How Many People Died in Noah's Flood?

March 22, 2024

There are those who reject the Biblical record of a global Flood in the days of Noah as a mythological event. Others accept it as a literal record of a tremendous cataclysm involving not only a worldwide deluge, but also great tectonic upheavals and volcanic outpourings.

The New Testament records that only eight people survived the Flood, including Noah, his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their wives. Anyone outside the Ark perished.

It is unclear how many people lived on the Earth before the Flood, because Genesis 5 lists 10 generations between Adam and Noah, covering a period of 1656 years. This is a very conservative estimate, since family lines for which men sired children starting around 20 could easily produce many more generations over this period.

Answers in Genesis (AiG) has published an article that attempts to calculate the pre-Flood world population. This article uses a very different approach than the one used by scientists who study evolutionary biology.

This is because the AiG article assumes that family lineages in the pre-Flood world were very much like those of our modern societies, where the average number of children born to each man was approximately ten. AiG notes that the patriarchs in Genesis 5 had a much higher average number of children than the current average, because they had much longer lifespans and sired children at much younger ages.

Furthermore, it was common for ancient patriarchs to have multiple wives and large families, especially among the noble classes. This, coupled with the fact that the average age at which a biblical patriarch's named son was born was about 160, shows that these people continued to have children into their late teens and beyond.


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