Question:

I wanted to know your opinion about the flood being a somewhat localevent in which the Caspian sea started as a much smaller lake in a valley that was flooded. At least at first glance, it seems to fit the science and the Bible. Here’s an abstract of about the same idea: http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2003AM/finalprogram/abstract_63243.htm Answer:  Here is how I view the Black Sea basin theory.  I do not outright reject this as a possible subtext to the Genesis story.  However, to me the details are not sufficiently in agreement to make it a likely connection, but I am open to the possibility.  This event in the Black Sea, although incredibly sudden on a geological time scale, appears to be too slow on a human time scale to produce the kind of story we have in Genesis.  In this Black Sea event (for which there is basically smoking-gun quality evidence… something happened about 12,000 BC) the vertical rise might be inches per day or even possibly feet per day. This would destroy cities (if they existed that long ago, which is a dubious proposal) or human settlements (quite likely back then).  Entire areas would be inundated and no longer inhabited.  However, in this scenario, I would assume that the loss of human life would be small.  One could, in most cases, out-walk this flood.  Some people would flee to local higher ground and be lost.  Life would be forfeit, remnant stories would be left behind in many local myth/stories of a great flood.  However, if we give the slightest credence to the biblical account, it seems the parallel is very slim.  For example, in the biblical story the flood receded.  In the Black Sea event, this recession is not present.  One can question how complete the "all" in Genesis seven was, but the destruction of human life, at least in the area where Noah lived, was general.  In my opinion, if the Genesis flood story is a watered-down version of what actually happened in the Black Sea, then there is virtually nothing factual in the Genesis theory.  I cannot buy this because of the overwhelming evidence for biblical inspiration. I count this theory as interesting.  I am open to the possibility (however slim in my opinion) that the flood account in Genesis may reflect this event, but in my opinion it does little if anything to help answer the question of the biblical flood. John Oakes, PhD

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