This date for the Global Flood is the date that the five most clock-like of all comets, that astronomers have observed three or more times, were all at perihelion in the same year. Or they would have been at perihelion if comets existed before the Global Flood. (Perhaps they were, anyway, if the Flood predated this common perihelion.)
Hydroplate Theory: comet matter launched at the Global Flood
Dr. Walter T. Brown Jr., Director of the CSC, explains the problem here. According to his Hydroplate Theory, the Global Flood began when a subcrustal ocean, once ten miles deep underground, broke confinement and rushed out of the bowels of the earth, at hypersonic speed. This enormous jet of water carried large amounts of rock and mud with it. Some of it – amounting to less than one percent of the earth’s mass – escaped into outer space at speeds up to (and sometimes faster than) 32 miles per second.
Anything moving faster than that, would go out of the solar system and never come back. But most of this material stayed in the solar system. Some of it, as it moved beyond the earth’s gravitational field, accreted into the dirty snowballs we call comets. The rock and mud tended to collect into the asteroids and meteoroids we see today.
Critics sometimes accuse Dr. Brown of saying that the Global Flood launched fully formed comets into the sky. This is not correct. What is correct is that the Global Flood launched into space the material that later formed the comets.
How to back-step comets
Back-stepping a comet usually means calculating a comet’s momentum and every force (usually of gravity) acting on it, and projecting where that comet must have been, one day earlier. One then repeats the process, day after day after day. Modern computers can do this for any comet – up to three thousand years into the past. They cannot project a comet’s path any further backward in time, or at least not with any usable degree of accuracy. Every such back-step is subject to an error, that grows exponentially.
So to back-step a comet further than three thousand years ago, one starts with the most ancient known perihelion, or closest approach to the sun, and subtracts the comet’s period (or “cometary year”) from that date, as many times as the problem needs. One introduces an error with every subtraction, equal to the standard deviation of the period. This error varies as the square root of the number of subtractions, according to the Central Limit Theorem.
One needs to observe and record a comet at least three times to compute the standard deviation of its period. The best five comets in the Catalog of Cometary Orbits of 2008, that have three or more observations and periods that do not change much between apparitions, are the Comets Swift-Tuttle, Halley, Pons-Brooks, Olbers, and Brorsen-Metcalf. For Comets Halley and Swift-Tuttle, Dr. Brown had available the results of computer simulations that accurately placed their earliest known perihelia well into the BC era.
Result: the most likely date of the launch of all cometary matter, and therefore of the Global Flood, is: 3344.5 BC, ± 1 year. Dr. Brown assigns better than 96 percent confidence to this date.
What this means
This date is actually “high summer of 3345 BC” and is the date for the closest approach to the sun. The true launch date would be in autumn of that year (or perhaps the year before then), when the courses (or “trajectories”) of the comets would all intercept the earth.
This date is within one year of a date your editor calculated for the Global Flood. To make this calculation, one works backward from 562 BC, the year of the death of Nebuchadnezzar II (“the Great”) of Babylonia. From that date one subtracts(or rather, adds):
- 450 years, through the histories of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, to the groundbreaking of Solomon’s Temple.
- 479 years (per I Kings 6:1) to the Exodus of Israel from Egypt.
- 430 years (per Exodus 12:40) to the entry of Israel (the nation and the man also known as Jacob) into Egypt.
- 290 years to the birth of Abraham.
- 130 years to the birth of Terah, Abraham’s father.
- 1000 years to the birth of Arpachshad (Arphaxad), according to the ages of Terah’s ancestors when each man sired his son, according to the Alexandrine manuscript of the Septuagint.
- 2 years to the Global Flood year, per Genesis 11:10.
Result: 3343 BC as the year that Noah and his family disembarked from the Ark. The Global Flood itself would have broken out a year earlier.
Settling of scholarly scores
This date settles many old scores in Biblical scholarship, especially about the chronology of the Bible. This essay sums up the details. Briefly:
- Edwin R. Thiele decided the chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah could not be straightforward, if King Ahab of Israel fought in the Battle of Qarqar against Shalmaneser III (853 BC), and if (as he supposed) King Jehu paid tribute to Shalmaneser III during his reign. But Dr. Thiele forgot one thing: forty-five names in the Assyrian Eponym Canon are missing. Tiglath-Pileser III struck them from the record. Martin Anstey worked out what must have happened. With Anstey’s account, Israelite and Assyrian histories do synchronize, with a straightforward reading of I and II Kings.
- Some scholars take Galatians 3:17 as saying that 430 years passed from Abraham receiving his covenant promise from God until the Exodus. In fact, God confirmed and repeated the promise to Jacob before he entered Egypt.
- The Seder Olam asserts that Abraham was born when Terah was 70 years old. This supposition never had a good warrant. Dr. Brown’s astronomical fix contradicts this.
- Finally: the translation of the Old Testament by Ptolemy Philadelphus’ Seventy Translators of the Great Library of Alexandria was accurate – and accurate to the year.
But this manuscript of the Septuagint, that too many scholars dismiss, is not the only thing that an astronomical fix for the Global Flood vindicates. This date, coming within a year of the calculated chronological date, vindicates the Bible itself. It also vindicates the Hydroplate Theory of the Global Flood. A Global Flood happened, and happened as Walter T. Brown says it happened.The “cluster of perihelia” of the five comets Dr. Brown examined, defies any “rational(ized) explanation.”
Within twenty years, other comets, that astronomers have so far observed only twice, will make their third apparition. If the Lord tarries until then, Dr. Brown will run his analysis again. He does not expect his analysis to change, except to raise the already-high confidence level in his Global Flood date even higher.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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