Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Incredible Journey (Part Two)

By Bethany Youngblood

Artist Depiction of Tower of Babel
Wikimedia Commons
(Be sure to read Part One of The Incredible Journey if you missed it!)

How Did They Go?

Now that we have a general idea of what direction these groups of people where headed in, how did they get there? It is an exhausting exercise to imagine that everyone simply walked all those miles day after day after day until finally arriving in some random place that looked like home. So was this migration some sort of mad dash, or a slow trek?

The evolutionary standpoint has man (or Homo-sapiens) migrating extremely slowly taking tens of thousands of years to get anywhere of interest. (We will go into how quickly man could have populated the globe a little later though.) Their reasoning is based on the assumption that man was still evolving into during those tens of thousands of years. In other words man wasn’t yet capable of conquering what lay before him. But we know different.

Ancient man could have populated the globe in a relatively short period of time just by using the skills and characteristics God created in him: intelligence and resourcefulness. When the people scattered they would have split into family groups that spoke the same language. These groups would have taken their own share of civilization-building knowledge from the Tower of Babel and carried that with them wherever they went. The migration did not have to happen in one continuous burst. Populations could have moved along at a leisurely pace, following herds of game while they needed to and settling down when they found a prime piece of real estate. In a few years a younger generation could pick up the pace and migrate further, again, taking their intelligence and abilities with them.

Over Land

It makes sense how ancient man would have traveled through valleys and over mountains to reach areas like Africa, Europe, and Asia, but what about reaching a more remote landmass like North and South America? Is it possible they simply walked over? Actually yes, this is a very plausible and accepted theory. The most likely route ancient man could have taken to get into North America would be to cross the Bering Strait.

The Bering Strait is a narrow sea between the easternmost tip of Russia and the westernmost tip of Alaska. The Strait currently separates the Asian and North American continents by 58 miles and has a water depth of 100-165 feet.[1] But under the frigid waters of the Strait we can see evidence of the submerged landmass known as Beringia[2], the Bering Land Bridge. This bridge made it possible for ancient man to walk all the way from modern day Iraq to Alaska.

But this would have had to happen within a very short window of opportunity. As mentioned earlier the Ice Age played a large role in reshaping the landscape after the Flood. As it progressed it would have steadily lowered the ocean levels by depositing the water on land in icy sheets. According to atmospheric scientist, Mike Oard and based on Ussher’s dates, the Ice Age would have peaked 400 years after Babel[3]. So the migrating people had two opportunities:

  1. Early in the Ice Age – Starting with the knowledge that the Ice Age caused sea levels to rise and fall we can safely operate under the assumption that the Bering Strait might have easily been shallower than it is today early in the Ice Age. Between 100 and 400 years after Babel, the pile up of snow and ice would have briefly exposed the land beneath the Strait for ancient man to simply walk across and enter Alaska! Also, at this early stage of the Ice Age there would have been an ice-free corridor stretching from the Yukon all the way down into the American Rockies. Within this timeframe there could have even been more than one wave of immigrants to enter the continent.
  2. The Hybrid Option – While most of the migrations into the Americas were over land, some groups could have tried for traveling down the Pacific coastline. A hybrid approach, they could have walked where they could and constructed boats to float them the rest of the way.

Over Sea

Wait, boats? Does your mental image of ancient man traveling to populate the globe not include them traveling by boat? Land bridges to places like the Americas and Australia would have only been available for a short time, whereas boats could be used whenever someone had need of them. In fact travel by boats would explain later populations on Hawaii and people groups in South America like the Olmec.

It may seem obvious, but we very often need reminding; these people were the descendants of the great ship builder Noah and his three sons. The knowledge required to craft boats would have naturally been passed on to younger generations and carried across the globe just like the knowledge of farming and city building. These boats didn’t even need to be as impressive as the Ark to do the job of crossing even the Atlantic Ocean to populate new lands. One modern experiment performed on May 17th, 1970 by Thor Heyerdahl set out to prove that a boat built solely out of totora reeds could sail from Morocco to Barbados[4]! You must also take into consideration that the oceans, due to the warmer water and lower level, may have been much milder than they are today allowing for easier passage.


The design of the Ra II was based off boats depicted on Egyptian walls, in Mesopotamia, and in Central and South American records. The mission was a success and the Ra II reached Barbados from Morocco, a journey of 3,270 miles, in 57 days[5]. For more information on boats from the ancient world check out this article on Ancient Exploration.  

How Long Did it Take?

Was this incredible journey possible within a biblical timeframe? Absolutely! There is no need for tens of thousands of years in the equation here.

Michael Oard states in his book “Frozen in Time” that:

“The journey from the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers to the southern tip of South America did not need to be a grueling journey, as some have envisioned, nor did it need to take a long time. If the tribes were nomadic hunters and they averaged two miles a day for only four of the warmest months, they would move at the rate of 250 miles (400 km) a year. The distance to the southern tip of South America is about 15,000 miles (24,000 km). At the rate of 250 miles (400 km) each summer, the people could have made the journey in only 60 years.”[6]

Sixty years would be the speedy minimum as it is possible the people were moving much slower than this. But it does put things into perspective. A few hundred years is more than enough time for ancient man to have spread to fill all corners of the globe. 


So, this incredible, seemingly impossible journey between the dispersion of Babel and the civilizations that sprung up after the migration can be explained from a biblical perspective. Surely that journey must have been filled with countless tales of adventure and danger as the people settled and grew into the civilizations history would later record.

Having mankind divided into languages was a judgment from God, but that did not prevent Him from using the event to His Glory. In actuality, God commanded mankind to multiply, spread out, and fill the earth in Genesis 9:1! It was their rebellion against His command that brought them together at Babel and therefore God confused their languages, and His judgment forced them to scatter and obey. Our beautifully diverse peoples, languages, and cultures are a direct result of this event. And through every event throughout ancient man’s story we are never left without defense when it comes to the authority of God and His Word.

 Be sure and read Part One if you missed it!

[3] Bodie Hodge.


[5] Ibid

[6] Michael Oard.

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