Taking another look at a mythical flood

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History for the Curious with John G. McKay

As far along the evolutionary track as mankind has advanced intellectually, we still subscribe to some of the most absurd notions imaginable. For centuries, we clung to the belief that the world was flat, and that the Sun was the centre of the universe. In fact, you could be jailed for not believing it. And yet, any modern schoolchild can easily disprove both of these fallacies.

Nonetheless, many other foolish beliefs still abound, not the least being the biblical flood story, a mythical event that never could have happened during mankind's short tenure on the planet. Let us examine it in rather more detail than is generally offered.

According to the story, some god decided that because of mankind's unsatisfactory conduct, all life was to be destroyed in a prodigious flood. Everything living had to go, guilty and innocent alike, except the fishes, since no one could figure a way to drown them.

In order to ensure the survival of breeding stock, it was decided that Noah and his kin would be spared, and they would build an ark in which two (or seven, depending on whose version of the scripture one subscribes to) of every creature living on the Earth would be accommodated in this magnificent boat.

The plans for the boat were duly forwarded from the celestial draughting office, including

dimensions, layout and even the type of wood to use. In the event, the project was held up a good while until it could be determined where the extra water needed would be imported from. There wasn't enough in the world's oceans or held up in the skies, or frozen in the polar ice caps to do the job.

After all, you can't just flood a part of a world to the height of the mountaintops without flooding the rest.

Yet, they must somehow have managed this trick, because we all know that there were myriads of creatures throughout the unknown world that would have to be found and somehow herded into the ark along with the rest, or otherwise they couldn't exist now, since the Creationists insist that no new life forms have been created since the creator populated the world.

Another part of this project that is difficult to reconcile is that it would be necessary to house two (or seven) of every living creature in a closed boat for an indeterminate time, since no one knew how long this flood was to last. They would also have to find and store all the varied types of food and fodder, fresh water (since ocean water diluted with rainwater is still undrinkable) and the personnel required to separate predators from their prey, and to clean up after the entire lot.

The least imaginative among us could never rationalize 40 days of rain accomplishing such a flood. The southwest monsoon in the Pacific rains longer than that, and the Canadian west coast often rains that long. Critical, too, was the prescribed number of creatures essential to succeeding generations surviving without casualties. In effect, the death of one rat must mean no more rats; one mosquito or black fly dead would mean no more of them, and the human being who forfeited the chance to swat all four of them while he had the chance, should have been cast overboard.

So, there you go, another popular myth torn to rags.


John G. McKay is an Amherst resident who has written numerous short novels on the history.


Geographic location: Pacific, Amherst

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Recent comments

  • brian
    February 26, 2014 - 16:07

    Great little article. I think bringing up the subject is needed and the people that say they have proof obviously were brought up believing because of their parents. If given both sides of the story children will make the best decision for themselves. Thats why you get less and less people attending churches. Also if you believe in the flood story you have to believe in the bad parts of the bible as well. Too many to mention here. that would be another article.

  • Doug P.
    February 25, 2014 - 09:35

    What does it matter what any one believes? As long as you don't use violence to force those views on all others, one should be free to hold any faith or belief. All too often select faiths that get in political control try to force their views on others. Science is not innocent either, science uses the same violent methods to push their views on others as well. This is the heart of the conflict between faith in God vs. faith in science: both sides are seeking political control of the other when they should be letting the other alone. If science is truth then it does not need force others to accept it. People will come to accept it in their own time. The same goes for those who have faith in God.

  • Believer
    February 24, 2014 - 07:47

    There is nothing mythical about the flood. Lots of information can be found at: http://creation.com/noahs-flood-questions-and-answers

  • Dee
    February 23, 2014 - 07:41

    Interesting the Word of God is the most controversially book in human history yet remains the most real, relevant and loved inspired book down though the ages. Mankind has tried to burn, break and discredit God's Word yet it has stood the test of time and is forever settled in heaven. God watches over His Word. Someday every knee will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Believe it or not AND ready or not we will all have an opportunity to meet Him face to face someday so remember the choice is yours. Blessings!!

  • Jim Grace
    February 22, 2014 - 02:44

    Then where did Adam and Eve come from?

    • noodle
      February 25, 2014 - 09:59

      A book.