Changing the way we look at the world
In the days of Peleg

In this blog post I want to have a look at Genesis 10v25: 
Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided. 
Peleg (the great-great grandson of Shem) was born in 2247 BC, about a hundred years after the flood.

To understand the importance of the verse we need to know a little about Nimrod who is also mentioned in chapters 10 and 11 of Genesis. 
Nimrod was the grandson of Ham and although we cannot be sure when he was born it would be at least 40 or 50 years after the flood. He is believed to have been a leader of the united humanity. He set up a false religion with a tower, which was to “reach to the heavens”, as a focal point. When Peleg was born the tower of Babel would probably have been under construction.
The people of the earth were united under Nimrod’s rule in opposition to God’s command to fill the whole earth. The tower of Babel was a symbol of this opposition. But God didn’t let the people remain united. Instead the LORD confused them by giving the people different languages. Many people think that this is what verse 25 of chapter 10 is referring to. A division of the people into different language groups and the break-up of Nimrod’s kingdom.

Some people think that it also refers to the actual splitting up the land into different continents, separating them by the sea as well. 

It is this idea that I would like to examine. 

Peleg’s name has the same root as the verb to split, divide, cleft, so Genesis 10v25 is a play on words which emphasises the importance of the events of that time.  
A form the verb in Job 38:25 is translated “cleave” as in a channel for rain. 

The word translated earth can also be translated land. 

Therefore, an alternative interpretation of this verse is that in the days of Peleg the original post flood continent was cleaved by water into the continents we have today. This was to start of continental drift.
If this is correct Eber, the father of Peleg, gave him that name because the land was being split or would be split apart and separated by water during Peleg’s lifetime. 

However, most creationists believe that this verse is NOT referring to continental drift, but rather a splitting of the population of the world into different language groups. But it could be both! 
The main argument against this view is that the resulting tectonic activity would have caused a second worldwide flood. See for example the article found here
However, this is not necessarily the case if the continental plates took decades or even centuries to move to their current position. As the land started to break up there would have been considerable continent-wide flooding and geological activity, with consequent extinctions of localised groups of animals, but not worldwide and there would have been areas of relative calm. 

The other issue is that we read that Noah’s ark came to rest on “Ararat”. Logically if this is the present-day Ararat then it must have been there at the time the flood waters receded. If this is the case, then all the rocks of mount Ararat would have formed by the flood waters and existed when Noah and his family left the ark. If this scenario is accepted, then almost all the sedimentary rocks are flood rocks. 

However, the mountain known as Ararat has been called by the name Ararat (in the West) since the Middle Ages, when it began to be identified with "mountains of Ararat" described in the Bible as the resting place of Noah's Ark. It is quite possible that the Ararat of Genesis is in a different place. 

There are also problems with the idea that most of the sedimentary rocks are flood rocks. There is a lot of evidence of biological processes which require more than a year in various sedimentary rock layers. Also, there is evidence that air-breathing creatures lived on sedimentary rocks shortly after they were deposited and were buried by mass flooding events.

To see the significance of this we need to remember that the Bible tells us that all air breathing creatures perished in the flood, yet there are footprints of animals walking around on Devonian rocks (conventional age of 419 million years ago (Mya), to 359 Mya). For these footprints to be preserved the underlying rocks - Silurian, Ordovician and Cambrian would have had to have been formed - and then the creatures responsible for the tracks would have had to walked on newly formed Devonian rocks. Not only are there footprints in the Devonian rocks but also flowering plants. This is consistent with the idea that the Devonian rocks were laid down after the flood and after land plants and animals spread on the newly exposed land surface which was later buried by Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks – all of which have footprints of land animals. Yet many creationists believe these rocks to be flood rocks all laid down as the year-long worldwide flood came to an end. 

Flood geologists come up with many ingenious theories to try and fit all this evidence into a year long flood.
However, if the majority of the sedimentary rocks were formed during post flood catastrophic events caused by moving continental plates there is plenty of time to lay down all these rocks and plenty of time for animals and plants to reproduce grow and spread over the land in between periods of catastrophic geological activity. In fact, these events could be correlated with the mass extinctions which are known to have occurred at the end of various geological eras.