The Flood of Noah Global or Local?
Jacopo Bassano: The Animals entering Noah’s Ark, 1570s
Come Follow Me lesson January 31 – February 6; Trent Dee Stephens, PhD
In writing this essay, I want to reiterate that I am an active member of the Church. I have a testimony of God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I have a testimony of the restored Church and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I believe that there was an actual, literal Flood. I believe that Noah heard and heeded the word of God; in so doing, he saved his family from the devastation that was the Flood. To me, the message of the Flood story is one of obedience, even in the face of ridicule from those around you. To me, the Flood did not have to be universal for that message to be true. I fully admit that I don’t know how to reconcile all the details of the story recorded in the Bible, or by Joseph Smith in the eighth chapter of the Book of Moses, with the overwhelming scientific and historic data that there was no universal Flood.
It is interesting however, that the Flood itself is never described in Moses, only the warning of such:
“And the Lord said unto Noah: My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for he shall know that all flesh shall die; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years; and if men do not repent, I will send in the floods upon them.”1
It is as though the Flood story in Moses ends mid-way through. Chapter eight is the last chapter in the Book of Moses and it ends abruptly, just before the rain begins to fall.
The summary at the beginning of the Book of Moses states, “An extract from the translation of the Bible as revealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet, June 1830–February 1831.” Of this translation, Richard Bushman stated,
“By the end of the year , Joseph had completed the first five chapters of Genesis, enlarging eight pages of the Bible into twenty-one of what became the Book of Moses.” In the footnote he added, “By mid-January, the revelations to Moses were circulating among the Mormons in Kirtland [Ohio].”2
The first five chapters of Genesis end before the story of the Flood (Genesis 6-8) and comprise chapters 2-7 of Moses. The heading to chapter 7 of Moses gives a date of December 1830. The heading for chapter 8 gives a date of February 1831. Bushman, therefore was correct in his equating eight pages in the Bible to twenty one in the Book of Moses. He does not however, point out that those twenty one pages do not include Moses chapters 1 and 8. Obviously, it was the first seven chapters of Moses that were distributed in Kirtland in January 1831, without including chapter 8.
On 5 January 1831, Joseph Smith received the following revelation in response to an inquiry by James Covill, a Baptist minister of forty years who, “…covenanted with the Lord that he would obey any commandment that the Lord would give him through me [Joseph] as His servant…”3 Modern research has shown that James Covill was actually a Methodist minister named James Covel, who never joined the Church.4
“And inasmuch as my people shall assemble themselves at the Ohio, I have kept in store a blessing such as is not known among the children of men, and it shall be poured forth upon their heads. And from thence men shall go forth into all nations.”5
Then Joseph Smith continued his own story, “The latter part of January, in company with Brothers Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, I started with my wife for Kirtland.”3Upon arriving in Kirtland, during the month of February, the prophet Joseph had numerous issues to deal with concerning the governing of the Church. In his own history, he never mentioned his translation work on the Bible that month or Moses chapter 8. It is entirely possible that with the many distractions organizing the Church in Ohio and dealing with numerous other issues that the Bible translation was not given the thorough attention the prophet would have wanted. Maybe that is why the Flood story ended before it even began in the Book of Moses.
The handwritten manuscript of the Bible revision does include Genesis 6-8, even though Moses 8 ends at Genesis 6:13. The Historical Introduction to the manuscript states,
“A January 1831 move to Ohio interrupted progress on what was now clearly a work of biblical revision, but JS and Rigdon resumed work in February and finished this manuscript in March.”6
Then on 7 March 1831, Joseph Smith received the following revelation,
“And now, behold, I say unto you, it shall not be given unto you to know any further concerning this chapter, until the New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known; Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate it, that ye may be prepared for the things to come.”7
By “this chapter,” the Lord was apparently referring to His second coming, which had been the subject of the previous verses in that section.
Joseph Smith stated, “During the month of April, I continued to translate the Scriptures as time would allow.”3 He did not mention that he had apparently shifted from the Old to the New Testament in this translation.
B. H. Roberts stated in relation to Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible,
“This was a work that occupied the Prophet for a number of years, but it was never published in his lifetime, excepting some fragments of it, and it is doubtful if he ever really completed, to his entire satisfaction, the stupendous work of revision…George Q. Cannon in his Life of Joseph Smith, (page 142) says: ‘We have heard President Brigham Young state that the Prophet, before his death, had spoken to him about going through the translation of the scriptures again and perfecting it upon points of doctrine which the Lord had restrained him from giving in plainness and fullness at the time of which we write… The Pearl of Great Price [was] first published by Franklin D. Richards in England, 1851.”8
Robert Matthews described that first printing of The Pearl of Great Price in 1851:
“The Pearl of Great Price was first compiled as a pamphlet for use in the British Mission and came from the press in Liverpool, England, in July 1851. The compiler, Elder Franklin D. Richards, a member of the Council of the Twelve and president of the mission, explained in the preface that most of the materials that he had included had already been published in the early periodicals of the Church in the United States, but had limited circulation. He therefore published the pamphlet in order to make the information more readily available, since most of the members of the Church in Britain had been converted within the previous four years and did not have access to the early magazines formerly printed in the United States.”
“In the 1851 edition of the Pearl of Great Price there was no book of Moses as such, but various materials from Moses were included piecemeal (and not in chronological order) under separate headings. In order of their occurrence, these included Moses 6:45–7:69; Moses 1:1–42; Moses 2:1–5, 40; and Moses 8:13–30. These excerpts were not complete in themselves, and large sections are missing compared with our present book of Moses.”9
The portions that had “already been published in the early periodicals of the Church in the United States” were published in the Evening and Morning Star, in Independence, Missouri by William W. Phelps, who had been called as the Church printer.10 The third instalment, in April 1833, included Moses 8:13-30. Joseph Smith’s translation of Genesis 6-8 was never published in the Evening and Morning Star, and was, therefore never included in The Pearl of Great Price.
After Joseph Smith’s martyrdom in 1844, the manuscripts of the Bible translation “…came into the possession of his widow, Emma Smith, who subsequently gave them to her children.
Eventually they became the property of the Reorganized Church (RLDS) [now the Community of Christ]. The RLDS church has retained them to this day, and it was from these manuscripts that they published the Inspired Version of the Bible in 1867.”9 Because Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible was never completed, the Church, for many years did not authorize its use because of concern that members would have the impression that the entire Bible had been corrected by the prophet and employ it accordingly.
It is possible, therefore, that the Flood story, as told in Genesis 6-8, and only the beginning of which is told in Moses 8, is not correct in every word. With the Flood story largely missing from the Pearl of Great Price, the Genesis story is our only scriptural source for most of the Flood.
If Noah and his family were the only survivors, and the ones telling the initial story, how did they know that all the mountains of the entire Earth had been covered with water? After Noah, the story was passed down as oral tradition for many generations before Moses (some 700 years later), or someone, included the story in the Pentateuch. It is not at all clear how much hyperbole was added as the story was told and retold.
It has been my experience over the years that many Latter-day Saints have opted into the notion of Young Earth Creationism (that the beginning of all death and “corruption” on the Earth occurred roughly six thousand years ago), without fully understanding it or, more particularly, the people promoting it. Most Church members don’t realize that the concepts of Young Earth Creationists originate in the same highly conservative fundamental Christian beliefs that reject The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a Christian denomination mainly because we don’t believe in a Trinity or literal six-day creation. Ironically, one of the main pillars of Young Earth Creationism is not the creation at all, but the Flood of Noah. That shift in emphasis occurred mainly in 1961 with the publication of the book The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris.11
The Genesis Flood opens with a statement that, “the Bible is the infallible Word of God.”11 The concept of the “infallible Word of God” is that every single word in the Bible came from the mouth of God, or at least had His stamp of approval. I assume that infallibility includes Jacob’s piebald sheep and The Song of Solomon. Two key features of The Genesis Flood are, first, Whitcomb’s dogged stand that the Biblical Flood cannot be harmonized with “uniformitarian theories.” What uniformitarianism states is that the laws that govern the earth today are the same laws that governed the earth in 2348 BC (the alleged date of the Flood of Noah). In other words, The Genesis Flood is based on the premise that God is a changeable god. Moroni didn’t agree with that premise; he said:
“For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?”
“…I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God...”12
The second key feature of The Genesis Flood is Morris’ (a hydraulic engineer) notion that,
“…fossil-bearing strata were apparently laid down in large measure during the Flood, with the apparent sequences attributed not to evolution but rather to hydrodynamic selectivity, ecologic habitats, and differential mobility and strength of the various creatures.”11
Morris’ notion that all the fossils were buried in the flood presents a bit of problem for Noah, who apparently did a very poor job of obeying God’s commandment:
“Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.”13
It turns out that it wasn’t just the unicorns “…hiding, playing silly games, kicking and splashing while the rain was pouring…”14 that missed the boat, but 98% of all species of living things missed the boat. The other problem for Morris’ flood strata hypothesis is that the animals that entered the ark two by two, for the most part, are not the same animals found in his flood strata. The fossil record, such as that in Vernal, Utah, covering an enormous period of Earth history, doesn’t contain cows, and horses, and elephants; but rather allosaurus, and diplodocus, and stegosaurus; which were, according to Young Earth Creationists, roaming the Earth only four thousand years ago and, oddly enough, were completely gone after the flood. If Adam was commanded to take “Of …beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female,” why did he specifically miss all the dinosaurs? The problem of extinction occurring through the flood cannot be passed off simply by invoking the term “kinds” as opposed to species. None of the dinosaur “kinds” made the ark, neither did all the thousands of Precambrian and Paleozoic kinds. There were many very strange animals in that Cambrian explosion that look nothing like any kind of animals today.
Conservative Christians, including many members of The Church of Jesus Crist of Latter-day Saints, believe that literally everyone on earth was killed at the time of the flood except Noah and his family. They believe that the human gene pool collapsed back down to just eight people: Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives. Furthermore, all of the animal gene pool collapsed down to the few animals – two or seven of each species – that could fit into the ark. No mention is made of how the plants and fishes dealt with the deluge. According to Archbishop James Ussher’s chronology, the flood occurred 1656 years after the Creation, placing it at 2348 BC.15 Therefore, we are dealing with human and other animal gene pools that are only 4364 years old. And who knows what happened to the gene pools of fishes and plants, not to mention all the worms, insects, and arachnids?
The flood narrative presents immediate problems for biologists and geologists who ponder the scriptures. First, if the Great Flood covered the entire earth, it would have neutralized all the rivers, and all the water on earth would have become sea water or brackish water. With all the fresh water gone, how did the fresh water fishes survive? This is by no means a trivial issue. Most fish have a very narrow tolerance for water chemistry. If the earth’s water was brackish, and muddy at that, then most of the salt water fish would also have been in trouble. On the other hand, if all the new water came in the form of rain, then the salinity of the oceans would have been greatly diminished, making it hard for salt water plants and animals to survive, many of whom have a very narrow salt concentration tolerance range. With water covering the entire earth, most plant life would have drowned along with the animals. Oh yes, plants are living things and they can drown.
Remember the worms that crawl up onto the sidewalks during a rain storm and then, cruel world, desiccate there after the rain? They crawl up onto the sidewalk to keep from drowning when the soil in which they live becomes saturated with water. They, along with marrieds of spiders and insects would have died off in the flood.
The animals represented in the ark should now be the predominant species on the earth, but they are not. Today, more than 90% of all living animals are invertebrates, and, apparently, none of them were taken onto the ark. Maybe they were stowaways; maybe the ark was infested with cockroaches, ants, and spiders. Were there really 350,000 species of beetles stowed away on the ark? Maybe. Most people think of all “bugs” as being the same “kind,” but various beetles are more dissimilar than cows compared to dogs. According to JBS Haldane, God apparently has a great passion for stars and beetles because He made so many of them.16
And why are most of the world’s marsupials confined to Australia? Did Noah sail the ark to Australia and deposit them there, with opossums escaping into the Ozarks on the way? He dropped off Tasmanian devils in Australia and New Zealand, but they apparently died out in the former location. I’ll bet he was anxious to get them off the ark. One wonders why he didn’t drop them off earlier – say in America – maybe it took him that long to corner and catch the little devils without being bitten. And, apparently, Noah ran out of normal mammals and birds to deposit, as well as snakes, when he arrived in New Zealand. Apparently all Noah had left in the ark by then, at least that he could spare, were three species of bats, and some really weird birds. The snakes had all been put ashore elsewhere. And no people got off the ark in Australia. Where did all the Australians come from and how did they get there after the flood? All of Noah’s family sailed on the Mount Ararat (this family is discussed in a separate blog).
Furthermore, human population growth doesn’t fit with a story of the entire earth population being reduced to only eight individuals 4364 years ago. Throughout most of the earth’s history, population growth rates have remained below 0.1%.17 Although there were population booms in 1000 AD and again in 1500 AD (where the growth rate went up to as much as 0.2-0.3%), each of those booms was followed by a population collapse, at least one caused by the black death. Even using an optimistic number of 0.1% throughout human history, beginning with a population of 8 people, there would only have been 413 total people on the entire earth in 1600, just before the modern population explosion.18 If we then take an average growth rate of 1.0% (a rate two to ten times higher than the calculated rate for most of that period, and a rate not actually achieved until about 1930) since 1600 to the present, the total population today would be 25,920 people. What if we use a very optimistic growth rate of 0.2 % to 1600, followed by a 1.0% growth rate? That gives us a total population in 1600 of 21,323 people, and a total population today of 1,338,257 people. A 0.3% growth rate (that would be a sustained growth rate, which was only achieved briefly in 1500) before 1600 would give 1,094,393 people in 1600. The actual world population in 1600 was approximately 500-580 million people (there were 200,000 people in London alone in 1600). In order to reach that size of a population 3948 years after the flood, the population growth rate would have to have been 0.46%, a rate which was never achieved before about 1700. What if there was a huge population boom right after the flood, which shot up to 800 people and then tapered off to 0.1%. There would still only be 41,383 people in 1600. What if the population shot way up to 8000 early on? The population in 1600 would still only be 413,835. The only way to get to a population of 500-580 million in 1600 with a starting population of 8000 people would be to have a sustained population growth rate of 0.28% for 3948 years, which simply is not what we see in world history. Furthermore, if we use the maximum known growth rate in human history of 2.2%, which occurred in 1962-1963, such a growth rate would have to have been sustained for 320 years after the flood to achieve a population growth from 8 to 8000 people. The numbers just don’t add up. It is not reasonable to assume that all humans, except eight, died out 4364 years ago, let alone all the plants and other animals. Our ancestors in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries had no understanding of the science of population growth, so they were unaware of the difficulties involved in their beliefs. As a result, they were able to perpetuate the Flood story with no undo concern about reality. Today, however, one has to ignore mathematics to make a universal flood 4364 years ago, with only eight survivors, work.
The other problem with populations and a world-wide Flood is population diversity and spread. If we start with a world-wide population of 8 people in 2348 BC, then we have to explain how the descendants of those 8 people spread to Egypt and had enough people (some 20,000 – 30,000 actual laborers, not to mention all the support people) to build the Pyramids of Giza, either right before the Flood (2589 – 2504 BC, as most people believe) or, as Young Earth Creationists believe, right after the Flood. At the same time, there were enough descendants of those same 8 people in central China to build what is now called the Erlitou Ruins of the Xia Dynasty (around 2000 BC). At the same time, there were enough descendants of those same 8 people in south-central England to build the Avebury stone henge complex (about 2850-2200 BC) on the Salisbury plain – a for-runner of Stonehenge some twenty miles to the south. If Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland, and similar monuments on the Iberian Peninsula, weren’t built before the Flood (around 3000-2500 BC) then there were enough descendants of those same 8 people in Ireland and Iberia to build those spectacular monuments immediately after the Flood. The Australian Indigenous rock art paintings stand as the oldest unbroken art tradition in the world. If the charcoal and ochre paintings were done before the Flood (some are as much as 28,000 years old), they would have been washed away by the waters that covered the entire Earth. If they were all made after the Flood, preposterous as that appears, then there were a lot of descendants of those same 8 people down there in Australia busily painting away. At the same time, there were enough descendants of those same 8 people in India to build the pyramid, graves, reservoirs, and city at Dholavira (2650-2100 BC). At the same time, there were enough descendants of those same 8 people in Caral, Peru to build a great pyramid there (2600 BC). And the story goes on and on – where is your favorite Neolithic monument, when was it built, and who built it?
The problem is, we’re not talking about a population explosion right after 2348 BC, which shot the population 320 years after the Flood up to 8000 people in the Middle East, we’re talking about a population explosion that placed millions of people at numerous locations (with many thousands at each location) all over the world before 2000 BC, at most, 348 years after a universal flood. And the list goes on. By 2000 BC there also were enough people around the world to build Ziggurat of Ur, Iraq; Dolmen Cava dei Servi, Italy; Rubha an Dùnain passage tomb in Scotland; and Bryn Celli Ddu in Wales. In short, the problem with the date of 2348 BC for a global flood is that by then, we’re into known pre-history when millions of people across the world were busily building monuments that have survived to this very day. The other problem is that, in many of those cases, monument building had been going on, uninterrupted by any apparent world-wide disaster, for centuries at sites such as Giza, Egypt; Dholavira, India; Avebury, England; Gavrinis tomb, Brittany; and Newgrange, Ireland.
The major problems for geology are just as numerous. All the sand on all the earth’s beaches would have been washed away and dispersed by a global flood. Then the meticulous process of little pebbles rolling up and down beaches, which, according to our knowledge of geology, has been going on for millions of years, instead, has taken only 4364 years. Once the sand has formed, it requires millions more years and enormous pressure for sand to become sandstone. Deposits of oil and coal, in some cases, two miles or more beneath the earth’s surface, are derived from huge forests that once covered the earth. The plants of those forests were then buried by thousands of feet of earth over millions of years. All these processes, according to the Young Earth Creationists’ concept of a global flood, required only 4364 years. Apparently all the dinosaur fossils formed (magically) in 4364 years. All the huge fossil fuel and all the coal deposits around the world formed only 4364 years ago. That is truly amazing – especially when one considers that some of the oil reserves are 10,000 feet or more below the earth’s surface. The problem is even worse for oil, which was used in the Babylonian and Persian empires, starting around 626 BC, giving that oil production time of only1722 years. If that is the case, unless God has changed the laws of nature since 2348 BC, trees falling in 295 AD could be a source of oil today.
Another problem with taking an entirely literal, highly conservative view of Genesis and the Flood story is what I propose as the antediluvian-postdiluvian dilemma. After Noah and his family had floated around on the surface of a water world for well over a year and come to rest on the “mountains of Ararat,” it is highly unlikely that rivers called the Tigris and Euphrates in antediluvian antiquity, which flowed from the Garden of Eden, and the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers of today, are the same rivers. It is highly unlikely that the same flood that first deposited and then eroded away the sandstone of Green River, Wyoming, and the Grand Canyon in a matter of days left the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, or any rivers for that matter, in the same condition as their antediluvian states and locations. It is also highly unlikely that after over a year of floating about, Noah and his family would have landed at almost precisely the same location where their voyage began.
The antediluvian dilemma extends way beyond rivers and canyons to some of the most incredible relics and monuments in the world. Some time during the Middle Ages, around three thousand years after the alleged date of the Flood, an unidentified pilgrim to Eden (yes, apparently this pilgrim found Eden) returned to England with a left-over piece of clay, which God trimmed off Adam during his creation. This precious relic was housed in Canterbury Cathedral for many years, and may even be there today.19 The most important question is, how did that valuable piece of clay make it through the Flood?
Perhaps even more amazing than the left-over clay from Adam’s creation, Adam’s earthly remains also were found in the early Christian era – beyond amazingly, his tomb was found in the Cave of the Patriarchs wherein was buried, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah – all postdiluvian patriarchs and their wives – and there is Adam, the great antediluvian patriarch. Now that is definitely pin-point navigation on Noah’s part – to be able to arrive back at the very site of his departure. It’s also amazing that the cave containing Adam’s remains was preserved through the flood, was located, was purchased by Abraham, and was used as the burial place for the later patriarchs. We know all of this from the writings of the Venerable Bede – who learned about the tomb third hand, but whose eighth century credentials are impeccable.
Bede wrote that,
“Adamnan, priest and abbot of the monks who lived on the Isle of Iona…wrote a book about the Holy Places…The man who dictated the information to him was Arculf, a bishop from Gaul who had visited Jerusalem to see the Holy Places.”20
Bede wrote the words recorded by Adamnan who had written the words of Arculf, who had actually been there,
“In a valley one furlong to the east of…Hebron…is a double cave [the term double here apparently refers to the fact that the burials were husband and wife pairs], where the tombs of the patriarchs are enclosed in a square wall with their heads to the north. Each tomb is covered by a single stone slab, cut like those in a church: those of the three patriarchs are white, while that of Adam is of humbler and inferior workmanship, and lies not far from the others at the northern extremity of the wall.”20
In addition to the clay and body of Adam, the actual Garden of Eden has also been discovered. It turns out it’s in Qurna, Iraq near the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It is enclosed by a small brick wall about three feet tall, encompassing an octagonal space of perhaps eight or ten feet in diameter – a much smaller Garden than most people have imagined. Inside the wall is a dead tree, perhaps the Tree of Life, leaning over at an awkward angle. A sign, balanced atop the wall and leaning against the dead tree announces this place as the, “The Original Garden of Eden.”19 It is possible that the tree lost its life in the Flood but it’s not clear how the wall and sign made it through unscathed.
On a somewhat less fantastic note, Newgrange; which is older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt, and is located on a hill overlooking the River Boyne in County Meath, Ireland; was built in Neolithic times around 3000-2500 BC (200-700 years before the alleged date of the Flood in 2348 BC). A remarkable phenomenon occurs each year at the winter solstice. As the sun appears over the horizon, sunbeams pass through the windowbox above the doorway and light up the chamber, seventy feet down a narrow passageway, with a dazzling light. I have visited Newgrange, and there is no evidence that the mound or passage was ever covered by a world-wide flood. Any such flood would have left a massive layer of mud and silt inside the passage – no sign of which exists.21
Newgrange is predated by 500-100 years by the tomb passages of Brittany. One in particular, the Gavrinis tomb, located on a small island in the Gulf of Morbihan, is especially remarkable because of its construction, rich interior decorations, and state of preservation, making it one of the major European megalithic art treasures. Again, to my knowledge, there is no sign of any flooding in the Brittany tomb passages.21
The remarkable wall paintings in the Chauvet cave, created 30,000 to 32,000 years ago, also show no evidence of flooding. A flood deep enough to cover the surrounding mountains, would have filled the cave and completely washed away the fragile charcoal and ochre paintings on the walls.22 In short, there are hundreds of great antiquarian monuments dating before 2348 BC, all of which show no signs of flooding.
There have been many great floods throughout the history of the world. About 2.5 billion years ago, the entire earth was apparently covered in water.23 Many members of the Church believe that Noah’s flood was necessary as the earth’s baptism. President Brigham Young taught that the earth “…abides the law of its creation, has been baptized with water, will be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and by-and-by will be prepared for the faithful to dwell upon.”24 Why would the earth need to be baptized a second time, in 2348 BC, if it was already baptized at a much younger age? There is geological and computer modeling evidence that the earth was covered by water 2.5 billion years ago,23 but there is no such evidence for any flood covering the entire earth since then. It is most likely that Noah’s flood was a catastrophic local event rather than a global event. Such a statement does not diminish the tragedy of the flood for the people involved, nor the faith of Noah and his family, which saved them from the devastation.
Evidence was presented about twenty years ago that the level of the Black Sea was dramatically increased about 5600 BC by water entering rapidly from the Mediterranean Sea through the Bosporus strait.25 This so-called Black Sea deluge hypothesis became very popular because its date and location made it a candidate for the great flood of Noah. The hypothesis that this was a catastrophic event, however, has been challenged by more recent research. The three most devastating known floods in world history all occurred in China, in 1887, 1931, and 1938, killing a total of as many as 6.5 million people. The 1887 Yellow River flood covered an estimated 50,000 square miles. Some floods reach a high water mark of as much as forty to sixty feet, submerging all but the tallest trees. The most destructive floods in US history were the 1927 and 2011 Mississippi River floods, moving 2 million cubic feet of water (enough water to fill 25 Olympic swimming pools) downstream every second. The 2011 flood, the result of record rainfall and snow melt, covered 4,600 square miles to a depth of up to twenty feet.26
Devastating floods have been a part of human history from the very beginning and, not surprising, almost every culture has flood legends. In fact, it would be surprising if cultures didn’t have a flood story – as there are so many opportunities to generate such stories. There have been over one hundred devastating floods worldwide since the turn of the twentieth century alone – approximately one per year over the past century.25 Mark Isaak has compiled a huge list of these flood stories from all over the world. He views them as evidence of one world-wide flood, but I see them as evidence that floods are a common thread in human history.27 The Sumerians had a flood story in the story of Ziusudra. There are Mesopotamian flood stories in the stories of Atrahasis and, the best known, Gilgamesh.27 Many scholars believe that these flood stories influenced the Israelite scholars and writers while they were captive in Babylon, and compiling the Pentateuch. It is very likely that the Israelites already had, in their own history, perhaps some written by Moses, but probably mostly oral tradition, the story of what happened to Noah and his family in the flood, but it is possible that in determining why the flood happened Israelite scholars may have been influenced by Sumerian and Mesopotamian flood stories.
Imagine interviewing survivors from the 1938 Yellow River flood in China, or from the Mississippi River flood of 2011. The movie, The Impossible, is just such a story. It is a 2012 disaster drama film directed by J. A. Bayona and written by Sergio G. Sánchez, and based on the actual experience of María Belón and her family in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
It is certain that, just like María Belón, each person passing through a flood will have a survival story to tell, exactly how that person made it through the flood to be rescued or to find safety. It is even more interesting that at least some of those people will explain why they survived when others did not. Some may believe that they were saved because they were more faithful to their religious tradition, whereas those who died were not. The what happened is one part of the story, whereas the why it happened is another, perhaps more complicated part of the story, and the part involving faith.
We are told about Noah’s flood in Genesis 6:1-17,
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them…And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth…And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.”
There are some very interesting and some very odd statements in those 17 verses, especially about why the Great Flood occurred. There are phrases such as “sons of God,” fair “daughters of men,” “giants in the earth,” and “mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” If those verses are read carefully and pondered deeply, they don’t make a lot of sense, and they certainly don’t flow smoothly from one to another. Why, for example, would God “…not always strive with man, for…he…is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years?” What does that mean? To me, these verses are much more easily understood if they are considered as epic poetry. This is not to say that the Great Flood did not occur or that Noah’s family was not one of the families caught up in that flood. It may be, however, that the whys of the Great Flood are more the stuff of legend than part of the what happened story.
For example, David “Davy” Crockett was very much a real person (1786 – 1836).28 Most people know him best from the Ballad of Davy Crocket, written by Thomas Blackburn in 1954, although Mr. Crockett apparently preferred to be called David, not Davy, and is not known to have ever worn a coon-skin cap. That turns out to be very disappointing to me, as I spent most of my seventh year of life wearing a coon-skin cap. Crockett was born in Green County, in what is now Tennessee, but was part of North Carolina when he was born. However, North Carolina doesn’t have the same poetic ring as Tennessee, and doesn’t rhyme well with “the land of the free” or “knew every tree.” He was not born on a mountain top but in a river valley, with no mountains in sight. He did apparently kill a number of bears in his career but probably didn’t begin at the age of three. It turns out that ten or twelve doesn’t rhyme very well with tree or Tennessee, or even North Carolina, for that matter. Crockett did serve in congress for a spell but did not patch up the crack in the Liberty Bell. So, here is a very good example of a real person, whose life is much different from the popular story.
It is my opinion that Noah was a real person, who went through a real flood, but whose story was greatly embellished through years of retelling. It is also my opinion that many of those strange, poetic phrases in Genesis 6 are part of that embellishment. For example, the phrase “sons of God” has really been batted around over the centuries. Apparently thousands of people, for hundreds of years have believed that those sons of God were wicked, disobedient angels who were attracted to earthly women. Another idea, also apparently widely accepted is that they were godly descendants of Seth who were attracted to the beautiful but wicked descendants of Cain. Another idea is that they were men who accepted God but were attracted to women who were non-believers. None of these explanations make a lot of sense to me because even the last explanation, which seems the most reasonable, would not account for the majority of people on the earth at the time, but the scripture says, “…for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” All three explanations also suggest that there was not a single righteous woman on earth, except in Noah’s family and that the men, who were originally good, had gone after the evil women. This sounds like a story made up by some man who didn’t like women very much. It has been my experience that women tend to be more spiritual-minded then men, which doesn’t fit with this account. The traditions built up around the flood story, in my opinion, have become a major impediment to uncovering the truth.
The next term, “giants in the earth” is even more bizarre. Apparently the Hebrew word is Naphil, and many translations of the Bible retain the phrase “Nephilim in the earth.” The King James Version of the Bible translates the word to “giants,” but other interpretations are derived from the Hebrew root n-ph-l, “fall” and suggest that the Nephilim were mighty warriors who caused others to fall in battle, or were fallen, or uncircumcised men themselves. These giants, perhaps evil, violent giants, or Nephilim are thought by many people to have been the offspring of matings between the sons of God and the daughters of men.
Nephilim, or giants, feature in many other stories from ancient times. For example, the Israelites were required to wander in the wilderness for forty years because the spies they sent to Cannon were afraid of the people there.
“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants [Nephilim], the sons of Anak, which come of the giants [Nephilim]: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.29
We read in Ezekiel 32:27, “And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen [Nephilim] of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.” J.C. Greenfield proposed that the Nephilim of Genesis 6 are very similar to the Sumerian apkallu, seven legendary heroes of human origin but possessing the wisdom of the gods.30
In 1705, Cotton Mather, the very opinionated and influential Colonial Puritan minister, taught that fossilized teeth and leg bones discovered near Albany, New York were the remains of a Nephilim who had died in the Great Flood. He declared, “The Giants that once groaned under the waters, are now under the Earth, and their Dead Bones are lively Proofs of the Mosaic history.”21 Modern paleontologists identified the bones and teeth as those of a mastodon. Near the end of the eighteenth century, one-foot-long three-toed dinosaur tracks discovered on a Connecticut farm were declared by the local pastor to be the footprints of Noah’s raven which had perched on that rock before making its return flight to the ark. The same minister pronounced dinosaur bones found not far away as being the “remains of giant humans.”31 False traditions seem to be easily made but are difficult to unmake.
In 1869, William Newell hired two men, Gideon Emmons and Henry Nichols, to dig a well on his farm near Cardiff, New York. About three feet below the surface, they unearthed a colossal stone human figure over ten feet tall. Newell was ecstatic over the discovery. He set up a tent over the “grave” site, dubbed the petrified human remains “the Cardiff Giant,” advertised the find, and charged the curious 25ȼ each to visit the astounding relic. Andrew White, the first president of Cornell University, traveled to Cardiff to see this wonder, and described the scene, “The roads were crowded with buggies, carriages, and even omnibuses from the city, and with lumber-wagons from the farms--all laden with passengers.” The business was so brisk that after two days of exhibit, Newell raised the entry fee to 50ȼ. White continued his description, “An air of great solemnity pervaded the place. Visitors hardly spoke above a whisper.” He stated that while he was at the site, he overheard, “a very excellent doctor of divinity, pastor of one of the largest churches in Syracuse,” declare, ‘“Is it not strange that any human being, after seeing this wonderfully preserved figure, can deny the evidence of his senses, and refuse to believe, what is so evidently the fact, that we have here a fossilized human being, perhaps one of the giants mentioned in Scripture?” White, however, was not as spiritually moved by the object. He immediately recognized the “corpse” as nothing more than a sculpture, and not a very good one at that. It turns out that the “Cardiff Giant” was a hoax perpetrated by Newell and his cousin George Hull, a Binghamton cigar maker, who had hired a German sculptor to create the “petrified giant,” which Newell and Hull then buried on the Newell farm. White concluded, “…in spite of all scientific reasons to the contrary, the work was very generally accepted as a petrified human being of colossal size…” Hull, an atheist, had created the hoax to criticize gullible Christians who were willing to believe anything related to the flood story.31
But that’s not the end of the story. P.T Barnum, the masterful showman and hoaxster himself, decided to cash in on the Cardiff Giant. When Newell and Hull apparently turned down Barnum’s offer to buy the “mummy” for fifty thousand dollars, he sent a spy to covertly model the giant’s shape in a lump of wax. Then, with measurements from the newspaper, Barnum had a plaster replica made of the statue, which he put on display in a New York museum, drawing crowds of visitors. Newell and Hull, along, it seems, with David Hannum, who was involved in a traveling exhibit of the original Cardiff Giant, tried to sue Barnum, but the judge in the case said he would consider the issue if Newell and Hull would bring the original to court to testify in his own behalf, and he threw out the case. Hannum apparently commented about Barnum’s customers, with the famous quote mistakenly credited to Barnum himself, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”21 The Cardiff Giant was so famous that Mark Twain made him the main character of his “A Ghost Story,” in which a large, clumsy phantom, the ghost of the Cardiff Giant, barges into a hotel room in Manhattan looking for his body so he can be reburied on Newell’s farm. The hotel guest informs the apparition, “Why you poor blundering old fossil, you have had all your troubles for nothing--you have been haunting a plaster cast of yourself--the real Cardiff Giant is in Albany! Confound it, don't you know your own remains?”13 And, apparently, George Hull made another petrified man, this time, allegedly, of the strong man and boxer, William Muldoon, in Beulah, Colorado. Huge crowds lined up to see that phenomenon, at 50ȼ a pop.31
Let’s leave for now all of the myth and mystery surrounding the story of the Great Flood, and all the “fossil” remains in its wake, and consider what might have actually happened. Assume that a family, Noah’s family, was living at Adam-Ondi-Ahman near the Garden of Eden, beside the Grand River in Davies County, Missouri (however, I have discussed this location in more detail in my book, The Infinite Fall, Cedar Fort, 2021), at some time in the distant past, when rain fell for forty days solid, with flood waters cresting at twenty feet above flood level (not an uncommon event in that part of the country). The family loaded themselves and their animals into a huge boat, which God, in a vision, had commanded Noah to build, and which was greatly ridiculed by Noah’s neighbors. With the flood waters, which drowned Noah’s doubting neighbors, the boat drifted down the Grand River into the Missouri River and then into the Mississippi River. From there, the boat drifted into the Gulf of Mexico, over 800 miles from Noah’s home. Twelve miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River, no land was in sight. As far as Noah and his family were concerned, the entire earth was covered with water. It is entirely possible that Noah and his family, like so many other people for most of the world’s history, had never traveled more than one hundred miles from home, and had never seen an ocean.
From the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Stream would have carried them northeast toward the west coast of Europe. Exotic flotsam from the Americas has arrived on the west coast of Ireland, the Azores, and the Canary Islands for centuries.32 Stories of this flotsam may have helped inspire Columbus to sail west in search of a route to China and India.32 The next step raises a major question: if Noah and his family were going to land in the middle east, where the rest of the Israelite story transpired, how did the ark get through the Straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean?
At the Straits of Gibraltar, the predominant surface currents are west to east through the Straights and across the Mediterranean toward the Middle East.33 So once near the Straits, the currents could have driven them into the Mediterranean. But how easy is it for a ship drifting across the Atlantic Ocean to hit the pin-point entrance into the Strait? Current maps of the eastern Atlantic suggest that trans-Atlantic currents are pulled into the Straits of Gibraltar from over half way up the Iberian Peninsula, some 300 miles away,34 so, apparently the pin-point is not as small into the Straits as it might appear.
In early 2013, a bottle was discovered on a Croatian beach, allegedly, containing a piece of paper with following message, “Mary, you really are a great person. I hope we can keep in correspondence. I said I would write. Your friend always, Jonathon. Nova Scotia '85.” If that bottle was actually thrown into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1985, it had followed the ocean currents for 28 years over a distance of as much as 20,000 miles.35 Who knows how many times it had circled the Atlantic before entering the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar, and ending up on a Croatian beach.
All of this said, let’s turn to the account of the conditions before the flood as recorded in the book of Moses. First of all, the sons of God and daughters of men issue is somewhat cleared up.
“And Noah and his sons hearkened unto the Lord, and gave heed, and they were called the sons of God. And when these men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, the sons of men saw that those daughters were fair, and they took them wives, even as they chose. And the Lord said unto Noah: The daughters of thy sons have sold themselves; for behold mine anger is kindled against the sons of men, for they will not hearken to my voice.”36
The 120 years issue is also more clear, “And the Lord said unto Noah: My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for he shall know that all flesh shall die; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years; and if men do not repent, I will send in the floods upon them.”37 The LDS Old Testament Student Manual Genesis-2 Samuel states concerning this verse,
“Many scholars, who have only Genesis to study, believe that this statement prophesied the shortened life expectancy that would take place after the Flood. In the book of Moses, however, it is clear that the 120 years referred to the time when Noah would preach repentance and try to save the world before the Flood was sent (see Moses 8:17). This period would be the time referred to by Peter as the time when ‘the longsuffering of God waited’ (1 Peter 3:20).”38
The giant issue is also made more clear in Moses 8, “And in those days there were giants on the earth, and they sought Noah to take away his life; but the Lord was with Noah, and the power of the Lord was upon him.”39 But we still aren’t told anything about the giant’s origins, or why they were mentioned in the first place.
The next two verses explain even more, including more about the “sons of God,”
“And it came to pass that Noah called upon the children of men that they should repent; but they hearkened not unto his words; And also, after that they had heard him, they came up before him, saying: Behold, we are the sons of God; have we not taken unto ourselves the daughters of men? And are we not eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage? And our wives bear unto us children, and the same are mighty men, which are like unto men of old, men of great renown. And they hearkened not unto the words of Noah.”40
Then the why of the flood is also explained in better detail,
“And God saw that the wickedness of men had become great in the earth; and every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually. And it came to pass that Noah continued his preaching unto the people, saying: Hearken, and give heed unto my words; Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not.”41
Then we read that God, who knows all things, did not repent for creating man, but it was Noah who had those feelings. “And it repented Noah, and his heart was pained that the Lord had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at the heart. And the Lord said: I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Noah that I have created them, and that I have made them; and he hath called upon me; for they have sought his life.”42 However, it still doesn’t make sense that God would destroy everything on earth just because Noah was upset. “The earth was corrupt before God, and it was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence, and behold I will destroy all flesh from off the earth.”43 Even with this statement being in the book of Moses, these last three verses still don’t make a lot of sense to me. God is omniscient, he knew when he created them that animals would be “violent.” The statement that “all flesh had corrupted its way” suggests that a definition of “flesh” might be helpful. The term flesh is often used in the scriptures to mean ‘mortality’ or the sin associated with mortality,44 Adam is spoken of as the ‘first flesh’ upon the earth,45 meaning he represented us all as the author of our spiritual and physical death.46
But then after stating, “I will destroy…both man and beast, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air…God said…I will destroy all flesh from off the earth.” Does this “flesh” then include all the animals, who were doing nothing but what they were created to do. How could organisms that were “good” at the end of creation have “corrupted its way” 1656 years later, without changing their behavior? Is it possible that this is some of Joseph Smith’s Bible translation he didn’t quite finish? It seems highly likely that the Bible translation, which Joseph had undertaken and which ends just before the Flood begins was incomplete. Terryl and Fiona Givens have stated, “All [prophets] partake in varying degrees of heavenly inspiration; all bear the human traces of those who felt the Spirit move upon them; all are filtered through an individual’s mind and cultural environment.” Furthermore, they proposed that it is unreasonable to view all, “…published revelation as infallible, unerring transmission of the Divine voice.”47 Henry Eyring said that his father told him, “In this church you don’t have to believe anything that isn’t true.”48 The insight we gain from Joseph Smith’s inspired revision of the flood story is truly remarkable and unparalleled by any Biblical scholar. We should not be disappointed, or even surprised, however, that he didn’t fix everything.
What is the important message from the story of Noah and the flood? We are told on the official church website, “The principal purpose of scriptures is to testify of Christ and to guide the children of God so they can come unto Him and receive eternal life…”49 The purpose of the scriptures is not to tell us that through the flood God killed all the animals on earth because they were corrupted and Noah was upset. The important message from the story is the message of obedience. God warned Noah that there was going to be a flood and told him that he was to build an ark to save his family. Noah obeyed the commandment of God, in spite of ridicule from his neighbors, and by so doing saved his family from the flood. This is the same story of obedience that we read in the Book of Mormon concerning Lehi taking his family into the wilderness and thus saving them from the destruction of Jerusalem. The take-home message from these stories is to obey the voice of the Lord when we are warned.
John Calvin stated in his 1554 commentary on Genesis 7:17:
“… Noah alone remained secure, because he had embraced, by faith, the word in which salvation was contained…Hence we learn how profitable it was for Noah, disregarding the world, to obey God alone: which Moses states not so much for the sake of praising the man, as for that of inviting us to imitate his example… Since at this time also the world is full of unbelievers as it was then; therefore it is necessary for us to separate ourselves from the greater multitude, that the Lord may snatch us from destruction…as Noah believing the promise of God, gathered himself his wife and his children together, in order that under a certain appearance of death, he might emerge out of death; so it is fitting that we should renounce the world and die, in order that the Lord may quicken us by his word. For nowhere else is there any security of salvation…”50
Trent Dee Stephens, PhD
1. Moses 8:17
2. Bushman, Richard Lyman, Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling, Vintage Books, Random House, New York, 2007
3. Smith, Joseph, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Period 1: History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, volume 1, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1978
4. Jones, Christopher C., Mormonism in the Methodist Marketplace: James Covel and the Historical Background of Doctrine and Covenants 39–40, BYU Studies, byustudies.byu.edu
5. Doctrine and Covenants 39:15
6. The Joseph Smith Papers, josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/old-testament-revision
7. Doctrine and Covenants 45:60-61
8. Roberts, B. H., A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Century 1, volume 1, pp 247-248, Brigham Young University Press, Provo, Utah, 1965
9. Matthews, Robert J., How We Got the Book of Moses, Ensign, January 1986. lds.org/ensign/1986/01/how-we-got-the-book-of-moses?
10. Doctrine and Covenants 57:11-14
11. Whitcomb, John C. and Morris, Henry M., The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1961; P & R Publishing; 50th Anniversary Edition, 2011.
12. Mormon 9:9, 19
13. Genesis 7:2-3
14. Silverstein, Shel, The Unicorn, sung by The Irish Rovers, Decca Records, 1968
15. James Barr, “Why the World Was Created in 4004 BC: Archbishop Ussher and Biblical Chronology,” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 67:575-608, 1984
16. JBS Haldane, What is Life? What is Life? Boni and Gaer, p. 248, 1949
17. Michael Kremer, Population growth and technological change: one million BC to 1990, The Quarterly Journal of Economics 681-716, 1993
18. All calculations in this paragraph were done using the Population Calculator, metamorphosisalpha.com/ias/population.php
19. Jacobs, Alan, In Search of Eden (book review of Scafi, Alessandro, Mapping Paradise: A History of Heaven on Earth), First Things, Feb 2007.
20. Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, 731 AD, Penguin Books, London, pp 293 – 297, 1990
21. Stout, Geraldine, and Stout, Matthew, Newgrange, Cork University Press, 2008
22. Cave of Forgotten Dreams, History Films, Creative Differences Production; written, directed, and narrated by Werner Herzog; Produced by Erik Nelson and Adrienne Ciuffo, 2010
23. Nicolas Flament et al., Earth and Planetary Science Letters 275:326-336, 2008
24. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:83. 12 June 1860
25. WBF Ryan et al., Marine Geology, 138:119–126, 1997
26. List of Deadliest Floods, Wikipedia
27. Mark Isaak, Flood Stories from Around the World, talkorigins.org, last revised 2002; see also Alexander Heidel, "The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels". Univ. of Chicago, 1949
28. Michael Wallis, David Crockett: The Lion of the West, Norton & Company, NY, 2011
29. Numbers 13:30-33
30. Arthur Peake, editor, A Commentary on the Bible, Jack, London, 1919
31. Mark Rose, Archaeology 58:30, 2005; see also Timothy Levine, editor, Encyclopedia of Deception, SAGE, LA, Calif, p. 118-119, 2014
32. Jeffrey Meldrum and Trent Stephens, Who are the Children of Lehi? DNA and the Book of Mormon, Kofford, SLC, p. 74, 2007
33. H.U. Sverdrup et al., The Oceans Their Physics, Chemistry, and General Biology, Prentice-Hall, NY, p. 649, 1942
34. Path of the Gulf Stream, marine.coastal.edu
35. “A message in a bottle has washed up on the shores of Croatia 28 years after being thrown into the sea in Nova Scotia, Canada,” Digital Journal, digitaljournal.com/article/348150, April 2013
36. Moses 8:13-15
37. Moses 8:17
38. Old Testament Student Manual Genesis-2 Samuel, lds.org, 50–59, 1980
39. Moses 8:18
40. Moses 8:20-21
41. Moses 8:22-24
42. Moses 8:25-26
43. Moses 8:27-30
44. c.f. Romans 8:1-12
45. Moses 3:7
46. c.f. Helaman 14:16-17
47. Terryl Givens and Fiona Givens, The Crucible of Doubt, Deseret Book, SLC, pp 67, 74, 2014
48. Henry J. Eyring, Mormon Scientist: The Life and Faith of Henry Eyring, Deseret Book, SLC, p. 4, 2007
50. Calvin, John, Commentary on Genesis, 1554; Calvin Translation Society; 1847, reprinted 1975 Banner of Truth Trust