The Flood of Noah and Evolution

(Lessons from our Youth Group on Sundays.)

his is a brief detour from our detour! No, I'm not being random. The pastor and I were talking about this series, and he encouraged me to take an extra week on it. I decided that time would be best spent looking at the Flood story which spans from Genesis 6:1-9:17. Next time (remember that there is no youth group next Sunday as it is the first of the month and Communion Sunday), we will wrap our evolution mini-series up and then look at another large objection to the Gospel.

Approaches to the Flood
As we study the question as to why people reject biblical accounts, we must remember the state in which they live. What state is this? Look at 2 Corinthians 4:3:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

It is vital to understand that there is a dark force in this world resisting the light. The temptation is to demonize people – such as Darwinists or atheists – rather than understanding their true condition. However, this condition has consequences:

[K]nowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, 'Where is the promise of his coming? …' For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
– 2 Peter 3:3-7

Scoffers of the truth will either deny that there was a flood, or they will state that there was no world-wide flood (Noah's flood was a legend based on some local flood of antiquity). Even some Christians today deny that there was a world-wide flood! Other Christians, while saying there was a world-wide flood, will say it was somehow "tranquil" and did not affect the landscape of the earth.

Why would God flood the earth, anyway?
First, Scripture says every person on earth had become wicked. Of course, every person on earth is a sinner already, but this is bad x10! EVERY thought of man's heart was ONLY evil continually (Gen 6:5).

Second, a warning of a flood gives folks the opportunity to repent. God could have supernaturally and suddenly wiped out the entire population, but He gave people well over a hundred years of warning in His mercy.

Third, a flood leaves evidence of God's hatred for sin. He will not allow sin to go unchecked. He may delay judgment in His grace, but that does not mean that He is indifferent to sin. The flood leaves startling evidence as to God's feelings toward sin – leaving the ancients to hear stories of the world that "once was," but seeing only the effects environmental effects of the deluge.

The Flood
The flood came in the 600th year of Noah's life. It was marked with more than torrential downpours: "all the fountains of the great deep burst forth" (Gn 7:11). According to the apocryphal book of Jasher (6:11)…

…the Lord caused the whole earth to shake, and the sun darkened, and the foundations of the world raged, and the whole earth was moved violently, and the lightning flashed, and the thunder roared, and all the foundations in the earth were broken up.

The idea of "fountains" bursting forth with water comes first by the idea that there was a great deal more water under the earth's crust than today (cf. Ps 136:6). This is not an unscientific notion, because both geysers and soil liquefaction during earthquakes, for instance, give us examples how pressure can release liquid from within the earth. In fact, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an oceanic "rip" in the earth's crust running north and south, evidences rapid plate-tectonic movement in the past and may be a thousand-miles flashpoint of this process.

And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.
– Gen 7:19-20

We have all heard the "40 days and 40 nights" part – the extent of the rainfall. One can only imagine the amount of precipitation fell in this time span. As the inevitable rock slides occurred, tsunamis were likely additions to the catastrophe. The ground water bubbling and bursting up added more damage to the terrain and supply to the deluge, until the forty days of horror ended. The earth was covered with water, well over the mountaintops.

Is there evidence for such an event?
As previously stated, one reason for the flood was to leave marks on the earth's surface to remind us of God's hatred of sin. Astute readers may question the ability to flood the earth to the point of covering Mount Everest, and they would be right in doing so. It is not possible to cover Mount Everest in water today.

However, Mount Everest was indeed under water in the past. When hikers reached the top of Everest, they were surprised to find fossils of sea life. These creatures evidence rapid death and burial, both being fossilized and the fact that the clams that were fossilized were shut. Something happened suddenly on top of Everest, and much of the sedimentation and fossils appear to be sheared off and fragmented, possibly being eroded away.

Another oddity of nature is the way we discover fossils. Fossils are nearly always found in areas evidencing a local flood. Sediments appear to have been washed in, as do the fossils. Skeletons many times lack limbs, but are piled in either directionally or as if involved in a log-jam of floating bones frozen in time. Could it be that all of these "local floods" occurred at the same time, at the Great Deluge?

Further fossil evidence comes from petrified trees. The Arizona Petrified Forest, for example, evidences a massive flood. Trees lack limbs and sometimes even bark, as if they were sheared off, and are directionally-oriented as if washed to their current locations. Standing trees in Yellowstone, Wyoming, have no roots attached and evidence mudslides. Petrified trees from around the world run through rock strata, demonstrating flood deposition.
(Petrifaction itself evidences the presence of water and can be done quickly – we find all sorts of petrified objects that are manmade, and have even found petrified cadavers on occasion after exhuming bodies from gravesites.)

Yes, but doesn't rock strata evidence a geologic column of an old earth?
One of the key evidences skeptics have used to win converts to evolutionary theories is geology. This is not because geology can only be understood to evidence old ages for the earth; many geologists in the past were Bible-believing young-earth creationists (by today's definitions). Yet, it seems that rocks can also evidence processes taking millions of more years than the Bible allows.

Thus, in the early 1800's each layer of rock was given a name (like Jurassic), an age, and an index fossil by which to identify it. While we are told that various dating methods (like Potassium-Argon) tell us how old fossils are, the geologic column was invented long before any dating method.

I use the word "invented" for the geologic column because it is an explanation that is not based on a historic find. That is, there was no mountain side exposed by dynamite or canyon discovered that displayed a geologic column such as one found in textbooks. No place in the world has this column on display for us, making it difficult for evolutionists to develop a consistent account of the earth's past.

We might inquire as to the validity of the geologic column in the first place. No one denies there is strata in mountain sides and elsewhere, but how can we age the layers without index fossils? If I dig up limestone, how can I tell its age if there is no fossil in it?

Further, why are we using a geologic column developed before modern dating methods determined the age of the fossils? (More on dating the fossils will come next week.)

Strata is not rock-solid evidence of an old earth (forgive the pun). It is evidence of water deposition, however. Put sand and water behind glass and in the hands of a child, and he will produce millions of years in just a few moments:

Many geological features can be explained by this model that would allow for Flood geology. The way we find some strata bent and twisted without cracking or splitting is better evidences pliable materials during and after a flood then by geologic pressure.

Consider the Grand Canyon, for instance. We are asked to believe that the Colorado River carved the canyon from solid rock over millions of years. There are problems to this theory, however. The river enters the canyon at an elevation of 2,800 feet and runs on a downhill grade. The canyon, on the other hand, slopes uphill, reaching a height of 6,000 feet. Rivers don't tend to run uphill, let alone for the millions of years it would take the Colorado river to carve the Grand Canyon down to the point where the river could flow with gravity. Further, there is no delta present to evidence the river's supposed work.

As a final consideration, there is something odd about the strata of the Grand Canyon. While it is supposed to evidence millions of years of sedimentation (in keeping with the theory of the geologic column), there is no evidence of erosion between the layers. One would expect a layer to be followed by topsoil, vegetation, and eventual erosion before the next layer appears. However, the layers are perfect pancakes. It appears they were laid over a relatively short amount of time.

How was the Grand Canyon made, then? There are a couple of things to consider. First, the path of the canyon meanders, with the canyon having steep slopes. Second, when compared to the snowline (see the image on the left), it appears to be a break in a dam where massive amounts of water escaped. It appears that there was an ancient lake here at one time, comparable to the Great Lakes of the United States, but the water has since disappeared. This lake formed after the flood, perhaps, while the ground was still drying into its present state. Perhaps additional rains or simply instability in the still-soft earth caused a rupture for water to begin to drain, causing the features we know today. This is a plausible explanation, for we can reduplicate miniature Grand Canyons under similar circumstances.

Final Geological Considerations
We should not go as far as to say that every bit of geology evidences the flood. There have been thousands of years of erosion, earthquakes, storms, and eruptions that have made marks on the landscape since Noah's day.

Yet, the world around us reminds us of a cataclysm so great that it included the entire world. This was evidence of an even greater judgment to come in the future. In the 2 Peter 3 passage cited at the beginning, we saw that "by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly." Whereas the last judgment came in water, the next one will come in fire.

And just as the last one came with ample warning, so does this one.

What will you do to save yourself but to climb into the "ark" of safety Jesus Christ provides?

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