It cannot now be known how much of the earth was then occupied by man. The present Malay people within less than five hundred years have spread along two hundred degrees of latitude, from Easter Island to Madagascar, and, within a less period than that embraced in the antediluvian times, half the continent of Africa has been peopled by a race whose various tribes differ in speech no more than do High and Low German; while the American white Indians have shifted their homes two thousand miles away from where Columbus found them in 1492 A.D. The Norsemen sailed to Iceland, Greenland, and New England, in little boats not so seaworthy as those of the native Polynesians. Long before Rome was founded, the Chinese knew the magnet and the mariner’s compass, made junks, and went to sea in them, touching our Pacific coasts generations before the Norsemen reached New England. Why then should it be improbable that the antediluvians [sic] navigated the seas and peopled the earth, during those two thousand years before the Flood? Boats were not unknown to them, as appears from Noah’s ready and skillful construction of the Ark, and mankind were all of one speech; a great aid to travel.
In this primeval age here being considered, the race was probably as prolific as now. The first woman, Eve, it is recorded, had “sons and daughters” born to her other than those whose names appear in the Genesis; while tradition assigns to that first polygamist, Lamech, no less than seventy-seven children. In those ancient ages men lived eight and nine hundred years, a condition that admitted of a numerous progeny and a vast experience of life.
This great longevity seems to have been a natural consequence of the physical condition of the earth at that time, and it is described in the Bible. It will be recalled that not until after the Flood does the rainbow appear, and then it is put in the cloud as a token of the new covenant with Noah and his posterity, a seeming absurdity if the sun had ever been observed shining on falling drops of water prior to the Flood, for the rainbow would then have often appeared.
Again, it is stated that, at the creation, God made “a firmament in the midst of the waters” thereby “dividing the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament,” this firmament being what we now call the air, which is truly a fluid as water.
Further, at the end of fitting up the world for man, just prior to the creation of Adam, we are told that “the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth” — but “there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.” The writer therefore concludes the meaning to be, that the world during antediluvian times was surrounded by an aqueous cloud belt, resembling in appearance those belts now to be seen around the planet Jupiter, or Venus, or Saturn, as they are viewed through telescopes from our earth.
It is stated that there grew up amid this great length of human life in the antediluvian world, and possibly then because of it, very grave evils that particularly affected woman. That period was, according to the testimony of Jesus Christ and the Apostles Jude and Peter, particularly characterized by extreme license in the gratification of the bodily appetites, through gluttony or high living and gross licentiousness.
The prophet Enoch, we are told, in the seventh generation, mightily exhorted against it, and warned the people of a coming judgment because of it. Some four hundred years later that evil rose to enormous proportions, and the governors or rulers of the people were unable to suppress it.
Soon a new form of evil arose, so fierce and terrible that the memory of it survived for ages after the Flood. This culminated in such deeds of violence upon women, and such corruption of the race of men, that in the reign of the governor and prophet Noah the human race was destroyed by the deluge of waters, Noah only and his family being saved in the Ark that he had built under divine direction, and because of a warning that had been given him of this coming event. This warning, our Lord and his Apostles say, was given by him to the world, but all in vain. The Flood came and swept twenty centuries of humanity from the earth.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.