Where was Noah's flood ?

by a Christian 29 Replies latest jw friends

  • a Christian
    a Christian

    One of the things that has long been debated is the location of Noah's flood. The most popular, and most common claim, is that the flood was in Mesopotamia, or present day Iraq. But, as has been pointed out on this forum before by Alan F and others, the major problem with this theory is that the entire area drains into the Persian Gulf. There is no possible way Mesopotamia could have contained the flood waters. So a flood of the magnitude and duration described in Genesis could never have occurred there. The rain waters would simply run away into the ocean. The only way to make this work is to have God perform a miraculous event at the southern end, making an invisible wall, or barrier, to keep the flood waters within the region. But there is no indication in the biblical text that this occurred. So if Noah's flood did not take place in Mesopotamia, where else could it have taken place? The site of the flood would have to meet four requirements. First, it would have to be capable of containing the waters of the flood. In order to do this, we need a basin, with no outlet to the sea. If there were an outlet, the water would simply run out of the area. Second, the flood would have to fit the parameters mentioned in the Bible. Noah believed that the world was flooded, and that all the mountains were covered with water. Therefore this would require that the basin for the flood be large enough for Noah not to see any mountains from the center of the basin where the ark was floating. Third, this flood location would have to include the areas populated by Adam and Eve's descendants. That would include the area around the Garden of Eden, and east of the Garden. For when God drove them out of the Garden, he placed a cherubim at the east of the Garden (Genesis 3:24). This would indicate that Adam and Eve went east out of the Garden. We also have another clue in Genesis 4:16. Cain was sent away, and he settled in the land of Nod, which was east of Eden. Therefore, if we know the location of the Garden, we know the location of the Flood, since it had to cover the lands east of the Garden.

    Finally, the ark landed on the mountains of Ararat. Note that the Bible says mountains of Ararat, and not "on Mount Ararat." The Ararat range is several hundred miles long, so the ark could be anywhere along this range. Although the taller mountains in the range are to the east, mountains extend westward all the way to the Mediterranean.

    I believe the Caspian Sea is the most likely location for Noah's flood based on all the evidence. Here's why.

    (From Wikipedia) "The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area ... It is an endorheic body of water (has no outflows), The Caspian ecosystem is a closed basin, with its own sea level history that is independent of the eustatic level of the world's oceans. The level of the Caspian has fallen and risen, often rapidly, many times over the centuries. Some Russian historians claim that a medieval rising of the Caspian caused the coastal towns of Khazaria, such as Atil, to flood."

    It is clear that Noah would see no land, not even tall mountains, if he were in the center of a flood expanded Caspian Sea. For even in today's Caspian Sea, if you were in the middle of the southern portion, you would be over 180 miles from the tallest mountain, and you would see no mountains.

    In his book, Legend: The Genesis of Civilization, a rchaeologist David Rohl proposes, I think quite convincingly, that the Garden of Eden was located in north-west Iran, near the city of Tabriz. (However, Rohl does not suggest the Caspian Sea location for Noah's flood.) According to Rohl the Garden of Eden was located in a vast plain referred to in ancient Sumerian texts as Edin, east of the Sahand Mountain, near Tabriz. He cites several geological similarities with Biblical descriptions, and multiple linguistic parallels as evidence. Additionally, he points out that this location is bound by the "headwaters" of four rivers, which Rohl identifies as those of the Pishon, the Gihon, the Tigris, and the Euphrates. (Gen. 2:10-14)

    The map below shows the Caspian sea, and the part in yellow shows the drainage basin. Since this is a closed basin, so theoretically the waters of Noah's flood could have filled up and stood for an indefinite period of time in the entire area in yellow. In the lower left portion of the drainage basin we find the city of Tabriz,which is Rohl's location for the Garden of Eden. If Rohl is right, and if Adam and Eve and their descendants settled in the lands "East of Eden," as Genesis tells us they did, they would have lived near the Caspian Sea.


    The requirement for the ark to land on the mountains of Ararat is met, because the mountains on the west side of the southern portion of the Caspian are within what is considered the Ararat range. In fact, Mount Ararat itself is within the drainage basin. However, given the elevation on the west side of the Caspian, it would not be possible to float the ark all the way to Mount Ararat. However, it could easily land on the slopes of the mountains to the east of Mount Ararat

    I see only one problem with this understanding. From what I have read, the Caspian basin has few "flood deposits." This can be explained in one of two ways, if indeed Noah's flood did take place near the Caspian Sea. The flood took place a long, long time ago, (longer than some understand Genesis to indicate) since to completely erode flood sediments takes many thousands of years. Or the winds that God sent over the earth causing the flood waters to recede (Gen. 8:1) swept away the sediments that floods, which are not accompanied by such winds, normally leave behind.

    I believer the Caspian Sea location for Noah's Flood fits all the parameters. It is a "closed basin" capable of holding onto the flood waters for a long period of time and also an area large enough to prevent Noah from seeing any surrounding land masses. Based on recent archaeological research by David Rohl, the Garden of Eden is believed to have existed just to the west of the flooded area. And finally the ark would have come to rest on mountains that are part of the Ararat range.

    Thanks to Greg Neyman for much of the above information.

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep

    ...or it could be just a compilation of myths and legends...

    The real 'Noah' could have been someone who chucked his pigs and chickens into his fishing boat during bad weather, the story being retold many times.


  • Awakened07
    Noah believed that the world was flooded,

    -I thought these stories were inspired by God, who had, let's say, a much higher vantage point than Noah?

    Is the whole scriptures inspired? If so, I don't think this scripture fits with a local flood:

    2 Pe 3:5-7 (KJV) "For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: | Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: | But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."

    One could say that 'earth' here only means 'land', but it talks about 'heaven and earth' several times here, and the earth "standing out of the water and in the water", which to me seems to imply the meaning of the entire earth. If not, will judgment day also be a local affair, of the heavens and earth 'kept in store by the same word' [as back then]?

    I guess there's a chance I'll get my unscholarly butt kicked again, but hey - my interpretation is as good as anyone's. I calls 'em like I sees 'em.

  • funkyderek

    It's almost a pity the whole flood story is made up. The idea of some guy and a bunch of animals floating around in a 450 foot boat for a year while everyone else just moved to higher ground is simply hilarious!

  • digderidoo

    Could this be Noah's Ark?

    The above is the Ararat Anomoly taken in 1949. Below is a close up taken in 1987.

    The following is Turkey's official Noahs Arks site. A village called Uzengili, interestingly the village used to be called Nasar, "Nisir" was the Babylonian name for Noahs city.

    Below is an artist impression as to how it may look above the mud

    Anyway all food for thought.


  • snowbird


    On another thread, I put forth my thought that the Flood occurred when the Earth was one single landmass - Pangea or Pangaea. Of course, this was ridiculed by JWD Resident Nobel Laureate, FunkyDerek.

    I was only going on my understanding of Genesis 1:9 which states the waters were gathered together into one place and Genesis 10:25, which states that the Earth was divided in the days of Peleg, the great-great grandson of Shem. If this is referring to Continental Drift, I ask, what more effective way to break up and scatter wayward man than to separate the dry ground into continents?

    To my delight and amazement, I found some information at the above link that explains in very scientific detail how this could have happened.

    It is an absorbing read for anyone who wants to get a fresh spin on the happenings recorded in the first book of the Bible.


  • OnTheWayOut

    Where was Noah's flood?
    Noah's flood was in the Bible book of Genesis.
    Without a Bible handy, I believe it was in chapters 6-9,
    with some references in the NT by others (1st Peter and the Gospels).

    Beyond that, if you knew it wasn't a global deluge, then I understand
    the search for the origin of the myth, but you will get many theories.

    I love this quote from Wikipedia on attempts to harmonize the Biblical
    world deluge with known natural history (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah's_Ark ):

    One influential theory held that the biblical Ararat was striped with varying climatic zones, and as climate changed, the associated animals moved as well, eventually spreading to repopulate the globe. There was also the problem of an ever-expanding number of known species: for Kircher and earlier natural historians, there was little problem finding room for all known animal species in the Ark, but by the time John Ray (1627–1705) was working, just several decades after Kircher, their number had expanded beyond biblical proportions. Incorporating the full range of animal diversity into the Ark story was becoming increasingly difficult, and by 1700 few natural historians could justify a literal interpretation of the Noah's Ark narrative. [2]

    I could add that Jehovah put the animals in a climate-controlled bubble (like a
    force field). As the ark got crowded, he threw a line to the larger animals in their
    bubbles and towed them, making room for the millions of insect and bug species
    on the ark.

    As far as food goes, Jehovah created some Purina Manna Chow. They just skimmed
    it off the surface of the deck every morning. Why is the Bible silent on that?

  • a Christian
    a Christian


    I believe you are right in understanding Genesis 1:9 to refer to the formation of Pangaea, one super continent arising from what had been a global ocean covering all land. But science tells us that Pangaea existed some 250 million years ago, long before the existence of man.

    Consider Antiquities of the Jews, by Josephus: (I. x. 4) : "Heber beget Joctan and Phaleg: he was called Phaleg, because he was born at the dispersion of the nations to their several countries; for Phaleg, among the Hebrews, signifies division."

    Josephus, and most likely most other ancient Jews, understood this passage to say that it was the people of the land who were then divided (not the earth - the Hebrew word sometimes translated here as "earth" is translated elsewhere as "land" - as in "the land of Canaan," etc.). His words clearly imply he believed that this passage was referring to the time of the confusion of languages at the tower of Babel. He states that Peleg was born at the time of this dispersal, thus, the reason for his so being named.



  • funkyderek


    On another thread, I put forth my thought that the Flood occurred when the Earth was one single landmass - Pangea or Pangaea. Of course, this was ridiculed by JWD Resident Nobel Laureate, FunkyDerek.

    I'll take that sniping as a compliment. People of a certain disposition are often so offended by my knowing things that they could and should know but don't, that they resort to comments like the above. It's bad enough that you could imagine that your ignorance is equal to my knowledge but to apparently think that it's somehow better, that it's my knowledge and not your ignorance that should be an object of derision is something that baffles me. Frankly, I'm embarrassed for you.

    Regarding your thought that a clearly mythological account that is purported to have occurred some 4,000 years ago is not only real but contemporaneous with events that took place more than quarter of a billion years ago, then of course I ridiculed it. It's an absurdly ridiculous idea - on a par with saying that Hamlet rode a dinosaur.

  • snowbird

    Mike, thanks for your kind response.

    I mentioned the pelegpress link because the author feels as I do, that it could have been the division of the physical earth that was meant.

    The truth of the matter is, no one can say with any certainty what actually occurred millenia ago.

    But, I do have faith that the Biblical record will stand when all others have failed.


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