Hello, Scroll Eaters! Glad to have you here! I’ll let you know right up front that this is a long one, longer actually than the reading! It will be, without a doubt, the longest of the year.
Well, let’s look at the biblical account of the Flood. Let me be clear: this is history – historical fact. It happened. It’s not an allegory, a “story,” or a myth. The geological evidence is there for anyone with eyes to see. Also, the account is logical and coherent, and not pure nonsense and balderdash as the atheistic opponents would like us to believe. So our goal today is to look at the events of the Flood from an apologist’s point of view, and for those unaware, “apologetics” is the “defense of the faith” from any and all attacks. The Flood account is one of the most attacked passages of the Bible by those who would love to discount it as myth and not history. So, the account must be sensible in order to answer those critics. Note: it doesn’t need to be sensible or provable in order to be believed, but we do have a duty answer our opponents, so as to possibly win them.
Before I begin, a couple of caveats. First, this is probably the most debated and challenged subject in all of Scripture outside of the actual existence of God. It is so challenged and debated because many of the tenets on which the argument hangs are conjectures (scientifically, not biblically), and cannot be seen or measured today. Second, it posits a cosmology (a history of earth) completely in opposition to modern science. I’ll let you know right up front that I have no interest in, nor the time to, cite every scientific fact used here. Simply put, the science is there. When all these various things are put together, it paints a coherent picture of the antediluvian world (pre-Flood world), makes sense of the ark account, and answers numerous other questions.
Let’s begin with the ark itself. One of the biggest attacks on the historicity of the ark is it’s size – it’s not big enough to do fulfill it’s function. We’ll ignore the measurements only to say that while it is quite big, the opponents are correct here – it’s not big enough to hold two of every species of unclean animal and seven of every clean. However, there are three things to say. First, the Scripture doesn’t say “species;” it says “kind” – two of each “kind” of animal. It’s silly and frankly ignorant to apply modern scientific kingdom/phylum/class/order/family/genus/species classification to a pre-scientific document. So what does “kind” mean? Well, ask a four-year old, “Which doesn’t belong? Horse, Zebra, Lion, Donkey?” When she says, “Lion,” you know you’ve got a winner. How about this one: “Coyote, Giraffe, Wolf, Dog?” It’s not too difficult to figure out what a “kind” of animal is. So, Noah didn’t bring two of every modern species of canine on the ark for the simple reason that modern species didn’t exist, and all he really needed were one male and one female “dog kind.” Second only to the Big Bang, the modern idea of evolution is the greatest scientific myth ever perpetuated on us. See, Darwin was correct that while watching finches adapt and develop different beaks he was watching a form of evolution in action. Modern science calls it “micro-evolution,” or evolution within a kind of animal. Anyone with a simple, basic knowledge of genetics understands how this works. White rabbits with long ears mate with brown rabbits with short ears, and before long you have white rabbits with long ears, with short ears, brown rabbits with long ears, with short ears, and probably mottled rabbits with long ears, with short ears. When snow comes, the brown rabbits get killed first (survival of the fittest), and in summer the white ones get killed first. Through time, there aren’t brown rabbits in snowy climates, and aren’t white rabbits in temperate climates. They diverge into different species. This is true, scientific micro-evolution. The trick is, that process of differentiation within a type of animal is sold as a package with macro-evolution (the idea that through enough small changes over a long enough period of time, you get a whole new species). Only one problem: it never happened, and it never will. See, this micro-evolution, or differentiation within a species, is common sense and common practice; dog-breeders have been doing it for centuries. We breed them big, small, long-haired, short-haired, vicious, docile, fast, floppy, hunters, and herders. But no amount of time or skill as a breeder will turn a dog into a horse or a bird. Dogs, coyotes, wolves, dingoes, and jackals can interbreed – they all have 78 chromosomes – but never will they interbreed with a cat or a pachyderm. Conclusion? All the canine species currently on the planet go back to one male and one female dog-kind on the ark. Same for all variety of horses/zebras/donkeys, etc. Once this basic idea of differentiation within a kind of animal is considered, the space needed shrinks considerably.
Second, God didn’t tell him to bring adult animals. If the whole point was to repopulate the earth once the water went away, doesn’t it make more sense to take babies? They eat less, poop less, are less susceptible to injury in the crashing waves, less violent, and live longer (thus more years of offspring bearing). Yeah, it was baby animals.
Third, Noah didn’t have to take water animals (the fresh-water vs. salt-water differentiation is a post-flood issue). He didn’t have to take insects, which can survive on floating wood or ensconced in mud. That leaves mammals, birds, and non-water-based reptiles and amphibians. Put all three points together and the ark was plenty big.
Next issue, where did the water come from? Genesis 2:5-6 tells us that “The LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth;… water would come out of the ground and water the entire surface of the land.” Genesis 1:6-7 says: “God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.” This expanse, called the firmament in the KJV, is our atmosphere, and it separated the waters here on earth (the waters below) from an expanse of water above the atmosphere (the waters above). You mention this to a non-believing scientist today, and he’ll immediately write you off as a lunatic myth-believer. However, if we hold it to be true, and I do, it explains a lot of things, which we’ll look at a little later. From here on we’ll call the “waters above” the “canopy.” So, there was a canopy of water above the sky in some sort of shield, if you will. How did it stay up there? One theory is that it was in the form of ice – after all, it’s cold up there – and since ice when cold enough emits a minor magnetic force, the poles may have held it up. Another theory is that if it was ice, and it was one solid peace, it couldn’t
come down because it was one huge, solid sphere with the earth in the inside, like a giant spherical egg. Picture a spherical chicken egg, where the shell is the canopy, the egg-white is the atmosphere/ expanse/ firmament, and the yolk is earth. I’m not saying those proportions are right, but that’s the idea. Here’s an artists depiction.
Yet another theory is that the water above the earth wasn’t necessarily ice, but regular liquid water, and held in place by the centrifugal force of the earth’s rotation. If you put water in a bucket and hold it over your head, you’ll get soaked. If you spin the bucket around, no matter where the bucket is in relation to you, the water stays put. Now, I’m no physicist, so I can’t extrapolate how much water, to how much speed, to how far from the earth’s surface, etc. to make that work, but I suppose it could be done. Regardless of the physics behind it, there was a layer of water up there somewhere.
But did you realize that the vast majority of the water that made up the Flood did not come from rain? It came from “the fountains of the deep.” In Genesis 7:11 we read “all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.” In Genesis 8:2 we read, “… the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the rain from the sky was restrained.” In Proverbs 8:28, which we read earlier this week, Wisdom tells us she was there “When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed, ….” Many ancient cultures have myths of the earth being afloat giant masses of water deep below the land. Perhaps it’s less myth than what Noah’s sons passed on to their descendants. It’s interesting to look carefully at the order of the items mentioned in Genesis 1. The Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters before God said “Let there be light.” Then God “separated the waters from the waters” by sticking the heavens in between them before making dry land.
Picture, if you will, a large tub of water, say a bathtub, but with straight sides. Now pick a piece of something heavy, say a solid piece of iron, that’s exactly the dimensions of this tub’s water line. Normally, it would sink, but because it perfectly fits, it presses down on the water and “floats” and the water holds it up, but is under intense pressure. Now, exchange the iron for “earth,” for “land,” and make the scale much larger. This water seeps up into the land above it and waters the plants without rain. Now make the whole thing spherical. Even the pre-Flood seas and oceans are still above the land, and this land is above the deep. Now, consider for a moment the words “fountain” and “deep.” “Deep” fairly obviously means a lot of water. “Fountain” gives the idea of water shooting up. Go back to our image of the iron floating on the tub of water. Now, mentally poke a hole in that iron. What happens? Why, a plume of water comes shooting out of there with such force you wouldn’t want your face there, and that iron sinks down, while the water shoots up, until the iron is on the bottom, and the water is on the top.
Put it together: God broke the fountains of the deep open, a crack, a fault-line, if you will, our modern “tectonic plate” lines, and water came shooting up, eroding the land by the acre in seconds. The land was no longer stable, but began to slide in the direction of the crack as the water eroded it. Picture the country-sized land masses sliding out from under you, heading “downhill” at thirty-five miles per hour. When it hits a land mass from the other side of the crack coming its way, they buckle. The mountain ranges weren’t created over millennia; they were created in a day. Have you ever pointed a water hose at a single spot in the ground? It only takes a few minutes and you have a small river. Greatly increase the amount of water and the force, and you can see quickly the deadliness. The Grand Canyon was not formed slowly over millions of years by the Colorado River; it was made in a day. Throughout this day, mentioned in Genesis 7:11, water shot out of the deeps, the “fountains of the great deep burst open,” and the land fell. Some theorize that the fountains shot up rock and debris with such force that it went all the way up to the ice canopy, and cracked it. True or not, God simultaneously broke the canopy and brought it down. As gravity pulled it to earth, it melted, and we had our first rain. Forty days and forty night it rained, and eight people rode it out. Any humans who survived the creation of the tectonic plates drowned in the Flood. By the end of the forty days, the land had mostly settled down to the bottom, filling most of the caverns left by the water, though geology shows there are still some pockets of water down there. Now the waters of the deep and the canopy have settled onto the land, but it’ll take 150 days before the water recedes into the cracks and newly made oceans so that the ark can land on the mountains (plural) of Ararat, and another 150 before the waters have receded enough to see mountain tops. It’ll be a year before Noah steps out on dry land.
Now, before we get on with Noah and the after-the-Flood events, let’s spend some time looking at the Antediluvian World. (That nice, big word is the technical term, it literally means “before the deluge.”) What was the Antediluvian World like? First, the “map” looked entirely different than our world does. All theories of Pangaea are bunk by default, but there’s an essence of truth there: the world was mostly land, with only a little bit of water. Remember, plants were watered from within the earth, so rivers and streams weren’t needed for irrigation. There were rivers, as we read in Genesis 2:10-14. But it’s interesting to note something here – water changes landscapes. The entire surface of the earth would have been completely altered by a global flood, and thus landmarks before the Flood become irrelevant. The references in Genesis 2 are correct, but are undoubtedly not the same landmarks we read after the Flood. Consider: Noah would have known the rivers by name, then the earth floods. After it recedes, the river is not likely to be in the same place! But Noah or one of the others likely said, “Hey, this reminds me of the Euphrates. I’ll call this the Euphrates.” We do the same thing today; a few examples: Mexico-New Mexico, Amsterdam-New Amsterdam/York-New York, Hampshire-New Hampshire, England-New England, Memphis, Tennessee with it’s Pyramid-Memphis, Egypt with it’s pyramids. Every continent has a “Rome.” There are over a dozen cities named Alexandria, most founded by Alexander the Great. The point is, the surface of the earth before the Flood, and its landmarks, are long gone. Why do I cover this? It absolutely cracks me up to see people trying to find Eden. Look, Noah floated for over half a year. Do you think he settled on the same spot he left from? Unlikely. Sure, he landed on what are now called the mountains of Ararat, but for all we know, he may have lived and built the ark at a place that’s now on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean or the Black Sea. Then why the determination to find Eden near the modern Tigris and Euprates? The four rivers and areas mentioned in Genesis 2 are long lost, under what is now the Indian Ocean, or what is now Siberia. Eden will not be found.
Well, all the water that was below the earth is now on top of the earth, so the antediluvian earth was mostly land. Also, we know it was mostly temperate to tropical. I don’t want to get into the age-of-the-earth stuff (it is approximately 6,000 years old), but all the modern scientists tell us that the “ancient” earth of millions of years ago was much warmer, much more humid, and had a much higher oxygen mix in the atmosphere. They are correct on all counts except the “millions of years ago” part – that describes the earth before the Flood. Remember in Jurassic Park, when they showed how tree sap would trap a mosquito, harden into amber, and then they could dig it up now and get the blood from the mosquito’s stomach and get dinosaur DNA? Well, they do the same thing with trapped air bubbles in amber, and can tell what the atmosphere was like when that amber formed. The disagreement is telling how old the amber is! But “long-ago” air had a much higher oxygen concentration. Also, we know earth was warmer. Why? The Creationist explanation is that the canopy acted as a greenhouse. Next, we know the ancient atmosphere was heavier than now. Each moment, our atmosphere is leaking off into space. The air is slowly getting thinner. It’s miles and miles up there, but it’s happening. But if there were a frozen canopy of water, that air has nowhere to go. It’s pressurized. Next point: what blocks UV radiation? A very few things, but the natural thing that blocks it is water. The ozone layer knocks out 97%-99% of the UV radiation from the sun. Unfortunately, we’ve got a big hole there now. (Remember that stuff about the earth being subjected to futility and decay – we’re part of it). UV radiation destroys life. Every moment there are tiny bits of radiation going through the gaps in our atoms, poking microscopic holes in us. They come right through the ceiling, the window, the building, the sky, the tree. Skin cancer is usually the result of this UV radiation. But when there was a giant water canopy up there, shielding us 100% from UV radiation, this didn’t happen. (And the atheistic scientist rolls their unbelieving eyes – eyes that cannot see.) Let’s put it all together and see if it answers some of our questions.
1) High pressure atmosphere – check. 2) Oxygen-rich atmosphere – check. 3) Warmer climate with mostly land and rich vegetation – check. 4) No UV radiation damage – check. What do we get? Well, science has found a correlation between the capacity to process oxygen and physical size. Within genetic bounds, of course, the only thing that really keeps an animal from getting bigger is a limit in its lung capacity and the amount of oxygen it can process. The bigger the lung, the bigger the animal. This may sound like common sense, but it doesn’t apply to other organs (except the epidermis, obviously). For instance, brain size. Our adult brain is between 1,300 and 1,400 grams, but a giraffe’s is about 680 grams – ours is twice as big. Giraffe lung size to human – no contest.
The higher air pressure does what? Well, we know that increasing the air pressure can have a wondrous effect on health. Hyperbaric chambers are used in hospitals to help increase circulation and oxygen processing. People who get in hyperbaric chambers for a half hour or so report being able run faster, exercise more vigorously, etc., until the effects wear off. In short, by having higher pressure and increased oxygen, they’re supercharged. We also know the benefits of breathing pure oxygen. People with severe breathing problems use oxygen tanks. A new industry called oxygen bars are popping up all over the world.
Now, if the pre-Flood earth was like a hyperbaric chamber with oxygen rich air, what could we expect? Increased size and performance. Our lungs and the lungs of all creatures could process more oxygen faster, and we’d just get bigger and bigger. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Giantism, be it man or beast. Creationists posit that ALL humans before the flood were in the 9ft. to 14 ft. range! All creatures were bigger! We know of huge mammals, 2.5 ft. dragonflies, and of course these guys. We know that lizards never stop growing. When they’ve outgrown their skin, they shed it. Which brings us to our final point: what’s with the long life-spans?
Genesis records people frequently living into the 900s. Is that possible? Creationists, like me, say yes, and here’s our reasoning: the canopy blocked radiation, so no cellular damage occurred. High oxygen content + high-pressure air + no radiation = large and long-lived creatures. Apply that same reasoning to animals, and you get large animals, and in the case of dinosaurs, live-900-years-and-never-stop-growing large! Simple, elegant, and coherent.
Notice how this theory still holds together after the Flood. We see lifespans drop after the Flood, now that we’re exposed to radiation and thinner air. Noah was 601 when the Flood happened, and died at 950, but he was born before the Flood, obviously. A few centuries later, Abraham died at 175. Isaac was 180. Jacob lived 147 years. Job lived 140 years after his restoration. Skip ahead a few hundred years, and Moses died at 120. Joshua was 110. This trend continued until the last few centuries when life expectancies were in the 30s! Only modern medical science and health knowledge have pushed us back up into the 80s, and that’s only in industrial nations.
Scientifically, we know that we have many genes that are “switched off.” They are dormant. They are there, but not being used? Why not? Remember the paradigm we looked at about the earth being subjected to futility and decay? How the earth is cursed by God and decaying as well, growing thistles instead of food, and we have to eat by the sweat of our brow? Well, we see this in action here. We don’t pass on “improvements” from generation to generation as the evolutionist claims; we pass on our infirmities. It’s one of the great ironies of their theory that mutations improve us – mutations by definition are a cell breaking down. No, like making a copy of a copy of a copy, each generation gets a little further from Adam and Eve, what God made “good.” We are so far from the blueprint of Adam and Eve we would think they were minor gods if they walked in the room and introduced themselves – ten feet tall, totally fit, no trace of disease. Being subjected to futility and decay, it’s no wonder Paul said in I Corinthians 15 that we have no idea what our heavenly bodies will be like!
It is my contention, and that of many creationists, that we have simply lost the genes for the gigantism of the antediluvian period. Between the lack of access to our full genetic capacity, the lack of the antediluvian environment, and a few other smaller things we’ve not covered, we’re just nowhere as big as we once were, and the same applies to all animals. Yet, just like with the longevity, there’s a tapering off after the Flood. That’s why we still occasionally got a Goliath of Gath, about 9′ 6″ by most estimates. But that faded away. With everything, there’s a bell curve. We’ve got people like 7′ 4″ Mark Eaton, the 7’6″ Yao Ming, and the 7’8″ Kenny George. These gentlemen are on the far, high end of the bell curve of size while still being normal, healthy men. (There are forms of gigantism that are because of malfunctions in the body.)
There are dozens of objections the atheists can and will raise, like the fact that Noah’s ark was so long it would break in two over big waves (a simple moon pool addresses this). Another is that modern paleontologists claim that dinosaurs were more bird than lizard, so this negates the 900-year-old-never-stop-growing-dinosaur idea. (The answer to that is that even if they were more bird than lizard, they were still somewhat lizard, and this trait would probably still apply, besides the fact that all animals back then were bigger. Even then, man probably hunted them to extinction post-Flood, no matter their size; we are a destructive force, very poorly executing our mandate to be the overseers God told us to be in Genesis 1-2.)
The point of this blog post is not to get into all the vagaries of the debate, and I’ve literally only scratched the tiniest surface of the stuff out there on the internet if you want to get into it. My point is to show Christians who are unware of this field of study that there is a legitimate, scientific investigation into the historical claims of the Bible pre-Flood, that it is logical, coherent, and factual. Too long have Christians been embarrassed by dinosaurs and not been able to explain them. I could write another 4,000 words on that alone, but the purpose has been met. If there is interest, I may write an excursus on that topic alone one day.
Let’s finish up by looking at what happens after the Flood. It’s like “Creation Reset.” We have a repetition of the command to go forth and multiply. God also makes a covenant with Noah. God declares he’ll never destroy the earth like that again, and puts a sign on that covenant, which is the newly found phenomenon of rainbows (never happened before the Flood for obvious reasons). Why would it be important for God to tell Noah this? Because otherwise, the first few generations would absolutely freak out every time it started to rain! Get a few generations out, after the earth is repopulated, and suddenly all this becomes myth to the non-believer: “It’s always rained!”
And just like Creation has to be followed by the Fall, this second chance is ruined by sin too. Noah gets drunk and naked, and his son Ham, rather than covering his father up, went to tell his brothers: “Come look at dad!” Once again the shame of inappropriate nakedness is present. Shem and Japheth cover Noah up without looking at him, and when Noah finds out what happened, Noah reenacts that which followed the sin in Genesis 3 – the curse. Noah curses Ham and his descendants. Ham’s son was Canaan. The Canaanites were the most vile race in the “early” Old Testament, and the Hebrews drove them out.
As for the 12th Psalm, it’s not written particularly about this incident, nor does it reference it directly, but it is such the perfect prayer and meditation for the reasons behind the Flood.
Yes, Our dear Lord, we once again are a Remnant, the small group of faithful. We look forward to the day you destroy the wicked with a flood, not of water, but of fire.
Elieonai Eli Adullam!
For tomorrow, read Genesis 10-11.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
PS, There are literally hundreds of web sites dedicated to both sides of this. I’ll link you to one as an example, though I want to make explicit that I’m not necessarily sanctioning everything on the site as something I agree with. I don’t know – I’ve not perused the whole thing. What the common phrase? “The commentary/content does not necessarily express the opinion of The Chief Scroll Eater, and is provided simply for informational purposes.” I’m providing this simply as a way into that world if you want to go there! Here’s the site: World Wide Flood.