Science in Christian Perspective


The Relationship between Immanuel Velikovsky and Christian Catastrophists
Cuyahoga Community College 
Parma, Ohio 44130

From: JASA 25 (December 1973): 140-146.


Two decades have passed since Immanuel Velikovsky released his book called Worlds in Collision. The work, which received considerable popular acclaim, maintained that in the fifteenth and eighth centuries B.C. the Earth experienced catastrophes of global proportions. Velikovsky argued that the source of these global holocausts was a massive near-approaching comet which finally collided with Mars, lost its tail and became the planet Venus. Later catastrophes occurred, one of particularly great significance in 687 B.C. when Mars nearly collided with the Earth due to the fact that the comet had shifted it into an orbit closer to the Earth.

Such concepts caused a storm of protest in American circles, much of it being absurd. The reader will find in our footnotes suitable leads to pursue such information as needed.1

Our purpose here is to note that out of this academic upheaval ultimately permanent changes occurred in intellectual circles including, the Christian. Velikovsky, whether right or wrong in his individual applications, introduced the idea that the source of great catastrophes in antiquity was outside of the Earth itself. The academic community which largely subscribed to the idea of evolution posited the concept that the solar system had been untouched by cosmic disturbances for eons of time. With this premise as a fundamental assurance, the scientists could securely proclaim that processes that go on in nature in the present age were the same processes with the same magnitude which occurred for eons of time. This is the heart of uniformitarianism, the intellectual foundation of organic evolution.

This paper must depart, however, from these introductory remarks to consider specifically the relationship between Velikovsky's concepts of catastrophism and concepts of catastrophism held by representative Christian writers. Representative positions will be used be cause a short paper cannot begin to cover all of the published materials on Biblical catastrophism. Accordingly, this paper reflects largely the concepts of Henry Morris, Donald W. Patten and my own. The writer makes the assumption that only theistically controlled catastrophism is to be compared with the system of Immanuel Velikovsky. This study vies for attention by means of the proposition that in a very recent and an extremely short period of time all aspects of the history of all forms of organic life were accomplished.

The comparisons are made at several topic levels: namely creation, the flood, and post-flood catastrophes. Accordingly, the views of the separate writers will be considered on each of these topics.

Comparative Views on Creation

Velilcovsky on Creation

Very significantly we do not find Velikovsky referring to the beginnings of the solar system or the universe. Velikovsky was not concerned about beginnings, only change in the solar system which affected the Earth. Velikovsky assumed evolution is a fact but disputed the mechanisms as to how those evolutionary processes were accomplished.

Velikovsky leaned heavily upon two British cosmologists, W. H. MeCrea and H. A. Lyttleton.2 McCrea has theorized that no planet could have originated inside the Jovian orbit, given a nebular hypothesis. Lyttieton put forth a complementary theory noting that the terrestrial planets originated from Jupiter through disruption caused by too rapid rotation when Jupiter was formerly much larger than at present. Thus Velikovsky believes in a nebular hypothesis with stages of development for the inner terrestrial realm. By Lyttleton's model Velikovsky would make the Earth older than Venus.

Henry Morris is am engineer who has concerned himself to a considerable degree in his professional career of teaching 
with hydraulic engineering. In a team effort with John C. Whitcomb Jr., Morris and Whitcomb put forth a significant concept when they stated that the Earth and the organic life upon it were created with the "appearance of age.3 Morris' view of instantaneous maturity of all organic life is a logical approach to a creation process which spans only six days.4 Furthermore by virtue of this six-day creation Morris handily disposes of the "gap theory" which assumes there were pre-Adamic forms of life on the Earth, all of which were destroyed by floods or judgments in the so-called interval between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.5 Certainly the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1-2 would seem to support the "gap theory" only if it is seriously distorted by means of unsound principles of syntax. However, Morris does state "The first verse, incidentally is not a dependent clause (i.e. "in the beginning, when God was creating . . . the earth was without form . ")"Genesis 1:1 cannot be treated incidentally and a closer look is required in this paper.

Morris, then, assumes a "full grown" universe is accomplished within 6 days and that this system of matter, space, and time continues with the present principles of conservation and deterioration governing everything in the physical universe. Our space is too brief to include Morris' applications of these principles, the first and second laws of thermodynamics. We must confine ourselves to note that he finds that no empirical exceptions are to be found to these principles. There is no illustration of anything now being created. On the other hand, we find an original creation running down or wearing out.7 Morris believes that evolution is impossible because no instance of gradual development from the simple to the complex organization can be found.

Donald W. Patten on Creation

The astronomer-geographer Donald W. Fatten approaches the origins of the Earth from the standpoint of (1) showing the impracticality of the helio genesis theories and (2) ascribing the origin of the Earth and many of the planets, especially the Jovian, to galactogenesis.8 Patten believes that the Sun with an immense gravity and high galactic speed may have overtaken celestial bodies which had an origin entirely separate from our solar system.9

Patten approaches this theory of galactogenesis from the standpoint of what is possible in terms of celestial mechanics. As far as the Earth is concerned, he believes that an Earth-Moon binary, which spent considerable astronomical time outside our solar system, was gravitationally swept into the present solar f amily.10 Fatten postulates that around 10 million years ago the EarthMoon system came across the outer fringes of the Sun's domain and gradually was influenced to take present proximate location and orbit about 100,000 B.C.11 During the next 95,000 years vast quantities of ice were melted, the seas were formed, the atmosphere and climate were organized. Also, during this span of time catastrophes occurred and "ammonias, hydroxyls, hydrocarbons and related compounds were deposited upon the Earth, resulting in strata of coal, pools of petroleum, and additional volumes of nitrogen in the atmosphere."12 Within the

Velikovsky, whether right or wrong in his individual applications, introduced the idea that the source of great catastrophes in antiquity was outside of the Earth itself.

atmospheric structure a canopy was developed which produces a global greenhouse effect.

In the period from 12,000-2,800 B.C., Fatten maintains, "the major part of the Earth's biology was created." Earlier phases of organic life which he attributes to the lower levels of the geological table were created chiefly in the period from 20,000-12,000 B.C.13 The Patteoian system of course precludes any form of evolution. It also gives rational explanations for the heterogeneous character of the solar system, a character which still embarrasses many astronomers.

McDowell on Creation

My own views on creation grow out of my understanding of the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1-2. I render the text as follows: "When God began to fashion the heavens and the Earth, the Earth was unorganized and empty with darkness upon the surface of the seas and the wind of God swept over the waters."

This is not the place to debate the merits of this or any other translation. For those in in the grammar and the syntax that I follow, it is simply a case of recognizing that the first two words are in construct relationship, rather than absolute forms. Manifestly, according to this view, which is as old as Medieval Hebrew grammarians, Genesis 1:1 is a dependent clause.
If the Masoretic text is allowed to speak for itself, there can be no doubt that the Earth was already in existence and that the first chapter of Genesis concerns itself with a renovating of the Earth for the purpose of making it a suitable place for organic life and especially for man who is the crowning achievement of the created forms of life. No indication is given for the age of the Earth. In this very terse explanation of Genesis 1, I must allude to the fact that I can in no way see how a "creation out of nothing" (creatio ex nihilo) can be attributed to the text. The Masoretic Hebrew text could, of course, he emended so that the first word would be in an absolute state to read "In the beginning". But the accepted text reads quite literally "In the beginning of created God" etc. "In the beginning of" is adverbial, modifying the verb and must be given the temporal sense as I have rendered it above. Furthermore, while I hold to the fact of the creation process being completed in 6 consecutive solar days, I will go no further than what the text hears out. The word for creation (bara) means in Semitic languages to shape or fashion material items. Genesis 1:27 uses it three times to describe the creation of man and woman. Those who insist on creation out of nothing should remember where man and woman came from (Genesis 2:7-22).

Paramount in my understanding of Genesis 1, is the nature of the firmament which consists of the upper waters while the seas comprise the lower waters (Genesis 1:6-10). Both Morris and Fatten believe that the upper waters consisted of a vapor canopy which afforded protection to the inhabitants of the Earth. However, I regard the raqia as the linguistic equivalent of the Indo-European torque (as it appears in English) and, therefore, as a collar, ring or disk. In the physical sense, then, I believe the firmament consisted of orbiting rings similar to those of Saturn.

The present writer links the formation of the rings of the Earth with a Pattenian type of solar system and celestial mechanics, one in which changes were induced by new elements being added to the solar system. I do not propose at this juncture which member of the solar system disrupted the oceans of the Earth gravitationally; nevertheless, I hold that astronomical quantities of water, sand gravel, and solubles were swept into orbit where, following glacioseparation (separation by freezing), the glacioseparatives took up individual orbits according to their specific gravities.
For the description of the waters which are above the heavens I would call our attention to the Hebrew word chug (bug) which means circle and which is used to describe the heavens in job 26:10, 22:14, and Isaiah 40:22. If we were to render this word in IndoEuropean languages, especially Creek, we would have to recognize that sometimes the h would appear as ch (Greek chi) and sometimes it would drop. I assume that it did drop in the case of Oceanus, the Earthencircling stream. Oceanus could he derived from Oc/g + ean + us.

The orbiting ice rings of Saturn have been captured (i.e., Fatten) or have been pulled off Saturn itself. Velikovsky maintains tersely that Saturn was once disrupted by Jupiter. While Velikovsky is interested in such disruption for other reasons, I assume that this type of disruption could have swept some light materials into orbit." It is significant that the rings are above the equator, the place where the centrifugal forces would be concentrated especially on a rapidly rotating planet. Not to be forgotten are the bands on Saturn which are parallel to the equator and, therefore to the rings. I propose they consist of materials which were hurled into suborbital arcs and as they returned to the surface of Saturn, the materials were distributed in bands parallel to the equator.

The possibility of the disruption of a planet occurring over the equator is not without further possible examples in the solar system. The two satellites of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, orbit almost precisely above the equator. The speed at Mars' equator is not high. If Mars' centrifugal forces were augmented by considerable gravitational forces, such as from the Earth on a close sweep, it is conceivable that the disruption might include the lift off of sizeable materials. Nonetheless, Uranus provides the most interesting set of circumstances. Its axis is tilted at 98°, almost lying in its orbital plane. The planet spins very rapidly: 10 hours plus 49 minutes. Additionally, the five satellites are found over the equator, an arrangement that might be expected if the planet were disrupted by outside forces.

Returning to the Earth model, I note an additional aspect of the rings orbiting the Earth. I believe that Patten is correct in stating that an old antediluvian position of the Earth's axis was approximately from Nigeria to Samoa and that the former equatorial zone is to be determined in relation to the circum-Pacific orogenetic patterns.15 This old equator approximated a circle arcing over Alaska at its greatest poleward extent in he Northern Hemisphere. It is along this old equatorial zone that, I believe, the more vastly deep, global ocean of the primeval Earth was disrupted. It is over this former equatorial zone that astronomical quantities of water, solubles, and items in suspension were swept into space, some to orbit the Earth, some to escape its gravitational control.

On the matter of mechanism I confess that I cannot identify at the present time in terms of sound celestial mechanics the object which gravitationally disrupted the Earth.

Comparative Views on the Flood 
Velikoesky on the Flood of Noah

Apparently Immanuel Velikovsky has had a manuscript on the Flood of Noah which he has held back for many years just as he did with the second volume of Ages in Chaos. In the preface to Worlds in Collision lie remarked, "Worlds in Collision comprises only the last two acts of the cosmic drama. A few earlier actsone of them known as the Deluge-will be the subject of another volume of natural history."16 He suggests in the Yale Scientific that the folkloristic material links it with a near collision of Jupiter and Saturn.17

Velikovsky's delay in releasing materials is extremely disappointing but probably stems from internal inconsistencies within his manuscripts. No one should read, for example, his Earth in Upheaval which variously describes the action of water in less than global size floods and imagine that he is speaking about the Flood of Noah. Velikovsky is speaking about catastrophes he believes occurred after 1500 B.C. Nonetheless he links with these post 1500 B.C. catastrophes the eleventh tablet of the Epic of Gilgarnesh which clearly deals with the Deluge. 18 Sad to say Vehkovsky attempted to prove cataclysmic evolution in his Earth in Upheaval.19 All he really proved was cataclysmic extinction of various forms of life.

In 1969 Velikovsky became a little more specific on the mechanisms of the Flood. He stated "In my understanding, less than 10,000 years ago, together with the Earth, the moon went through a cosmic cloud of water (the Deluge) and subsequently was covered for several centuries by water, which dissociated under the ultra-violet rays of the sun, with hydrogen escaping into space ."20 We are still left, however, without the details of the effects of this situation upon the Earth.

Morris on the Flood

In addition to presenting justification for a global flood, Morris assumes that the canopy theory provides the source for the rains that lasted forty days (Genesis 7). It is his belief that an antediluvian vapor blanket "at a high elevation in the lower atmosphere "21 would be out of reach of ordinary condensation nuclei. Thus unusual conditions would have to prevail to cause precipitation. Morris verges on astro-catastrophism by proposing that the Earth passed through a meteorite swarm but also allows for sudden vulcanism which filled the atmosphere with dust particles which would provide the necessary hygroscopic nuclei.22

In the view of this analyst, Morris' chief contribution to the understanding of the Flood of Noah is the suggestion that the order of the burial of life forms in the strata of rocks making up the geological table was dependent upon the principle of the hydrodynamic selectivity of moving water.+ This principle governs the deposition of materials according to their similarity of size, shape, and specific gravity: in other words according to the amount of drag offered to the water. Thus, according to Morris, the deposition process first laid down simple organisms near the bottom of the sediments and segregated more complex forms into distinct fauna! and floral stratigraphie horizons which has given the appearance of evolution of similar organisms in successively higher strata.

Morris' analyses of sedimentary deposits also highlights the importance of beds of evaporites, namely salt, gypsum and anhydrite. These monomineralic deposits are frequently claimed to he the by-products of long term evaporation of inland seas or lakes. Of particular interest are salt plugs or domes. Concerning the latter, Morris says, "it would seem the height of absurdity to imagine that these huge thicknesses of salt had been built by evaporation of standing water."24 Generally the domes and plugs are thought to be intrusive elements in the sedimentary layers. Morris supposes the deposits are to be attributed to the creation period and that the intrusions forming the salt domes being associated with the other volcanic and tectonic activity during the Deluge."-" This writer assumes they are indeed associated with the Deluge and also not evaporites but glacioseparatives.

Patten on the Flood

Patten's basic views on the Flood, which are highly unique, are contained in The Biblical Flood and the Ice Epoch. Patten assumes that the source of the ice is ultimately "from the remote, cold, ice abundant outer regions of our solar system or in galactic regions beyond."26 The ice was transported by an astral visitor, Mars or Mercury, either in the form of an icy satellite or orbiting ice rings. This celestial visitor approached the Earth and lost the ice it was transporting to the superior field of gravity exerted by the Earth. Under the influence of the magnetic field, the ice, whether from rings or a disrupted ice satellite, became electrically charged and most of it was deflected by the Earth's magnetic field.
The effects upon the Earth were of staggering proportions. The electrically charged particles of ice were guided mainly around the magnetic poles in the Earth's present high altitudes. Some slop-over in the middle latitude caused the precipitation of the vapor canopy which Patten like Morris assumes was in existence. From the combination of the melting ice particles, a condensed vapor canopy, and rapidly melting ice sheets formed around the magnetic poles, plus water from the fountains of the deep, the sources for the flood waters are provided by Patten. The rupture of the floor of the oceans to open the fountains of the deep leads us to one of the remarkable insights of Patten concerning mountain building.

Patten contends that during this catastrophic year of the Deluge, global mountain chains that bear direct geometric relationships to old equatorial belts were lifted up as the result of the gravity of the astral visitor acting upon the fluid contents (magma) of the Earth. The stress would have been maximum on a rotating object at the equator. Accordingly, Patten contends that the Alpine-Himalayan and cireum-Pacific zones of mountains are indicators of brief but catastrophic stress periods along these zones.27 He assumes that the astral intruder that transported the ice made two sweeps

This paper reflects largely the concepts of Henry Morris, Donald W. Patten and the authortheistically controlled catastrophism-in comparison with the system of Immanuel Velikovsky.

past the Earth to build these orogenie zones. The first sweep came at the beginning of the Flood and produced the eireum-Pacific zone; the second came at the close of the Flood. With each sweep of the visitor the axis of the Earth was radically moved.

Of profound significance is Patten's linking this orgeny with the ice dump-flood catastrophe. In Washington State ice is found sandwiched between igneous layers of rock. In Patten's view, as lava was bleeding from the Earth, simultaneously ice was being dumped upon the Earth. Accordingly, if vuleanism and the formation of ice sheets can be put together in the Northern Hemisphere, we might expect the same for the Antarctic ice sheets. Such expectations have been realized with the recent announcements that "tell-tale traces of 25 major volcanic eruptions and 2000 other minor outpourings have been found in an ice core taken from these ice sheets.28

McDowell on the Flood

It is my view that in large measure the orbiting rings which have been described above were deprived of their orbital velocities by (an) astral intruder(s) and that the ice, glacioseparatives, sands, and gravel came cascading down upon the Earth. Some struck the Earth with high velocities, some with low velocities, being affected by the magnetic field.

In relation to stratigraphy it is my view that there was temporary entombment of large numbers of specimens of continental fauna and flora. The seas were emptied by huge tidal waves and the marine life was typically deposited first according to Morris' principles of hydrodynamics. This action was followed by the thawing of the piles of space debris, some having formed mountainous heaps and ridges. The uncovered but deeply frozen life forms of the continents then were gathered by the rushing waters and later deposited according to the principles of hydrodynamic selectivity.

The role of one of the glacioseparatives is noted, namely salt. It was the major chemical soluble of the primeval ocean, and in the process of the destruction of the orbiting rings, huge deposits of the intensely chilled materials were covered rapidly by the rushing seas. After the sedimentation process was completed, these chilled materials absorbed the heat of the Earth, expanded and intruded through the beds above in the forms of salt domes and plugs. Morris is quite right in stating that the evaporites (glaeioseparatives) must be linked with "catastrophic environmental factors associated with the Flood,29 I follow Patten's ideas of mountain building under the influence of an astral intruder. However, while I see the logic of having life forms created as early as 12,000 B.C. and entombed by subsequent catastrophes before the Flood of Noah, I believe that the geological table can best be defined in terms of its association with the Flood of Noah. I believe, therefore, that the circum-Pacific and Alpine-Himalayan uplifts came late in the Flood year after the sedimentation process was essentially complete.

The flood requires, I believe, an agent to keep tides moving across the face of the Earth in order to bring about pan-continental deposition from the bottom to the top of the geological column. To me this can mean only a satellite and therefore, the Moon. The combined effort of the Moon and another intruder (and I believe this would be Mars) could have produced the tidal forces necessary to produce the mountain uplifts at the end of the Flood.

The role of the Moon as just cited could come about, it would seem, only through the process of the Earth capturing it. Reciprocal effects would be produced on the Moon with extensive mountain building, widespread outpourings of lava and, above all, the Earth's powerful magnetic field would have produced the ubiquitous remanent (fossil) magnetism now found in the formerly heated lunar rocks.30 Of great interest to me is the fact that the Moon is not mentioned in the Scriptures before Genesis 7:11 even though the name for it is a common Semitic word. Therein we read "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second Moon, the seventeenth day of the Moon..."31 I submit for consideration that this refers to the capture process of the Moon.

Finally in relation to the Flood this writer feels the reason for the Divine judgment should he discussed, even if briefly. The Book of Jubilees (5:1-8) calls the sons of God of Genesis 6:1-4 angels of God. It relates that the union of the angelic beings and women resulted in offspring which were giants. The angels also had sexual relations with animals so that the flesh of both men and animals was altered. Indeed the animals are said to have left their original orders. As for mankind, besides the Naphilim which are mentioned in Genesis 6:4, Jubilees 7:22 mentions beings who are called Naphidim which were all unlike. Additionally there was a third group of offspring called Eljo. These three groups are enumerated as distinct from original mankind. There can be no doubt that the teaching of this Jewish book is that the intermingling of the humans and the angels produced biological mutants, beings who were substantially different from the human race.

A fresh look at Genesis 6 is in order. Genesis 6:20 and 7:14 note the animals that were admitted to enter the ark were after their kind. Presumably this means that there was to be no variation from the biological kinds or species as described in Genesis 1:24. Genesis 6:12 as stated in the King James Version states that "all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." The verb used here also has the meaning in Hebrew "to be marred," "to be injured," or "to be perverted." This leaves us with the possibility that the judgment is a rescue of the remaining men and animals, who are still of the original orders of creation, from being engulfed by interbreeding into the new mutant forms. Accordingly, Genesis 6:0 should be noted carefully. The Hebrew text says that Noah was "complete in his generations." In other words he was completely a human being.

Comparative Views on Post-Flood Catastrophes 

Velikovsky on Post-Flood Catastrophes

Velikovsky concerned himself chiefly with postFlood catastrophes in his several published works, namely, Worlds in Collision, Ages in Choas, and Earth in Upheaval. As we have already noted previously, Velikovsky believed a cosmic upheaval occurred which accounted for the origin of Venus as a comet from the planet Jupiter which had become unstable due to excessive rotational speeds.

The impact of Velikovsky's ideas was far-reaching. In the physical sciences he called for a reassessment of the influence of the gravitational field of the sun upon the movement of the planets especially when there was evidence that the planets had changed orbits, including the Earth; that both the geographical position of the Earth's axis and its astronomical direction changed; that when the Earth's atmosphere came in close contact with the comet Venus or the atmosphere of Mars, extraordinary electrical discharges took place, and to highlight just one more item in a long list of influences in the physical realm, that Joshua's ordering of the Sun and Moon to stand still was not just "a tall tale for the credulous."32 The foregoing concepts along with others too numerous to elaborate upon here called for new principles of celestial mechanics. Velikovsky became skeptical about the "accepted celestial mechanics" which he maintained would be true only if the Sun "is as a whole an electrically neutral body."33 Convinced that the solar system was filled with electrical charges, Velikovsky believed that the diurnal rotation of the Earth could be impeded or stopped "by the Earth's passing through a strong magnetic field."34 It is appropriate, therefore, that Velikovsky began the list of the postFlood catastrophes with the story of the Sun and the Moon standing still as recorded in Joshua 10.

But Velikovsky also concerned himself with a reordering of the events of history during the comet stages of Venus in his second work entitled Ages in Chaos. To him the great problem of the history of antiquity was to find the link(s) between the histories of Egypt and Israel. Of concern to the historians was the fact that such a notable event was not found recorded in Egyptian annals.

Velikovsky proposed that the Papyrus Ipuwer which had been declared to he a collection of proverbs written at the end of the Old Kingdom period was actually a text describing cataclysmic events paralleling those in the Exodus account.35 Furthermore, he proposed that under the circumstances of national impotence the Hyksos, whom Velikovsky identified with the Biblical Amalekites, entered Egypt and remained in control until the time of Saul and David of Israel. By this chronological shuffling, Velikovsky makes the Israelites responsible for the rise of the New Kingdom of Egypt. According to him Saul effectively destroyed the major Amalekite garrison city by which they controlled Egypt.
The effect of this lowering of the Egyptian chronology approximates 500 years. Velikovsky fully expected the radiocarbon datings would justify his rearrangement of the Egyptian chronology. Indeed such dating methods of the Old and Middle Kingdoms typically showed the standard or conventional chronologies to be 500-800 years too old. For the New Kingdom radiocarbon datings suggest on an average, however, that the chronology should be lowered about 250 years. Nonetheless, recent tests on palm kernels and reeds from Tutankhamen's tomb tested out at 899 B.C. Velikovsky had suggested in his chronology ca. 840 B.C. for Tutankhamen.36

Morris on Post-Flood Catastrophes

Morris does not concern himself with the post-Flood catastrophes in the work entitled The Genesis Flood.
There is a section in the appendix which deals with genealogies, expecially those of Genesis 11. The authors maintain that the Genesis 11 genealogical tables need not be interpreted as a strict chronology. At the same time they conclude that to allow more than 5000 years beween Abraham and the Flood "stretches Genesis 11 almost to the breaking point."37

Patten on Post-Flood Catastrophes

Patten differs considerably from Velikovsky on postFlood Catastrophes, mainly in respect to two concepts. First Patten maintains that the cosmic intruder which caused a whole series of catastrophes after the Flood is to be identified with the planet Mars alone. This includes such events as the Sodom and Gomorrah catastrophe, the Exodus event, the Long Day of Joshua and others. Secondly, he maintains that the close passes of Mars by the Earth occurred with rhythmic regularity and, therefore, what can he called cyclic astronomical catastrophism.

Cyclic astronomical eatastrophism is actually the product of a team effort, for Patten has been joined here in his efforts with Ronald R. Hatch. According to their solar system model, before 701 B.C. catastrophes occurred or threatened to occur on an average of 54 years. These cycles of astronomical catastrophes are linked with the involvement of Mars which had an orbital ellipticity of about 0.4, a comet-type orbit. They hold that Mars must have approached the Sun within 88 million miles, compared to Earth's 91.5 million miles. In its movement away from the Sun, Patten and Hatch believe that Mars reached its aphelion at about 206 million miles. This location was 55 million miles beyond its present aphelion and it coincided with the middle of the asteroid zone.

Patten and Hatch establish their rationale for the 54 year cycle of catastrophes on the basis of resonant orbits as found in connection with the movement of asteroids. Transferring this concept of orbital movement to Mars the rationale goes as follows: The inferior conjunctions of Mars (those when Mars was inside Earth's orbit, and the two planets were in alignment with the Sun) would he tied into a "resonant orbit" for Mars. A resonant orbit can be a stable orbit, and in this case the resonance was 2:1. Thus two Earth orbits equalled one Mars orbit. Patten and Hatch cite the resonant movement of three asteroids in 2:1 resonance with Jupiter to explain their model. These concepts are to he published in a work entitled, The Long Day of Joshua and Other Post-Flood Catastrophes scheduled for release in late 1973 or early 1974.

An additional word of clarification is needed for the orbital position of Mars before 701 B.C. The PattenHatch model is entirely different from Lynn Rose's model of Mars being an inner planet. Rose attempts to justify Velikovsky's model of the solar system which assumes that before the 9th century B.C. Mars was an inner planet which in its movement did not cross the Earth's path. Through a near collision with the comet Venus, a transfer of energy skewed its orbital motion into one which was highly elliptical, so that it began to periodically cross the Earth's path.38 Rose proposes this model in order to explain why before the 9th century B.C. "Mars did not arouse any fears in the hearts of the ancient astrologers and its name was seldom mentioned in the second millenium .."39

McDowell on Post-Flood Catastrophes

I follow Patten and Hatch in their concepts of cyclic astronomical catastrophism. My concern in this area of investigation is the behavior of men. In a forthcoming work I will deal with the biblical period from Joseph to David.

I accept Velikovsky's lead in Ages in Chaos that the Egyptian chronology is in error but do not identify the Hyksos with the Biblical Amalekites. Instead, I recognize the Amorites as the Hyksos and present evidence for the fact that they controlled Egypt through most of 16th through the 14th centuries.

I lower the Egyptian chronology on the basis of radiocarbon datings and a reassessment of the archaeological data from Egypt and the Aegean. I terminate the 19th Dynasty of Egypt, the Hittite Empire, the city of Ugarit, and the Mycenaean world during the reign of David. I also give reasons from the Dead Sea Scrolls and inscriptions in the Aegean why David nearly became involved in the Trojan War. Moreover I give reasons why the Mycenaean civilization is an extension of the cultural pool of the Southeast Mediterranean.

According to my chronological framework, the Exodus took place in the middle of the 15th century B.C. Akhenaton, whom Velikovsky placed in the 9th century B.C., I place in the 12th century B.C. Nevertheless, we agree that Moses antedates the New Kingdom of Egypt.

I depart completely from Velikovsky on the matter of the identity of Mars and Venus during this period. I present evidence that Mars is the same as Apollo, and Apollo is the same as Biblical and Ugaritic Baal. As for Velikovsky's remark about Mars not arousing fear in the hearts of ancient astrologers, I believe this is erroneous. Baal also goes by the name Addad/ Haddad. This name can be traced back to the Flood.

I believe it is significant that Velikovsky has only four references in Worlds in Collision to Baal and even so he equates Baal, without explanation, to Venus. I also find it significant that Velikovsky shied away from Ligaritic tests which give so much elaboration on Baal. In a work now in preparation, I go into considerable detail about Baal being the planet Mars which periodically swept by the Earth. Patten's identification of the astral intruder with Mars has much stronger textual support than Velikovsky's Venus.


My remarks in this paper certainly do not constitute an adequate delineation of the present status of studies on catastrophism as influenced by Immannel Velikovsky. Nonetheless, the remarks have been made with the hope that some overall perspective has been gained and that this perspective highlights the importance of catastrophism for an understanding of Earth history.


1See the following, especially the first. Alfred de Grazia, editor, The Velikocsky Affair. Scientism vs. Science, New Hyde Park; University Books, 1966; Yale Scientific, April 1967, Vol. XLI, No. 7; and Pensee May 1972, Vol. 2, No. 2Yale Scientific, loc. cit. pp. 0, 15.
3John C. Whitecomb Jr. and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood. The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications, Baker Book House, 1961, p. 233.
4lbid., p. 228. 
5lIbid., pp. 16, 93. 
6Ibid., p. 333. 
7Henry M. Morris, Science, Scripture and Salvation. The Genesis Record, Denver: Baptist Publication, Inc., Teachers edition, 1965, p. 
8Donald W. Patten, The Biblical Flood and the Ice Epoch, Seattle: Pacific Meridian Publishing Co., 1966, p. 301. 9lbid., p. 296. 
lbid., pp. 300-301. 
11lbid., p. 302. 
12Ibid., p. 303.
13 Ibid. 
Yale Scientific, loc. cit. p. 15. 
l5Patten, loc. cit. p. 78. 
16Immanucl Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, Delta, 1950, p. xv'. 
17Loc. cit. p. 15. 
18World.s in Collision, p. 61. 
19Also by Delta, 1955; see chap. 15. }
20Pensee, p. 14.
2lGenesis Flood, loc cit., p. 255 ff.
22Ibid., p. 258. 
23Ibid. p. 273 If. 
241bid p. 413 
Pattcn, loc cit., p. 124 
Ibid., p. 75 if. 
28Cleveland Press, Friday, January 14, 1972. 
29Genesis Flood, p. 417. 
30Note Veliknvsky's ideas in Pensee (supra) pp. 21-23, p. 417. 
31See also Genesis 8:4, 5, 13-14. 
32Worlds in Collision. p. 381. 
33Ibid., p. 387. 
34Ibid., p. 386. 
35Ages in Chaos. From the Exodus to King Akhnaton. Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1952, p. 22ff.
36Pensee, p. 23. 37; Genesis Flood., 474 ff. 
38Pensee, pp. 42-43. 
39Ibid., p. 42.