by Bill Nugent
Genesis chapters seven and eight give us the record of Noah’s flood. The geological, archaeological and zoogeographical evidence strongly confirms that this was an actual historical event. In this article we shall examine the hemispherical flood model put forward by Gerald E. Aardsma Ph. D.
Dr. Aardsma holds his Ph. D. in nuclear physics with special background in radioisotopic dating such as radiocarbon dating. He publishes a bimonthly journal called The Biblical Chronologist in which he painstakingly sets out the timing of biblical events.
Dr. Aardsma, in the March/April 1998 issue of his journal, makes the case that the cause of Noah’s flood was an asteroid striking the Earth in the northern hemisphere above the Arctic circle. The size of the asteroid and velocity of impact pushed planet Earth so abruptly that the Earth’s core shifted off center. This meant that the center of gravity of the Earth shifted towards the north and this resulted in the waters of the oceans being rapidly drawn to the northern hemisphere and completely flooding the landmass of the northern hemisphere only.
I must point out that the Genesis account does not state that the entire globe was flooded. The word translated “earth” throughout the Genesis account of Noah’s flood is the Hebrew word “erets”which is far more often translated “land” and can thus refer to a land mass of limited size. Even if we accept “earth” as the correct translation of “erets” in the Genesis passage we must remember that even in English we use the word “earth” to mean less than the entire globe. For instance we would say that a child soiled his trousers with earth, meaning that he soiled it with dirt.
A hemispherical flood was not a “local” flood as claimed by liberal scholars. It was a vast continental deluge. I maintain from my studies of the flood that if Aardsma’s hemispherical flood model is correct then the flooding was limited to the northern hemisphere but all parts of the Earth suffered earthquakes, volcanoes, continental land mass shifting and ocean floor subduction. The sudden violent shift in the Earth’s center of gravity caused violent geological events over the entire globe. The results of the global catastrophe can be clearly seen in geological features that formed as a direct result of it and are visible today.
Genesis 7:11 says “the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open” (NASB). A book titled Fountains of the Great Deep by Leander R. Pimenta MSci., MICE., C. Eng., lecturer in geotechnics at Portsmouth Polytechnic, Hampshire England presents the immense geological evidence for the flood. The book contains a chapter that discusses the rapid formation of coal and oil deposits. I have long maintained that plant matter would rot away if it took millions of years to gradually build up and get buried by sediment.
Coal and oil deposits are formed by rapid burial and severe compression of plant and animal matter. The sediment over the organic matter in time hardens to stone. In many places oil and coal are buried under tens of thousands of feet of sandstone, shale and limestone. It’s also interesting to note that oil leaks through and disperses through its caprock at a steady measurable rate. If the oil was there for even one million years it would have totally dispersed long ago. This also proves Bible chronology. There have been many discoveries of human remains and artifacts in coal seams (see Defending the Faith #56 Human Artifacts in Coal Beds).
Aardsma also presents a great deal of zoogeographical evidence for the hemispherical flood model. In the Jan./Feb. 1998 issue ofThe Biblical Chronologist he details the large degree of difference in the plants and animals of the southern hemisphere (principally Australia, South America and Southern Africa) as compared to the northern hemisphere. Aardsma asserts that since these regions were not flooded their large variety of living things survived intact. Earthquakes and volcanoes would have depleted but not wiped out life forms in the south.
The hemispherical model also solves several conundrums. The slow moving, forest dwelling sloths would not need to migrate from South America all the way to Noah to be included on the ark. Galapagos tortoises and Australian marsupials would also not have had to make the trip.
Noah received animals of the northern hemisphere only into the ark. There is evidence that the North American continent was joined to the Eurasian landmass before the flood. It was probably during the flood catastrophe itself or possibly later, after the flood, in the days of Peleg (Genesis 10:25) that the continents were divided.
The flood came only on the northern hemisphere (in Aardsma’s view) and this area of Earth was the place of human habitation. The wording in Genesis about the flood concerns all the land of human habitation, not the whole globe. This area of human habitation was the area that required God’s merciful intervention through His command to Noah to build the ark to save Noah, his family and many animals. Much has been written by qualified scientists about how the large number of breeding pairs of a vast array of species could fit on the ark.
I will mention in closing that many, if not most, ancient histories of the Earth (written by tribes and cultures far from Israel) record a great flood and God’s rescue of humans and animals on a boat or ship. These histories serve as additional confirmation of the truth of the Bible’s account of Noah’s flood.