When Was the Ice Age in Biblical History?

iceagemainThe Bible doesn't say, "And then there was an Ice Age." Yet it does give us the big picture of human history -- as well as some critical details -- which help us narrow down when the ice built up and then melted away.

Just down the road from Cincinnati in the north central USA is Big Bone Lick, "the cradle of American paleontology." The discovery of huge bones from mastodons, giant sloths, and other Ice Age creatures sparked the first scientific expedition to collect vertebrate fossils in North America. In 1807 President Thomas Jefferson sent General William Clark (of "Lewis and Clark" fame) to gather bones and ship them to the White House. Among the treasures Clark found were spear points.

After two centuries of research, we now have enough information to begin recreating scenes from the rise and fall of the Ice Age. As a massive ice sheet expanded over Canada, it drove out most living things, and then it continued to push south into the Ohio valley. Eventually, the heavy snows stopped and the earth warmed. Once the ice began to melt, animals returned to Big Bone Lick, along with spear-wielding humans. Museums worldwide depict similar scenes from this unique era.

But it is still difficult to interpret the earth's dynamic past based on present, slow processes. During the Ice Age the earth's landscapes, forests, and grasslands bore little resemblance to our own. Indeed, the thick ice sheets drew so much water out of the ocean that large tracts of ocean floor became dry ground. Herds of animals wandered across a 1,000-mile-wide grassy plain that stretched from Asia across the Bering Strait to North America, and people actually lived in the lowlands between England and Europe. (Fishermen in the North Sea sometimes dredge up their stone tools, which look surprisingly similar to those found at Big Bone Lick!)

Many pieces of the "Ice Age puzzle" remain unsolved, but one thing is sure. Based on the Bible, we can be certain that the changes occurred within just a few human generations -- not over millions of years. What follows is only a benchmark based on our starting parameters.

When Did the Ice Age Begin?

The Bible gives us many clues to help us nail down the real time frame of the Ice Age. For example, when did it begin?

[Read the rest at Answers in Genesis.]