Comments on GAE, the Flood, and 2 Peter 3

When did this happen and what exactly did he say?

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Let me belabor the main point, which you seem not to have noticed:

4000 BC to 2350 BC: in 1650 years Adam’s lineage spreads only over some small fraction of the Middle East.

2350 BC to 1 BC: in 2350 years Noah’s lineage spreads to every single part of the world.

Now, is 2350 really different enough from 1650 for the difference to be of that magnitude?

@John_Harshman (@swamidass):

Part of the logic you are missing is the logic imposed by a divine being.

If The Flood is a regional corrective, it certainly makes sense that God would limit the spread of Adam’s descendants - - otherwise, the regional flood would be too confined.

Frankly, I reject the flood entirely… which will save you and I a great deal of time!!!

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You’re saying that the flood was planned from the very beginning? And each miracle you have to add makes the story that much less plausible. Did Joshua tell you about that miracle too?

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  1. I reject the flood story.

  2. But the point of GAE is to accommodate various interpretations of God’s action WITHOUT overturning the evidence provided by nature.

If God controls the genealogical progression… that is providential (!)… not intrinsically miraculous.

I don’t understand the difference. How would he control the progression (by which I assume you mean the dispersal or lack thereof)?

Or someone who wants an excuse to consider some other people not human. As many Christians have done.


Providential activity is planning the future, using big and small strokes of natural law to accomplish the desired end.

If God doesn’t lead his flock to wander too far abroad then it doesn’t require too big a flood to eliminate who he wants.

After the flood, God can accelerate the genealogical affect by selectively leading his flock to wander more than they used to.

How does one use “big and small strokes of natural law”? How does that sort of intervention differ from a miracle?

No, what would be required is not failure to lead but some kind of restriction. Perhaps a wall? Because people would naturally move around if not so restricted. How did God restrict the movements of Adam’s descendants? How did he prevent them from interbreeding with people in the next village or encampment over?

More required miracles. Note that @Swamidass’s model does not incorporate miracles or even “providential activity”.

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That is entirely correct.

So, while I have you, does your model take only 2000 years for full genealogical coalescence?


When my Pilgrim ancestors arrived in the New World… if a large school of fish were harvested just in time to deflect a time of famine, that would be considered Providence, or a Providential action by God.

Does this mean God produced the school of fish by miraculous means? Or does it mean that God arranged for the forces and powers of nature to produce the school of fish just in time for it to be of great use to God’s faithful?

Naturally, every Christian has his own opinion on such matters. But there is no doubt that there is a difference between God using miraculous powers, versus God simply arranging natural processes to produce what he wants to happen.

Were you not raised in a home where such matters were discussed, John? I find it so very odd that I have to answer questions that many Christian youngsters are perfectly able to answer… or a man of the world, such as yourself!

And based on @swamidass’s first reply to me, he doesn’t appear to support what @gbrooks9 is suggesting, since it doesn’t appear to be scientifically tenable. Y’all’s argument seems pointless in that case.

And I’m left still confused about the flood. :laughing: (though not looking for advice about it from people who don’t believe there even was a flood)



I think you might be confused by what @swamidass is saying and not saying.

Do you REALLY think Joshua rejects the idea of God harnessing the powers of nature ?

Doesn’t Joshua readily accept the idea that God could be using evolutionary processes to arrive at the creation he wants? Doesn’t Joshua readily accept that God can create rain storms by means other than the exquisitely miraculous >

The question there is how God would do the arranging.

Why is there no doubt? What does “arranging natural processes” even mean? And I could do with a little less condescension. If Christian youngsters are able to answer, why aren’t you?


You crack me up. How does God arrange for a rain storm? I think it is more than enough to simply recognize there ARE miraculous actions by God… and there are non-miraculous acts arranged by God.

Certainly you don’t think every rain storm God wants is because he turns it into a miraculous event, right?

I think @boscopup is right, my argument about universal genealogical ancestry does not depend on miracles or providence.

Of course, I do believe God providentially governs all things, so that is another matter.

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In the most optimistic models, MRCA is at 2000 years, but I focus the result of 4000 years for nearly IAP under less optimistic assumptions. Of course, you already know this.

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There… now you can put Joshua on the rack. Unless you intuitively understand how Joshua can present an argument that doesn’t require providence, and yet he still personally believes in providence.

It is a methodological issue. It is only a scientific argument if I’m not relying on miracles to make my case. As soon as you appeal to miracles and providence, it’s technically possible, but you’ve substantially weakened the argument. More importantly, I never rely on providence to make my case in my book.

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Please note the not in the sentence!

The GAE methodology is not trying to convince Atheists to become Christians… it is trying to convince Christians how far they can get WITHIN their faith - - to embrace science.