Monday, May 6, 2013

Answering U.S. Creationists. Part Two.

The Ongoing Genesis Flood Debate

The Testimony of King Ashurbanipal

The Flood Tablet of Mesopotamia

King Ashurbanipal was not only a hunter, but also a warrior who conquered Egypt. He took great pride in being able to read and write, at a time when usually only scribes mastered the intricacies of cuneiform writing. He also amassed a huge library of tablets such as this one, which his agents collected throughout the country, especially in Babylonia.

The Flood Tablet depicts the Babylonian version of a flood story, which is somewhat related to the story of Noah’s flood as recounted in the biblical book of Genesis. When the King’s palace was burnt down at the time of the fall of the empire in 612 BC, the library crashed into the room below, and this tablet was broken and burnt. However, whereas a parchment or paper archive would have been destroyed, the baked clay tablets survived and are now in the British Museum.

Ashurbanipal claimed:

“I have been initiated into the secrets of writing. I can even read the

carvings from the days before the flood.”

This statement by the highly cultured and antiquarian king Ashurbanipal suggests that the Mesopotamians were aware of the Flood, as opposed to the various minor floods that would occur from time to time in that region, and that also there were extant in Ashurbanipal’s time pre-Flood writings.

Now, generally, global floodists believe that the Genesis Flood wiped out all previous traces of civilisation. And this appears to be the case with U.S. Creationist, Bob Sungenis.

Along similar lines, Fr. Brian Harrison has written to Hugh Owen who is the Founder and Director of The Kolbe Center For The Study Of Creation (and forwarded on to the AMAIC):

Thanks, Hugh.

As you know, I agree with you rather than Damien on this issue.

Like you I have very little time available to devote to this issue, but I did want to make the point that, as I noted to Bob Sungenis a while back, whether or not the beds of the pre-Flood Tigris, Euphrates, etc. may somehow have survived identifiably under all the sediment, the believer in a global Flood is in any case under no burden of proof to demonstrate the physical/geographical identity or proximity of the pre- and post-Flood rivers bearing those names.

It is entirely possible that after the Flood, supposing all trace of those original rivers had been obliterated, Noah and/or his sons and descendents could have given the familiar old names to new rivers.
This is a natural human tendency for those colonizing a 'new world' with nostalgia for the 'old world' of their origins. All over the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand there are countless place names copied straight from those in Britain thousands of miles away. (I grew up in a town, Armidale, that was named after a big landed estate in Scotland. And it's in a region called "New England" in the NE of the State of New South Wales!)

[End of quote]

Of course it is perfectly true - as Father says - that old world colonisers, such as the British, frequently replicated names such as the Armidale (N.E.) case in Australia. But, as I [Damien] once proposed to Bob Sungenis (who has espoused this replication argument), this is not what the post-diluvians had intended in the case of the four rivers. Moses, having led the Middle Bronze I Israelites out of 12th dynasty Egypt right to the edge of the Promised Land, had added some editorial notes to the ancient documents of his forefathers (the toledôt) for the sake of his people who would shortly occupy this land. Moses himself well knew the region, as he had already spent 40 years with the Midianites in the southern Paran desert. And he had, prior to that, led Egyptian armies into the Sinai and southern Palestinian regions. That part of the Exodus story, Moses’sojourn in Midian, was picked up in the famous Egyptian Tale of Sinuhe which professor Emmanuel Anati has rightly noted“shares a common matrix” with the Exodus account, though it also differs from it in some very important details.

So Moses, whilst respectfully preserving the original Abrahamic history, for instance, in which the “Valley of Siddim” is mentioned - it being the location for the wicked Pentapolitan cities (Sodom, Gomorrah, etc.) - adds‘in brackets’ “(which is the Salt Sea)”. Genesis 14:

Bela (which is Zoar) verses 2 and 8.

Valley of Siddim (which is the Salt Sea) verse 3.

En-mishpat (which is Kadesh) verse 7.

Hobah (which is on the left hand of Damascus) verse 15.

Valley of Shaveh (which is the King's Dale) verse 17.

For, since the original account had been written at about the time of Abraham, a dire catastrophe had rent the peaceful and prosperous Valley of Siddim, which had sunk beneath fire and brimstone, its place having been taken by the eerie Dead Sea, or Salt Sea.

{Russian researchers have hopes of making a sub voyage beneath the Dead Sea, on its Jordanian side (politics are typically involved here), where they say that satellite imagery has revealed the sunken cities}.

Perhaps Moses did not want his people blundering into the Dead Sea when expecting, from those ancient Abrahamic records, to find there instead a fertile valley.

Now, the same word that I have translated as “which [that] is” [the Salt Sea], Hebrew hu, is the word used by Moses to connect the ancient Genesis rivers to places named after the Flood, such as the river Tigris connected to “Ashur”,and the river Gihon to “Cush” (which Bob has previously agreed must refer to Ethiopia). But Bob had also astounded me in the past by his claiming that I believed “that the rivers of Paradise mentioned in Genesis 2 didn’t exist in Paradise, since the Flood would have taken any trace of them away, and Moses wouldn’t have know[n] about them”.Robert had said the very opposite of what I actually hold on the subject, since I have written:

But there are other biblical-minded writers who, as I noted in “The Location of Paradise”, consider that Genesis 2 does indeed preserve a definite geographico-hydrological link between the pre- and post- Flood worlds. We saw that the four rivers referred to in the antediluvian Adamic toledôt are actually named by the postdiluvian Moses as real rivers, running alongside (or around) real geographical locations. Moreover, Moses uses the very same 3rdperson masculine singular Hebrew pronoun hu (comprising the Hebrew letters, he waw aleph), meaning ‘he’ or ‘himself’ (itself), in every one of the four cases, thereby directly connecting Adam’s four rivers with four known rivers of Moses’ time. Now, this hu is again the exact same Hebrew pronoun that editor Moses would use in his geographical modification of Abra[ha]m’s history, where, in that famous case of Genesis 14:3 he advises his people that the site that was in Abram’s day “the Valley of Siddim” had now become the Dead Sea. Thus Moses: “Valley of Siddim (that is, the Dead Sea)”; the Heb. pronoun hu here being translated quite appropriately into English as, “that is”. But even though the Bible seems to be interpreting itself for us here, I have found that ‘Creationists’, whilst willingly accepting the view that Moses was, in the case of Genesis 14:3, pointing to the very same geographical region that was intended in the Abra[ha]mic history (though now with considerable topographical alteration), will strenuously deny any geographical connection whatsoever in Genesis 2 between the pre-Flood hydrography and that later connected there by editor Moses with the pronoun hu.

[End of quote]

I explained this as well as follows in my Tracing the Hand of Moses in Genesis:

Moses's Additions to Adam's history

Apart from the toledôt, and catch-lines, Moses also apparently added to this revered history of his primeval ancestor Adam the first of his geographical explanations. These typical Mosaïc parentheses - added for the sake of his people emigrant from Egypt [the Middle Bronze I nomads of archaeology], coming into unfamiliar eastern territory - will be especially noticeable in Genesis 14, the story of Abraham (owned or written by Ishmael). To the most primitive statement (Genesis 2:10): "A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches", Moses will add 4 verses of geographical detail. [Professor A.] Yahuda saw clearly, as have others, that this was a scribal addition to the original document (though he included verse 10):

“The whole passage 2:10-14 though belonging to the story itself has so far the character of a gloss in that it does not refer to Paradise itself, but to the relation of the four rivers to this one river of Paradise. Indeed, many critics have already a clear inkling that by this passage the flow of the narrative is interrupted and that accordingly it must have been inserted here from another version [sic] of the Paradise story; but in spite of all this it is connected by them with Paradise itself and they assume that the four rivers belong to Paradise”. ….

[End of quote]

So, from what editor Moses is telling us here we can assess that this is not a case of nostalgic replication of old Adamic world rivers in different new world Abrahamic or Mosaïc regions. The replication argument falls down in this case on the strength of biblical consistency. Hence it is not a waste of time trying to identify the Paradise scenario in a modern landscape.

And even some global floodists are now starting to bend to this viewpoint, including a mainstream Creationist magazine, Creation Research Science Quarterly. See our

Creationists Now Espousing Link Between Pre and Post Flood Worlds

Australian anti-evolutionist Wal Johnson (RIP) had, I think naïvely, pioneered the parallel scenario of a global flood and an accessible antediluvian archaeology in Mesopotamia.

The Ark

Creationists (Ark-eologists) devote much time, money, thought and promotional energy to presumed Ark sightings on Mount Ararat (Agri Dagh). And I myself used to be fascinated by that very boat-like structure located there seemingly complete with ('s_ark.htm)“petrified wood, as proven by lab analysis …high-tech metal alloy fittings …. Aluminium metal and titanium metal ….Vertical rib timbers on its sides, comprising the skeletal superstructure of a boat. Regular patterns of horizontal and vertical deck support beams are also seen on the deck”.

Indeed, if one peers hard enough, one might even discern oars and life-jackets.

The reason that geologists are at war with Creationists is because they know that this boat-shaped feature is a rock: variously, a geosyncline or autochthonous block. So, if we want to avoid being labelled autochthonous blockheads, we would do well to check the Bible once again - as in the case of Moses’s directional signposts listed above - and there find out where Noah’s Ark really landed. It landed, not on a mountain, but on “the mountains of Ararat”;“Ararat” being the land of Urartu (var. Aratta), well known to king Ashurbanipal since Urartu’s king, Sarduri, had sent greetings and gifts (read tribute) to the Assyrian King.

And “the mountains” belong to the land of Urartu’s Zagros range.

The best traditions have the Ark arriving at Mount Judi (Çudi) Dagh in the Zagros, north of Mosul (near Nineveh), in Kurdistan. It was from there that Ashurbanipal’s grandfather, king Sennacherib, used to collect the bituminous wood of the Ark. From David Rohl’s excellent explanation of the true place of the Ark’s landing, we should not expect to find anymore a whole Noah’s Ark (

... what would be the real clincher to prove, beyond doubt, that Noah's Flood was a genuine historical event? Of course, the discovery of Noah's Ark, what else?

and he then goes on to explain:

You may think that this is a bit of a joke, but people have been searching for Noah's Ark for decades and have been coming up with all kinds of extraordinary claims, some of which have made headline news or had TV documentaries lavished upon them. Virtually all these 'discoveries' have been focused on or around Mount Ararat in north-eastern Turkey. The problem here is that Mount Ararat was not the original traditional landing site of the Ark. It was only in the 13th century AD, when Vincent de Beauvais, Friar William of Rubruck, Odoric and Marco Polo came this way, that Mount Ararat superseded a much older and widely recognised location for the Place of Descent.

The first thing to note is that the Biblical text itself does not identify Mount Ararat as Noah's mountain. What Genesis 8:4 actually says is that 'the Ark came to rest on the mountains (plural) of Ararat' – in other words somewhere in the mountainous terrain of the land of Ararat. Biblical Ararat is recognised as being identical with the region that the 1st millennium BC Assyrians called Urartu – a land which covered much of the central section of the Zagros range. According to Genesis, therefore, the Ark must be searched for in modern Kurdistan, not hundreds of miles to the north on the volcanic peak we know today as Ararat in Armenia. Ararat is a late Christian name for the mountain; its local name is Agri Dagh. What is more, Jewish Talmudic writings of the 6th century AD consistently interpret the Biblical Ararat to mean Kurdistan and not Armenia [Targums of Genesis 8:4, Isaiah 37-38 and Jeremiah].

So, where does everybody else, other than post-13th-century Christianity, locate the Place of Descent?

The Koran (8th century AD) calls Noah's landing site Gebel Judi ('Mountain of the Heights') and the 10th-century Muslim writer, Ibn Haukal, observes that 'Judi is a mountain near Nisibis. It is said that the ark of Noah (peace be upon him) rested on the summit of this mountain'. Nisibis is modern Nesibin or Nusaybin, one hundred miles north-west of Mosul on the southern edge of the Zagros foothills.

The early Nestorian Christians (followers of Nestorius, 4th-century patriarch of Constantinople) knew this to be the true landing place of the Ark.

The pilgrim saint, Jacob of Nisibis (also 4th century) – note the link with the town claimed to be near Gebel Judi by Ibn Haukal – was the first Christian to look for the mountain of the Ark. His search concentrated in the 'district of Gartouk' which scholars recognise as a late spelling of classical Carduchi which, in turn, derives from Kardu – the ancient name of Kurdistan.

But we can narrow down our search even further. Hippolytus (AD 155-236) informs us that the landing site of the Ark was located in 'those mountains called Ararat which are situated in the country of the Adiabeni'. The Greek and Latin sources place Adiabene in the mountains to the north of Mosul where the Hadhabeni tribe still live today.

One hundred miles due north of Mosul, just across the Iraqi border into Turkey and ninety miles to the east of Nesibin, the 7,000-feet peak of Judi Dagh ('Judi Mountain') rises from the Mesopotamian plain. This surely has to be the landing site of Noah's Ark referred to in all the early, Jewish, Christian and Islamic sources.

Judi Dagh is a place of real mystery and fascination for someone like me. Around this holy mountain there are devil-worshipping cults, giant rock-cut reliefs of Assyrian kings, and, near the summit itself, the ruins of a Nestorian monastery called the 'Cloister of the Ark'. Needless to say, I am keen to mount an expedition to investigate but, unfortunately, that isn't possible at the moment. Not only is Judi Dagh on the northern edge of the Kurdish autonomous zone of Iraq (currently a no-go area for British and American nationals) but it is also smack in the middle of the area being fought over by three different Kurdish military factions.


In the 1920s the Reverend William A. Wigram and his son Edgar spent some time exploring the region around Mosul. In their book, The Cradle of Mankind, they record ascending the ridge beneath the summit of Judi Dagh on the 14th of September to witness a gathering of Muslims (both Sunnis and Shias), Sabaeans, Jews and the Satan-worshipping Yezidis for a great annual religious festival. The English explorers watch each group of pilgrims deliver a sheep for sacrifice as 'the smoke of a hundred offerings goes up once more on the ancient altar' where the Kurds believe Noah made sacrifice to God for his deliverance from the Flood.

The Babylonian chronographer, Berossus (3rd century BC), tells us that in his day Kurdish mountain-folk 'scraping off pieces of bitumen from the ship (i.e. the Ark), bring them back and wear them as talismans'. The practice of local women wearing bitumen talismans was still observed as recently as the beginning of this century according to European travellers' reports. Bitumen is the oil-based 'pitch' with which the Ark was sealed against the seepage of the flood-waters [Genesis 6:14].

The mystery here is that the nearest source of bitumen lies hundreds of miles south of Judi Dagh in the swamps of the Iraqi lowlands. So by what mechanism did quantities of the black tar reach a mountain ridge on Judi Dagh? - unless, that is, it was a genuine survival from the wreck of Noah's floating refuge.

Finally, we have the ancient Jewish legends surrounding the powerful Assyrian ruler, Sennacherib (705-681 BC), who, during his military campaigns against the Kurds, 'found a plank, which he worshipped as an idol, because it was part of the Ark that had saved Noah from the Deluge'. If this tale has some historical truth to it, then knowing the approximate find spot of Sennacherib's sacred relic would be very useful. It is interesting, therefore, to note that giant figures of King Sennacherib were discovered in 1904, carved into the cliffs at the foot of one particular Kurdish mountain. Yes, you've guessed it – Judi Dagh. Aren't you just itching to get out there? ....

[End of article]

Hugh Owen has presented me with some ‘homework’:

…. I have attached a paper by a Catholic geologist on our advisory council which supports the position I have taken here. I also recommend that you look at the latest work by Andrew Snelling and his colleagues to see that, in reality, the Flood model explains the geological data much better than any uniformitarian model. (For example:

This, I have taken time to study.

Andrew Snelling’s article as referenced by Hugh simply provides “an overview of six geologic evidences for the Genesis Flood”almost entirely from the Grand Canyon in the USA, a world well beyond the riverine home of Adam and Noah. It is a case of that extrapolation (whether geographical, chronological or prophetical) to which I referred previously in this series. The other article has a lot to say about evolution, which is not an issue here at all, and it, too, presents cases of American (as well as some Indian) catastrophist geology. I have been told by various correspondents that I have been skirting around the issues raised by the US Creationists and not fully answering their objections. However, the March MATRIX and its Supplement were meant by me as a big package that referred readers to some substantial articles and sites that answered these sorts of objections in detail. No one has to read them, of course, but to do so would certainly help in the case of a debate. (Admittedly blog formatting is sometimes less than ideal).

Creationists need to undergo a Buckland-ian type of conversion. The story of William Buckland, as told by Ryan and Pittman in Noah’s Flood (and it is well worth reading in full), I have briefly summarised in our article:

Just How 'Global' Was the Great Genesis Flood?

…. Sometimes we need to let go of our preconceived ideas to bring our thinking right into conformity with demonstrated fact. A classical example of someone’s doing this is the case of Rev. William Buckland, as narrated by Ryan and Pitman (op. cit., pp. 33-34, 55-56). Buckland was a C19th guru of the ‘global’ Flood view, for whom the signs of major catastrophism throughout the world were largely due to the Flood. About him it was said that “his elegance rolled like the deluge retiring” (ibid., p. 34). Then, one day, a young Swiss scientist, Louis Agassiz, changed Buckland’s mind with an in situ demonstration on the effects of glaciation.

Here is how Ryan and Pitman recount the story (ibid.):

Buckland’s recent magnum opus, attesting to the action of a universal flood, had been met with critical praise. Although the chief architect of the catastrophic synthesis and Agassiz had met before and had even deliberated the ice age theory during an outing in the Alps, a reconciliation of their enormous differences in the interpretation of the apparent evidence had been inconceivable until the Reverend was secure on his home turf in the British Isles. There in the autumn of 1840, following the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the Oxford don, in characteristic fashion with top hat and academic robe, escorted the Swiss naturalist to a classic site of the “drift” deposits on Blackford Hill, south of Edinburgh, Scotland. Pointing authoritatively to the unstratified boulder clay (the inferred deposits of Noah’s torrential flood) at his feet, Buckland pronounced that the rocks within contained no scratches from glacial gouging.
However, Agassiz was wary of an ambush by Buckland …. Instead, [he] ushered Buckland aside to a nearby cliff that neither had visited before and climbed up to the underside of an overhanging ledge where the rock leaned forward, forming a sort of vault. There Agassiz brushed the dust from the face of the stone, exposed a stunning outcrop of striations (the parallel grooves indicating the action of a moving glacier grinding away at the landscape), and pronounced,“That is the work of ice!” Buckland’s conversion from diluvialism was instantaneous.

[End of quote]

Hugh Owen may well be right in saying that the Genesis Flood was followed by an Ice Age: “… the geological evidence fits perfectly well with a global Flood and a post-Flood Ice Age”. I shall come back to this in the next paragraph. However the scientific evidence shows, as Louis Agassiz had demonstrated to Buckland, that masses of ice moving across the land would cause glacial gouging and that this phenomenon ought not to be confused with Flood deposits as Creationists are wont to do. No doubt the Answers in Genesis [AIG] people, like Andrew Snelling, have done some excellent work over the years. I myself have had an article published in their journal and previously a piece in Ex Nihilo. I am particularly impressed by the efforts of contributor Dr. John Osgood in bygone years to revise the Stone Ages and bring right into line the biblical histories notably from Abraham to the Exodus. Though I have been frustrated when recently reading Osgood again that, because of his view of a global Flood, all archaeology for him commences after the Flood. His “bedrock” - equivalent to my very beginning, Genesis 1 - sits somehow above the Flood sediment. This approach has really bedevilled Dr. Osgood’s work on the very earliest periods of post-Flood history.

However, Osgood’s magnificent revision from Abraham to the Exodus and Conquest still stands. And he has reduced the Acheulean Age (Lower Palaeolithic, presumably of 1.76 million to 100,000 years ago) - when handaxes became common for felling timber during a very wet climatic phase - to the time of the Canaanites (not to be confused with Cain-ites), after Babel. A massive reduction in time, no doubt! But a necessary one also. The Acheulean Age was eventually followed by the much drier pre- to early- dynastic phase (e.g. in Egypt), when deltas began to form. And this may perhaps equate with a post-Flood Ice Age.

Writers such as Michael Hawley and Tim Martin, though, are very unimpressed by what they consider to be hypocrisy in AIG and in the very origins of Creationist work, with Morris and Whitcomb. See e.g. “Henry Morris’ Deception”

And see also on this same controversy:

Answers in Genesis' integrity seems to be missing

We recall that sometimes Creationists can go over the top in pushing their case, just as atheists are wont to do as well, prompting professor Ian Plimer to write a book, Telling Lies for God (Random House, 1994), that curiously presents, I believe, a more reasonable model for the Flood and the Ark than do the global floodists. Bob Sungenis thinks, on the one hand, that the ancient Adamic rivers could have maintained their basic shape beneath global Flood waters, though he wants to have a ‘two bob each way’ bet when arguing the replication case. But what about the rivers keeping their shape under a supposed six miles of sediment? Moreover, Bob is not sure that the Noachic Flood even produced ‘turbulence’.That seems strange. Professors Carol Hill and Ian Plimer seem to me to be far more realistic about this.

Here is Hill, firstly, explaining global floodists’ own scenario (taken from March MATRIX):

…. To explain this universal flood, flood geologists usually invoke the canopy theory, which hypothesizes that water was held in an immense atmospheric canopy and subterranean deep between the time of Creation and Noah’s Flood. Then, at the time of the Flood, both of these water sources were suddenly released in a deluge of gigantic, Earth-covering proportions. Along with this catastrophic hydrologic activity, there was a major geologic change in the crust of the Earth: modern mountain ranges rose, sea bottoms split open, and continents drifted apart and canyons were cut with amazing speed. ….

Next Ian Plimer (from our ‘Genesis Flood’, emphasis added): “…. Did Noah really have the mathematical skills to solve the differential equations necessary to understand the bending moment, torque and shear stress associated with the roll, pitch, yaw and slamming expected in the turbulent globe-encompassing flood?”

And, if the Flood were ‘global’, Plimer writes (Telling Lies For God, p. 75), then:

…. every oil well, every coal mine, every drill hole in sedimentary rocks and every cliff profile would show a gradation from basal conglomerate to sand to uppermost siltstones, mudstones and claystones. … [but they don’t, Plimer maintains] - in the record of rocks, we see evidence that some sedimentary rocks (and fossils therein) are formed in freshwater environments whereas other sedimentary rocks are formed in saline marine water. This presents a slight insuperable problem as the fictitious flood fluids were either fresh or saline but unquestionably could not be both.….

A global Flood would of necessity mix disastrously, everywhere, sea and fresh waters.

Now, there is much more relevant material in the AMAIC’s large Flood article. But you will have missed it if you have not read it (though, admittedly, the formatting can be off-putting in blogspot). For instance, I wrote:

Global Floodists apply the same sort of totality that they have read into the ancient account for the extent of the Flood to the extent of the animals taken on board the Ark, giving ‘maximum value’, as is their wont, to phrases like “every living thing”, “every kind”, and “every creeping thing on the ground” (Genesis 6:19,20). It is really quite painful and embarrassing to read, or view on TV, explanations by well-meaning ‘Creationists’ as to how every single species of living creature had to be fitted into the Ark. I have even seen proponents of this view on TV with a model of the Ark and toy dinosaurs having to be fitted inside, alongside lions, tigers, giraffes and kangaroos ….

This is, I repeat, Fundamentalism taken to the extreme.


Noah would have had to fit on the Ark only such animals as would have been needed for food, and later on for sacrifice, and for breeding and farming purposes: domestic animals, (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, etc.) the type that are named in other versions of the Flood.

A correspondent, Eugene, has reminded us of this classic song as popularised by the folk group the Irish Rovers:

The Unicorn

A long time ago when the earth was green
There were more kinds of animals than you've ever seen
They'd run around free while the world was being born
But the loveliest of them all was the unicorn

There were...

Green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born

The loveliest of them all was the unicorn
Now the Lord saw some sinning, and it gave him pain
And he said, "Stand back, I'm gonna make it rain"
He said, "Hey, brother Noah, I'll tell you what to do
Build me a floating zoo

And take some of them...
Don't you forget my unicorn
Old Noah was there to answer the call
He finished up making the ark just as the rain started to fall
He marched in the animals two by two
And he called out as they went through
"Hey Lord, I got your"...
I just can't see no unicorns
Then Noah looked out through the driving rain
The unicorns were hiding, playing silly games
Kicking and splashing while the rain was pouring
Oh them silly unicorns

There were green alligators and long-necked geese
Some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees
Noah cried, "Close the door, for the rain is pouring
And we just can't wait for no unicorns

And then the ark started moving, it drifted with the tide
The unicorns looked up from the rocks and they cried
And the waters came down and started floating them away
That's why you've never seen a unicorn to this day

You'll see...
You're never gonna see no unicorns

Plimer of course has a field day with the ‘Creationist’ version of the Ark’s menagerie, and rightly so inasmuch as it is embarrassing, non-scientific nonsense. In his section, “The Freighter’s Cargo” (ibid.,Ch.4, pp. 109-134), Plimer raises such points as:

How did Noah build a system to preserve Eucalyptus leaves for the Koala passengers from Australia, which was then undiscovered, and had an unknown flora and fauna?

Whales would have bloated with clay as they tried to strain for the odd krill which had not choked and sunk. The flood waters would have been so muddy that light could not have entered the top centimetre of water, hence aquatic animals would die.

Some organisms just don’t survive as a couplet. For example, bees, flies and other organisms live in swarms and without community activity they can neither function nor survive.

…the literal interpretation has no exceptions – not one species of bacteria to be omitted, no 80-tonne Ultrasauri, no Tyrannosaurus rex, no whales, no maritime organism. Nothing!

Some organisms only eat live food and, if it is not available, then they eat their partner (for example, praying mantis).

Many carnivores need to gnaw on bones to avoid dental diseases and many animals such as rodents need to gnaw to stop teeth overgrowth. Did the thousands of known rodents gnaw on the timbers structurally supporting the ark?

Another problem was clean potable water. A bucket could not really have been thrown overboard as it is felt that there would have been mass carnage if all organisms were fed on 1:1 saline water-mud mix.

Many animals are so sensitive that they do not survive in zoos, and yet they managed in this wildly lurching overcrowded ark for a year.

The magnitude of the feeding task is astronomical. If the crew of four males worked 24 hours a day for the 371 days at sea, then each animal would have received a total of six seconds of attention for the whole year.

It is a little difficult to calculate the volume of excreta generated by extinct animals, however even the most basic calculations shows that thousands of tonnes of urine and excreta were generated on a daily basis by those unwilling passengers. We must remember that the ark had a ventilation port of one square cubit. …

And then there are those manifold varieties of termites ….

But Plimer will also have much fun at the expense of the ‘Creationists’ in regard to the aftermath of the Flood (ibid., p. 91):

…the maiden voyage of Noah’s love boat was a dreadfully harrowing journey with no chance of survival for the passengers. It makes the maiden voyage of the Titanic look like a Sunday afternoon ferry trip in calm waters. This trip is recognized in the Yahwist’s version as traumatic because, once on dry lands, Noah planted vines (Genesis 9:21)! It appears that the ark trip was so harrowing than Noah reverted to periods of dreadful drunkenness and slept naked in his tent (Genesis 9:21)! This I can identify with. Under the circumstances, I think we can all forgive Noah for this minor peccadillo. Don’t ask me where he got the vines from after the ‘Great Flood’ which destroyed the world ….

Remember the call for common sense in the previous MATRIX?

[Continued on p. 15]

Bob Sungenis and Hugh Owen both point to 2 Peter 3 for their case for a global Flood. The relevant part of the text reads:

3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

Hugh writes as follows on this text:

Dear Damien,

Pax Christi!

In 2 Peter 3, St. Peter speaks of three global events: Creation, the Flood, and the creation of the new heavens and new earth. If the Flood is a local flood, the parallelism of his argument is destroyed. When Our Lord speaks of the Flood, it is in the context of His teaching on the Second Coming which will certainly be a "global" event. One could also cite the fact that a special word is used to designate the "Flood" in the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible and that God's command to Noah to construct an Ark is rendered ridiculous by any local flood scenario.
In Magisterial teaching on Scriptural exegesis, exegetes are required to follow the "rule...not to depart from the literal and obvious sense, except only where reason makes it untenable or necessity requires" (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, 1893). The Magisterium also identifies the Fathers as the foremost expositors of Scripture. It is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers that the account of Noah is historical and that the Flood was a global flood. Therefore, the burden of proof is on you or any Catholic who contests the traditional teaching to prove that "reason" makes that interpretation "untenable" and "necessity requires" that it be abandoned. But this you have not done.

Anyone who studies the arguments between geologists who defend the global nature of Noah's Flood and those who do not can see that there are plenty of unsolved mysteries, but that the critics of the global Flood have not come close to proving that "reason makes it untenable" to believe what all of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church believed before us. Therefore, prudence and piety demand that all Catholics hold fast to what was handed down, until such time as, per impossibile, the skeptics "come up with the goods."


I hope these comments are helpful.


Well, I am not going to dive here into the ‘can of worms’ that is biblical prophecy, the end times and so on. I shall simply say that others interpret this Petrine text differently, and in a way that is indeed compatible with a non-global Flood Model. Globalists might also do well to study the biblical, as opposed to the surface, meaning of ‘a new heavens and a new earth’.

Dr. Tim Martin, whose concept of Genesis and the Flood we featured in the previous MATRIX, would take the view that, when Jesus referred to "this generation" He meant just that (

“Some Standing Here Will Not Taste Death Until…”

Interestingly, the Divine Mercy refers to His last coming as, not the “Second Coming” (Hugh’s phrase), but as the “Final Coming” (revelation given to Sr. Faustina):

You will prepare the world for My final coming.



I think that the scriptures, science and common sense combined necessitate that researchers ‘go beyond the Church Fathers’ (Pope Leo XIII) in the case of the great Genesis Flood and seek for a model that did not encompass the entire globe. For the answer to Plimer’s question: “Did Noah really have the mathematical skills …?”, must be that no antediluvian man could possibly have had such modern-day skills and we should not be placing such a burden upon the shoulders of people of that time nor upon the Book of Genesis.

Other science will be needed to explain the phenomenon of the Grand Canyon and its like.

In all this I do not think that it is even a case of our “depart[ing] from the literal … sense”, but rather as a return to the literal meaning and sense of the Scriptures – though, admittedly, the global Flood notion may indeed be considered to be the “obvious sense” (quotations from Pope Leo XIII, “Providentissimus Deus”, 1893). Nicodemus (John 3:4) had taken the obvious, but not the actual, sense of Jesus’ words about being ‘born again’: "What do you mean?" exclaimed Nicodemus. "How can an old man go back into his mother's womb and be born again?"

Sometimes Fundamentalists are not all that fundamental.

"Dogmatic fundamentalists do not reflect Catholic tradition,

and dogmatic evolutionists do not fairly represent science".

James B. Stenson

Evolution: A Catholic Perspective.

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