Question: What Happened to the Bones and Remains of the People who Died During the Flood?

Answer: This is an excellent question. The Bible tells us that everything that wasn’t on the ark died.[1] We don’t know the population of the earth at that time, but while some use current population growth rates to estimate population and arrive at fairly large numbers anywhere from 750 million to estimates as high as 10 trillion), I don’t think that is a necessary conclusion, especially in light of rapidly declining lifespans and high mortality rates leading up to the flood. I would postulate that the human population on earth would have been much lower than that (in large part because I wouldn’t use a uniformitarian model to calculate population growth rates). But regardless, there were still many people who died in the diluvian judgment. But what happened to their remains and why don’t we hear about them?

That event wasn’t too long ago – perhaps around 2350 BC, and because of the recency the flood, the human fossils from the flood wouldn’t gain much attention. There wouldn’t be much to distinguish them because (in the Biblical model) they wouldn’t have looked much different than human remains today (the Bible’s cosmology contradicts the theory of evolution, but even if it didn’t, 4,000 years wouldn’t be enough to show major evolutionary change). Also, because the Bible asserts the event was a global flood, the remains would have been scattered and buried all over the world, on mountains, in valleys, under oceans, etc. So, it would be difficult to identify exact timing and cause of death. Geological dating methods aren’t (ironically) an exact science, as illustrated in discussions of the Mount. St. Helens eruption of 1980. For these reasons, human fossils that are only four millennia old wouldn’t garner much attention. Further, if I am correct that the human population on earth was very low (due to decreasing lifespans, wars, and other causes), then there simply wouldn’t be much to look for.

The loss of life in that judgment was horrific, and a terrible reminder of the cost of sin. I am most thankful that God said He wouldn’t judge humanity in that way again,[2] and am even more grateful for the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for our sin so that we could have life in Him rather than undergo the judgment and (spiritual) death we deserve.

[1] Genesis 7:21-23.

[2] Genesis 8:21-22.