The Bible's Book of Genesis was originally written in Hebrew. Hebrew words like English words can have multiple meanings. The job of a translator is to select the best word to convey the meaning for each word being translated. The better a translator understands what is being said, the better the translation. Knowing how certain words were used at the time and within its culture prevents distorted translations that are inconsistent with the body of material being translated.
In the case of Noah's Flood some basic meteorology and geology should be acknowledged:
Forty days and nights of rain cannot make a major flood.
If all the water in underground aquifers were to rise, and all the water locked up in polar ice and glaciers were to melt, and all the water in the atmosphere and biosphere were to fall to Earth; the oceans would only rise about 140 feet. This would not be enough water to cover mountains.
The traditional translation of Genesis 7:11 (KJV) referring to the Flood says:
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains (#4599 in Strong's Concordance) of the great deep broken up, and the windows (#699 in Strong's Concordance) of heaven were opened (#6605 in Strong's Concordance).
Genesis 7:11 – traditional translation
Unaware of modern science and the aftermath of cometary impacts, it seems that translators from hundreds of years ago resorted to a descriptive but misleading choice of words ("fountains of the deep" and "windows or floodgates of heaven") to explain the Flood. This traditional translation of the original Hebrew seems to tell of a flood caused by fountains under the deep breaking up and gushing water that suddenly raised the sea level, and for the windows of heaven opening to release torrents of water in the form of rainfall which inundates the Earth and covers the high hills and mountains. However, based on oil explorations, deep drilling and seismic studies, geoscientists know there aren't any "fountains" or "springs" under the sea to cause the sea to suddenly rise. Further, based on extensive telescopic study of the heavens, astronomers know there are no watery windows or floodgates in heaven that could inundate the Earth, not even metaphorically.
Is it possible that something else is being described in the Bible? A different translation does not mean that the Bible is wrong. A different translation may show just how incredibly correct the Bible is and that the traditional translation did not convey what the original Hebrew said.
Examination of the Hebrew word translated as "fountains" or "springs" shows it can also be translated as "sources." Astronomers now know that icy comets are the "sources of the great deep," since the chemical signature of the oceans' water is the same as that of "Main Belt" comets. Also comets can be "broken up" and impact the oceans and cause mega-tsunamis, with waves high enough to temporarily cover mountains.
The Hebrew word translated as "windows" or "floodgates" can also mean "to lurk or lie in wait," and the word translated as "opened" basically means "loosed." Astronomers now know that the solar system is surrounded by a great "storehouse" of comets (the Oort Cloud), out of which comets "are loosed" to come into the inner solar system and go on to strike the earth. Job 38:22 NIV asks, "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow (comets) or seen the storehouses of the hail (comets can be surrounded by a huge cloud of basketball sized hailstones) which I reserve for times of trouble . . . ?" The time of Noah's Flood was a time of trouble!
A new translation of Genesis 7:11 would now read:
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the sources (#4599 in Strong's Concordance) of the great primeval ocean (comets) broken up, and those that lie in wait (#699 in Strong's Concordance) in heaven (comets) were loosed (#6605 in Strong's Concordance).
Genesis 7:11 – retranslation
This new retranslation of Genesis 7:11 tells that "the sources of the deep" (comets) that "lie in wait in heaven" (comets) in what we now call the Oort Cloud were "loosed" and "broken up" as they came in to strike the Earth. Subsequent verses provide clues consistent with a comet or comets that strike the ocean and cause a series of mega-tsunamis that would last for months and cause Noah's Flood.
A valid translation of a major catastrophic event should be supported by accounts from eyewitnesses, physical evidence, and linguistic validation. Not surprising, eyewitness support comes from the Sumerians and the Babylonians (regional neighbors to the Bible's Noah) who each have their own accounts of the Flood. Their texts say the flood covered the mountains on the first day. They attribute the flood to the "host of heaven" (Deuteronomy 4:19 and Jeremiah 19:13) which archeologists know were a group of cometary gods. These flood accounts describe events that were clearly cometary in nature. For example, they tell of the god Ninurta who was known to hurl fiery sling stones appearing on the horizon before the flood, a black cloud arising, and then the wide land being shattered like a pot, turning to darkness all that had been light and then the mountains being submerged; details that are consistent with cometary activity.
The new translation of Genesis 7:11 is also consistent with a commentary in the Jewish Babylonian Talmud about the Flood. In this passage Rabbi bar Nachmani, the Director of the Academy at Pumbedita in the third century AD, wrote, "For at the time when the Holy One, blessed be He, wanted to bring a flood upon the world, He took two stars ('comets'-because in the ancient world the word 'star' was used for any luminous body in the heavens) from Khima ('the stored aways' #3598 and #3558 in Strong's Concordance), and brought a Flood upon the world."
Physical evidence for this event comes from the 2006 discovery of an 18-mile wide Burckle Impact Crater at the bottom of the Indian Ocean that dates back 4,800 years ago. This three-mile wide comet impact would have caused earthquakes tens of thousands of times more powerful than the Japanese earthquake and waves about 1000 times higher. Towering tsunamis would have gone out in all directions for months due to powerful aftershocks. Tsunamis several miles in height would have raced north toward the land of Noah and up the Tigris-Euphrates Valley in Iraq, before slamming into the "mountains of Ararat" in Turkey and falling back to flood the land. Physical evidence for this event also comes from unique chevron shaped tsunami deposits that have been found far inland in Africa, Australia and India.
Finally, linguistic validation that this retranslation of Genesis 7:11 conveys what the Hebrew says more accurately than the traditional translation comes from a Bible passage in the Book of Isaiah that contains a description of the effect of a comet impact on the Earth. Isaiah 24:18 uses the phrase "the windows (floodgates) from on high (of the heavens-NIV) are open." As was the case with Genesis 7:11 this phrase from Isaiah 24:18 is also better translated to read "those that lie in wait in heaven were loosed." Now Isaiah 24:18-20 can clearly be seen as describing comet bombardment and impacts affecting the Earth's foundation and axis of rotation, even causing the Earth to rock back and forth on it axis. Heavy rain cannot do this. A retranslation of Isaiah 24:18-20 would read:
. . . those that lie in wait in heaven are loosed and the foundations of the Earth do shake (as a result of impacts). The Earth is utterly broken down, the Earth is clean dissolved (broken up) the Earth is moved exceedingly. The Earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage.
Isaiah 24:18-20 – retranslation
Fact- very large earthquakes or cosmic impacts can cause the Earth's axis to move.
This report is posted on my blog www.newscientificevidenceforgod.com
This blog is an attempt to answer questions that have come in via the internet with concern of a perceived offense against the scriptures and traditional understanding of certain Bible stories. To get the full analysis of each Bible catastrophe covered in THE COMETS OF GOD, the book must be read. A number of links to articles and reports about The Buckle Impact Crater can be found on my website www.thecometsofgod.com in the section marked "Interesting Links" and then in the subset marked "Geological Discoveries."
About the author:
An archeologist and a geologist, Dr. Goodman has devoted over twenty- five years to the study of the Bible. He holds a geological engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines, a M.A. in anthropology from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from California Coast University. He also earned a M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He was accredited by the former Society of Professional Archeologists. Goodman is a Messianic Jew who was saved in 1987.
Burckle Crater where a comet impact caused a mega-tsunami which in turn caused the Flood!
BURCKLE CRATER Burckle Crater is a recently discovered 18 mile wide impact crater in the Indian Ocean. The giant impact that produced this crater occurred around the time of the Biblical Flood. This gigantic impact would have also caused a massive earthquake and a series of large aftershocks that lasted for months, which in turn generated a series of towering tsunami waves that went out in all directions for months. Mile high tsunami waves would have raced north toward the site of Noah's Flood in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley in Iraq, before slamming into the "mountains of Ararat" (Urartu/Armenia) – Genesis 8:4. Very thick tsunami deposits relating to this impact have been found inland in Africa, Australia and India.