbolt, everything started to burn. In order to have a reason for destroying the whole race of mortals, Jove pretended he wanted to put out the fire; he let loose the rivers everywhere, and all the human race perished except Deucalion and Pyrrha. But the sisters of Phaethon, because they had yoked the horses without the orders of their father, were changed into poplar trees. (Hyginus, Fabulae, Sec. 152A)
Though Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the discussion in the Timaeus place these stories close together in the order within the manuscript, it is this account of Hyginus that explicitly connects the two myths into a single event.
Strange Thing 6: “Rivers” and “Waters” but No “Oceans” or “Seas”
As I stated in a previous blog post about the Flood of Noah and the Waters Over the Firmament, there is a strange ABSENCE of a word in the Genesis account of Noah. That is the Hebrew word yam which means “sea” or “ocean.” Instead, all we get is “waters” and “the deep.”
How does that connect to an asteroid spilling billions of gallons of water into the ocean? It connects because it means the flood water would not have had the same properties as sea-water. Look at what you learn in this simple science YouTube video about the density of fresh and saltwater:
Salt-water is MORE DENSE than fresh water. That means that when you put a large amount of fresh water on top of salt-water, the fresh water WILL REMAIN ON TOP. Therefore, if the Flood was caused by a massive melting of the polar ice caps in a gigantic comet impact, that water would be boiling and/or hot, but certainly turbulent. But most importantly, it would be FRESH.
The waters of the flood were not “the sea” (Hebrew yam). They were fresh “waters” (Hebrew: mayim). This is why the Genesis Flood is not equated with the ocean.
Strangely enough, this detail is preserved in other myths. In the Greek and Roman myths, Jove doesn’t unleash “the sea,” but instead he releases “the rivers.” In the Welsh myth, the flood happened because of the breaking of a “lake.” In all the other myths, we always get immediate flows of water, and we always get lots of “rain.” But only the flood myths from faraway places like Fiji and Indonesia will use a word like “tide” to describe their version of the story. Even the Native American flood myths have special source of the waters (for example, the great spirits create a “jar” for the waters of the flood). Rarely if ever are the flood waters equated with “the ocean” the only time they do is when the flood is over and the boat is resting on the newly enlarged “sea.”
So, to review: If the Flood was the massive release of the North American Laurentide Ice Sheet (and other ice sheets), the water would be FRESH WATER even after it met the ocean, due to the different densities of fresh water and salt water.
Curiously, the Flood Myths (and the Genesis account) are consistent in their description of the water as “water” and not “the sea.” The details match to a description of a quick release of glacial meltwater.
Strange Thing 7: Motion on Earth, But No Evaporation of Water
As we described above, if you want to change the world covered in water into a world that has some land, you can’t get rid of the water. Instead, you would need to change the shape of the Earth to make the waters recede. Surprisingly, that’s exactly what we find in the Scriptures.
Look at what is communicated in Genesis after the flood happens:
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually (Genesis 8:1-3)
Now, that phrase “made a wind blow over the earth” sounds like some reference to evaporation. But that’s not what it says. What we should notice is that “a wind” (Hebrew: ruach – more on that word later) blew over THE EARTH, not “the waters.” The Hebrew word for “the Earth” is erets. It is what God names the dry land in Genesis 1:10.
But this is where things get strange, because there is a clear detail that we seem to be forgetting. At this point in the story, THERE IS NO DRY LAND. Instead, we only have a planet consumed in a world-wide flood. What is going on with a wind over “the earth”?
Well, we actually get commentary on this in other parts of the scriptures. Look what it says in the Psalms:
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are very great!
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
covering yourself with light as with a garment,
stretching out the heavens like a tent.
He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters;
he makes the clouds his chariot;
he rides on the wings of the wind;
he makes his messengers winds,
his ministers a flaming fire.
He set the earth on its foundations,
so that it should never be moved.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight.
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down
to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
so that they might not again cover the earth.
Covered it with “the deep”? Waters that stood “above the mountains”? That sounds like the Flood.
The mountains “rose”? The valleys “sank down”? That sounds like glacial isostatic adjustment.
And let’s remember something else (from yet another blog post on “spirits”) that the Hebrew word ruach which is translated as “wind” or “spirit” does not mean what you think it means. That word does not MERELY mean “breeze” or a spooky “ghost,” depending on the context.
Instead, the scriptures consistently use this word to refer to “an invisible thing that has an effect on the visible world,” whether it is a breeze or an emotion or a passion or a heavenly being or — as I argue here — glacial isostatic adjustment that makes the ocean depths fall and the land of earth rise. It is an invisible thing that has an effect on the visible shoreline. Hence:
God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. . . and the waters receded from the earth continually
Conclusion and What’s Next
So, as we see here, we have noticed some very strange thing with “Flood myths” and the Genesis account of Noah’s flood. It has SURPRISING support in the very fine details that ordinary, mainstream, non-Discovery Institute or young-earth-creation science accepts as normal.
But even more than the Genesis account reflecting these “true” things about geological history, it seems even the MYTHICAL accounts seem to preserve some rather accurate details, even though they are in “the form of a myth,” as the Timaeus said. This is going to guide the remainder of this series.
As we explained before, a “myth” is a story that is not true. But it is not MERELY a story that is not true. Instead, as that Egyptian Priest in the Timaeus said:
And whatever happened either in your country or in ours, or in any other region of which we are informed-if there were any actions noble or great or in any other way remarkable, they have all been written down by us of old, and are preserved in our temples.
This shows that “Myths” aren’t supposed to be made-up stories that don’t mean anything. Instead, they are supposed to be made-up stories that DO mean something!
For example, remember the Welsh story about the flood being connected to a crocodile creature or monster of some sort? It was called the Avanc or the Afanc. It was some sort of crocodile, beaver, or humanoid creature. We don’t really know. In Indian versions of the Flood Myths, there is a “horned fish” or “serpent” who helps the humans survive the deluge. In some North American myths, there is a tale of a battle between a “serpent king” that precedes the great deluge. In Borneo, there is a description of the origin of the flood that comes from the killing of a giant boa-constrictor, and as punishment for killing this snake, the flood kills everyone except a few. Stories in south America involve the actions of a mother crocodile. Just as the Myth of Phaethon is listed close to the story of the deluge, the story of the deluge is also listed close to the story of killing python with the arrows of Apollo. Strange, yes. But what is the connection?
This is where we can look at the story in Hyginius’s Fabulie that is placed IMMEDIATELY BEFORE the myth of Phaethon and the Deluge:
TYPHON: Tartarus begat by Tartara, Typhon, a creature of immense size and fearful shape, who had a hundred dragon heads springing from his shoulders. He challenged Jove to see if Jove would content with him for the rule. Jove struck his breast with a flaming thunderbolt. When it was burning him he put Mount Etna, which is in Sicily, over him. From this it is said to burn still. (Hyginus, Fabulae, Sec. 152)
Yeah, yeah. A thunderbolt driving some dragon creature down into a fiery pit because he challenged the ruling God, and he is thrown down into a hellish prison with a thunderbolt. We can just put that in our brain-category of “myth” and “not-true story,” right?
Maybe… …but since this series is on Myths and the Weird parts of the Bible, I think this myth is something we should notice, especially when we pair that story with the description we get of Satan in the Bible:
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:9)
And remember what another ancient source said on the subject:
And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
That’s Luke 10:18. And the speaker in that sentence is JESUS CHRIST.
While this is a lot on the Flood of Noah, it’s not even close to everything that I wanted to put in here. Instead, I’m going to continue the Flood story. We’re going to talk about a detail that is often overlooked because it is just too weird. We’re going to talk about Noah, Myths, Genesis, Giants.
8 Comments Add yours
The Science article says the Hiawatha impact released 700 Megatons of energy.
Per this Quora answer, 1 megaton of energy would melt .001 KM^3 of ice. So the total impact could be expected to melt around 1/2 to 1 KM^3 of ice.
Thanks, Caleb! Lots of info to digest. Thanks for your research & writing.