Could Genesis 10:25 (“the earth was divided during [Peleg’s] life”) be a reference to the breakup of the continents discovered by scientists? Might this explain some of the facts about the flood?

Question: 

A comment regarding the question of "If Noah’s Ark landed on Mt. Ararat, how did animals get to North and South Amaerica?". Your response was "I do not know the answer." Then, you proceeded to share a few theories.  I believe that the answer is in the Bible! We understand that the continents were once a large land mass, which was later devided. Genesis chapter 10 reviews the families after Noah’s sons.  Genesis 10:25 says "…One son was named Peleg because the earth was divided during his life." (NCV) Clearly, the earth (continents)was divided after the Flood.  Hence, we have animals in different parts of the world divided by wide expansions of water.  I believe that’s how the animals arrived at their respective locations. Your thoughts? Matthew: An interesting idea.  I have definitely heard this thought before in the writings of some young earth creationists.  They hypothesize some sort of upheaval of the entire surface of the earth at the time of the flood.  To be honest, I am rather skeptical of this idea.  I will agree that at first glance the scientific "fact" that there was a primeval massive continent seems to line up well with one interpretation of Genesis 10:25.  However, I believe that upon looking closer, it is very unlikely that Genesis 10:25 is describing the breakup of Gondwanaland or Pangaea as inferred from scientific date. Here is why I say this.  If it is indeed true that there was once a large super-continent in the distant past, as seems apparent from a lot of scientific evidence, then that continent broke apart in the very distant past.  Estimates are that South America broke away from Africa about 150 million years ago.  There is a lot of data to support this contention.  Rocks at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge prove to be quite young–less than ten million years.  As one moves outward from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge either to the east or to the west, toward Africa and South America, the rocks on either side of the ridge get older in a perfectly symmetric way.  The rocks are first ten then thirty, eighty, 120 and finally 150 million years old as one moves from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge toward the continent on either side.  Similar data applies for the breaking apart of South America and Australia from the super-continent. Now, I cannot prove that all this happened by the scenario envisioned by scientists, but what I can say is that all the evidence very strongly supports this picture of "continental drift."  If this is true, then these events happened in the very distant past.  They happened tens or even hundreds of million years before the flood of Noah.  No one believes the flood happened 150 million years ago.  Therefore, whatever is being described in Genesis 10:25 is almost certainly not the break-up of Pangaea.  I am afraid that the evidence points to animals and plants evolving (whether by random forces or influenced by the "hand" of God I do not know) separately in North and South America from Europe and Africa, which, in turn evolved separately from plants and animals in Australia.  This is what the evidence says.  Therefore, the discovery of kangaroos in Australia is almost certainly not explained by Genesis 10:25. So, what is Genesis 10:25 about?  Let us look at this passage.  An event is described as occurring before the earth was divided.  Personally, I do not see evidence for continents separating in this passage.  I suppose if we had other evidence to support this interpretation, it might be a reasonable possibility.  One excellent possibility is that the division described in Genesis 10:25 is explained by Genesis chapter eleven.  This is the story of the division, not of continents, but of human societies into many diverse communities, speaking different languages.  I cannot say for sure that this is what is referred to in Genesis 10, but it is a far more likely explanation than a reference to the breaking apart of Pangaea. John Oakes, PhD

 


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