The Black Sea Flood isn’t Noah’s Flood

Last week, a story popped up that scientists had discovered evidence of a significant flood in the Black Sea region:

Ballard believes melting glaciers contributing to a rise in sea level might have caused the flood. But it was a theory proposed by two Columbia University scientists that prompted him to take his team to the Black Sea, a 168,500-square-foot body of water bordered by Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria. The scientists speculate the now salty sea was once a freshwater lake surrounded by farmland. They think a rising Mediterranean Sea flooded the area by cutting a channel through the Bosphorus.

Ballard and other scientists who have investigated the flood point to stories about similar events in several religions and cultures. To them, the multiple stories lend credibility to the probability of a flood event but do not offer evidence of biblical truth. Contrary to the scientific speculation, the Bible says in Genesis that God caused the flood by sending rain on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.

Of course, this story isn’t really new. The Black Sea has been the source of research and speculation regarding Noah’s flood for several years. The problem, of course, is that the Black Sea flood can’t possibly be the flood from Genesis for many reasons. Dr. Tas Walker explains in an article available here:

Now, in real life, claims need to be justified. We can’t even use a credit card until we prove who we are. Banks want our signature because its unique characteristics are easily recognised. They want to be sure they have identified us correctly.

So too, we need to be sure that Ballard, Ryan and Pitman have identified Noah’s Flood correctly. Of all the floods in the world, how would we recognise Noah’s Flood? We need to compare their signatures. And the Bible is the only place where the signature of Noah’s Flood is found. Unfortunately, when it comes to signatures, Ryan and Pitman have not carefully matched their characteristics with the Bible. Carelessly, they have given credit where it is not justified.

Ryan and Pitman thought the Black Sea flood was Noah’s Flood because it was very large, overwhelming some 100,000 km2 of land the size of Texas. But large as this was, it was still only a local flood in the Black Sea area, not the world-wide Flood described in the Bible (2 Pet. 3:6–7).

The biblical flood was so huge that it covered the then highest mountains (Gen. 7:19). But the Black Sea flood simply raised the local water level some 150 m to where it is now. Not even the ‘known’ world was submerged because there was still plenty of dry land left to live on in the area. Even to cover the nearby Krymskiye Gory mountains on the adjacent Crimean Peninsula, the water level would need to have risen a further 1,500 m. The Black Sea flood was not Noah’s Flood, because it did not cover the highest mountains.

And missing from the Black Sea flood is Noah’s Ark—that colossal ship described in the Bible, 140 m long, 23 m wide and 14 m high (Gen. 6:14–16). Ryan and Pitman, aware of this omission, suggest that there were hundreds of arks—thrown together in a few minutes by local farmers ripping their post huts apart to build puny boats to escape the rising waters! But why would they have needed boats at all? With waters rising each day at 15 cm, and creeping only a couple of kilometres across the land, they could have escaped at a leisurely stroll.

Because the waters rose so slowly, Ryan and Pitman say the people would have had plenty of warning. Once the farmers realised the water was not going to subside they would have built boats to escape. Wasn’t Noah warned about the Flood? Voilà, the Black Sea flood matches! Not at all. The Bible does not say Noah was warned by rising water levels. No, God warned Noah years before there was any sign of a flood (Gen. 6:13–14). Anyway, rising water levels would not have given sufficient time for Noah to build the huge Ark and load the animals. The warning that Ryan and Pitman make so much about does not match the warning in the Bible.

With a local flood there would have been no need to save the animals and birds as the Bible records (Gen. 6:19–21). The idea of birds being threatened by the Black Sea flood is ludicrous because they could easily have flown out of the way. As for the animals, most would have migrated out of the area as the waters slowly crept onto the land. Even if some animals drowned, no species would have been threatened with extinction because other individuals would have lived outside the inundated areas. The Black Sea flood was not Noah’s Flood, because it did not destroy all the animals and birds as the Bible describes.

Neither did the local Black Sea flood drown the people in the area—they were simply displaced from the land. Ryan and Pitman suggest that many of these displaced people migrated to Europe. But, the Bible clearly states that everyone outside the Ark perished, and ‘only Noah was left and those with him on the ark’ (Gen. 7:23). The Black Sea flood was not the Flood of the Bible, because the people were not destroyed.

Nor does the source of water match. For the Black Sea flood, the water gushed sideways through a localised channel, but for the biblical Flood the water came from the fountains of the great deep and the windows of heaven—below and above (Gen. 7:11–12).

The Black Sea flood does not match the record in the Bible. Not one characteristic agrees.

And the Black Sea flood did not go down—that is why there are plans to look for settlements under the water. But the biblical flood receded off the earth while the Ark and its cargo rested on the Mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:3–4). It was two months before Noah could see the nearby mountains emerge (Gen. 8:5) and another four months before the whole earth was dry enough to unload (Gen. 8:13–14). The Black Sea flood was not Noah’s Flood, because the flood waters have not receded.

So, the signature of the Black Sea flood does not match the record in the Bible. Not one characteristic agrees. The differences are so great that we wonder why the proposal has been entertained at all.

The reason why it matters is that these scientists know that the Black Sea flood doesn’t match the details for Noah’s flood, but they just don’t care:

Ryan and Pitman know that their link between their Black Sea flood and Noah’s Flood does not fit with the Bible. So, how do they justify their claim? Simple. They say that the Bible got it wrong. Their Black Sea flood was the real flood. The biblical record is a poorly assembled compilation of the flood legends that arose from their Black Sea flood. They claim it was their flood that was burned into the memories of surviving generations and recounted by word of mouth for thousands of years. After becoming more and more distorted, the stories were eventually written down. So by branding the biblical record a ‘myth’, they feel justified in disregarding all its details. They simply say that they do not read the Bible literally.

So their link with Noah’s Flood is totally arbitrary. They need a flood, so presto, pluck Noah’s Flood out of the air. It is a good flood to pick, because it sells lots of books. Furthermore, the scientists love it. By saying that Noah’s Flood was a local flood they think they can dismiss the implications of the real global Flood described in the Bible, viz. that God judges human sin.

So many in the scientific community are pleased with “evidence” that there might have been a flood, but certainly not a global one that killed all but eight people, and, sadly, a great many scholars and theologians are too.

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