Personal Questions | VBVM Staff | Jan-02-2010
Q. If all men came from Adam and Eve in Mesopotamia, how did the Indians of North America get to America?
A. From the account of the Flood in Genesis, we can make some assumptions as to how different peoples were dispersed around the world after the Flood.
It’s pretty clear from looking at a world map that the major continents fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Most geologists believe that all of the land masses were together as a single piece of land. This “supercontinent” has been called “Pangea” (from the Greek “pan”, meaning entire, and “gaia” for earth), pictured here in this graphic.
Scientists debate how quickly Pangea broke apart. Those believing in evolution tend to view this as occurring over millions or even billions of years. Since evolution is inconsistent with Scripture, we knoiw this must have occured over a much shorter period of time, most likely as a result of the Flood. Let’s see how Scripture describes this event.
In Genesis 7:11, we read:
This was the first rain that ever fell upon the earth, as we read elsewhere in Genesis that God previously sent up a mist that watered the earth. There was probably adequate water in the atmosphere and from fountains below the earth to cover the world in water.
Regardless, it’s important to note in the text “all the fountains of the great deep burst open." Clearly, there were large amounts of water under the earth that burst open when God sent the Flood. This is likely what led to Pangea breaking apart.
How quickly this happened Scripture does not tell us. However, we do know from Genesis 7:21-23 that:
All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark.
So, from Scripture and from the world today we can know the following: Noah and his family were the only humans on the face of the earth; it would have taken time for Noah and his family to repopulate the earth; we now find humans on every major continent on the earth (apart from Antarctica); and 4) there is archaeological evidence that peoples have lived on every continent for thousands of years, including some like the Indians of North America and the Aborigines of Australia, who show no history of sea navigation.
From these facts, we can safely conclude that men walked to North America and Australia rather than traveling by ship. Given this data, we can conclude that there must have been a way for peoples to travel from continent to continent by land. Scripture does not address this potic specifically, so we have to make some assumptions from scientific findings.
Some scientists theorize there were “land bridges” connecting the continents for a time as they moved apart. So, as the Lord broke apart Pangea during the Flood, He did slowly enough to allow time for Noah's descendents to migrate acorss these bridges. God have mankind this direction originally in Genesis 8:17 saying,
Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.
It’s impossible to say exactly how fast this occurred, but this is a plausible explanation consistent with scripture explaining how peoples were disbursed to the several continents. Over time, these land bridges became submerged in the oceans or broke free from the continents. Even today, the continents (the earth’s plates) continue to move, which is why we have earthquakes.
Scripture also tells us that God purposely scattered the peoples throughout the earth. This occurred at the tower of Babel. In Genesis 10, God tells of the various families of the sons of Noah that repopulated the earth. Genesis 10:25 says,
Two sons were born to Eber; the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother's name was Joktan.
Peleg means “division," while earth here can mean land or inhabitants. In Genesis 11:4-9, we read that there was only one language in all the earth, and we encounter the story of the tower of Babel. The story is encapsulated in the following verses:
Clearly, the Lord did not want the people to stay in one place. Rather, He wanted them to scatter abroad, which God accomplished by creating different languages. It’s logical to assume that those who could understand one another stayed together and were traveled together to one part of the earth, and likewise for every distinct language group.
It’s also possible that Genesis 10:25 refers to both the division of the inhabitants of the earth as well as the division of the continents. However, this is unlikely, because such an event (the continents being divided rather rapidly at the time of the tower of Babel) would probably be recorded in human history. For example, most ancient cultures have an account of the Flood, no doubt handed down from Noah and his sons.
Since we have no other recorded event where the continents suddenly and rapidly moved apart, we rest on the explanation that the continents moved during the flood. Similarly, land bridges are likely the best explanation for how the peoples moved from one continent to another.