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Genesis flood predated submerged civilization in Black Sea, young-earth creationists contend

WASHINGTON (BP)–Don’t get too swept up, creationists say, by the National Geographic’s announcement of locating the remains of a civilization 311 feet beneath the surface of the Black Sea.

The region was flooded only after the worldwide flood survived by Noah and his family described in the Old Testament Book of Genesis, say young-earth proponents who comprise one segment of the creationist movement.

National Geographic’s Explorer-in-Residence Robert Ballard, known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic, announced Sept. 12 that a collapsed wood-and-clay structure 12-13 feet wide and 36-45 feet long, and with such artifacts as hammer- and chisel-like polished stone tools, pottery fragments and a trash heap, had been spotted beneath the Black Sea about 12 miles off the coast of Turkey on Sept. 9 by his expedition’s robotic submersible.

Ballard and the expedition’s chief archaeologist, Fredrik T. Hiebert of the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and other scientists estimate that the structure, along a submerged river valley, is 7,000 to 7,500 years old.

Young-earth creationists, meanwhile, date the civilization at 1650 B.C., or 700 years after their estimate of the cataclysmic flood described in Genesis, estimates which they contend to be correct once science’s Carbon 14 dating is corrected to account for the Genesis flood’s sudden burial of masses of vegetation that greatly altered the earth’s carbon reservoirs.

Be wary of media accounts linking the Black Sea flood to the Genesis flood, young-earth creationists caution.

Such media accounts include USA Today’s Sept. 13 headline, “Evidence possibly tied to biblical flood found in sea” and The New York Times’ Sept. 13 story noting, “Some scholars believe that such a flood inspired the biblical story of Noah … .” The book “Noah’s Flood” by two Columbia University geologists created a media stir in recent years with its speculation that melting European glaciers at the end of the ice age had unleashed a powerful flood from the Mediterranean, pouring into the Black Sea basin at 200 times the volume of Niagara Falls and creating the saltwater Black Sea from a small freshwater lake.

Tas Walker, an Australian staff member of Answers in Genesis, a young-earth creationist organization based in Florence, Ky., in the Cincinnati area, wrote in an article on AiG’s Internet site that such assertions are surprising because “geologists, explorers, researchers and the media are normally very skeptical of the Bible, and disparage creationists who accept literally the Genesis record of Noah’s worldwide Flood. Has there been a sudden change of heart?

“For all the talk, these people still don’t take the Bible seriously,” Walker continued.
“There is absolutely no resemblance whatever” between the Black Sea flood and “the worldwide watery judgment of the Bible.”

Walker pointed out such discrepancies as:

— “The Bible says that Noah’s flood was global, but the Black Sea flood was only local.”

— “The Bible says the Flood covered the highest mountains, but the Black Sea flood only rose by a few hundred feet. It didn’t even cover the mountains in the local area.”

— “The Bible says there was forty days of rain, but the Black Sea flood had no rain.”

The claim that the Black Sea flood is the basis for flood legends “does not make sense,” Walker also wrote. “Almost every culture on Earth includes an ancient flood story. Details vary, but the basic plot is the same. The classic example is the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh, but there are flood stories among the ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese and even the Irish.” Walker challenged: “… what about the flood legends of the American Indians and the Australian Aborigines? The latter supposedly entered Australia 40,000 years ago, some 30,000 years before the Black Sea flood. Was there a good news service in ‘Neolithic’ times that carried the stories ‘down under’? …

“It makes more sense that all the legends are corrupted memories of the true,
world-wide Flood of Noah, as recorded in the Bible,” Walker wrote.

With a Bible-based chronology placing the Genesis flood at 2348 B.C., creationist research “suggests that the Ice Age took 500 years after the Flood to reach its maximum and a further 200 years to melt back,” Walker wrote, adding, “Remember these are estimates only.” He continued: “Thus, the Black Sea flood occurred after most of the continental ice sheets had melted, thereby raising ocean levels and allowing the Mediterranean to spill into the Black Sea some 700 years after the Flood.”

In a news release by the National Geographic, neither Ballard nor Hiebert were quoted as proclaiming a key biblical tie between the Black Sea discovery and the Genesis flood. Ballard told USA Today, however, “This is a time capsule that carried us back to the period before the flood,” while Hiebert told The New York Times, “This discovery will begin to rewrite the history of cultures in this key area between Europe, Asia and the ancient Middle East.”

Ballard’s expedition is supported by the National Geographic Society, the Office of Naval Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the J.M. Kaplan Fund and the University of Pennsylvania

Photographs of the expedition can be viewed at the National Geographic’s website,

Answers in Genesis articles analyzing the Black Sea discoveries can be read at the organization’s Internet site, AnswersinGenesis.org.