A British researcher has offered yet another non-biblical explanation for the source of the global Flood account in Genesis. Archaeologist Sean Kingsley proposed that the story arose from the flooding of ancient and now submerged villages in the Mediterranean Sea southwest of Mount Carmel. Collectively called Atlit-Yam, these villages were inhabited long ago when the sea level was lower.1
Some scholars have proposed that the flood narrative was inspired by a long-ago breached dam that allowed the Mediterranean to flow into what is now the Black Sea. Kingsley argued that this event was too far away from the Holy Land to have inspired ancients to write what they did. He rhetorically asked The Jerusalem Post, “What's more convincing scientifically, a flood in the Black Sea, so far away from Israel and the fantasy of a supposed ark marooned on the slopes of Mount Ararat, or six submerged Neolithic villages smack-bang in the middle of the Bible Land?”2
But why would a flood affecting such a limited area be described thus: “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered”?3 Even if the biblical record were absent, a host of scientific evidence seems to demand a worldwide flood.4 Noah’s Flood is the most scientifically sound causative agent for an Ice Age.5 And it was the melting of the continental ice from this age, some hundreds of years after the Flood, that likely raised sea levels to eventually inundate Atlit-Yam.
Israeli archaeologist Ehud Galili has excavated Atlit-Yam for decades and disagreed with Kingsley’s proposition. Many uniquely preserved artifacts—including animal bones, fish bones, and plant matter—have been discovered in the underwater villages. They do not indicate a cataclysm but seem best explained by “the slow rise of sea levels which occurred all over the world.”2 Such underwater, formerly coastal villages exist worldwide.6
Archaeologist Shimon Gibson told the Post, “The bottom line is that overall evidence of [a] world submerged in flood does not exist.” In light of the apostle Peter’s warning,7 this kind of comment is to be expected.
Nevertheless, those who reject the worldwide flood event should be asked to provide reasons why this biblical historical narrative account is different from the otherwise scientifically reliable content of Scripture.8 They also need to explain transcontinental sediment transport, the cause of the Ice Age, fossilized sea creatures atop every high mountain in the world, the rapid burial of plants and animals required to produce the fossil record, the vast extent of some sedimentary rock layers, and the remarkable lack of erosion features at the contacts between strata9—all without Noah’s Flood.
- Kingsley, S. 2008. From Carmel to Genesis: A Neolithic Flood for the Holy Land? Bulletin of the Anglo-Israeli Archaeological Society, 26.
- Lefkovits, E. Did Noah's Flood start in the Carmel? The Jerusalem Post. Posted on jpost.com December 10, 2008, accessed December 23, 2008.
- Genesis 7:19.
- Thomas, B. Transcontinental Sedimentation and the Flood. ICR News. Posted on icr.org November 5, 2008, accessed December 23, 2008. See also “Osmium in Shale Reflects the Flood,” “The Dinosaur Mummy,” and “Fossil Feathers Convey Color” by the same author, also on icr.org.
- Oard, M. 1987. The Ice Age and the Genesis Flood. Acts & Facts. 16 (6).
- Hancock, G. 1999. Heaven’s Mirror. London: Michael Joseph.
- 2 Peter 3:3-6: “…there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 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.”
- Gish, D. 1991. Modern Scientific Discoveries Verify the Scriptures. Acts & Facts. 20 (9).
- Morris, J. 2008. Surface Features Require Rapid Deposition. Acts & Facts. 37 (12): 13.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.
Article posted on January 5, 2009.