There are many issues raised if one follows a literal teaching regarding the Great Flood in Genesis but here I'm asking specifically about different people-groups.

We're told that the whole world was covered and only humans on the ark survived. These were presumably all middle-eastern people. So put bluntly, where did all the black people and oriental people, not to mention indigenous peoples like Australian Aboriginals, come from?

Is there an accepted or common explanation to this question? Literal teaching of the Flood is quite widespread even in demographics with a high level of education which implies there is an answer people find plausible to reconcile with the spread of different ethnicities.

  • The linked question/answers above deal with race itself, as an issue, and deal, also, with races post Flood.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 15:30
  • I don't know if it has a definitive answer but it does seem to broadly be the same question. Without the flood we have the same question if one believes in a literal Adam/Eve, this just moves the timeline a bit. @NigelJ
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 15:31
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    I think ethnicity is explained by the tower of Babel, races are explained by God's grace in providing for human adaptation. The only problem with Biblical literalism might be the timeline.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 15:37
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    @PeterTurner quite a big problem though!
    – Mr. Boy
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 15:45
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    It is worth noting that blue eyes are now considered to be a 'mutation' occurring at a definite juncture in time and within a definite bounded location. Wikipedia eye color If blue eyes are a spontaneous genetic alteration during history then it opens up the consideration that other human features could also be spontaneous genetic alterations at specific periods in human history, post-Flood.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


To account for ethnic diversity on the planet, people who hold to a 'literal' view of The Flood and also ascribe to a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) view (Earth is several thousand years old) have to move the creation of the diverse genotypes which underlies the diverse phenotypes that make up contemporary humanity into a very compressed period.

This site, which has a YEC point of view, claims "The Biblical data places the Flood at 2304 BC ± 11 years." That would be 2304 + 2021 = 4324 years ago for the genotypic diversity to occur.

Yet, it would have had to happen even quicker than that, as we know there was significant genotypic diversity well before the present day, due to various historical accounts. So we're probably talking at most a couple thousand years to create at least a significant part of the genotypic diversity we see in the world.

At 20 years per generation, that only allows 100 generations for specific genotypes to emerge from the genetic bottle-neck of the Flood. (Note that it is not clear how long various generations would be, given the age of humans is longer at the time of Noah per the Bible, and so there might be significantly fewer generations than this.)

This answer is perhaps the typical answer to the question: "The physical characteristics of various ethnic groups developed in these isolated groups due to the sorting and isolation of genetic information already present in man’s DNA. The information in that DNA had originally been present in Adam’s DNA and has just been shuffled and sorted. Therefore, the development of so-called races has nothing to do with molecules-to-man evolution. All people groups are still humans, descended from one original human."

In other words, the development of ethnic differences would be similar to the process used in the development of dog breeds, where the emphasis isn't on novel genetic mutations (say) but selective breeding based on an existing genetic repertoire. Of course, humans exert extremely strong selective pressures to create new dog breeds, and it's not clear how analogous natural selective pressures would be in this regard.

  • Whoever gave the down-vote, care to give a comment saying why? Would be great manners. Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 21:43

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