Letter to s8int.com: Speculation About Noah’s Ark Survivors and Genetic Variation

Posted by Chris Parker
Feb 15 2006



Dear Sir

I’d like to argue the idea that Noah and his family hardly were the only survivors after the flood.

This contradicts Bible if someone insists this book should be understood to the letter.

But if Noah’s family had been the only humans after the flood the distinction among our planet’s races would
have been hardly possible.

African people the Scandinavians are Noah’s descendants? I can hardly accept this assertion.

Besides linguistic drift takes place worldwide and the deviation among languages indicates thousands of years required to cause the present difference between e.g. French or Bulgarian languages.

To my mind the flood has only destroyed civilized countries.

Primordial people remained unharmed. This also points out the possible
difference between pre-flood civilization and ours – the first didn’t
colonize wide areas of our planet.

Very likely their technology was sufficient enough to meet needs of ancient people and they regarded earth as a large reservation. So the worldwide knowledge about the flood is caused by the stories which Noah’s descendants were able to narrate.

Sincerely
Serge
Saint Petersburg, Russia

Response from s8int.com

Dear Serge,

Is the Bible to be Taken Literally?

Thanks very much for your note. We appreciate the chance to respond to the questions you’ve raised because many of them come up here frequently -and plus, this gives us a reason to put off actual work for a few minutes more.

The Bible contains various kinds of literature, and I imagine, just as when you speak or write most of what you communicate is to be taken literally, while sometimes what you say is an analogy, or hyperbole or perhaps irony. The person you’re communicating with simply needs to know which type of speech you’re engaging in from moment to moment to correctly understand your communication.

We assume by looking at this particular e-mail that you expect all of it to be taken literally—including “sincerely” at the end?

The Bible is the same. Most of it is to be taken literally but the bible student and frequent reader understands when other types of speech are being utilized.

I do believe the account of Noah is to be taken quite literally.

Human Genetic Variation

You wrote: “But if Noah’s family had been the only humans after the flood the distinction among our planet’s races would have been hardly possible.

African people the Scandinavians are Noah’s descendants? I can hardly accept this assertion.”

S8int.com: We’re going to assume that we’re misunderstanding your intent when you differentiate between “primordial people” and “civilized people”.

You are absolutely wrong about the genetic variation among humans and the possibility of the current racial makeup of the planet. In fact, the concept of race is not supported at all in our DNA; it is a recent invention of man.

Don’t you realize that the materialists, atheists and “non literal Bible believers” would be all over Christians and creationists if eight people could not in fact contain the entire human genome? If that were true, the whole Noah’s Ark story could be defeated right there.

On the contrary, however all human beings from a genetic standpoint are virtually IDENTICAL. The average genetic difference between any two people is 1 in every 1000 base pairs. This means that when a “Black man” stands next to a “White man” or an “Asian man, each of them is in fact 99.99% genetically identical!

The human genome has approximately 3 billion base pairs. The .01% difference between humans on 3 billion base pairs comes out to about 3 million genetic differences between individuals. You get 3,000,000 differences on .01% because 3 billion is such a huge number.

Of those 3 million average genetic differences in DNA between individuals, the vast majority of them do not produce visible or even detectable effects on an individual.

Here’s the point. Humans are 99.99% identical. Therefore, all human variation could conceivably be contained in two individuals (as in James Brown and Keith Richards above) . That’s unlikely. On the other hand, it’s barely possible to assemble eight people who together do not contain the entire human genome.

Clearly however, it is possible for the entire human genome to have come from eight individuals. This includes your Africans and your Scandinavians!

Think of it this way; if two individuals both received a 99.99% on an exam, what is the probability that between the two of them they got every possible correct answer? How about three people who received a 99.99%? What’s the possibility that between the three of them that they got 100% of the answers correct?

Humans are so virtually identical on a genetic level that the Author of this science article states:

“We actually found that one single group of 55 chimpanzees in West Africa has twice the genetic variability of all humans,” Gagneux says. “In other words, chimps who live in the same little group on the Ivory Coast are genetically more different from each other than you are from any human anywhere on the planet.” end quote

It’s almost as though we were virtually wiped out in something like a…..worldwide flood!

For more information on this topic, please see:National Institute of Health Education-Human Genetic Variation

Deviation Among Human Languages

This falls on the idea of whether the Bible can be taken literally or not. This language variation, if you remember came about miraculously and instantaneously according to the Bible.

Incidentally, there is evidence of one world wide language in the past and evidence that all languages can be traced back to one “mother tongue”, all of which support the literal Biblical account.

If you’re like us and Genetically You Are 99.99% Exactly Like Us, you’ll find all this very interesting.

Thanks for the note and we hope that the genetic similarity of all humans will give you a reason to believe that the Bible is the literal, inerrant Word of God.

Amen.

Sincerely,

S8int.com

12 Responses

  1. Bill says:

    VERY interesting information. I too believe the Bible to be the literal and inerrant word of God. However I don’t believe it would be a contridiction of the Noah acct. given in Genisis to hypothesize that perhaps God instructed other “Noahs” in other racial groups/civilizations to also prepare for the coming flood. I am comfortable with either possibility. Keep up the great work, I enjoy reading these whenever possible.

    Bill

  2. Administrator says:

    Thanks Bill,

    The reason I never speculated about other “Noahs” is that it is possible for eight people to contain the entire human genome. In fact, two random people probably would not contain the entire human genome–but two specific people could have–say Adam and Eve.

    The Noah account is reconfirmed by Peter in 1 Peter 3 when he says:

    “through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—”

    In the same way by the way, Jesus Christ proves to be a “creationist” when he says in Mark 10

    “And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.

    But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female

    s8int.com

  3. Administrator says:

    Serge,

    Okay. I just wanted to point out that there is no scientific reason from a genetic viewpoint why it couldn’t be literally true that we’re descended from eight people and even more to the point–from two people.

    Another point on the contradictory nature of the stuff on s8int.com; that’s certainly true. We’re presenting a lot of anomalous evidence here –and we take a certain view of it. The truth is we don’t know the state of the technology before the flood–but we believe a worldwide flood did occur.

    When “science” did not have an agenda, we certainly believe it was possible to accept scientific discoveries and the bible. Today “science” has become a tool of materialism and Christians who do not recognize this fact often find themselves trying to conform the word of God to science by twisting scripture.

    For example, “intelligent design” theory is used by SETI to ascertain whether a radio signal is “natural” or an artifact of intelligence–and that’s “science”, they use “intelligent design” to determine if a rock has been shaped “naturally” or by human hands–and that’s scientific. However, if one trys to use this in the area of DNA it is considered “religion”.

  4. Teresa says:

    I just wanted to leave a comment for the blog on this subject. I personally am not religious for numerous reasons that I won’t get into on this post, but I have never discounted the possibility of a higher being. I simply choose not to try and name it and claim that I understand its purpose. Anyway! On to my comments for this section….

    I agree with the site admin in that genetically his statements are correct and I would agree completely that with a variant of only eight people you could conceivably spread out to as much genetic variety as we see in humans today. The only problem I have with the theory is that of Noah being an “only” surviving remnant of the human race; I find this absurd. Other than the genetic variations and close relation among humans through genetics, this does not explain how the population spread across the oceans, or how each culture changed so dramatically (and I don’t just mean in language distinction… the entire culture changed). Had mankind been limited since the days of Noah to the European/African continents, I could agree with that theory too.

    I would be more likely to lean towards the idea of several different racial “Noahs” across the globe since there is very little documented evidence of the ancient races actually crossing the seas in the span of time between Noah’s day and present (although it is possible).

    Barring the numerous Noah theory, I would lean even stronger toward genetic manipulation. There is a lot of evidence for this type of scenario throughout the scriptures and histories of many of the ancient cultures such as the Sumerians and their references to the Annunaki (Nephilim/Seraphim connection?) I have my own personal theory on this topic as to how we could easily have both gentic manipulation, alien intervention (if you wish to call it that), and the Bible… and all could be correct! They are simply all told and looked at from different angles and people trying to “prove” that this ONE theory is right, when they are all trying to prove the SAME theory. Why don’t we combine the theories and see where we wind up?

    I’m sure the admin has heard of the “God was an Astronaut” theory and therefore this shouldn’t be too farfetched an idea to grasp…

    1) Eden is not ON Earth… it is AN Earth… a planet of its own lets say…
    2) The ark is not a “boat” but a “ship”
    3) There was at some point a people advanced enough to have perfected (or nearly so) genetic engineering and space travel (not too far off from that in present day science, so not too radical an idea)
    4) The planet these people were from went through a major catastrophe and a portion of the population escaped…
    5) The “ark” lands here and these people find a way to mingle with or alter the current population enough to spread their history and stories (although probably in a basic format to be understandable to the current population)
    6) The ancient culture of mankind and the new culture of men (we will assume that Earth is not the only planet peopled by “God’s people” here) mingle and their stories merge…

    Just this EXTREMELY basic outline would combine numerous theories and theologies from around the world and total up to a much more believable equation… especially to someone who isn’t Christian, but loves to dig into ancient cultures and histories to see where the different stories and cultures agree on things and where they differ. There is a LOT that is the same or “global concepts” among ancient races… surely they must tie together somewhere in the facts.

    Anyway… just a few comments from the non-religious/non-scientific side of things… as I am neither ;)

    Teresa Bryant

  5. joe says:

    On the subject of genetics and Noah’s family, keep in mind that although Noah’s sons were obviously related to their father, the sons’ wives were not. Whatever genetic diversity had existed in the preflood earth could have been easily represented in these women; that is, the wives may have been (and likely were) of a different ethnic heritage than Noah’s sons, and these characteristics were passed on to their postflood offspring.

  6. Teresa says:

    For Joe…

    Actually Joe… Noah’s son’s wives would likely NOT have been of a different ethnic heritage than Noah and his sons, because it says Noah was a Godly man and that his family was as well. As such, they would have looked for women to marry who would share their views and opinions about God and their religion if possible. This would likely mean they all came from the same general area and were taught in much the same manner about how to go about their lives. I also don’t think Noah would have (being Godly) accepted a marriage of one of his sons to an un-Godly woman.

    Unfortunately we don’t “know” what their ethnicity was to begin with (Noah’s family) and therefore it is almost impossible to assume that these women were not even as closely related as cousins to Noah’s sons. This was not an unacceptable practice in those days and it was not even unheard of for brother and sister to marry although it was often looked down upon, it was not forbidden yet in those times.

    Although genetically speaking, they would still bear the genetics of their own family lines and not Noah’s, they still were very possibly not of a different ethnic group.

    Teresa

  7. Administrator says:

    All: May I commend you on the spirit with which you’ve conducted this discussion. I’ve enjoyed reading it and it’s contrary to the usual tenor of these types of conversations. Thanks Teresa, Serge and Joe.

    The discussion re” the genetic variation that was encompassed in the wives of the sons of Noah. I read in the account that the followers of God had begun to intermix with the non-God fearing people before Noah was born–even though I assume since Noah was blameless–that he did not.

    Still, the point is perhaps it doesn’t matter. There is no reason to believe that those people had been physically cut off from each other–so that any three or four of them could have again–contained the entire human genetic genome.

    I really think that there is a misunderstanding of the signficance of that point. We are all literally brothers and sisters.

    Imagine 1000 ping pong balls. Of those, 999 are white and 1 is red. That 1 red ball represents the genetic differences between us. One in a thousand is one in a thousand. That same small difference remains true even when you multiply by billions–the diff is still 1 red ping pong ball out of a thousand as the tiny difference between us.

    I say that because some still feel the need to hedge –using multi Noah’s to explain racial differences. It could have been the case (though I don’t believe it)–but what I’m saying is that that scenario is not needed to explain human genetic diversity (or the lack thereof) and dispersion.

    Imagine if science said, claimed or proved that there was more human genetic diversity than could be contained in eight people. Then Christians might feel the need to come up with explanations to hold on to as much of the biblical account as possible; such as suggesting that maybe this is the account of just one God-fearing man but that perhaps there were others-in other arks.

    I felt that Serge, who first raised the issue was a Christian who felt the need to hypothesize multi-Noah’s for just those same reasons. Once and for all, if you believe there were multi-Noah’s from various “racial groups” fine. But one Noah is all that is needed from both a biblical and a genetic basis, because as few as two people can contain the entire human genome. Please remember that science says that despite apparent racial characteristics, for example an American “Black man” is genetically closer on average to an “American White man” than is the “Black” man to an African Man or the “White” man to a European man. Hope you followed that.

    Teresa mentioned aliens. It would probably take an “alien” months to be able to tell any of us apart from each other and that includes “Brown” and “Red” “Yellow” “White” and” Black” just as happens when we consider the more genetically diverse chimpanzees.

    Someone wrote that the idea of a single family of flood survivors is “preposterous” and I understand the feeling.

    From a Christian perspective however I think the idea of creating the world in six days is no less preposterous–the virgin birth I believe the world thinks is preposterous as is in the world’s eyes God coming to earth in the form of a man and then dying on the cross for our sins; preposterous.

    Nevertheless I do believe all of the above to be true.

    Oh, Teresa as a matter of fact there is evidence of wide ancient cultural dispersion and evidence of a worldwide “one world” language.

    On the issue of Pan Spermia–the aliens did it. I appreciate the open mindedness of those who believe aliens may have seeded life on earth. Many of them recognize the complete inadequacy of the evolution theory to explain either the origin or the diversity of life on earth. For example see:
    the articles by Lloyd Pye and Will Hart.

    They recognize that a “higher” power is responsible for life on this planet. They freely admit the severe problems evolutionary theory has. They are willing to go against the current materialist paradigm. But I have to ask them; if it is true that you’ve deduced that all this can only have come from a higher power–that evolution is a farce…how do you know it was aliens and not God?

    Benevolent Aliens as Higher Being.

    Close!

  8. Teresa says:

    Hey Admin! Nice to see an Admin who actually reads all their blogs…. that’s unusual ;) … Just wanted to clarify one thing… I understand that the evidence of the cultural dispersion and one-world language are very strong and won’t dispute those facts. It just to me seems a bit too far-fetched that only since the time of Noah the entire earth could have repopulated (due to travel issues and technological losses mostly) with such diversity between the cultures if they all arose from a single belief system and basic genetic code. There are some cases of two white parents bearing a very dark skinned black child simply because the black gene was buried in their ancestry somewhere… that could possibly explain the diversity of people, but I think that theory has only been proven to work with the black genetics… I will look into that a bit further…

    Also the reason I say aliens and not God per-say is because of so many of the ancient texts and histories telling of the creation of men by “higher beings” who “came down” from the heavens… not from “Heaven”. Again I will reiterate that I am not discounting that the origin of life may have come from a singular “god”, just that I think it happened much longer ago than popular belief, and that “men” were created by the beings created by God… does that make sense? :) I am not discounting that God created life… but I don’t think any person can truly claim to know who or what God is, or what his will is/may have been. Thanks for the chance to discuss these kinds of topics in a friendly and thoughtful manner… even for a non-believer :) Most people become so offended when you disagree with the “ultimate” of their religion that it turns into attacks instead of discussion.

    So again… Thank You to the site Admin… I truly admire your webpage and come to it often for reference… I have even sent the address to a local radio station that occasionally advertises interesting websites submitted from listeners…. so hopefully your audience will grow in the future.

    Teresa

  9. Administrator says:

    Teresa,

    Thanks for going easy in here.

    Good to meet you. Keep looking in the one God direction.

    s8int.com

  10. joe says:

    Dear Serge:

    The key issue with the Earth is how long life has existed here. (The age of the entire universe, and existence of life on other worlds, is a different subject; this particular thread concerns Noah and genetics.) The Bible says that life has only been on Earth for a few thousand years, and that a worldwide flood has occurred. I see no scientific reason to doubt either of these.

    I do not know of any geologic feature on the Earth that isn’t explained better by a catastrophic model than a steady-state model. For example, you spoke of “continental drift” of “several millimeters per year.” This is according to the steady state, or uniformitarian model. A catastrophic model, however, speaks not of “slow drift”, but “sudden shift”. Are you familiar with the Mid Atlantic Ridge, located under the ocean? Do you know why the major continental mountain ranges run parallel to this ridge? And why the east side of the Americas and the west side of Africa fit the contours, not of each other, but of this ridge? What would cause this – slow shifting over millions of years? Are you aware that the Bible speaks of the “fountains of the deep” bursting forth in a single day (Gen 7:11), and mountains rising and valleys sinking (Psalms 104:6-9)? In Darwin’s day, when the uniformitarian model was proposed by Lyell, people believed that the bottom of the ocean was flat. What explanation fits all the evidence?

    Concerning Noah and the animals, there is no reason to suggest that he would have collected every minute variation that we see today. (Actually, the Bible says that the animals “came to Noah”, not that he collected them. Gen 7:14-15) He would only need a pair of tiger-like creatures from which all of today’s “cats” (leopards, cougars, etc) have descended. A pair of wolf-like animals would provide all the genetic material needed for all the varieties of “dogs” (coyotes, foxes, etc). Environmental factors, isolation, selective breeding, etc, would provide the mechanism for the variations we see today. A few thousand years is enough time for this to occur.

    For more information of a proposed model which explains much of the above, including the significance of the Oceanic Ridge, see http://www.creationscience.com .

  11. Teresa says:

    I would like to go back to serge’s comment about all the animal variety and locality. I have a question for the admin to throw in here as well… What time frame do you place the “Great Flood” in? We would have to look at the evolution of “ALL the cats being descendant from one set of “tiger-like animals” and the same for dogs and wolves. But through genetic study they have found that the branching off point for the different species of these animals only was much farther back than most people place the time of the flood. If you would like I could pull up some websites to corroborate this, but genetically that theory just doesn’t work in the time frame given, and as well, some of these species have “evolved” completely independant of one another and have been proven NOT to share just such a common ancestor as the admin is proposing. Even though the Bible states that the animals came to Noah, how did they get there? How did animals that only exist on the American continents get to the European continent to begin with? They don’t all have wings, and they wouldn’t have survived such a long trip through the oceans with no food supply. The time frames and the diversity of the animals and they locations of said animals simply don’t match with a global flood theory.

    There is no current evidence of an actual “global” flood…. although they have been able to show many areas that have been subjected to localized flooding. Again I would propose that there is the possibility of a localized flood in which Noah simply gathered the animals of his own region that would have been exterminated in such a flood, not every animal on the face of the planet. Also…. should there have been a global flood…. the Ph levels and temperatures of the waters would have drastically changed around the world and freshwater/saltwater animals would have had to survive in an environment that their bodies and systems could not have supported.

    What happens if you put a tropical saltwater fish into a freshwater room temperature aquarium? It dies…. within a matter of hours most fo the time. Anyone who has ever owned this type of animal would realize a global flood theory is not possible based on that alone, or most of the species we have today in the oceans would have died when deluged with a freshwater (rain) environment.

    I think the theory still needs further consideration and a lot more logical study than theological belief.

  12. Lionel says:

    Hi,

    I’ve been following this thread and would like to bring up several possibilities that could be considered to explain the apparent inconsistencies:

    1. Genetic Diversity of Animals: Not every individual species had to be represented in the Ark. For instance, forefathers of the genera Panthera and Felis could have been on the ark. The Panthera forefathers gave rise to the Tigers, Lions and Leopards and the Felis to the smaller cats. Both are “cat-like” and their preservation on the Ark was entirely possible (and practical since we discount the need for species and subspecies to be represented).

    2. Continental Divide: Of course, assuming that the Earth in Noah’s time had topography similar to what we have today, it would have been quite difficult for any critter on a separate continent to arrive at the loading point. But consider again Alfred Wegener’s theory of Pangaea and the subsequent theories on continental drift. There is strong evidence to suggest that all the continents once formed a super-landmass. It is also recorded in the Bible that at the time of the flood, there was a great shifting of the lands as the waters spewed from the deep. I am inclined to think that it was this very great Flood that caused the continents to divide, separate and shift, albeit very rapidly (in the space of a few years as opposed to billions of years), to the conformation that we see in today’s world maps. Reconciling these points, it would have been entirely possible for land animals to have migrated overland to reach Noah’s Ark before the deluge began.

    3. Saltwater / Freshwater Adaptations: A tropical saltwater fish taken out of the sea and placed in a freshwater environment would, inarguably perish rather quickly. This however, occurs because the change in environment proved too drastic for a physiological adaptation. This however does not mean that saltwater fish could not survive a gradual solution of their environment and that freshwater fish could not survive a gradual salination event. Considering the massive amounts of water involved, it is quite possible for fish from either habitat to survive. Furthermore, considering fluid dynamics (imperfect mixing), it is possible that entire pockets of water would not have intermingled and hence the salinity of such pockets would not have been drastically affected. There are also many extant fish species which migrate between fresh and saltwater environments.

    Lionel

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