Saturday, July 4, 2015

Climate Studies and the Book of Genesis

Alice C. Linsley

Plato recounts that "Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years" since Athens and Atlantis were preeminent. In these floods, water rose from below, and only those who lived on the mountains survived. He reports that the third great flood before Deucalion washed away most of Athens' fertile soil. [Timaeus 22; Critias 111-112]

The ancient Egyptians believed that flooding represented divine punishment of rebellion against Ra/Atum's appointed ruler. "People have become rebellious [lawless]. Atum said he will destroy all he made and return the earth to the Primordial Water which was its original state." (Genesis 1:2)

The African Humid Period

Noah was a Proto-Saharan ruler at a time when the Sahara was wet. According to Dr Kevin White, “Over the last 10,000 years, there have been two distinct humid phases, separated by an interval of highly variable but generally drying conditions between roughly 8,000 and 7,000 years ago. Another drying trend took place after about 5,000 years ago, leading to today’s parched environment.”

Noah lived during the time of wetness in the region of Lake Chad during the “Aqualithic" or African Humid Period (8000-4000 BC), also known as the Holocene Wet Period. This was before the rise of the first dynasty of Egypt. This places Noah and his sons in relatively recent history, not at the dawn of human existence.

The word Chad/Tchad is related to the Nilotic Luo word chaddhoreh, meaning a wound or a bruise. In Isaiah 1:6 the King James Version translates chabbarah as "bruises." The Luo word also refers to a depression where something has been cut out, plucked out, or bruised. A depression of this type is called chaddhoreh in Luo. The word "Chad" describes the basin which filled with water during the prolonged period of wetness.

About 7500 years ago Lake Chad was 130 feet deeper than it is today and covered an area of about 135,000 square miles (350,000 sq km). The footprint of ancient Mega-Chad has been confirmed by satellite photography. 

During the African Humid Period the Nile waters swelled from increased rainfall and cut a deeper and wider floodplain, extending well into Sudan to the west. There was then water access to the Giza Pyramids and both Nekhen and Nekheb (Elkab) were on the banks of that great north-flowing river.

Fortified oasis of Djado in Niger along the banks of a dry riverbed.
The ruins are about 1000 years old.

The Djado Plateau lies in the Sahara, in northeastern Niger. It is known for its cave art, but is now largely uninhabited, with abandoned towns and forts still standing. Ancient rivers cut deep canyons in the red rocky landscape. The many archaeological sites are a testament to the fact that the climate was once favorable to human habitation. There is evidence of widespread human settlements in the region over 50,000 years ago.

Ancient water systems connected the Nile and Central Africa. This is evident in the map below showing the African Sheer Zone.

Rifting, combined with prolonged rains, caused this entire region to flood. Lake Chad is located at the boundary of Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon.


The eastern Sahara Desert was once home to a large lake in the White Nile Valley floor. This is likely the western boundary of Biblical Eden, a vast watery world that extended to the Tigris-Euphrates Valley and the Indus River Valley. According to this report, the mega lake was probably formed more than one hundred thousand years ago in the White Nile River Valley in Sudan.

Between 10 and 12 thousand years ago the Nile system filled with waters from the Angolan Highlands, the result of geological uplift which created Lake Victoria and directed its excess flow north in the White Nile. The White Nile provides most of the Nile's water during the dry season. During this period, there were water routes between the Nile and the Chadic and Niger water systems through a series of shallow lakes in the Sahara. This explains the common plant and animal species found in all three water systems.

As the Sahara dried out, human populations and their cattle found it necessary to move toward the major water systems of the Benue Trough, Lake Chad, and the Nile. The Sahara became increasingly depopulated. In the words of Leviticus 26:19, the heavens became like iron and the earth like brass.

The now dry Botswanan basin was once a sea filled with water from the Angolan Highlands. Some of Africa's earliest human populations lived on the edges of this great lake and evidenced by thousands of man-made stone tools found there. The tools include mace heads and date to between 80,000 and 100,000 years.

Arid Phase in the Southern Levant

A core drilled from the Sea of Galilee was subjected to high resolution pollen analysis for the Bronze and Iron Ages. The detailed pollen diagram (sample/~40 yrs) was used to reconstruct past climate changes and human impact on the vegetation of the Mediterranean zone of the southern Levant. The chronological framework is based on radiocarbon dating of short-lived terrestrial organic material. The results indicate that the driest event throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages occurred ~1250–1100 BC, at the end of the Late Bronze Age. This likely was one factor among many that contributed to the so-called "Iron Age Collapse". Read the full report here.

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