Global Flood of Noah
12 Min Read Time

Noah’s flood is discussed from Genesis chapters 6 to 9. Watchtower interprets this passage to mean that 4,400 years ago, a global flood covered the tops of all mountains, including Mount Everest. Noah and his family were the sole human survivors, spending a year sheltered with a selection of animals in an ark.

There is a deluge of evidence against the flood of Genesis being global, which is proven impossible by research covering areas as vast as anthropology, archaeology, astronomy, astrophysics, biology, botany, chemistry, climatology, ecology, engineering, entomology, genetics, geology, geography, linguistics, meteorology, microbiology, palaeontology, physics, seismology, theology and zoology.

Dead people and Noah's Ark

The following are just a few simple examples that prove a global flood is impossible.

Every Animal Kind Saved on the Ark

The following diagram shows the Ark was less than half as long as the Titanic. The Titanic had 10 decks and could carry 3547 passengers. Larger modern cruise ships today have 22 decks and can carry up to 7000 passengers. In comparison, the Ark only had 3 decks.

Noah's Ark and Modern Day Naval Vessels

There are over 8 million species of life on earth. It is incomprehensible to think all these species could be saved on even the largest modern cruisers available, especially when factoring in a year’s supply of food and water.

To make it seem probable, Watchtower speculates Noah took just a pair of each “kind” of animal (it-1 pp.164-165).  For example, just one pair from the 36 species of cats of the Felidae family. This reduces the number of animals on the ark from millions to thousands.

“Breaking these figures down further, of the 24,000 amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, 10,000 are birds, 9,000 are reptiles and amphibians, many of which could have survived outside the ark, and only 5,000 are mammals, including whales and porpoises, which would have also remained outside the ark. … the ark could easily have accommodated a pair of all these animals.” Insight on the Scriptures – Vol 1 (1988) pp.164-165

It is still preposterous to say this number of animals could “easily” be accommodated in the ark and Watchtower has spent no effort to identify what is involved in housing and caring for such numbers of animals.

For example, a zoo requires many times more humans to cater for this number of animals than just the 8 people on the ark. Contemplate the amount of food, water, manure – and smell. A single elephant requires over 100 litres of water a day, and a similar weight of food. Animals have specific dietary requirements, with various fruit varieties required to be collected and stored without rotting over the year.

Small ventilation windows were only on the upper deck, providing inadequate levels of oxygen, and trapping carbon dioxide and methane. Noah’s family could not keep up with transporting food between the three decks and shovelling manure from the top-level windows.

Genesis says “every kind of” animal was housed on the ark for a period of a year, not just one representative from each kind. (Genesis 7:2,3) To argue that only one of each “kind” of animal was on the ark would mean Jehovah directly caused the mass extinction of millions of species, and inhumanely drowned billions of animals.

Animal Diversification

How did the global population of animals reach the ark, and then disperse back to their homelands? Watchtower illustrations show animals adapted for vastly different climates arriving at the ark, including African rhinos, Antarctic penguins and Australian kangaroos.

Watchtower Snippet - Asking the real questions

Koalas provide a humorous visualisation. Koala fossils in Australia date back 50,000 years. Their diet is strictly eucalyptus leaves, which are toxic to most other animals. How did a koala couple make their way from Australia to the the Middle East with a sufficient supply of eucalyptus leaves for the journey, year long captivity upon the ark and trip home? After the flood waters subsided, how did they travel thousands of kilometres, including hundreds across water back to Australia, leaving no relatives behind.

Koala and Baby

Hundreds of Marsupials like the Koala that are only found in Australia, such as the Tasmanian devil, which lives only on the small island of Tasmania, at the southernmost part of Australia.

Multiple MarsupialsAttribution: LittleJerry from Wikimedia Commons

Watchtower has argued that 4,000 years ago there was a land bridge for these marsupials to cross on their way back from the ark.

“However, the findings of oceanographers indicate that at one time land ridges connected what are now isolated land areas. … Other oceanographic studies have turned up evidence that there once existed a huge South Pacific continent that took in Australia and many of the South Sea isles. If such was the case, then, of course, the animals had no difficulty in migrating to these lands.” Insight on the Scriptures – Vol 1 (1988) pp.110-112

Convenient but untrue. These land bridges were millions of years ago, which Watchtower well knows, as it has mocked creationists that say continents drifted apart just a few thousand years ago.

“Their [Creationist] teaching that the earth and even the universe are less than 10,000 years old contradicts all the findings of modern science. They are so far out of step that they invite ridicule from scientists. Geologists can point to their measurements of geologic processes that extend far beyond that narrow time frame. Ocean sediments have accumulated over far more than 10,000 years. The time to build mountains and wear them down is measured in millions of years. For continents to drift apart and form oceans takes hundreds of millions of years. To say that all of this goes back only 10,000 years is simply absurd in the eyes of geologists.” Awake! 1983 Mar 8 p.14

Salty Brine

A global flood would merge salty oceans with freshwater lakes and torrential rain. The resulting salty brine would lead to the death of virtually all life outside the ark.

Botany: Plant life would die, crushed by the immense water pressure and drowned in salty brine. A coating of salt, which has never been discovered, would have remained after the water subsided and evaporated, restricting regrowth.

There is vegetation more than 4,400 years old, proving such watery coating did not exist. Cresote bushes have lived continuously for 10,000 years and bristlecone pine trees for 5,000 years. These would not have survived the violent flood waters, submergence under the resultant mire of mud, year-long period under salty brine, and pressure of several kilometres of water.

Fish: The majority of fish are either saltwater or freshwater, and highly sensitive to changes outside their specific saline tolerance. Adding salt in a freshwater tank will kill fish, and a fish from the sea will die if placed it in a freshwater tank. The torrential merging of lakes and oceans, would create a muddy brine uninhabitable for both freshwater and saltwater fish, along with all other forms of sea life that were not on the ark, such as crustaceans, whales and amphibians.

Coral reefs: Coral develops slowly. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef dates back tens of thousands of years, with the current living reef estimated at between six to eight thousand years old. Most corals grow in clear, shallow water and require sunlight to live. They are sensitive to minor changes in temperature and salinity changes, and most can only live in water less than 50 meters deep. The coral world would have been destroyed by the flood.

Rapid Evolution

Watchtower’s version of the flood forces Jehovah’s Witnesses to accept a highly accelerated form of evolution.

If the only animals to survive the flood were the several thousand species on the ark, how are there now over 1 million animal species? To expand from several thousand species to over 1 million in just 4,400 years leaves Jehovah’s Witnesses with no other option than to believe in hyper-evolution, something even the most optimistic evolutionist does not espouse, as it is not supported by evidence or even possible. Yet Watchtower publications do not acknowledge or address that this is an issue, and it is rarely if ever raised amongst individuals.

Watchtower articles commonly point to a particular set of features on an animal as evidence of intelligent design, yet a global flood means that the majority of individual features were not designed, but evolved explosively over the last four thousand years.

The human races must have evolved quickly too. The 4 basic races, Caucasian, Mongolian, Negroid and Australoid are subdivided into 30 subgroups. Watchtower claims Noah’s sons represented each of these races. (it-1 pp.307-313) For Noah’s wife to miraculously conceive three sons of such genetic diversity, whose prodigy evolved into thirty subgroups within 4,400 years, is proven false by genetics.

Genetic Diversity

Close relatives should not breed due to an increased risk of birth defects.

Anchorman Meme

Reducing the global population of animals to two of each kind would force an inbreeding program, and evidence of such.

A case in point is the cheetah. Low genetic variability amongst cheetahs show that all cheetahs link back to just a few breeding pairs, with scientists believing the cheetah almost went extinct 10,000 years ago. This lack of genetic diversity leads to high levels of birth defects not evident in other species, as would be in the case of a global flood.

Where is all the water from the Global flood of Noah?

The volume of water on our planet is startling when presented graphically, not for how much there is, but how little in comparison to the size of the earth.

Water to land mass

The large blue sphere is total water on earth, including groundwater. The small sphere is total freshwater, including ice caps and ground water, and tiny blue speck is fresh water found in streams and lakes.

A water canopy could not hold enough water to cover mountains. The total volume of water in the atmosphere, including all clouds globally, is only enough to raise water levels 2.5 centimetres. The absolute maximum amount of water possible to be suspended in the atmosphere would only raise sea levels by half a metre.

To account for this, Watchtower paints a picture of a flatter earth, with Mountain ranges rising after the rain ceased.

“For the Flood to have happened, the pre-Flood sea basins would have to have been shallower, and the mountains lower than they are now. … What happened to the floodwaters after the Flood? They must have drained into the sea basins. How? Scientists believe that the continents rest on huge plates. Movement of these plates can cause changes in the level of the earth’s surface.” The Bible—God’s Word or Man’s? [1989] pp.112-113

The shift in continental plates occur over millions of years, not the twelve month period required for a global flood. As quoted before, Awake! 1983 Mar 8 p.14 mocks creationists for using this exact line of reasoning.

Pre-flood Civilization

Civilization existed prior to the flood.

“The world that perished was civilized, with cities, artistic achievements, scientific knowledge. Yet, the Bible record tells us that suddenly … a deluge began that swept away a whole world.” Watchtower 2002 Mar 1 pp.3-4

A flood of such violence to raise mountains would have destroyed archaeological traces of pre-flood civilizations, yet Genesis mentions countries and landmarks that existed before and after the flood. Assyria is named as existing prior to the flood at Genesis 2:14, and in many passages after the flood. Genesis 2:14 also identifies the Euphrates River prior to the flood, and again after the flood at Genesis 15:18.

Remains older than four and a half thousand years have been found for a variety of civilizations around the world.

Egyptian history is well documented and supported by large volumes of archaeological finds. There was a thriving culture, including detailed records of the lineage of Egyptian Pharaohs, language and hieroglyphics dating back 1,000 years prior to the flood. The pyramid of Giza is accepted to have been completed around 2560 B.C., 200 years before Noah’s flood.

“2500 B.C.E. Pyramid of Khafre, Giza Egypt” Awake! 2002 Jun 22 p.18

The pyramid was neither destroyed by the flood, or shows any sign of water damage.

English civilisation predates the global flood, with dendrochronology showing The Sweet Track in the Somerset Levels was constructed around 3,800 B.C.. Radiocarbon dating show Stonehenge to be over 4,000 years old. French caves such as Lascaux and Rouffignac are filled with magnificent ice age art, including paintings and etchings of animals such as the mammoth, woolly rhino and cave bear.

Cave Painting

The largest ancient civilisation was the Indus Valley civilisation in India, dating back to 3.300 B.C. Historical records for the Sumerian culture date from 2,900 B.C. Mayans cities carbon date to 2,600 B.C. with a calendar starting 3,114 B.C.. Developed Chinese cultures span 5,000 years, the Chinese calendar begins 2,696 B.C. and the Xia Dynasty 2,100 B.C..

Australian Aboriginals have been in Australia for tens of thousands of years, a figure agreed upon by both carbon dating artefacts and genetic analysis. Budj Bim is a UNESCO World Heritage listed eel farming aquaculture site dated back 6,600 years.

The Bible’s own genealogy disputes a global genocide when placing construction of the tower of Babel within 100 years of the flood.

Watchtower Timeline

Attribution: Watchtower timeline from Watchtower 2014 Jan 15 p.10

One hundred years is not enough time for the 8 ark survivors to have multiplied to a population large enough to include farmers, supply tens of thousands of labourers to build the city and tower of Babel, and finally have God scatter them and ”confuse their language,” (Genesis 11:7) resulting in excess of 6,000 languages today.

Geology and Climatology

Silt has progressively settled into layers over millions of years. A global Flood would have coated the earth, and particularly seabeds, with an extraordinary depth of sediment, filled with the carcasses of billions of human and animal remains. Watchtower quotes that a flood would result in water pressure “equal to “2 tons per square inch,” sufficient to fossilize fauna and flora quickly.” (it-1 p.610) No such layer of sediment and fossils exist.

Ice cores going back tens of thousands of years are dated by counting annual layers. Ice core show no noticeable layer of sediment from a 4,400 year global flood. In reality, the cores would not even exist, as the floodwaters would have floated and melted the polar caps.

Watchtower Refute

Watchtower makes little effort to prove a global flood occurred. The handful of examples provided as proof – seashells on Mount Everest, the sudden death of animals such as Mammoths, and flood legends – are not the result of a global flood.

Where there is no possible refute, the common response is the magical thinking logical fallacy, that with God all things are possible. Jehovah could have used miracles, such as the teleportation of animals back and forth to their homelands, and shrinking and hibernating the animals on the ark, but this requires God to violate his laws of physics and then erase the evidence. Since a global flood is only possible with the intervention of miracles, why the need for this inhumane act of murder? God could have put the wicked to death in their sleep, without the barbaric destruction of animal life?

Watchtower interpretation portrays a malevolent God, inhumanely drowning billions of adults, alongside innocent children and animals. This destruction turned out to be pointless anyway, with Noah’s descendants immediately turning away from God.

Attribution: My Book of Bible Stories ch.10

Alternative – A Local Flood

The flood of Noah does not discredit the Bible, but rather religious groups that interpret it as global.

The Hebrew word ‘erets can be translated either as earth or land. Har can refer either to mountains or hills. The statement at Genesis 6:17 that God destroyed “all life under the heavens” is common terminology in the Bible for localized occurrences. For example, Genesis 41:57 claims “people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy from Joseph” during famine. Therefore, an equally viable interpretation is that the flood of Noah’s day covered the highest hills within the region. Watchtower gives strong weight to Jesus’ reference to Noah as proof the account should be taken as literal, but this too fits with a local flood. 

The interpretation of a localised flood does away with the impossible scenarios of a global flood. For example, Noah could warn people in the local vicinity,  but not globally. Animals that lived within a reasonable distance could make it to the ark. Every animal globally could not fit on the ark, whereas the variety of animals within the area may have. It also accounts for why after the flood the ark grounded in the same local vicinity it left from, surrounded by the same rivers, such as the Euphrates. It also aligns with evidence of great floods in Mesopotamia.

There is no question Noah’s flood did not cover all the mountains of the earth. If the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses are unable to get such a simple topic correct, they certainly cannot be trusted with important Bible doctrine that affect your life.


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