4. The biblical deluge – designated also the great Asiatic deluge – is a fact which cannot be contested. It must have been occasioned by the uprising of a portion of the mountains of that country, similar to the phenomenon in Mexico. That which supports this theory is the existence of an inland sea, which formerly extended from the Black Sea to the Arctic Ocean, which has been attested by geological observations. The Ocean of Azov, the Caspian Sea, whose water are brackish, although not in communication with any other sea, the Sea of Aral, and the innumerable lakes scattered over the immense plains of Tartary and the steppes of Russia, appear to be remains of this ancient sea. Then, by the uprising of the Caucasian Mountains, a part of these waters have flowed back northward to the Arctic Ocean, and another portion to the south toward the Indian Ocean. These inundated and ravished Mesopotamia in particular, and all the country inhabited by the ancestors of the Hebrews. Although this deluge extended over a considerable surface, it is well understood today that it has been only local in its extent; that it has not been due to rain: for, however abundant and continuous rains had been for sixty days, the calculation proves that the quantity of fallen water could not possibly have been sufficient to cover all the Earth even to the tops of the highest mountains.
But men were then acquainted with only a very small portion of the globe, and had no idea of its configuration. As soon as the inundation had encompassed all know countries, it was for them a universal flood. If, to this belief, one adds the hyperbolical form and imagery peculiarly Oriental in style, one cannot be surprised at the exaggeration in the biblical recital.