Pastoral Q & A: How Did Animals Recolonize the World After the Flood?
Over the last few months I’ve been preaching through Genesis 6-9, the chapters that relate the story of the Flood in the days of Noah. I’ve emphasized a couple of times how Scripture clearly indicates a global flood. For example, in chapter 6, God says, “Everything that is on the earth shall die.” And chapter 7 says that “all the high mountains under heaven were covered.”
That led a parishioner to ask me about the redistribution of animals around the world after the Flood. For instance, how do we account for kangaroos in Australia? If they were on the Ark, how did they get to Australia after the Flood?
When we start with what the Word of God says, we have some facts at hand. One is that there was indeed a flood that covered the entire planet. Another fact is that after the Flood, the animals were sent out from the Ark “that they may swarm on the earth” (Gen 8:17). Kangaroos are part of a family of creatures known as macropods. Noah didn’t need to take one example of each of the species of macropods. He just needed a pair of their kind or family (Gen. 6:20). After the flood, a macropod pair would have gone out from the Ark and somehow their kind eventually found their way down under.
But how? The Bible doesn’t tell us. But creationists do have some good theories which start with the biblical facts and are consistent with them. One possibility is floating to Australia on rafts of driftwood and other debris from the Flood. Another possibility has to do with sea levels. Some suggest that, after the Flood, sea levels were quite a bit lower than they are today. There is evidence of a post-Flood Ice Age which involved significant glaciation. Prior to the melting of all that ice, there could have been numerous land bridges connecting what today are separate islands and even continents. It could have been a combination of rafts and land bridges as well. Another, probably more remote, possibility is that humans brought kangaroos to Australia as a food source.
So why aren’t kangaroos found elsewhere in the world? If we take Genesis seriously, they must have been at one point (at least while they were en route to Oz), but either the whole population travelled the distance rather fast or they became extinct in other regions. If the latter, we don’t know how.
I haven’t answered every objection or gone into every aspect of this issue, I know. To do so, would take much more space. If you’d like to do more reading about it, I suggest the following:
From Answers in Genesis, “How Did Animals Spread All Over the World from Where the Ark Landed?” by Paul F. Taylor
From Creation.com, “Post-Flood log mats potentially can explain biogeography,” by Michael J. Oard
From Creation.com, “The Red Blanket: Australia’s red fox sheds light on migration after the Genesis Flood,” by Philip Robinson
Be assured that the Bible’s account of the Flood can be trusted. Even if we don’t know all the answers, God assuredly does. He reveals the truths we need to know and for the rest, we can theorize, but ultimately we believe his Word.