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What Happened Before All That Water?
Some version of the great flood is apparent in every ancient civilization. Whether it is explicitly stated, or implicit in events as interpreted by those individuals in that time, it's hard to deny the fact of a wide-spread flood (though many make a nice living denying exactly that fact). The Bible states this emphatically, and is not open for debate, unless, of course, you don't believe the Bible (in which case you have larger problems). The fact of the flood brings on all sorts of questions. Let's take a few:
Well, for this one we don't really know. First, we don't know what the Garden of Eden looked like before the 'fall', but then once sin had entered the picture, everything changed - including nature itself. Then, after several generations of the sin that had entered His creation, God chose the largest change since Creation - a worldwide flood. Much of the scientific community chooses to dispute the fact of an actual world-wide flood, meaning, then, that their evidences from antiquity are interpreted in light of a non-flood world. In other words, they presume a non-flood world (and in doing so violate the Scientific Method they all claim to follow!). But, there are a few exceptions.
For example, in 1920 German scientist Alfred Wegener postulated the once existence of the supercontinent Pangaea, a continental structure in which all the current continents were essentially one land mass. Interestingly, if you look at a world map, it's easy to see how Europe and the Americas could have "fit" together at one point. You can also see how Australia might have once been connected to what is now eastern Africa.
Whatever the pre-flood world looked like, there can be no doubt that a worldwide flood would have changed the face of the earth!
Genesis Chapter 5 details the ancestral line from Adam to Noah. In just ten generations, Adam's family populated the earth. Now, remember, at that time men lived to be nearly a thousand years of age, and we're not told how many of those years they fathered children, how long the women of the time were of child bearing age, or how many children were born to each man's family (not to mention all the sons and daughters of any one man), but we do have examples:
Genesis 5:12-13 - "And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel; And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters[emphasis added]"The length of time from Adam to Noah was at least 1500 years. This leads to all kinds of speculation, and the population numbers are all over the place. Based on these facts, I have seen numbers estimated anywhere from 12 billion to over 100 billion! Suffice it to say that if people are concerned about our 7 billion population world being too large, they would have hyperventilated over the population before the great flood! I personally like the range of between 12 and 18 billion, but that's just me.
Genesis 7 tells us that "...the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." Based on the Biblical account, the speculation I've seen was that at the time there was a great "canopy" above the earth's surface that trapped much of the water that would rain down on the earth, and that the water table of the time was many orders of magnitude larger that it is today. If both of these ruptured at the same time, not only would the landscape of the world be greatly altered, but it wouldn't take long to cover the entire surface until the land masses settled and the water drained. I maintain that the Grand Canyon in the western United States is nothing more than the world's greatest drainage ditch.
On top of that, the earth we now experience is tilted on its axis in relation to the Sun, which gives us the four annual seasons as the earth orbits the Sun. What if that wasn't always the case, and a great earthquake, or a large meteor strike altered that into the present configuration? It doesn't take much to see how these assumptions, if true, could result in a flooded world until things settled down.
My assumption on this one is simple. If, indeed, there was something as simple as a Pangaea-like configuration on earth prior to the Flood, then they just walked. As comedian Steven Wright once quipped, "Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time." "But", you may say, "didn't Pangaea go away after the flood?" If a Pangaea-like continent really did exist, then it obviously dispersed into our present-day continental configuration at some point. The real question is: How long did it take to happen? This is all just speculation, but there was obviously enough time for all this to occur.
So, think about this: After the flood, people gradually lost their ability to live beyond 100 years. However, that took a few generations, and after all, Noah was commanded to repopulate the earth. Both Genesis 10 and 11 give us the immediate lineage of Noah, so if you revisit the earlier discussion about how populated the earth was before the flood, it's easy to see how the population grew, especially during the years when people were still living beyond 100 years. Additionally, there was around a 150 year or so period of time where the earth was populated enough for a man named Nimrod to convince everyone to congregate in Babel where they would build a tower to heaven. Falling away from the truth didn't take long, did it? Genesis 11 also tells the story of the Tower of Babel, and God's displeasure with what the multitudes on earth were thinking in their desire to build this tower. So, He "confounded" their languages, which served to disperse, spreading them across the whole earth, which was His will in the first place (Genesis 9:1). It is entirely possible that the transformation from Pangaea (if it indeed existed) to the current configuration of continents took some time to form. So, indeed, at the time, everywhere was likely 'walking distance', including the Americas, Australia, and every other place on earth.
The other obvious possibility is that they simply built ships and sailed the open seas. If you look at the short routes across the continents, with the exception of Australia, there are some shortcuts you could take to get to every continent without sailing the long route that Columbus did centuries later.
In my humble opinion, a group, or groups, of people either walked across what might have been a land-bridge at the time, or they simply sailed across the Bearing Straits and what were other short sailing routes, and found plenty of room right here in good ole America!
Remember, the Bible doesn't tell us this, but there's plenty of information there to make some inferences. But, the Bible does give us a starting place: Mount Ararat!
The answer to this one is simple. First, remember Babel. Differing languages and dispersal of humans resulted in the simultaneous development of diverse cultures. These cultures almost immediately clashed, and continued to clash while at the same time developing more and more means of violently settling their differences. War and disease are the ultimate population controls, and millions and millions have died from just these two categories - not to mention person-to-person violence. So, each of these deaths eliminated from the earth not only the individuals who died, but all those who would have been their offspring. That's not to say that violence was not prevalent before the flood, but since then we've not only learned how to kill more efficiently, but diseases and pestilences, also a result of human sin, have increased exponentially.
Nowadays, there are individuals and groups pushing for even more population control. Turns out that in the thousands of generations since Adam, we've not learned a thing.
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