Why do names of places appear in both pre-Flood and post-Flood? Does this refute a global Flood that should have destroyed such places?
When we read in Genesis 6–9, it is obvious that there was a global Flood. So, the alleged contradiction is that some pre-Flood place names reappear after the Flood. For example, Table 1 illustrates the most common ones:
|Name||Bible Reference Pre-Flood||Bible reference Post-Flood||Person|
|Havilah||Genesis 2:11||Genesis 10:7, 29||Noah’s grandson through Ham; Noah’s great, great, great, great grandson through Shem|
|Cush||Genesis 2:13||Genesis 10:6||Noah’s grandson through Ham|
|Asshur||Genesis 2:14 (NIV)||Genesis 10:22||Noah’s grandson through Shem|
|Tigris||Genesis 2:14 (NIV)||Genesis 10:4||River in modern-day Iraq|
|Euphrates||Genesis 2:14||Genesis 15:18||River in modern-day Iraq|
The answer to this conundrum is quite simple, but let’s use some illustrations so that we can better understand this.
With this in mind, it should be fairly easy to see how names could easily have been transferred through the Flood. Ham’s grandson was likely named after the land of Havilah. Cush was Ham’s son, and Asshur was Shem’s son. Noah, Ham, and Shem lived before the Flood and would have been aware of these regions. And, of course, these names have gone on to become names of regions where some of these people settled after the dispersal of the Tower of Babel. Cush is modern-day Ethiopia; Asshur was where Assyria developed into a great nation and so on.
For example, if I were to mention the “Thames River,” most people would quickly think of a river in southern England. However, the state of Connecticut in the U.S. and Ontario, Canada, also have a river named Thames. When people settled in the Americas from Europe, they named some of these rivers for rivers they were familiar with. Why would we expect Noah and his descendants to do any differently. The Tigris and Euphrates that we know today in modern day Iraq were named for the famous headwaters in the Garden of Eden.
There is no contradiction, but merely a situation of renaming new places, rivers, and people with previously used names.