Noah's Ark and the Genesis Flood
Part 1
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
April 22, 1997

Last Updated :
February 12, 2018

God Chooses To Destroy Humankind By A Global Flood, Noah And His Sons Are Spared, It Was Genesis Flood Not Noah's Flood, Mount Everest And Noah's Ark Error, Forty Days And Nights Of Rain, Bowels Of The Earth Ripped Open, Earth Is Divided Into Continents, Pangaea Laurasia And Gondwanaland, Watery Earth In The Beginning, Dry Land Appears, Rain Stops And The Flood Waters Are Calmed, Mountain Chains Are Formed, Highest Hills And Mountains And Submerged By The Flood, Earth Is Divided During The Days Of Peleg, The Birth Of Nations And Languages, Covered In Water For One Hundred And Fifty Days, The Earth Is Dried Up, Formation Of Valleys Mesas And Canyons, The Fossil Layers Are Formed, Desolate Earth And Humanity's Second Chance, Ark Rests On Mountains Of Ararat, Noah Sends Raven And Dove

The following is an updated version of an article which I originally wrote back in April of 1997. At that time, I was moderating my own FidoNet newsgroup, as well as running a BBS -- or Bulletin Board Service -- called "The Treasure Trove BBS", or "TTT BBS" for short. It later became known as the "Armageddon BBS", before I shut it down a few years ago. The "Bill's Bible Basics" website first went online about a month after writing the original version of this article; although at that time, it was known as "E.D.G.E. Online" for about three years, and then as "Endtime Prophecy Net" for another sixteen years.

At any rate, this article takes a closer look at what really happened during the cataclysmic event which we today refer to as "Noah's Flood". In actuality, it was really God's flood; and its purpose was to remove man's wickedness from the face of the Earth. Noah, his sons, and their wives, were simply the individuals whom God had chosen to spare in order to keep humanity from total annihilation, as we see by the following verses, taken from the Authorized King James Bible:

"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. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
Genesis 6:5-13, KJV

"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."
1 Peter 3:20, KJV

At any rate, perhaps it would be more appropriate to refer to this event as the Genesis Flood, because Noah certainly didn't cause the Flood; he and his family just experienced it.

This article came about as a result of an exchange between two individuals who visited my BBS, who were attempting to refute the Biblical account of the Flood which occurred in the days of the Patriarch Noah. Part of their conversation was the following:

User 1 : "And in order for the Ark to have been the ONLY thing showing above the waters, it would have had to have been on Mount Everest."

User 2 : "And the tallest peak in the Ararat Mountains is a volcano that didn't exist at the projected time of the Ark."

It seems to me that in their attempt to try to discredit the Bible, these two fellows were overlooking a few important details. For example, if one carefully reads the account that is found in Genesis 7:10-8:14, he will discover that nowhere does it specifically say that the mountains of Ararat were the only points of land showing above the receding waters at that time. What we are told, is that the mountains of Ararat were simply the resting place which God apparently chose for the Ark, and nothing more. I can only conclude then, that this idea of the Ark being the only thing showing above the water, is something which this individual was purposely interjecting into the equation, in order to try to validate his argument.

The above quotes paint a rather distorted view of what really happened so long ago. They give the impression that there must have been just one lonely mountain peak -- that is to say, Mount Everest -- poking out of the water. Since this individual is assuming that Mount Everest was the highest peak at that time, he then erroneously deduces that Noah's Ark should have been drawn to it like a magnet, and settled upon it. However, his reasoning is seriously flawed, as you will come to understand in a moment.

It is my view that Genesis 8:4-5 is merely focusing on the area of the world where the Bible tells us that the Ark came to rest, and not necessarily stating that the mountains of Ararat were the only visible mountain peaks. Genesis 8:4-5 states as follows:

"And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen."
Genesis 8:4-5, KJV

In case you missed it, please notice that in those verses, the words "mountains" and "tops" are plural. Nowhere does it specifically say that only the top of one mountain, or that only the mountains of Ararat were exposed at this time. It simply says "the tops of the mountains". Obviously, if the Lord used the natural force of gravity to lower the water level evenly all around the world, then depending on the elevation of the mountains which existed at that time, some peaks would appear first, some would appear simultaneously, and some would appear last of all. But the fact remains that the Lord chose the mountains of Ararat as the resting place for the Ark, and not Mount Everest.

Furthermore, to even suggest that God would choose Mount Everest as the resting place for the Ark, seems ludicrous to me. If God was concerned with preserving mankind, as we know He most certainly was, He was not going to have the Ark rest on a treacherous frozen peak which has been measured at over 29,000 feet in height. Not only that, but how in the world would Noah and his family, not to mention all of the animals, survive up there, much less come down from that dangerous precipice? In contrast, Mount Ararat is not quite 17,000 feet in height; and the surrounding mountainous area of Turkey is at an even lower elevation. While that elevation is still quite high, this topography was obviously much more conducive to the survival of mankind than Everest could ever be.

As an interesting side note, in the Hebrew language, the name "Ararat" actually means "the curse reversed", or "the precipitation of curse". It was used to denote the ancient country of Armenia. Today, Armenia is a small nation of a few million people, located at what is now the junction of four countries: Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran. Mount Ararat is located in extreme eastern Turkey, although there is a town in Armenia by the name of Ararat as well.

At any rate, this silly argument that these Bible debunkers are attempting to use in order to try to add some legitimacy to their argument is totally false and unfounded. The imaginary scene they have created of a worldwide ocean from which one mountain peak is sticking out, is a distortion of the truth, and is not based upon facts.

Now, if one slows down a bit and takes the time to look even closer at the events which are described in the pages of the Book of Genesis, they will discover a few interesting things. For example, in Genesis chapter seven, verses six and eleven, we are told that the rains began to fall on the seventeenth day of the second month of Noah's six hundredth year of life, as we see here:

"And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth . . . In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened."
Genesis 7:6, 11, KJV

Verses four, twelve and seventeen of the same chapter also tell us that it rained for a period of forty days and nights. In other words, for well over a month straight, as we see here:

"For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth . . . And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights . . . And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth."
Genesis 7:4, 12, 17, KJV

Furthermore, the Flood was not just a result of torrential rains. We are told in the eleventh verse that the fountains of the deep were broken open. The actual Hebrew word that's used in the verse is "baqa". Pronounced baw-kah', the Hebrew lexicon defines it as meaning to split, cleave, break open, divide, break through, rip up, break up, or tear. Based upon that definition, it can be understood in several ways. It could mean that God ripped open the Earth in order to release the vast amounts of water which were stored in subterranean caverns. Another possibility is that the phrase "fountains of the great deep broken up" may be referring to the worldwide ocean being divided into separate bodies of water. However, the first possibility makes a lot more sense, because as you will see in a moment, we are told in the very first chapter of the Book of Genesis, that God created the various seas and oceans in the very beginning, when the dry land first appeared. Genesis chapter one thus represents the first reshaping of the Earth's surface, as far as we know.

Another theory I heard recently, is that the "fountains of the deep" being broken up may be referring to submarine volcanic activity. Of course, I would think that the action of the ocean floors being broken open would in itself result in widespread volcanic activity. If this is indeed the case, and it does seem likely that it was, not only would it cause the oceans to heat up, but it would obviously result in a lot of steam being pumped into the atmosphere, which would further fuel the torrential rains which fell upon the Earth during those forty days and forty nights. So, this theory has a lot of merit, and it would certainly help to answer the question of Bible critics who skeptically ask "Where did all of the rain come from?". Anyone who lives in the tropics and who has experienced the awesome fury of tropical storms, hurricanes or typhoons, is more than familiar with how much rain can be dumped upon the Earth in the matter of a few hours. Multiply this by forty days and forty nights, and one begins to understand how the Flood was in fact possible.

Following the generally-accepted assumption that the Earth was once one undivided land mass, as tectonic evidence seems to indicate, and as many Bible scholars and scientists tend to believe, verse eleven could mean that it was at the time of the Genesis Flood that God broke up or physically divided the Earth into its current seven continents. This would have undoubtedly resulted in great earthquakes, tidal waves, the shifting of some mountain ranges, and the creation of new ones. Within scientific circles, this huge ancient land mass or "supercontinent" is referred to as "Pangaea". Some people believe that at some point in time, Pangaea eventually broke up into a northern supercontinent, referred to as "Laurasia", and a southern supercontinent, referred to as "Gondwanaland", or simply "Gondwana". As continental drift continued, these two great land masses eventually resulted in the formation of our seven distinct continents, according to scientific views.

Regardless of exactly what occurred at that time, the Bible informs us that between these two events -- that is, torrential rain and the reshaping of the Earth's oceans and land masses -- the entire Earth was once again engulfed by water. The planet was totally inundated, just as occurred when the Lord first created it, resulting in the annihilation of humanity, except for those eight individuals in Noah's Ark. It is my personal understanding that the Earth possessed no dry land in the very beginning when God first created it. There was just one vast dark ocean, as seems to be indicated by the following verses. It was some time after that that God made the dry land to appear:

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters . . . And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."
Genesis 1:1-2, 9-10, KJV

In Genesis 7:24 through 8:2, we are told that God caused the rain clouds, or "windows of heaven", and the fountains of the deep to stop following the first forty-day period. We're also told that He then calmed the waters, as we see here:

"And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;"
Genesis 7:24-8:2, KJV

As you can see, the word used in the previous set of verses is "asswaged", which in modern English is also written as "assuage". The translators of the Bible were very careful regarding their choice of words. "Assuage" is derived from the Hebrew word "shakak". Pronounced shaw-kak', it means to pacify, calm, abate or subside. So it seems then that this may be referring to the fact that God calmed the might waves, the tsunamis. He did two things in these verses: He stopped the rain and other sources of water, and He also calmed the waves. I would think that the continents must have already been divided or broken up by this time, in order for the calming effect to have occurred. It is also possible that some of the world's current mountain chains were formed at that time, or at least were destined to form, as a result of the slow continental drift effect which may have begun at that time, and which would eventually result in tectonic plates crashing into each other.

As a Bible-believing Christian, you may have assumed that the mountains that we see today are the very same ones that were created in the first chapter of Genesis. However, to be honest, we really don't know that for certain. All we really know is that Genesis 7:19-20 appears to indicate that the highest hills and mountains of that time were covered over by approximately twenty to thirty feet of water, or fifteen cubits, as we see here:

"And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered."
Genesis 7:19-20, KJV

Please note that the length of a cubit was not exactly the same in each of the ancient cultures. It varied in length from about seventeen inches to twenty-one inches, and was determined by the measurement from a man's elbow to the tip of his middle finger.

So again, exactly how high those mountains actually were, we really don't know for sure. All we can assume is that when God broke up the fountains of the deep, whether that means the division of the Earth's continents and oceans, or simply the breaking open of many subterranean lakes and rivers, in either event, it must have resulted in the creation of some new land formations. In short, the Flood would have resulted in a second reshaping of the Earth's surface, the very first event having occurred when God first made the dry land to appear in Genesis chapter one.

Even today, thousands of years later, we are still able to find very clear signs of these ancient cataclysmic events. Consider, for example, the beauty, magnificence and power that is revealed in Yosemite Park by the huge, mysterious granite monoliths. What ancient upheaval created these massive structures, if not the Flood which occurred in Noah's day? In my mind, they stand as silent witnesses to the truth of God's Word.

Another interpretation of events which has been suggested is that the Earth began to slowly divide into its current land masses beginning in the days of Peleg, about one hundred to one hundred and ten years after the Genesis Flood. In the tenth chapter of Genesis we find the following verses:

"And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan . . . These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood."
Genesis 10:25, 32, KJV

It is interesting to note that the word "divided" is derived from the Hebrew word "palag", and the name "Peleg" likewise means "division". Taking the previous two verses together, I am of the opinion that they are not referring to the actual physical division of the Earth into continents, but rather to the division of the inhabitants of the Earth into different language groups. This appears to be verified by the fact that the very next verses in the chapter begin to describe how God chose to confound the followers of Nimrod at the Tower of Babel, by giving them different languages. In chapter eleven we also find the following account:

"And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."
Genesis 11:6-9, KJV

If this division of people into different nations occurred before the supercontinent began to be divided by rift valleys -- a process which eventually resulted in Pangaea breaking up into our present-day continents -- it would certainly help to explain why there's such a diversity of people throughout the planet. In other words, if, following Babel, they had already migrated to the different parts of the supercontinent before it began to break up and slowly drift into other parts of the world, they would have gone right along with those various segments. As we have already discussed, just examining a map or globe quickly reveals how nicely the world's land masses could have fit together at one time, just like a giant jigsaw puzzle. It may very well be that when God broke up the deep in order to cause the Flood, it seriously weakened the supercontinent, but it took some time, hundreds of years or more perhaps, before rift valleys began to appear, which in the long run physically divided that huge continent. So God may have chosen to confuse and divide the people by language first, and then He divided them geographically as well when Pangaea eventually broke apart, and each section was slowly separated from the rest by ever-widening oceans, and the force of continental drift.

But let us return now to the topic of the Genesis Flood and Noah's Ark. As we saw earlier, after forty days and nights, the Lord caused the rains to stop, and He calmed the waters as well. However, it doesn't mean that the flood waters just suddenly disappeared. The previous Scriptures tell us plainly that the flood waters prevailed upon the Earth for a period of one hundred and fifty days. In other words, it took that long for them to gradually return to their natural borders, whatever they may have been at that time. Furthermore, we're informed that it wasn't until the second month of the next year -- or Noah's six hundred and first year of life -- that the Earth was completely dried up. Consider these verses:

"And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried."
Genesis 8:13-14, KJV

Can you fathom what a monumental event is being described for us here? Some Bible critics like to claim that the Flood was just a "localized event". They totally reject the idea of a Global Flood. Yet, in my view, the sheer magnitude of what is being described in the pages of Genesis disputes their claim. It rained for forty days and forty nights; but then look how long it actually took for the waters to dry up and to recede from the Earth.

Those verses may be referring to the fact that after having so much water on the Earth for a period of one hundred and fifty days, or five months, following the actual forty days of rain, there must have been a lot of thick layers of mud and silt which had to be dried up before it would really be safe to leave the Ark. In other words, when Noah removed the covering of the Ark, he could see the dry ground. The water was gone, but it still wasn't a safe place to walk; so Noah waited almost another two months until the twenty-seventh day of the second month. Perhaps this allowed time for all of that mud to be sun-baked.

It seems plausible that it was probably during this same time period, while the Flood waters were slowly draining into the lower basins of the Earth which had been especially prepared by the Lord, that the world's great valleys, mesas, canyons, and other surface structures were also carved out while the mud was still soft. Their current-day features certainly seem characteristic of a worldwide Flood; especially if seen from a high altitude. In my mind, the neatly-carved layers found in such locales as the Grand Canyon, and the flat tabletop appearance of mesas, clearly attest to a slow, settling of the waters following a Global Flood. To actually believe that such an awe-inspiring wonder as the Grand Canyon was created over thousands or millions of years by the Colorado River, seems quite ludicrous to me. For me personally, it requires more faith to believe in that theory, than it does to believe in the Genesis account. Many of you reading this article have undoubtedly gone to the beach and played in the sand. If you pour a bucket of water onto the sand, it will quickly carve out miniature-sized gullies and channels. Why then, is it so difficult for some people to imagine this happening on a global scale as well?

Thick layers of mud were not the only by-product of the Great Flood. That ooze was filled with the remains of pre-diluvial humanity, as well as the former plant life and animal life. It seems quite likely then, that it was during this period that all of the fossilized layers were created; and to this day, we are witnesses to God's mass burial of His former creation, in layer after layer of earthen, sun-baked tombs, hardened by both time and pressure.

While my previous interpretation of Genesis 8:13-14 seems to make sense, I suspect that there may possibly be a somewhat different explanation for what we are being told there. However, you won't be able to see it, simply by reading the verses in English. Allow me to explain. While the word "died" is used twice in those verses, in actuality, a different Hebrew word is used in each verse. The first occurrence of "died" comes from the Hebrew word "charab". Pronounced khaw-rab, it means to lay waste, make desolate, or to be in ruins. It also means to dry up, but that is its second definition in the Hebrew lexicon. If we choose to accept the first definition, then the new picture we get is that when Noah removed the covering of the Ark and looked out upon the world, he was surrounded by desolation and ruins everywhere. The Earth was not a very hospitable-looking place. So then we are informed again that about two months later, the Earth was dried; but this time, the Hebrew word that is used solely means to be dried up of water and moisture. It has nothing to do with being in a state of waste, ruin or desolation.

There is one other interesting point regarding this issue. In addition to the fact that it may have taken almost another two months for the Earth to really dry up, what else may have happened during this time? What occurred to me is that Noah had a boatload of animals, and all of those animals certainly needed something to eat. So is it possible that during those almost two extra months, new vegetation began to grow on the Earth? It's interesting to note that in the next five verses, God gives Noah the commandment to leave the Ark, as we see here:

"And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark."
Genesis 8:15-19, KJV

In short, God knew precisely when it would be safe for Noah, his family, and the animals to leave the Ark, in order to go about repopulating the Earth. In my view, this appears to be a more accurate interpretation of events, as described in the previous verses of Genesis. Let's move on now to another important point. In Genesis 8:4 we are told that the Ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat in the seventh month, as we see here:

"And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat."
Genesis 8:4, KJV

Please carefully notice the time frame when the ark rested. We are told that this event occurred in the seventh month. Does this verse mean that the Ark literally sat upon the mountains of Ararat at that time, that is, in the seventh month? Does it even mean that the Ark rested upon solid, dry ground?

To answer my own questions, well, not necessarily. From a closer reading of the surrounding verses, we can gather that the true meaning of the word "rested" here might be that the Ark simply ceased movement; it became still in the water. Up until that time, it was undoubtedly being buffeted by huge waves. But once the rains and mighty waves had stopped after the first forty days, Noah felt confident enough to send out first a raven, and then the first dove to see if it was safe yet. But, of course, we know that it wasn't. The main point I wish to emphasize to you is that after the first forty days, when we are told that the Ark settled upon the mountains of Ararat, there was still NO dry land to be found by the dove. Thus, it returned to the Ark. This important fact seems to support the understanding that the Ark resting means that it simply stopped moving; it became calm in the waters which still covered the mountains of Ararat. Perhaps it was even lodged in a kind of cove formed by some of the submerged peaks, but it was not yet sitting upon dry, solid ground. In fact, in the original Hebrew, the word translated here as "rest" is "nuwach", pronounced noo' akh, which means to rest, settle down and remain, to repose, to have rest, to be quiet. Following are the verses where these particular events are covered in Genesis:

"And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen. And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more."
Genesis 8:5-12, KJV

Please go to part two for the conclusion of this article.

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