How advanced were the civilizations before Noah’s flood?

This afternoon, I looked for articles or videos about technology before Noah’s Flood. You are probably not surprised to learn that there are a lot of people talking about this. Unfortunately, very little of what I saw was helpful. The fact is that we don’t know a lot about pre-flood technology. As far as we know, nothing survived. The only believable record we have from before the Flood is found in the Book of Genesis.

But… we still like to wonder about what it must have been like. Did the pre-flood people have cars, phones, computers, airplanes, the internet, or even spaceships? Let’s take a look at what the Bible tells us and see if we can come away with a better idea.

  1. The Bible says that people developed technologies before the Flood.

    a. Cain and Abel were farmers (Gen. 4:2).

    Many evolutionary discussions about the past state than man started as hunter/gatherers and did not start organized farming until many years later. The Bible says things were quite different. Cain was a produce farmer and Abel was a shepherd soon after man was created.

    b. Cain built a city (Gen. 4:17).

    After Cain killed Abel, he moved to another location and built a city. Building a city involves construction, organization, and administration. Someone had to build houses, shops, and parks. Someone had to keep things organized for trash, water, and septic. Someone had to be in charge to police, tax, and keep order.

    c. Jabal was a nomadic herdsman (Gen. 4:20).

    While this does not seem like a big deal, we do learn two things here. Jabal knew how to make tents and how to herd animals. Jabal had to figure out how to make tents out of skin or some other material. He had to figure out how to make the animals stay together and breed, and to produce milk and make him a profit.

    d. Jubal made harps and flutes (Gen. 4:21).

    One of Cain’s descendants was called the father of musical instruments such as the harp and flute. This would have taken some trial and error, I am sure. But Jubal did become known as an instrument maker. Within 7 generations from Adam, he had learned how to make these instruments and had perfected them.

    e. Tubal-Cain made bronze and iron items (4:22).

    Have you ever heard of the stone-age, bronze-age, etc.? These ages have been determined by archaeologists who have unearthed tools, weapons, and other things made out of different materials. They theorize that ancient people were very primitive and were incapable of making anything out of metal. To these archaeologists, ancient people were dumb and didn’t evolve into what we are today until recently.

    Tubal-Cain made bronze and iron items. He became so good at it that he could instruct those who worked with these metals. Within seven generations of Adam, people were making things out of metal—much sooner than expected by modern archaeologists.

    What we learn from the Bible is that pre-flood man was not dumb. They were able to do many of the things that people do today. But how advanced did they become? Let’s consider another fact before attempting an answer.

  2. The Bible says that people lived longer before the Flood.

    Genesis 5 gives us a genealogy of Adam’s children through his son Seth. What is most notable about these men is how long they lives. Except for three of them, most of them lived to be over 900 years old.

    a. Several people lived over 900 years.

    5:5 – Adam lived 930 years
    5:8 – Seth lived 912 years
    5:11 – Enosh lived 905 years
    5:14 – Cainan lived 910 years
    5:20 – Jared lived 962 years.
    5:27 – Methuselah lived 969 years.

    b. What have modern people accomplished in their shortened lifetime?

    Today, people are expected to live about 70 years. During that time, most of us don’t accomplish anything noteworthy until after high school. So, of those 70 years, 18 are preparatory. If you include college as preparatory, then we need to add four more years. But then you have to consider that most people retire about 65. So, between 22 and 65, we have 43 years to accomplish something. What has been accomplished by people in that amount of time?

    Ancient inventions include the wheel, the calendar, the clock, paper (Egyptians), concrete (Romans), the compass, and gunpowder (China). Modern inventions include the printing press (Gutenberg), light bulb (Edison), automobile (Benz), telephone (Bell), personal computer (Blankenbaker), cell phones (Motorola), and the airplane (Wright Brothers).

    All of these were invented by people who were actively inventing for less than 100 years. It is amazing what God has allowed man to invent and use during our short lifespan. But this leads me to my next question.

    c. What could have pre-flood people accomplished during their longer lifetimes?

    Because the Flood was so powerful, it is most probable that anything built before it has been completely destroyed. There has been some talk about the pyramids surviving the Flood, but this is probably based on a misunderstanding of when they were built. We have already seen what the Flood did in creating the Grand Canyon, so how could a man made pyramid survive so much water?

    We don’t have evidence of anything made before the Flood. But we can imagine that given the people’s long lifespans they probably made great strides with science and technology. Just think what Edison could have accomplished if he had lived for 900 years. He lived to 84 years old and had 1,093 patents. Could the pre-flood people have accomplished more than us during their long lives? We don’t know. But one of the factors that may have limited their accomplishments is our next point.

  3. The Bible says that people were wicked before the Flood.

    One of the things that affects the way a civilization turns out is their sinfulness. Civilizations that excel in sin often have a downward turn at some point. Sadly, Adam and Eve got everything headed in a wrong direction when they sinned against God. And their children followed in their footsteps.

    a. Cain killed his brother Abel (Gen. 4:8).

    How would you like to know that your child was the first murderer in the world? Cain was an angry man who didn’t like the fact that God had accepted his brother’s offering instead of his. So in a fit of anger he killed Abel. He then tried to lie his way out of it, but God confronted him. Sadly, there is no record that Cain ever repented of his sin.

    b. Lamech bragged about killing a man (Gen. 4:23).

    One of Cain’s grandchildren followed in his great grandfather’s footsteps. He took two wives and then bragged to them about killing a young man in revenge for hurting him. He then went on to indirectly tell God to avenge him if he was killed in revenge. What audacity!

    c. Man became extremely evil (Gen. 6:5).

    By Noah’s time, there weren’t very many people who were not evil. From God’s perspective, their wickedness was great. He described their thoughts as completely evil on a constant basis. They couldn’t think of anything good at all. It was always evil. People had become so degraded that God was sorry he had made them. And he made plans to destroy them with the Great Flood.

    While people before the Flood could have become technologically advanced, there was one thing that held them back… their sin. Sin often keep people from advancing. When people are all looking out for what is best for them and not for anyone else, things don’t go so well. Look at civilizations like the Mayans or Aztecs who excelled for a time but eventually fell apart because of their wicked human sacrifices. But when I compare our current post-Christian society, I see the makings of a future downfall as well.


While discussions like this are interesting, they don’t usually lead to more than speculations. We really don’t know anything more than the Bible tells us. And that is not very much. If the pre-flood people made it to the moon or further, what does it matter? What really matters is that we consider how we respond to God during our lifetime.

1. Be prepared for the future.

As you consider the people who lived before the Flood, you might consider how similar their lives were to our own.

Matt. 24:38 – “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away.”

Jesus used the example of the people before the Flood to show how they were unprepared for God’s judgment. Despite their wickedness, they enjoyed eating and drinking, and marriage but they were oblivious or willingly refused to listen to Noah’s preaching about God’s righteousness. Sadly, they rejected the opportunity they had before their lives ended.

2. Use your time wisely.

If you are a Christian, this next point is for you.

Eph. 5:15-16 – “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

A preacher once used a yard stick to represent the typical lifespan of 70 years. As he talked about the teen years, he would break off a portion. As he talked about the young married years, he broke off a portion. As he talked about mid-life, he broke off a portion. You can imagine how the people thought about that illustration. They were waiting for the last snap and the end of their life.

How have you used your life? And how are you using your life today? Christians are supposed to be using their lives to do God’s will. That involves living a holy life as an example to others. It involves meditating on what God says in the Bible. It also involves speaking for the Lord regardless of the response. Did you know that Noah was a preacher of righteousness to his generation (2 Pet. 2:5)? And the only people who listened were his wife, three sons, and their wives. But he still spoke for the Lord.

Some day we will all stand before the Lord. Those who have rejected the Lord will receive their eternal punishment. Those who have believed will answer to how they lived. Some will receive a reward. In either of those cases, will you be happy to stand before the Lord?


“15 Amazing Examples of Ancient Technology” as viewed at on 3/19/2023.

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