Biblically Discernible Data On The Cause Of The Flood
One can imagine many noteworthy struggles during the ship’s construction and then during the ship’s use in the flood that could have been passed down in story form. Yet, of all the details that could have been written, we only have a few. These few details, possibly by design, are perhaps all that are needed to discover the cause of the flood. It is clear from the story that God caused the flood, but that still implies that which can be discovered as a “natural” event.
If one is to believe that the flood occurred as described biblically, the religious myths surrounding the flood must be eliminated. The water depth is just such a myth. First, possible causes of the flood are examined. It is possible something cataclysmic, such as a comet, meteor strike, or something internal to Earth triggered the event. An unstable atmosphere could have caused it. Science has only recently begun to look at atmospheric instabilities (see the Appendix).
As if to indicate that the story is precisely true, the exact day of the year was specified for the beginning of the event. This is not a “Once upon a time” story. When Noah was six hundred, on the seventeenth day of the second month, the flood began. This is 17 Cheshvan or Heshvan in the Hebrew calendar in the Hebrew year 1656. This is in the modern day October /November period. The date must have some significance and could perhaps be used to locate remnants of an asteroid that ventured through our solar system and brushed Earth’s atmosphere triggering the entire event. As now understood from the creation story, meteors and comets are common tools used by God to effect change. The date may also show the time of an inland impact- perhaps in the Americas. There are many asteroids known to cross Earth’s orbit and the list increases continually. Currently, the orbital accuracy of the known asteroids is not sufficient to accurately project their trajectories back beyond a few hundred years. What other data can be gleamed from the biblical flood story?
As the flood event began, animals became docile and boarded Noah’s ship, as did Noah and his family. God closed (or sealed) the ship’s door himself. Among other reasons already suggested, this may suggest that Noah and his family were unable to close it. This may mean atmospheric content had changed. All air-breathing animals were breathing unusual gases. Once on board, Noah and his ship’s cargo were protected from much of the poisonous, heavier than air gases since the ship was sealed up tight. What could cause a sudden atmospheric content change? An atmospheric pressure drop would certainly cause it.
Next, using the biblical story as evidence, water came up out of the ground and then it began to rain profusely. Genesis 7:11 … the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. What condition can cause water to come up everywhere out of the ground? An atmospheric pressure drop would certainly cause it. As pressure dropped, saturated gases in all liquids including those underground, boiled out of saturation, and forced water up out of the ground. The trapped gases, most of which are heavier than air, boiled into the atmosphere. Like carbonation boiling out of a carbonated beverage, water levels would quickly rise and briefly flood normally dry areas.
Modern evidence of gases expanding and then pushing water and mud out of the ground can be seen in Absheron, Azerbaijan. At ambient and even cool temperatures, gases expand below ground forcing water and mud up out of the ground. In this case, pumping crude oil out of the ground likely causes the gases to expand. An atmospheric pressure drop would cause this same below ground expansion of gases to occur everywhere worldwide.
Slowly, after trapped gases had expanded and then escaped, the ground would re-absorb water during, and at the event’s end. Such an event would cause an immediate reduction in Earth’s surface temperature since the water that was forced out by rising gas bubbles would carry with it the heat of Earth‘s crust. Torrential rains might well ensue for months (or for 40 days) due to the resulting pressure change in the atmosphere.
Then, “the windows of heaven were opened”, or it began raining profusely. Clearly, there are no windows in the sky and the use of “windows” is a metaphor. The water level rose 15 cubits as measured by Noah- Genesis 7:20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. The mountains were covered by what? If the water level only rose 15 cubits, or if there were only 15 cubits of rain, how could water have covered the mountaintops? Recall that, from the creation story, Moses did not distinguish between water in cloud form and water in liquid form. Water above and below the firmament was simply called water in the creation story. Moses wrote this flood story as well, although he may have only edited the story’s memorized account for accuracy.
The average sea levels back then were higher, perhaps a few meters higher than today, but no more than that. Noah was well above sea level. Note that 15 cubits, Noah’s stated level of water increase, is about 24 feet (~8 meters). A worldwide flood of that depth is easily realized. Although it did not happen, if the ice on Greenland melted, sea levels would rise about 15 cubits.