The Antediluvian world existed before the Great flood of Noah. Humans had lived on Earth for close to 1500 years before God sent the flood and if the fossil record is indeed the result of this event, then one might reasonably expect evidence of antediluvian civilizations to be found deep in the strata, although some argue that when God said that He would "wipe mankind ... from the face of the earth" (Genesis 6:7 ), He meant that He would leave no trace.
It is believed by many creationists that humans originated at a high and noble state, and later declined. Many propose advanced stages of technological development were reached before the great flood. Such presuppositions are usually based on the Biblical genealogy, which states that ancient people lived to approximately 10 times our current life span. Also it is frequently mentioned that Adam and Eve would likely possess higher than normal intelligence since they were created as adults, with knowledge that subsequent humans obtain from their parents. Another theory states that the antediluvian race called the Nephilim was superior to other humans in this respect.
All accounts of the Great flood from civilizations around the world indicate that there were indeed civilizations before the flood. However, as a result of the destruction during the flood and the passage of time, the remaining evidence is scanty. As a result of the flood, the surface of the Earth was ripped up and was redeposited as hundreds of feet of sediment, and very little of the antediluvian horizon has been exposed. It is also problematic that much of the scientific community is quick to dismiss any artifacts that dispute their presupposed interpretation of the fossil record. Nevertheless, any truly advanced civilization would have left durable traces or constructions that would likely surface during excavations or by erosion. Relatively insightful accounts can be drawn from the Bible, apocrypha, and ancient Babylonian and Greek accounts of antediluvian civilizations.
- 1 Historical accounts
- 2 Longevity
- 3 Language
- 4 Giant Organisms
- 5 Archaeology
- 6 See Also
- 7 References
The Book of Genesis provides only a skeletal description of antediluvian civilization. It reports that people routinely lived what is by today's standards extraordinary lengths of time, from 800-900 years each. It reports the founding of cities such as the founding of Enoch by Cain. Further, it reports that people at that time became extremely corrupt and violent, and ultimately were destroyed by God for their wickedness and violence.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet one, we are told that there were cities before the Flood, which were restored by Utanapishtim:
- "It was he [Gilgamesh] who reached by his own sheer strength Utanapishtim, the Faraway, who restored the sanctuaries (or: cities) that the Flood had destroyed!
John Sanford in Genetic Entropy points out the decline in ages from the oldest human (Methuselah) and the other long ages for humans (Adam, 930 years, Noah 960 years) down to Abraham (170 years) and declining further to Moses (120 years). He notes that this decline follows an exponential decay curve and is off-tolerance of this curve by mere fractions of a percentage point. This means that the writer(s) of Genesis were either well-aware of advanced mathematics or were just reporting what-they-knew. There would be no compelling reason to display an exponential curve in the numbers since genetics was not discovered until the 19th century and the human genome was not understood until the 20th century. How could humans live much longer? The original human genome, as provided by the Creator, was free of the generational mutations that led to the decay curve. In addition, it is postulated by creationists that the dietary and environmental conditions were more conducive to longevity.
Culturally speaking, it is hard to imagine someone living prosperously beyond a finite timeframe of 100 years or more. In the present-day experience, people who live over 100 years are hardly in a position to mount armies, challenge potentates or vigorously regenerate a bloodline. The three sons of Noah entered the Ark ostensibly at 100 years of age and clearly had no qualms about mastering the seas or replenishing the Earth with children after the Ark landed.
Concerning the spread of evil however, of note is someone like Adolf Hitler, who arguably had hit a pinnacle of evil intentions by age 20. In present-day terms, he would have some 40 years to make-it-or-break-it before seriously considering his own mortality and ultimate replacement. But if he could have lived for 100's of years, building armies of disciples over time, then mounting a war against the world might be ambitious in his thirties. But if he failed and went into hiding for 100 years before trying again, perhaps he would be more successful on a second attempt. What of a third, or fourth, each likewise 100 years apart? Clearly the longevity of mankind was as much a liability as a blessing.
Months Not Years?
Some skeptics in an effort to assist in the "un-believability" of such high longevity, have offered the notion that the "years" of Genesis were not common years as we understand them (one Earth revolution around the Sun) but were lunar years (one Moon revolution around the Earth). This would mean that Eve gave birth to Seth at "age 130", but this would mean roughly ten years old. They would say "sure, that's young, but they had good genes and all that."
But does this notion play out with even a superficial reading of the accounts? In Genesis 1:14 the author notes day and night, days and years in context and contrast, clearly delineating their meaning. In Genesis 4:1 we begin the tragic story of Cain and Abel, grown men with their own concerns making sacrifice to the Lord. And only after do we read in Genesis 4:25 that Seth was born to Adam and Eve when they were 130 years old. Here's the problem: If Eve was only 10 "actual" years old when she gave birth to Seth, where did she find time to give birth to and raise Cain and Abel into grown men? Later in Genesis 7:11 we engage a very meticulous account of the Flood days and the time in the Ark, but it launches in the 600th year of Noah, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month. Clearly the context fully conveys an understanding of the hierarchical and chronological relationship of years, months and days.
Such skeptics oddly do not enter these thought experiments to make the Bible "more believable". Rather they offer these notions in fully skeptical form. It is as if they want to manufacture a reason to believe the Bible even less than they already do.
In present-day terms, as of January, 2014 over 7000 different languages exist on the globe. The Bible has been fully translated into over 500 languages with some portion of the Bible in over 2500 languages. Linguists will note that the structure of a language devolves and morphs into other less structured forms. English has degraded in structure and form from its inception. In fact all of the languages deriving from Latin are less structured than their Latin roots. This effect is expected first from the propensity of structure to become less organized as entropy creeps into a structured system. It is expected second from the curse of Babel, that the nations remain divided.
People have a strong proclivity to gather in one place and make a name for themselves. This is the original observation of the Lord in the account of Babel starting in Genesis 11:1 . Once they make a name for themselves, they center upon their own plans, glory and conquest. God has a always given the priority to the weak 1 Corinthians 1:19 and decried the wisdom of the world.
In the present-day, mankind still attempts to pull people-groups together in the name of cultural diversity. What does this say about God's original plan to separate the cultures? Over the past decades many groups have arisen to attempt to "break down the walls" of what divides people-groups. This is largely done in the name of "race", but in truth we know that there are no "races". All humans have derived from a common set of genes in Adam and Eve. By this measure, the only difference between a white-skinned man and a black-skinned man are 4 alleles that govern melanin, the pigment of the skin. We could find, however vast cultural differences between people that have nothing to do with skin color at all. In fact, the "belief in races" is the definition of "racism". If someone does not believe that races exist at all, that person is unable to be a racist. Racism is a belief system, founded largely in the notion (fueled further by evolutionary thought) that different people-groups are progressing at different rates.
What does this say of a group that purports to "tear down racial walls"? In order to tear down a racial wall, we must first accept the existence of the wall, and by definition accept that it divides races, and therefore accept the reality of races. A person who believes in "racial walls" is by definition a racist. Conversely, someone who does not believe in races cannot imagine a wall between two non-existent things, so there is nothing to tear down.
What if we are trying instead to address cultural differences in-the-name-of racism? This would fly in the face of God's purposes at Babel. God deliberately separated the cultures and did not give anyone permission to reconcile them. God knows the cost of a one-culture model - they will build edifices to their own glory and forget about God. It therefore in God's best interests to keep the cultures separated. This keeps power from amassing into the hands of a few, trampling the inalienable rights of the many. It also keeps power from reverting to mob rule, trampling the inalienable rights of the few.
Supernatural Aspects of Language
In Acts 2:6 we read that the apostles were able to speak in their own language while all those present actually heard the words in the own various native languages. At the Tower of Babel, all people speaking a common tongue were suddenly cursed with various tongues. This is because all language is supernatural. It is a supernatural gift from the Creator for mankind's communication with God and with other humans.
We are also informed that the gift of tongues (languages) is for use before unbelievers 1 Corinthians 14:22 as a sign. And that the coming "son of perdition" 2 Thessalonians 2:3 will come to power 2 Thessalonians 2:9 with signs and lying wonders. As signs are associated with language, theologians have speculated that the son of perdition will perform language-based miracles just as he will change times and laws for his own glory Daniel 7:25 .
In The Genesis Record, Henry Morris points out the theologically-accepted view that the phrase "toledoth" - these are the generations of - separates the book of Genesis into various diaries, compiled and edited by Moses under the authority of God's spirit. Each diary is then punctuated by a "signature" phrase "these are the generations of" which terminates the diary and begins a new one. For example, chapter 5 begins "the book of the generations of Adam" and mentions the word "book". Moses would have no reason to use this word unless he was in possession of the written document as penned by Adam. The words after this offer a genealogy and Adam's death, but Adam would not have recorded his own death. We also note that Genesis 25:12 ends the diary of Ishmael, where Genesis 25:19 ends the diary of Isaac, neither of which are mentioned afterward except in genealogies. An important point is that in Genesis 25:11 Isaac records Abraham's death, immediately followed by Ishmael's diary and the signature of his own. We would expect Ishmael and Isaac to have traded records at Abraham's funeral.
This diary mechanism explains why Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2 seem to be different creation accounts, when they are actually accounts from different perspectives. The first one, signed by the Creator "these are the generations of the heavens and the earth" is from a different perspective than the following diaries.
This also generally sets aside the "JEDP" theory of Genesis construction.
What this also strongly implies is that the first written and spoken words in sight and hearing of Adam were "In the beginning.."
The City of Ebla, dating prior to 2500 BC, has a library of 17,000 stone tablets in both Cuneiform and a Semitic language called Eblaite. It is presumed that the Eblaite proto-Hebrew or paleo-Hebrew is a candidate for consideration as the oldest written language known to man, the original language of pre-Flood humans and the language used at Babel prior to the confusion of languages.
Complex written and verbal languages preceded the most ancient post-Flood civilizations such as Sumeria and Babylon, rendering their "flood legends" and "creation myths" to be derivations from the original pre-Flood account rather than the other way around. The book of Job is considered the oldest book in the Bible in the post-Flood era, dating back to over 2500 BC in its penning and setting.
The explosion of language and culture in Mesopotamia (dated roughly 3000 BC) coincides with the confusion of languages at Babel (in Shinar, in Mesopotamia).
The atmospheric or climatic conditions during the antediluvian world are a source of much speculation. We now know the ancient atmosphere had oxygen levels of 30-35% resulting in giant insects, 50% higher than today's oxygen level of 20%.
- Car-sized Turtle Found in Colombian Coal Mine Remains of an enormous turtle, which was the size of a Smart Car, have been unearthed in a Colombian coal mine. DiscoveryNews, May 18, 2012.
- Giant Whale-Eating Whale Found The skull of the 12–13 million-year-old sperm whale fossil found off the coast of Peru measures an astounding 10 feet long. DiscoveryNews, Jun 30, 2010.
- The La-Brea Tar Pits in California have yielded massive skeletons from pre-Flood times. Lions and the saber-toothed cat are noted to have monstrous sizes but weak jaws. Both of these are predicted from the Creation model since pre-Flood animals were not natural predators and did not eat meat Genesis 1:30 so strong jaws would be irrelevant. Predation and carnivory were only in full swing after the Flood Genesis 9:3 . Some have noted that dinosaurs have been found with teeth of other dinosaurs in their bones, indicating an attack. The Bible is clear about the corruption of all flesh just prior to the Flood, so we might expect animals to turn violent, escalating the violence on the earth to untenable levels. However, that these dinosaurs survived the attack could also mean that the attacking dinosaur only intended to defend and not kill. Either way, we cannot manufacture context from simple teeth-in-bone.
Implications of the Tower of Babel
We can not dispute the existence of atypical knowledge possessed by Adam and Eve, however, we should also consider the Tower of Babel curse as it relates to human accomplishments to that date. Monumental constructions are a great source of pride for humans. It was most likely this type of technological development that God attempted to retard by creating the language barriers at the Tower of Babel.
The Babel event suggests that the tower was the first major monument that mankind had ever built. It was the first construction that had no purpose but to be a monument to human achievement. The tower was not a particularly important technological development. While the Bible says they used baked-brick, this does not constrain them from using other construction materials. does not say that what it was constructed of or how large it may have been, we read that it was intended to reach into heaven Genesis 11:4 so we may presume they intended for it to be very large indeed. We have no insight as to how large it became before construction was prematurely halted, but we can presume it was large enough to gain the Lord's attention as to its eventual outcome Genesis 11:6 . Clearly the people thought they could build this within their own engineering knowledge.
Ancient fables and myths surrounding the Tower suggested it may have been tall enough to touch the lowest clouds. For some perspective, in New York City, low cloud cover will obscure the top of the Empire State Building.
Some are puzzled why antediluvian buildings have not been found. After all the construction of cities is clearly referred to in the Bible.
"And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch." - Genesis 4:17
The construction of dwelling space is driven almost exclusively by our need to shelter ourselves from the elements. Prior to the flood, the atmosphere is thought to have been much more stable than it is today, providing an almost globally uniform temperature. It is believed that there were no dramatic seasonal temperature fluctuations, or even significant differences in temperature between the polar and equatorial regions. This is evident by the discovery of fossilized ferns and amphibians on Antarctica. It is also believed that it had not rained prior to the flood, but the earth was instead watered by free-flowing springs and mist.
People constructed things for the same reasons we do today, because human nature doesn't change. One reason is personal protection and safety from animals and other humans:
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." - Genesis 6:5
Another answer is simply that humans are naturally prideful, greedy and territorial. Protection of private property and activities from prying eyes is a primary impetus for home building today, even in places with relatively perfect weather. This would include people building homes and complexes for extended families, or for businesses and commerce. Tubal-Cain was an artificer of brass and iron, noted in context of having commercialized this activity.
Nevertheless, most constructions during this period were likely made of wood or dried mud. These materials are simply not expected to stand up well under catastrophic flood conditions. Even baked clay will dissolve if saturated for prolonged periods. This type of material has historically only been used to extremely arid regions for this reason.
Given the presuppositions of evolutionists and the certainty of their belief, any trace evidence of a antediluvian civilizations would likely be dismissed outright and we would never hear about it.
That said, many ancient structures are now strongly believed to pre-date the Flood. One in particular is the Great Sphinx with its significant long-term water-erosion marks even though it is a land that has been arid since time immemorial. Another is the presence of fossilized marine sea creatures buried in the silt in various places around Giza. In fact, many megalith structures exist all across the globe, including one particularly daunting one in Baalbak, Lebanon, the Temple of Jupiter. This Temple has three strangely configured megaliths that are assumed to weigh upwards of 800 tons each. No known technology is able to move blocks of this size. While many megalith sites can be re-imagined as having been constructed with block-and-tackle or creative pivots or other simple machines, many others defy engineering understanding. That it pre-dates the Flood suggests that it was intended for some other purpose before the Romans co-opted it and converted it to a Temple.
With Adam having a perfectly created genome, creationists presume a high level of mental and physical ability for early man, including the ability to construct in large scales. That these have survived as large-scale stone structures has invited many to speculate as to their construction from ancient astronauts or space-aliens. These claims are simply a recognition of the fact that these structures in fact required extraordinary ingenuity while making evolutionary presumptions that early man could not have possessed such capacity.
Characteristics of Civilizations
An Antediluvial civilization can be recognized:
- If the flood layer is found above a human settlement
- If the civilisation did not use bricks. Genesis 11 records that man baked bricks only after the flood.
Discoveries of Civilizations
The Aboriginal name for the Nullarbor Plain was Oondiri meaning "the waterless", for the average rainfall of the area is about 8 inches per annum. Ironically, this 'waterless' plain has 50-200 feet of marine sediments.
- Than, Ker (2011, August 8). "Why Giant Bugs Once Roamed the Earth." Nature.
- Choi, Charles Q. (2006, October 10). "More Oxygen Could Make Giant Bugs." LiveScience.
- The antediluvian patriarchs and the Sumerian King List by Raúl Erlando López Journal of Creation 12(3):347-357, 1998.