I certainly did not invent 3-dimensional math. I recall seeing models of 3-dimensional chess boards, which always fascinated me. I’m a late bloomer in the science of numbers. My claim to fame I suppose is in using 3D numbers to calculate the time of the Great Flood in the book of Genesis. Beginning in 2012 it was to be a four years study ending at the end of 2015. Actually I didn’t solve the problem of the Flood until early in 2016 when the answer just came to me out of the blue after a lot of meditation upon the numbers and switching them around back and forth until finally they made sense. I had absolutely given up any hope of finding a solution, but that’s when I was able to clear my mind and see things from a unified perspective through using four different calendar systems.
This particular study of the numbers in the book of Genesis is most directly aimed at the realms of keeping calendars and measuring distances in units of ancient times, a confrontation with space and time in the finite world. I am less concerned with the theological values that other writers have thoroughly exhausted, and thus I should confess at the onset of this telling that it is really beyond the scope of this study to look for them. Regardless, I am still compelled to provide a brief outline in context, in order to facilitate my study to others who may not be familiar with the texts themselves and their orientations.
Primarily, the universe is comprised of certain immutable laws, and when things do not add up to recognition it is the sign of a crisis moment that needs to be explained or at least examined by the seeker for truth. The Great Flood story seems to be just such one of these crisis moments that doesn’t quite add up, and this is the problem that I wanted to be able to solve, if I could.
What is the problem with the flood narrative in Genesis that makes it so difficult to grasp for the intellect that questions it?
The main problem, as I perceive it, has everything to do with the wording itself, which most readers tend to overlook and fail to take into account. The person of Noah is recorded as being 500 years at the moment when his eldest son Shem is born. One hundred years later the flood begins, but Shem is recorded as being only one hundred years of age two years after the flood. Other than being a typo or scribal error, how can this difference in ages be explained? Why haven’t other scholars taken much notice of this discrepancy in the text? These were the immediate questions that I wanted to delve into and seek for a satisfying answer.
One possible explanation that I considered was that the numbers of years do not match up is because Shem may not have been the eldest son but instead could be one of the two younger sons. If so, he had to be born sometime in Noah’s 502nd year in order for him to be exactly 100 years of age at the end of the flood. This seems like too much rationalizing to me. If such were the case the text should have stated it more clearly as was done with the other numbers throughout the Genesis text. This seemed to be a sole exception to me.
The focus should be centered on Shem as the eldest son because the other two sons turn out to be largely cardboard characters that play no direct impact on the details of the flood.
For Shem’s birthdate to be held firm at 500 years of Noah’s age, it requires him to be living under a different calendar system than his father, in order for the numbers to add up.
I assumed that “two years after the flood” in the text means “after the (beginning of the) flood” rather than “after the (end of the) flood”. The latter meaning would create further considerations about the flood that do not relieve any of the original confusion for me.
I also noticed that the flood period seems to have underwent very many different stages as told in the story. Where do I draw the line as to distinguish the exact ending point then?
As I grappled with all of these problems a weird three-dimensional world of time and space slowly started to unfold in front of my eyes.
Before going into the particulars of the solution that I uncovered I should first relate how I initially became interested in this study.
At the start of 2012 I discovered a dusty, old Bible commentary perched atop a higher shelf in the church library where I was then employed as a custodian. It was obvious that no one had perused it for some time, in favor of the newer, shinier books on the lower shelves that were much easier to reach for a shorter person than my six feet and four inches.
In the Genesis section of this tome it stated that the Great Flood period was exactly 365 days in duration (the same number of days as a solar calendar), or eleven days longer than 354 days (the lunar calendar equivalent of a year)* . This seemed a very interesting observation to me and one that I had not heard of previously.
*(One should note that the numbers I’m using here are rounded down due to the ancients not having used fractions, which are a fairly modern invention. The actual value of the Tropical calendar is 365.2422 days in a year, and the lunar is actually 354.53 in a year. Using the shortened numbers requires some kind of adjustment at some point in order to be accurate.)
Despite admiring the neat trick of getting the solar and the lunar to correlate through the algebraic expression, Lunar (x) + 11 = Solar, I came to dissent with this assertion of the flood period being 365 days after reading the passage itself in Genesis and adding up a different total of 371 days (or rounded down to an even 370 days to avoid fractions in division). Later, I confirmed this same number in another commentary on Genesis by E. F. Kervan, of 371 days.
If the flood duration was exactly 371 days long, then the calendar year would be 360 days rather than 354, but what was this unknown calendar based on?
The lack of scientific realism caused by either a year being found to be 5 days short of 365, based on the sun, or 6 days over 354, based on the moon, was acute and made no practical sense to me. I was stymied.
It then seemed reasonable to me that 360 days as the calendar unit was probably based on the degrees in a circle, but I couldn’t figure out why this would be a factor in determining the length of a year, except to standardize months into 30 days, to round up the fractional value of the lunar month of 29.5 days. But that would involve 6 extra days in a year with no extra time being alloted for them. There was also no regular pattern found for the weeks. There had to be something more to it than this.
In the modern Cartesian world of science and reason, ‘clear and distinct ideas’ are highly favored over muddled thinking. This objectification of experience leaves little space for miraculous events or dogmatic viewpoints empowered to promote religious or superstitious subjectivity. Descartes motto, “I think, therefore I am”, is a far cry from Augustine’s faith, “I am, therefore God is”, pointing to our own ability to think independently if we choose to do so, regardless of whom we believe is actually pulling the strings from above.
In order to think clearly and distinctly about time and space in Genesis requires one to endorse a clear distinction to be made between concepts of mythical time and space against the real time as it exists in the writings of Moses.
To clarify my stance, I believe that Moses was operating on the same level of operations as ourselves of a 24 hour day within a 365.25 year cycle. But there must be some further explanation of how this was made possible.
Eventually I came to the understanding that 364 days is the simplest calendar model with the last day of each year in a four years cycle being greater than 24 hours. This ingenious solution to the calendar problem removes the uncertainty of varying quantities for the days in a year, of 353, 354, 355, 383, 384, 385, of the lunar calendar, which is mind boggling.
Here the idea of evolution is more crucial than the idea of conversion. Moses’ object is not to somehow convert the ancients to his way of thinking, but to show how their failures led to his far greater successes in understanding reality. In this regard, it may be helpful to review some of the details that preceded the Mosaic perspectives.
Consider how the Egyptian calendar was comprised of a 30 day month with 3 weeks of 10 days. 12 months totaled only 360 days requiring a additional 5 days to be added in a shorter month, each day representing one of the five gods being celebrated individually. In order for a calendar of 360 days to approach the same length as 365 days requires 20 extra minutes added per day. The myth is that the god Thoth diced with the goddess Isis to win those 20 minutes per day to transfer to the last five days of the year.
But the solar year of 365 days is still short of a terrestial year by a quarter of a day. How did they know this? The dog star Sirius appeared annually in the heavens at the flooding of the banks of the Nile. Even though this flooding ordinarily began at this same moment during the calendar year, the results of the flood itself were not always conducive to agriculture with far more years of alternating drought and over flooding occurring where no crops were possible to sow or reap. It must have been a hard life, and one that provided much introspection about the way things were, or how they should be if one could find a way out of the dilemma.
In effect, this outlook caused the Egyptians to develop two ideas of a year. One was based on their civil calendar of 365 days and the other on the true value of 365.25 days based on the regularity of the appearing of the star. It would be absurd to say that Moses was ignorant of these values, since it is later claimed in the Bible that he was educated in all of the ways of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22).
In the practical affairs of state, the workmen of Egypt had to receive rations on a daily basis. To receive a quarter of a day rations had no apparent value to them, and so the Egyptian calendar was forced to wander for 1461 shortened years by a quarter of a day before catching up to 1460 longer years, known as the Sothic cycle.
It is logical and therefore reasonable to conclude that the Hebrew calendar provided a better solution to the problem of time because it employed a much shorter duration of time to serve the same purposes.
The simplicity of the 364 day year is so clear and distinct that any other way of marking time for the Hebrews would be as confusing as the various calendars which preceded it. Accepting the necessity of a single day being more than 24 hours is something that the Egyptians never would have conceived of in their rigid keeping of time to honor their gods and in order to maintain their unchanging world views.
Grounded in the truth of the scriptures, Augustine could say ‘God is’ but he did not author this truth. Truth comes out of a uniquely Jewish perception that formed the foundations of a new monotheistic religion in the time of Moses. Some of Augustine’s own ideas were later adopted during the Inquisition to make life on earth hellish for those who disagreed. Likewise, the Protestant reformer Martin Luther had strong opinions against Jews which seem to be of a bigoted nature today.
After coming to these kinds of reckonings about numbers as truth to be utilized in problem solving, imitating God’s own ordering in creation, I was ready to tackle the calendar unit used by Moses, which indeed seems to be 360 days in a year. It became obvious to me that two different time scales were being used, one for the ages of the persons in the flood, and another one for the flood itself. In other words, Noah and his son were both under the same calendar but the flood was on some other clock. Stretching of the mind is what was required in order to ascertain truth in this case.
The measuring stick of eleven hundred years from Noah to the end of Shem’s bloodline at the person of Lot is the clue given that allows the solution to be known. This solution did not fully come to me until sometime during the fifth year of crunching the numbers. In the process I discovered a totally new calendar cycle of 480 days based on 24 hrs and 21 minutes in a day. A copy of this real-time calendar can be studied here, as well as some other inventions and puzzles that I uncovered along the way such as my 3-D Stars and The Great Houdini Caper, which do not require any Biblical knowledge.
I hope this study will provide many hours of fun and relaxation for you. If the stress on your brain particles becomes too intense, simply take a break and come back later on. It might make more sense if you don’t suffer a mental breakdown in the process!