All that said, I have been asked to critique his video on the flood, shown above, since I have been saying that his model is not really feasible. If one just listens to the video, it seems pretty compelling, especially if the video is from eight or nine years ago before certain evidence started coming in.
I now hold to a different Old Earth model. The Christ-centered model is a different way to look at Genesis, and it takes a lot of "unlearning" of theology which isn't really in the bible to "get it". So I am not trying to sell you on that here so much as to get people to see that the RTB model is increasingly untenable. If you are looking for a model that is still tenable, you may want to take on learning the Christ-centered model. Now on to the break-down:
Most of the first half hour Dr. Ross was making the case that the flood did not cover the whole physical globe and that the account did not really teach that all the earth's animals were on the ark - just those most associated with man. I agree with both points and in fact on point #2 I have gone into much further detail about the text of early Genesis to show the same thing. So for the first part there was nothing to critique. I hope and pray that Reasons to Believe adopts the Christ-centered model and that there is nothing to disagree about period. Until then...
The first point of disagreement is small potatoes. At about 28:05 he talks about the visual horizon from the ark. He thinks that in verse 8:5 Noah was on the top of the ark and had a more distant view of the horizon than the dove which failed to find a place to land (that he released in verse nine). That is why Ross thinks they report that "the tops of the mountains were seen" yet later the dove could not find them.
I don't think current depictions of the ark, with a nice row of windows on top, fits the text at all. The ark was just left open on its top center 1.5 cubits to let in air, but this was covered with what we would call today an awning. This was the "cover" mentioned in verse thirteen and the text acts like they didn't really get a good look around until this cover was removed. That makes sense because if they were able to get a good look around prior to that then why release the birds to try and find land? I conclude that the earlier report of Shem, Ham, and Japheth that "the high hills were covered" (7:14-15) at the height of the flood was based on the fact that their ship had a draft of 15 cubits and did not run aground for months, plus they saw no mountains in the very limited distance they could see under the awning which covered the top of the roof of the ark.
So when verse five reports that "the tops of the mountains were seen" it is not talking about distant very high peaks- in fact the word for mountains there does not contain the same modifier which specifies "higher" peaks found elsewhere in the account. The tops they saw were not the tops of the highest peaks. They were the ones closest to their ship, visible through very shallow water. That is, they saw that some hills were close to poking out of the water and they wondered "is there dry land just beyond what we can see?" So they let a bird out to find out. They really didn't know much about what the surrounding countryside was like until they removed the "cover" or awning in verse thirteen, and the text conveys that. This allows for a smaller and more highland flood. If they had really had a 40ft high crow's nest, they may have seen distant mountains even at the height of the flood, but they didn't have that.
At around 34:58 and in time 58 in the video he talks about the whole world living in the region of Mesopotamia. He has a model where humanity is in this region, the flood destroys this region, and Noah's ark lands at the edge of the region (see 106:20 to see better where he thinks the ark landed). Does anyone want to explain to me how the ark, driven either east by the wind from the east that the text talks about, or south by natural drainage from the highlands into the gulf, still winds up landing at the northern edge of this region? Besides that, the best translations say that after the flood they journeyed from the east and found the land of Shinar. That is, the Ark landed east of Mesopotamia and they had to journey from the east to get the plain. Where he says the ark landed does not make sense on any level.
But that is a quarrel from the text. If what he is trying to do is Concordism then the model falls flat when it suggests that the entire human race lived in his proposed flood region 45-55K years ago. For example...
85,000 year old human finger bone found in Al-Wusta Arabia (outside proposed flood zone).
At least 70,000 year old teeth and tools from South Africa see also here.
In Egypt 55K ago...
In Northern Australia at least 59K ago....(paper here)
In China at least 80K ago.....(this is the most controversial of the bunch)
In Libya, a modern human mandible from 73KYA. See abstract & paper here.
From Israel, 55K ago....
There are probably some I missed, but even if I didn't this list is just going to grow. So far as we can tell at no time was humanity restricted to the area Dr. Ross says was subject to the flood. And that doesn't even take into account the DNA evidence. There is a lot about this field that we still don't know, but it is highly, highly unlikely that humanity was reduced to a single Y-chromosome only 55,000 years ago, which would be the case if all men except Noah and his sons perished in a flood at that time.
Add to all that the case from the scriptures that when they went to Mesopotamia after the flood, the text of Genesis suggests that it was already inhabited when the families of Noah got there. Don't worry, the Christ-centered model has text-based explanations for all this....but back to the Hugh Ross video:
Around 50:45 he connects the land being divided in the "days of Peleg" to the Bering Straight opening up. Peleg can mean "stream" or "channel" but it makes a lot more sense that Peleg was named this because of what was happening in his home region of Mesopotamia, not something happening thousands of miles away. It could have been referring to the dividing of the land referenced in Genesis 10:32. That is, a political division of territory which could have been marked by streams. It could have been speaking of the scattering at Babel, which might have occurred during his days. From 3-4 thousand B.C. they also began digging irrigation canals in southern Mesopotamia, so it could even be a reference to that. These are things that occurred much more recently than the end of the ice age of course, and I think his timeline is as much of a reach as the idea that Peleg got his name from the Bering Straight opening up.
Also around minute 58 he talks about snow melt being the source of the flood waters. This is in an effort to push the age of the flood further back in time. But the text of Genesis tells us where the water came from (rain and the fountains of the deep breaking up) and it's not from snow melt. At time 102 he talks about how the "timing is wrong" for the Black Sea flood to be the flood of Noah. Well maybe so but it is a lot closer to any rational reading of the genealogies than the RTB model is.
At around 106:50 he talks about Nineveh being close to where he thinks the ark landed and then points out that building Nineveh was something that they did soon after they got off the ark. Well, not exactly. They first found the plain in Shinar after coming from the east, and then Asshur went from the land of Shinar and built Nineveh. So I have already mentioned some of the problems the RTB model has with paleontology and genetics, but here are some problems it faces with archaeology in light of what the text of early Genesis says that the first few generations from the flood did......
1) Genesis 10:22 says that Shem was the father of Asshur, while in verse eleven we learn that Asshur founded several cities including Ninevah. The location and period of habitation of Ninevah is known. There was surely no city there prior to 8,000 years ago and probably much more recently than that. Thus the flood was not much earlier than 8,000 years ago and probably more recent than that. So the model is untenable- unless one wishes to postulate tens of thousands of years worth of skipped generations between Shem and his son Asshur.
2) Cush was the son of Ham (10:4) and Cush "begat" Nimrod (10:8) who was apparently a contemporary of Asshur mentioned above, since verse 11 also states that Asshur went out from the land it previously said was controlled by Nimrod in order to found Ninevah. Therefore it is difficult to attribute a huge number of generations from Cush to Nimrod. And Nimrod is also described as controlling several cities, at least one of whom (Erech) we can locate in historical time. Again, these cities don't go back tens of thousands of years in the past. We can tell roughly when they were founded.
3) The text indicates that Adam and Eve's descendants did not live as hunter-gatherers but were immediately guided into civilized practices like agriculture and animal husbandry. Gen. 4:2 says that Cain was a tiller of the soil, and Abel a keeper of sheep. It is extremely unlikely, to put it mildly, that sheep have been domesticated for 70,000 years. The very first ones were more like 10-15 thousand years ago (and the location and timing of the first domestication of most major livestock is a stunning confirmation of the Christ-centered model). The same is true with agriculture. The Reasons to Believe model must postulate that civilization was lost right after the fall and not recovered until recently. But the text does not indicate that. Gen. 4:20 describes Adah, seven generations from Adam, as the "father" of those who live in tents and travel with flocks. This would not be true if the practice died out immediately afterward and was rediscovered by unconnected individuals tens of thousands of years later.
In the same way, his brother Jubal is described as the "father" of those who play the harp and the organ. And Tubal-Cain (4:22) is described as an "instructor" in metallurgy. Thus the text contradicts the idea of lost arts.
4) In Gen. 5:29 Lamech the father of Noah references the curse on the soil and the associated toil therein. In other words they were still working the soil. In 8:22 God promises that seedtime and harvest will remain, indicating further that they were agricultural. Noah plants a vineyard (9:20) after landing.
5) Cain himself is described as founding a city (4:17). Is it realistic to think that men were building cities 70,000 years ago but there is no evidence for them until the last 12,000 years or so?
6) While a case can be made for a skipped generation here or there in the genealogies, the dates for humanity and its near-global dispersal have been pushed so far back that it makes the genealogies useless and even pointless. If the flood was 50,000 years ago how is it that the sons and grandsons of Shem, Ham, and Japheth were constructing/ruling cities whose place in history we know to be less than 8,000 years ago? If the flood was more recent, then how does it square with the overwhelming genetic and archaeological evidence that most of the old world not covered by ice sheets has been more or less continuously occupied for more than 40,000 years?
Look, scientists change their model when the evidence starts going the other way. The evidence has gone the other way here. It is time to look at things differently. It is time to look at the text of Genesis differently. The Christ-centered model resolves all of these issues, but it means doing something that fallen human beings have a very hard time doing- admitting they were wrong about ideas they previously held. Nevertheless, doing so is one of the fundamental values of the Christian faith. We are not perfect, just forgiven.
Please "like" and "share".This is a conversation that the church needs to have!