Before the DelugeQUESTION: What was the world like before the deluge?ANSWER:
The biblical account of primordial man offers some clues as to what the world might have been like before the deluge. It tells us that people lived much longer than they do today (see Genesis 5) and that they, along with certain animals which are now known to be carnivorous or at least omnivorous, were strictly vegetarian (Genesis 1:29-30; Genesis 9:1-3).
The reasonably exponential decay of life expectancy rates following the flood and the prevalence of indigenous flood accounts which report increased longevity among the antediluvians support the biblical account of longer life before the deluge. Roman-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus cited these pagan accounts in his apologetic of the biblical account: “Now I have for witnesses to what I have said [concerning increased longevity among the antediluvians], all those that have written Antiquities, both among the Greeks and barbarians; for even Manetho, who wrote the Egyptian History, and Berosus, who collected the Chaldean Monuments, and Mochus, and Hestieus, and, besides these, Hieronymus the Egyptian, and those who composed the Phoenician History, agree to what I here say: Hesiod also, and Hecatseus, Hellanicus, and Acusilaus; and, besides these, Ephorus and Nicolaus relate that the ancients lived a thousand years. But as to these matters, let every one look upon them as he thinks fit” (Antiquities of the Jews,
I, iii, 9).
Bible scholars speculate as to what might have caused the drop in life expectancy after the flood. Some believe that the flood caused dramatic atmospheric changes which allowed more UV light and other cosmic radiation to penetrate the atmosphere, thereby increasing radiological harm to terrestrial organisms and reducing human life expectancy rates. Other factors might include post-flood genetic bottlenecking which could have caused the loss of one or more of the genes crucial to longevity, or the dramatic change in diet caused by the floral devastation wrought by the flood. The latter is generally thought to have caused the change in diet following the flood. While it is known that most carnivores can live on vegetarian diets, subsequent adaptations have likely reinforced this dietary change.
Whatever the world was like before the deluge, we can be certain that the cataclysm caused dramatic changes to the planet which obviously would have had a tremendous impact upon life on Earth.