The other day I got to thinking about this passage:

"And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.  And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.  And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were coveredFifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.  And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:  All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.  And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark" (Genesis 7:17-23).

Now, it's easy to see the information about the flood in this passage, but hidden in the middle is a clue about the pre-flood world.  We know there were hills, because they are mentioned, but exactly what kind of hills are we talking about?  How high are these mountains?  The clue lies in the fifteen cubits upward.

For anyone that doesn't know, a cubit is roughly equal to the length of the forearm and hand from the elbow of an average sized person, so around a foot and a half.  Fifteen cubits, therefore, is somewhere around twenty-two and a half feet.  Obviously this cannot refer to how high the waters were altogether; twenty-three feet is far too shallow to cover everything.  After all, a brachiosaurus could have survived that small of a flood by just sticking his neck out.  From context the fifteen cubits apparently refers to how deep the mountains were covered. 

If the flood only covered the mountains fifteen cubits, that tells us of conditions on top of these mountains.  If these mountains had trees on them, the water would have been barely deep enough to cover them.  Over the weekend we cut a dead tree that was seventeen cubits tall--and that doesn't count the top half that had already broken out of it.  So, it appears that any vegetation that grew on top of these mountains was very short.

Maybe this isn't very much, but I think it's an interesting clue.  What do y'all think?

Tags: cubits, flood, mountains, trees

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Interesting. I'm just not sure that it has anything to do with how tall trees atop mountains might have been, or even whether there were or were not trees there.

Seems to me that the verse is just telling us that the tops of the highest mountains were covered to a depth of what might have been the "draught" of the Ark. In the works of several naval engineers, it seems that in calculations based on the biblical specifications, that the waterline of the fully loaded ark would have been about half of its overall height.

Indeed it may be that the text is stating just that, i.e. how high the waters went up the sides of the Ark, rather than the depth of the waters over the mountain tops. To paraphrase: all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were coveredFifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail (in the draught of the Ark); and the mountains were covered.

Let us also consider that the view that the waters were precisely fifteen cubits over the mountain tops is itself an assumptive paraphrase: all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were coveredFifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail (in depth above the mountain tops); and the mountains were covered

But maybe my suggestion is drawing too much from the simple statement of the text. But then I think that is the case when arriving at conclusions about the height of trees on the tops of mountains. But do bear in mind that both view do in fact make an assumption about what it is over which the waters did prevail 15 cubits upward.

Then it should be understood that only in a "Tranquil Flood" view would this have real bearing. If on the other hand, the Flood was cataclysmic as envisioned in most creationist models, then those trees would have been scoured from the surface by successive sediment laden tsunami-waves.

That the bible mentions this number implys it matters and maybe mattered to God. otherwise why do the readers need to know this fact?

Indeed it might just be saying the water was only a little higher then the highest mountains. Its not a unlimited depth.

Since most mountains today are from the earth crashing/splitting itself apart during the flood or later IT probably means the mountains were not that big. So less depth of water was needed or needs to be explained where it went.

The earth possibly was first flooded and then the continents broken up and the great pressure organized the sediment layers etc.

In short just enough water was needed and not much more.

Perhaps the 15 cubits is a deeper spiritual point also.

Of the Bible states a specific number. And it matters to God to put it in there, so it should matter to us to seek to understand what it means. However, it should also matter to us NOT to add any senses or meanings that are not specifically stated.

This statement that the waters prevailed upward 15 cubits does nothing to clarify how tall the mountains were before and during the Flood. We do know from other biblical texts (Ps. 104) that the mountains were LOWER before the Flood. But the statement here in question does not  clarify any communication about the elevation of mountains. If it does, then I am at a loss to comprehend how those words are telling us that the mountains were lower (though I do believe they were).

Good points, Jim.  I didn't think about the trees getting ripped of of the mountains anyway.  I have heard before that fifteen cubits might have been the draught of the ark, and that made sense.  Then when I was looking at the trees the other day I got to thinking about the possibility of the higher pre-flood mountains being something akin to heath balds instead of forests.  Looking at it again I don't think this is a necessary conclusion, but it's still a possibility and something interesting to think about.  Of course, if the mountains were bald it still wouldn't inform us about how tall they were, since in different regions trees grow at different elevations.

Instead of me making any irrelevant comnets, is there anything wrong with the draft of the boat and the 23 ft?  Isn't it always assumed by creationists that mountains were really formed during the flood, and while there were hills and mountains not like they are today?  Supposed forces from the flood caused mountains to grow,  I read a very scholarly piece on this subject and the waters rose 23 or so feet.  I think the scripture is clearly telling us something here but how we look at this in the light of the flood, because it seems to me and (I am just saying) please correct me, that it does not say the waters rose and covered the all the mountains. And I don't connect the 23 ft with the earth was destroyed.  The two if you are a YEC don't seem to comply with one another very well.  So more took place beyond the 23 ft at that moment?  Clearly those that could be seen by Noah was his judgement of how high the water rose, probably by looking at the draft of his boat.  This seems very clear to me?????  Also I think we all need to consider the ability of moving water to move a ship or push a car downstream in a flood.  Here in Texas 2 ft of running water can actually accomplish that task. Has a lot to do with the speed the water is moving and the type of ground it sits on.  It is a known fact the Vikings foraged up Arabian rivers with their long boats do to a low draft.  I am not implying that about the Ark, but it does seem that Noah was pretty sure of the number.  It is an interesting subject. Surely one does not have to attain full draft in order for a boat to move in water, especially cataclysmic waters implied by the YEC view....as I understand it. 

Also I think the timing in Noah's memory is something you have to look at, I think that when he talked about 23 ft, that was exaclty it at that moment in time, it well may have been bigger since most YECs believe in the earth opening up and the flood was caused not just by rain but by catastrophe on land, river and ocean and the scripture to say all mountains according to YEC teaching were covered...  Even the bible does not imply the flood was just rain?  So I think we need to take Noah at his word.  Another Assumption here Thomas, how do we know that certain species of dinos were brought on to the ark?  Since God did bring them supernaturally?  We are aware of dinos in mens written history, and it seems that the inferences of those writings are certain species, but one must assume all others were destroyed. But no doubt certain  dinos had to existed after the dispersion, the evidence is very sure of that....

 



Lou Hamby said:

Instead of me making any irrelevant comnets, is there anything wrong with the draft of the boat and the 23 ft?  Isn't it always assumed by creationists that mountains were really formed during the flood, and while there were hills and mountains not like they are today?  Supposed forces from the flood caused mountains to grow,  I read a very scholarly piece on this subject and the waters rose 23 or so feet.  I think the scripture is clearly telling us something here but how we look at this in the light of the flood, because it seems to me and (I am just saying) please correct me, that it does not say the waters rose and covered the all the mountains. And I don't connect the 23 ft with the earth was destroyed.  The two if you are a YEC don't seem to comply with one another very well.  So more took place beyond the 23 ft at that moment?  Clearly those that could be seen by Noah was his judgement of how high the water rose, probably by looking at the draft of his boat.  This seems very clear to me?????  Also I think we all need to consider the ability of moving water to move a ship or push a car downstream in a flood.  Here in Texas 2 ft of running water can actually accomplish that task. Has a lot to do with the speed the water is moving and the type of ground it sits on.  It is a known fact the Vikings foraged up Arabian rivers with their long boats do to a low draft.  I am not implying that about the Ark, but it does seem that Noah was pretty sure of the number.  It is an interesting subject. Surely one does not have to attain full draft in order for a boat to move in water, especially cataclysmic waters implied by the YEC view....as I understand it. 

Also I think the timing in Noah's memory is something you have to look at, I think that when he talked about 23 ft, that was exaclty it at that moment in time, it well may have been bigger since most YECs believe in the earth opening up and the flood was caused not just by rain but by catastrophe on land, river and ocean and the scripture to say all mountains according to YEC teaching were covered...  Even the bible does not imply the flood was just rain?  So I think we need to take Noah at his word.  Another Assumption here Thomas, how do we know that certain species of dinos were brought on to the ark?  Since God did bring them supernaturally?  We are aware of dinos in mens written history, and it seems that the inferences of those writings are certain species, but one must assume all others were destroyed. But no doubt certain  dinos had to existed after the dispersion, the evidence is very sure of that....

There is no reason to see Noah as the author of the observatiomns any more then the author of the observations of the creation week.

I do think the numbers matter to God. Seemly not about minor details of the flood however.

Mountains today are made from materials that surely was not relevant to the perfect world God created.

Probably small mountains. In fact mentioning the high hills seems irrelevant.

Possibly is does indicate the water was never that deep.

I do think the ocean was not as deep as today and it was carved out by the flood, near the end, and was the place the water ran off the land to.

It would also explain the greater diversity of sea life as being less deep would aid in food growth and predator chances.

 

 

Lou Hamby said:

Instead of me making any irrelevant comments, is there anything wrong with the draft of the boat and the 23 ft?  Isn't it always assumed by creationists that mountains were really formed during the flood, and while there were hills and mountains not like they are today?

Now since the Bible says that there were mountains during the flood, then how could anyone defend the view that mountains were formed in a sense of originating, during the Flood. Just so we are clear, there are no creationists that I am aware of, who believe that mountains originated during the Flood. But Lou is correct, creationists believe that the mountains and hills of the time of the Flood were not at all like what we see today.

 Supposed forces from the flood caused mountains to grow,  I read a very scholarly piece on this subject and the waters rose 23 or so feet.  I think the scripture is clearly telling us something here but how we look at this in the light of the flood, because it seems to me and (I am just saying) please correct me that it does not say the waters rose and covered the all the mountains.

OK, so here it comes, the correction you specifically requested: Yes the Bible does in fact plainly state that waters rose and covered ALL the mountains, in the verse quoted in the opening thread.

And I don't connect the 23 ft with the earth was destroyed.  The two if you are a YEC don't seem to comply with one another very well.  So more took place beyond the 23 ft at that moment?  Clearly those that could be seen by Noah was his judgement of how high the water rose, probably by looking at the draft of his boat.

OH, so you think that this was a faulty report based on Noah's opinion and what he thought he saw? Actually Noah was inside an Ark, and he was positioned at only one point on the face of the whole earth, so there is no way he could be making his report based merely on his own observation. He was reporting the facts and narrating the truth under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. At least that is what Peter and I believe.

 This seems very clear to me?????  Also I think we all need to consider the ability of moving water to move a ship or push a car downstream in a flood.

So apparently the language used here is describing a local river flood?

 Here in Texas 2 ft of running water can actually accomplish that task. Has a lot to do with the speed the water is moving and the type of ground it sits on.  It is a known fact the Vikings foraged up Arabian rivers with their long boats do to a low draft.  I am not implying that about the Ark, but it does seem that Noah was pretty sure of the number.  It is an interesting subject. Surely one does not have to attain full draft in order for a boat to move in water, especially cataclysmic waters implied by the YEC view....as I understand it. 

The Ark would not run aground, when fully loaded, if it ran into shallow waters less than its draught in depth?

Also I think the timing in Noah's memory is something you have to look at, I think that when he talked about 23 ft, that was exaclty it at that moment in time, it well may have been bigger since most YECs believe in the earth opening up and the flood was caused not just by rain but by catastrophe on land, river and ocean and the scripture to say all mountains according to YEC teaching were covered...  Even the bible does not imply the flood was just rain?  

Yes, you are correct. In fact not most, but rather ALL creationists recognize that the Flood was caused by much more than just a rainfall of nearly six weeks. In fact the Bible mentions the rain as a side effect of the YEAR-LONG cataclysm. Eye witness accuracy is an element of the narrative, but it is also given by divine inspiration, so that we need not question Noah's memory or recollection. I know that the opening post mentioned "23 feet" as being well within the capacity of a dinosaur to survive, but the BIBLE does not say 23 feet. It could have been 33 feet. So, may I suggest that the Bible does not say "23 Feet," and may I also point out that it does not refer to a moment in time, but it rather refers to an on-going condition that persisted for many weeks, when the waters prevailed. And I think creationists are in substantial agreement that this is simply telling us that the waters were of sufficient height/depth over the highest mountains for the ark to have safe clearance, during the time in which the "waters prevailed upon the face of the whole earth."

So I think we need to take Noah at his word.

Intriguing. When do we take him at his word, and when do we assume that he was relying on his memory and only reporting what he happened to witness at one point on the earth? How do we decide when we are going to take him at his word, or when we will take the facts of science instead (as if they are ever in conflict)?

Another Assumption here Thomas, how do we know that certain species of dinos were brought on to the ark?

It is not an assumption. It is a stated fact of the inspired record that two of every kind of every air-breathing land animal in whose nostrils is the breath of life, that two of each and every kind were indeed taken on the ark. They were brought on by Noah's family AND they were brought to the Ark by the calling of God.

Since God did bring them supernaturally?  We are aware of dinos in mens written history, and it seems that the inferences of those writings are certain species, but one must assume all others were destroyed. But no doubt certain  dinos had to existed after the dispersion, the evidence is very sure of that....

Lou and I and Thomas agree that dinosaurs existed with humans after the flood. The only way this could be accomplished would be if they had been taken on the Ark, since Scripture is clear that all animals in whose nostrils was the breath of life, all were destroyed that had once moved upon the earth. The only ones alive after the Flood had to come from those that had survived on the Ark.Dinos participated in the dispersionary post-flood migrations, and gradual expansions of animal populations in the centuries following the Flood. As Lou stated, "the evidence is very sure of that," or the evidence very strongly confirms what the Bible declares.

O.K. Jim some of this I take as correction as to clarify what the scriputre says.  So very good.  But you missed my point about 23 ft (I think) I did not imply that the flood didn't do as most YECs beleive with respect to the flood?  That was not my onus for the 23 ft.  I think you missed the implication of my comment.  Someone recorded these numbers and while Moses wrote much of Genesis or all, It is well known and has been discussed on this site that others that were eye witnesses were the original contributors.  I suggest that because Noah "was" the eye witness we need to read the scripture as is.. Thomas sets the stage for the plain truth of what the scripture actually says.  

My inferences Jim if you will, was it was very easy fro Noah an eye witness ot make a judgement as the waters rose.  What I tried not to imply but you didn't get it, is the waters surely could have rose to 150 or 1,000 ft. Right????  I just implied by the text that at that moment in time Noah saw that it had rose up a certain degree.  23 ft. I judge that as he looking at the draft of the boat.   The actual Hebrew which I have looked at several tiomes and as Thomas pointed out is clear here.  So no I wasn't trying to imply anything but the record of what was left.  The scriputre plainly states the mountians (what ever size they were , were covered does it not)?  So when I look at that scenerio, I see that they are not the same exact thing.  One referes to Noah's assessment as the waters rose, the other is a clear comment that all the mountians were covered, that is something different and implies a more finished action.  Nw if that still sticks in your craw then fine, but that is the way I see that scripture in context and also within the pale of the hebrew if I understand it correctly. There is no mystery at all.  With respect to the dinos, your very possibly right that "all" were taken, I only suggest that truly GODs choice in what he brought, and you know very well jim, that hebrew "all" does not always mean all but surely the accepted and most commonly thought of interpretation is all.  So I leave you with that.  I Hope Thomas or others make further comments because those os an interesting Subject matter.  

I've not really thought about this before, but to mention any figure for water depth is a bit odd.  Even supposing that the measurement was made by God, was it at high tide, or low tide, and at what stage of the geological processes associated with the flood ?  Water depth is likely to be a constantly changing figure.  Why not just say that the mountains were covered and leave it at that ?  I suspect there's some significance to the 15 cubits that we haven't figured out yet.

Extensive studies have been done by naval architects on the construction of the Ark. Independent researchers have arrived at a conclusion that about half the height of the Ark (30 cubits) was its displacement (15 cubits).

It seems to me that Noah is telling us that the depth of the water was sufficient to "float his boat," i.e. 15 cubits. That verse does not state that it was "only 15 cubits," Nor does it say it was "not more than 15 cubits," nor "at least 15 cubits." But any of those clarifications is certainly feasible. HOWEVER, the text only says "15 cubits upward did the waters prevail.

And may I remind everyone that it says nothing of 23 feet. Everyone seems to be tossing that number around like it is a dogmatic absolute amongst creationist authorities. That figure is based I presume on guessing that it is based on assuming a cubit was 18 inches. That measurement of a cubit was quite late in the history of civilizations. Earlier cubits, and the cubit used for civil structures was called the royal cubit and measured closer to 22 inches (1.833 feet).

I too suspect that there is indeed some significance the mention of 15 cubits in this verse. However even the most mysterious meaning can by no means diminish the global extent of the Flood.

O.k. Jim, you don't see any connection between the authors judgment here in the scripture  nothing about this amount has a thing to di with the global extent of the flood. For me, I do not see the connectivity of the verse as to the mountains were covered and the 15 cubits upward it (the waters) prevailed.  Obviously the context seems clear to me as to what was mentioned but it certainly doesn't imply the full extent of the flood waters.  Certainly we do not have to agree on this point, I think your argument for me doesn't work esepcially if you've been around water and seen the force of the water. Jim I looked up the draft of huge cruise ships and they are between 24 and 26 ft?  Noahs boat very well could  fit within the biblical parameters....Just my take. Cheers!

This has everything to do with the global extent of the Flood. The mountains were covered.

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