Noah’s Ark: Flooded with Facts
Folklore of a global flood among many religions worldwide, including Christianity. Not to say the Bible’s words do not carry important messages and morales, but not all of it’s accounts can be taken literally. The story of the Great Flood is one such story. The biblical account of Noah is impossible. One reason why is a problem with the Great Flood:
There is not enough water on the earth to cover the planet as described in the Christian Bible. Even if enough water were present to cover all land on earth, the conditions produced would have killed Noah and his family.
This article deals with the flood itself. It does not cover the ark, nor does it talk about the animals. This article bases its reasoning and conclusions on what we can observe.
Rain and the Vapor Canopy
One model proposed by believers is that much of the flood water was suspended in the atmosphere until the start of the rain period. How was this much water suspended? It would have been heated to keep it in vapor form. In this case, it’s a lot of water, so it would be superheated. Unfortunately, this heat would have cooked Noah in the process. (This assumes the atmosphere is able to be superheated, a tough feat to attain when so much water vapor is blocking sunlight.)
But let’s assume a vapor canopy with enough moisture to flood did earth exist. The canopy’s presence would raise the humidity levels to nearly 100%. If this moisture (somehow) did not condense, it would raise oxygen and nitrogen levels to levels toxic for humans. If Noah and his shipmates somehow survived toxic and superheated air, they would have drowned by simply walking outside.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say it does rain and Noah is alive to see it. If this event happened literally, rain water would not even cover half of the earth’s land. A few simple calculations can show why.
Mount Everest, the highest point of land on earth, recorded a height of 29,035 feet in 1999. It would have rained 725 feet (not inches!) a day for 40 days to cover Mt. Everest at its present height. Not to say weather patterns in Noah’s day were the same as in the 21st century, but the most rainfall in a single day in recorded history is a paltry 73.62 inches. According to Genesis 7:10 7:20, this condition had to be met, but the math indicates nature isn’t even close. At a height of 16,854 feet, rain would have had to fall at 421 feet per day to cover Mount Ararat, the supposed docking place of Noah’s ark. That’s 5,056 inches per day. Still not even close. If there were enough water on earth to cover the planet’s land masses, it was have to fall at an incredible rate to to do so in just 40 days.
Underground Reservoirs and Comets
But wait! Rain originating from the atmosphere is not the only source of water involved in the great flood. Genesis 7:11 claims water spewed from under the earth as well. But how exactly where underground did this water come from and how did it get up to the surface? If the water was about 10 miles underground , it would already have been heated by the earth’s core (but not heated enough to rise to the surface). It would have required even more heat to rise to the surface as vapor, producing rather hot clouds of steam coming from underground.
If Noah encountered any of these superheated steam vents, again he would have been cooked.
A similar situation would have resulted if a comet made of ice entered the earth’s atmosphere and been reduced to steam.
So far there isn’t a natural, feasible explanation that puts enough water on earth without killing Noah and his family. Is this Bible ‘myth’ debunked? Not yet.
The Earth’s Surfaced Changed
Some believers contest that the shape of the earth’s surface was much flatter at the time of the flood, allowing ocean water alone to cover all earth’s land. It was only after the flood, through a series of natural catastrophes (possibly avalanches), were the mountains raised and ocean basins lowered to their present levels [1, 3]. Another report published by the Institution for Creation Research details how the required tectonic movement necessary for the flood could have occurred within the required time period. The steam that rose from the oceans would also have killed off all air-breathing life (including airborne life).
However unlikely, what if this scenario occurred and the earth’s mantle moved? In today’s day and age, the slightest underground movement causes earthquakes and, if underwater, tsunamis. Techtonic shifts of biblical magnitude would have produced numerous tsunamis on a tremendously large scale. How did the ark survive?
Fossils, Geological Footprints, and More
A global flood would leave geological evidence in mountains, ice caps, the sea floor, mineral deposits, fossils, and other areas. Aside from the amount of water required for a global flood, other arguments that support the Great Flood exist. TalkOrigins does a good job of covering the implications of a global flood here and here. These pages examine evidenceheat and more.
Again, I chose not to focus on these topics for this article, but encourage those with outstanding questions to visit the site for further explanations.
It’s A Miracle!
If you take the Bible’s word on faith, then I can’t touch you. But the biblical account of Noah’s ark doesn’t work without miracles. But if you believe in miracles, Talk Origins eloquently notes…
the whole [flood] story can be dismissed as a series of supernatural miracles. There is no way to contradict such an argument. However, one must wonder about a God who reportedly does one thing and then arranges every bit of evidence to make it look like something else happened. It’s entirely possible that a global flood occurred 4000 years ago or even last Thursday, and that God subsequently erased all the evidence, including our memories of it. But even if such stories are true, what’s the point?
- Brown, Walt, 1997. In the beginning: compelling evidence for creation and the Flood. ( www.creationscience.com/onlinebook)
- (2007). History’s Mysteries: The Search For Noah’s Ark [Television and DVD Series]. New York: A&E Television Networks.
- Whitcomb, J.C. Jr. & H.M. Morris, 1961. The Genesis Flood. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Philadelphia PA.
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