The story of Noah's Flood in the Bible is as famous as the story of
Adam and Eve. In fact, the stories are regarded as one continuous tale
describing the early history of our world. According to the biblical account
Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years; Methuselah lived nine hundred
and sixty nine years; Noah lived nine hundred and fifty years.
God brought the Flood as a judgment upon man. He saw that the wickedness
of man was great on the earth, Gen 6:5, and that man was corrupt, Gen 6:12.
He was determined to put an end to the race he had created, Gen 6:13. But
Noah found favor in his sight; therefore Noah and his family were saved.
Why did man go bad? Why did God feel it necessary to bring cataclysmic
judgments? What do the long lives of Adam and his descendants mean? What
is behind these seemingly mythical stories? If the reality of Adam appears
through planetary evidence does the reality of the Flood show itself in
Many problems confront us in the biblical story. Genesis 4 has a list
of descendants through Cain; the number of those generations from Adam
to Tubal-cain is eight. Genesis 5 has another list of descendants through
Seth; the number of those generations from Adam to Noah is ten. In the
first list no ages are given; in the second list all ages are shown. The
name Enoch appears in both lists, as does the name Lamech, who was the
father of the last generation in each list. Other oddities are in the parallel
names of Irad and Jared, Methushael and Mathusaleh. From a cursory review
one is tempted to believe that the lists are artifices designed to accommodate
traditions which were lost to human memory.
We can make sense of these stories. There is a reality hidden behind
those brief accounts which escapes us. But insight is acquired only if
we consider other planetary evidence. The Bible alone does not offer sufficient
information. If we limit ourselves to the Bible, as so many biblical literalists
have done, we cannot fully understand the strange accounts which have come
down to us. Without other evidence we have only mythological interpretations.
We shall begin our search with Plato, the Greek philosopher. In Timaeus,
one of his dialogues, he presents a conversation between Solon, a Greek,
and an Egyptian priestDOP.
This statement by Plato is curious in a number
We have a powerful and highly technical science
in our modern world, but not one that is hoary with age. It is a science
that denies God, rejects the old myths as imaginary, and refuses to accept
responsibility for the long-term planetary repercussions of its immature
According to our traditions we remember one
deluge only, Noah's Flood. If other floods took place in our planetary
past we are ignorant of them.
Traditionally, we believe the Flood came about
as a judgment upon men but we know nothing about the stream of heaven pouring
down after the usual interval. The Flood was a judgment by water; the present
world awaits judgment by fire.
Plato says the Greeks were descended from a
small remnant of the most fair and most noble race of men that ever lived.
The Greeks were unaware of their ancestry because they had no written records
surviving from those ancestral days. The linguistic and folk evidence we
have considered supports the assertions by Plato. There was a period of
time when men were so busy surviving they kept no written records and may
have lost the art of writing. The memories of those ancient days come down
to us only through oral tradition. Writing had to be reinvented.
Plato was not alone in this view of past planetary
cycles; the traditions are widespread around the world.
The people of India had schemes of time which
far exceed any other people on this earth. Brahma was the source of all
existence, earthly and divine. From him flowed the spiritual and material
creations. His equivalent in Judeo-Christian belief is God the Father.
In the mythologies of the Hindus Brahma lived
one hundred days and nights. Each night saw the dissolution of the world;
each day saw the renewal of creation. One day and night of Brahma was equal
to 1,000 periods, and each period had 12,000 divine years. Each divine
year was equal to 360 human years. Therefore, one day and night of Brahma
was equal to 4,320,000,000 human years. One hundred days and nights of
Brahma were equal to 432 billion human years.
(Curiously, The Urantia Papers describe
Michael of Nebadon as beginning his organization of this local universe
about 400 billion years ago, page 1309.)
Every period of 12,000 divine years was divided
into four ages. The age of Krita was equal to 4,000 divine years with additional
400 divine years each of morning and evening twilight. The age of Krita
was followed by the age of Treta with 3,000 divine years and morning and
evening twilight of 300 years. This was followed by the age of Dvapara
with 2,000 divine years and 200 years each of morning and evening. Lastly
came the age of Kali with 1,000 years and 100 years each of morning and
In the first age men were noble and spiritual.
They held to the four virtues of truthfulness, kindness, devotion, and
charity. They were contented, kind, amiable, mild and possessed self-control
and forgiveness. In that age there was no buying or selling; the fruits
of the earth were obtained merely for the taking. There was no disease
and no decline of the body through aging. There was no malice, deceit,
weeping, pride, contention, hatred, cruelty, fear, affliction, jealousy
Each age experienced a decline from the previous
until this last age. Only one fourth of the virtues remain, and even this
small quantity disappears as vices rapidly increase. Men are wicked, unkind,
quarrelsome, deceptive, idle, slothful, full of malice. They highly prize
what is low and degraded. Women become shameless, overbold, and lascivious.
Cities are filled with thieves and vicious men. Merchants are low and deceitful.
Kings become oppressive. Droughts and floods devastate crops; wars and
famines depopulate the earth. The earth becomes so depraved wise men pray
for the arrival of Kalki, the Destroyer. We now live in that age.
The four ages were characterized by colors:
white, red, yellow and black respectivelyEMLI.
According to the Puranas this age will
witness Vishnu, the Creator god, who will appear as Kalki, "an armed warrior
mounted on a white horse with wings and adorned with jewels, waving over
his head with one hand the sword of destruction and holding in the other
a disc." In the Bhagbata we are told that the "age of destruction
is so horrible that during it the clouds never fall on the earth as drops
of rain for one hundred years. The people find no food to eat and being
terribly oppressed by hunger they are compelled to eat one another."
In other places a universal cataclysm is predicted
in vivid detail. "After a drought lasting for many years seven blazing
suns will appear in the firmament; they will drink up all the waters. Then
wind-driven fire will sweep over the earth, consuming all things . . .
Afterwards many colored and brilliant clouds will collect in the sky looking
like herds of elephants decked in wreaths of lightning. Suddenly they will
burst asunder, and rains will fall incessantly for twelve years until the
whole world with its mountains and forests is covered with water . . .EMLI."
Although the Hindu myths are distorted, they
preserve certain characteristics of our planetary physical history which
are found in other folk memory and in the geophysical records of our world.
The long time spans, the four ages, and the nature of each age is echoed
by many other people.
Across the world in the ancient land of the Toltecs and Aztecs were folk memories of four great ages, known as the four "Suns." The world and men were created by a supreme god who was the "Creator of All Things," Lord of Heaven and Earth. Atonatiuh, the "Sun of Waters," was the first age terminated by a deluge in which all creatures perished. Tlalchitonatiuh, the "Sun of Earth," was the age of giants that ended in a terrific earthquake and fall of the mountains. Ecatonatiuh, the "Sun of Air," closed with a furious wind which destroyed buildings, uprooted trees, and even moved rocks. Quetzacoatl, the great white teacher, appeared during this age, teaching the way of virtue and the arts of life, but his doctrines failed to take root. He departed to the east and promised to return in another day. With his departure Tlatonatiuh, the "Sun of Fire," began. This is the present age; it will be destroyed by fireLAM.
Each age in the Aztec memory was counted in
relatively short periods of time. The first age lasted 13 X 52 or 676 years;
the second lasted 7 X 52 or 364 years; the third 6 X 52 or 312 years. The
myths are confused. According to one account it was during the first Sun
that the gods created giants who could uproot trees by brute force and
whose food was acorns. Time began to be counted from the first Sun; during
600 years of idleness of the gods, when Huitzilopochtli was in his
bones, time was not reckoned.
Other versions of the Mexican myths exist.
In some Quetzalcoatl is known as the Creator. The first Sun ended with
a flood. Ocelotonatiuh, the "Jaguar Sun," was the epoch of giants
and of solar eclipse. The third age, Quiyauhtonatiuh, was the "Sun
of Rains" which ended with a rain of fire and red-hot rocks. The fourth
age, Ecatonatiuh, was the Sun of destruction by winds, while the
fifth age is the Sun of Earthquakes, Famines, Wars, and Confusions. This
age will bring our present world to destruction. The account of four Suns
passed and a present fifth Sun, bringing the destruction of our age, seems
by most authorities to be the orthodox versionLAM.
To the north of the Toltecs and Aztecs the
Navahos also believed in four ages. In the Age of Beginnings man
emerged through four world-stories from the Underworld to the Earth. In
the second Age of Animal Heroes the earth was set in order. In the
third Age of the Gods the giants were slain. In the fourth Patriarchal
Age the Navahos grew into a nationNAM.
Navaho traditions of color were more distorted
than those of the Hindus or the Toltecs. The four world-stories through
which they traveled were red, blue, yellow, and multi-colored. But the
four gods of this world were White Body, Blue Body, Yellow Body, and Black
Body. These gods created the first man (Atse Hastin) and first woman
(Atse Estsan) from ears of white and yellow corn respectively. To
this pair were born five sets of twins.
We shall meet this element of five sets of
twins again. In the genealogies of Adam they are reflected in the ten generations
South of the Toltecs the Maya believed in four
worlds. The first world was inhabited by dwarfs, the saiyam uinicob,
or "adjuster men." That world was ended by a universal deluge, the haiyococab,
or "water over the earth." The second world was peopled by the dzolob,
or "offenders." The third world was populated only by the Maya, the common
people or mazehualob. Both of these worlds also ended in floods.
The present world is peopled by a mixture of races and will also end in
Back across the Pacific Ocean the Chinese had
folk records of five world eras but their distorted accounts, ephemerized
by their ancient scholars, do not portray them as world ages. Instead of
gods they had sages; instead of divine rulers they had earthly emperors;
instead of ages they had dynasties. Three periods are given for the earliest
men. The first was known as the Lords of the Bird's Nest. In those
days people lived in bird's nests to avoid danger on the ground. The second
was known as the Fire Driller Lords. Until this time the people
ate raw food but the sages (gods) taught them how to make fire and to cook.
The third period saw the Deluge of Kung Kung, a king. Following
the third period came a golden age which saw the rule of ten emperors.
The golden age also ended in a flood. Together these periods make up four
world ages; we now live in the fifthMOG.
The Chinese also have stories of ten suns in
the sky, (two suns each for five periods). In the mythologized stories
a certain Yi shoots down each of the suns except one, which now moves in
the heavens. If he had not done so the world would have been destroyed
by intense heat and fire from the sunsMAW.
The Chinese call the perished ages kis
and count ten kis from the beginning of the world to the time of
Confucius. Each of these occur with great convulsions of nature; the span
of time between two catastrophes is called a "Great Year"AHDAC.
If we turn to the classical Greek and Roman
worlds we also find traditions of a Great Year. This Great Year was associated
with the mythical Phoenix bird which died at the end of each period in
blazing fire. From the ashes came a worm that grew into another Phoenix
bird and another Great Year. Classical writers variously ascribed the Phoenix
with different life ages: 500 years, (Herodotus, Ovid), 540 years (Manilius
through Pliny, Solinus), 654 years, (Syncellus, Suidas), 1000 years, (Martial,
Pliny, Lactantius), 1461 years, (identified by Aristides and Synesius with
the Egyptian Sothic period), 7006 years, (Chaeremon), and, in the most
ancient of the references, 972 human generations, (Hesiod)MOP.
Van Der Broek, in The Myth of the Phoenix,
demonstrates that many of these periods are distorted memories based on
Babylonian sexagesimal mathematics and other ancient methods of reckoning
time. 540 from Manilius X 60 equal to 32,400 years, which is the same as
a generation of one third century of 33 1/3 years, X 972 generations from
Hesiod, again equal to 32,400 years.
Other ancient writers also recognized the Great
Year as a long span of time. Plato, in his Timaeus, described the
"Perfect Year" when all the heavenly bodies would come into alignment in
the heavensDOP:39d. From Tacitus and Servius we know Cicero
equated the Great Year to 12,954 ordinary years, while Cicero stated elsewhere
that the time between the alignment of the planets was a matter of controversy.
According to Censorinus, the Greek philosopher, Aristotle believed the
"Greatest Year" was one in which the planets were all in alignment. This
"Greatest Year" was thought to have a winter culminating in a world flood,
and a summer culminating with a world conflagration. According to the Roman
philosopher Seneca, a Babylonian priest named Berossus, writing in Greek,
stated that if the sun, the moon, and the planets all came into alignment
under the constellation of Cancer the world would burst into flames. If
the heavenly bodies came into alignment under Capricorn the world would
be inundated by water in a great floodMOP.
The Greek name for the great winter was kataclysmos
while the name for the great summer was ekpyrosis. Hesiod, in his
and Days, wrote that four ages and four generations of men had passed
and that we were now in the fifth age. Each generation of men were destroyed
by the wrath of the planetary gods.
Many other traditions could be cited but these
demonstrate that ancient people scattered all around this world believed
in great cataclysmic cycles of time, and that the planet had experienced
four or five world ages. Elsewhere these cycles were related to changes
in the rotation and revolution of the planet. As Plato wrote in the Statesman:
Velikovsky pointed out the nature of the "Sun"
myths. Whether an ancient Chinese hero shoots the Suns out of the sky,
or the Maya called them the Water, Earthquake, Hurricane, or Fire Suns,
the myths show that the earth experienced dramatic changes which led olden
people to believe that a different sun was in the sky. While we do not
subscribe to Velikovsky's wild theories which condensed remote events into
two upheavals at 1500 and 700 BC, nor to his fantastic speculations on
wandering planets, we do acknowledge his perception of the cyclesWIC.
Further insight into these traditions can be
obtained from a passage by HerodotusHER:II:142.
We see that the Egyptians believed the gods
had withdrawn from the world some eleven millennia earlier. Contrary to
other traditions which equated earth changes with dispensations of the
gods, the Egyptians believed the world changes had all taken place in the
last 10,000 years. during the absence of the gods.
Other ancient Egyptian documents make similar
assertions on the motions of the earth. The Ipuwer Papyrus states
that the "land turns round as does the potter's wheel," and that the "Earth
turned upside down." The Ermitage Papyrus in Leningrad states that
a catastrophe had turned the "land upside down; happens that which never
Plato writes further in his StatesmanDOP:
Other tales in the folklore of people from around the world tell of great changes in the earth. We can see from this brief survey that different peoples remembered differently, that the ages of the earth are confused, and that the geophysical mechanisms leading to these great events are not understood. We shall now examine specific evidence, both from the olden records, and from modern scientific evidence, to show how these myths may have come about.