Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The biblical flood account


The biblical flood -
Is there any evidence for a biblical flood?
Was the biblical flood only a local event? (Did the flood look like the picture above?)
Could a forty day and forty night rain with "fountains of the great deep" breaking open cause a global flood?
Where did all the water go after the flood?
Why was there a flood to begin with?
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I'll be honest with the readers of this blog; I take the Bible by faith.
That doesn't mean that I won't engage in debates, listen to evidence from opposing viewpoints, and have a little fun with biblical apologetics but, in the end, it comes down to my faith in God and His Word.
We all have the same facts about what happened here on Earth in the distant past. What is in question is the interpretation of those facts.
So, any takers on the questions above?

19 comments:

Joseph A. said...

There are multiple sources, even secular, that put forth considerable evidence for the occurrence of the Biblical Flood. I'll post a few here since going through the whole discussion is lengthy and I'm not passionate enough about blog-writing to go that route:

answersingenesis.org/creation/v15/i1/flood.asp

exchangedlife.com/Sermons/gen/the_flood.shtml

globalflood.org

earthage.org

Fossilization necessitates a rapid burial process. This is extremely rare in modern times. Fossilization is basically non-existent today. The presence of extensive numbers of fossils globally is patent evidence of a rapid, deep mass burial. A worldwide flood incident would present conditions supportive to the location of impressive numbers of fossils. The fossils demonstrate evidence that the animals were wiped out simultaneously.

There is a lot more to it than that, but that's just my two cents.

Ike said...

Genesis 6:5, And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually".

There are four words here that ought to be emphasized. "The wickedness of man was "GREAT". "EVERY" imagination of the thoughts of his heart was "ONLY" evil." Only evil-that is all it was-and "CONTINUALLY." These four words reveal the condition of the human family that was upon the earth and explains the "cause" of the flood.

Genesis 7:23, "And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."

On the other hand, there have come from the press several books by men whom I consider to be pseudointellectuals and pseudotheologians. They take the position that the Flood was local; that is, that it was confined to the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. In other words, it was sort of a big swimming pool and that is about all. The "Genesis Flood" absolutely demolishes that thought altogether, and I am sure that you realize that the Scriptures make it very clear that the Flood covered the whole earth. God said that the entire earth was going to be destroyed by the Flood. "And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and , behold, I will destroy them with the earth" (Gen. 6:13).

The human family had already gotten to North America, and the animals were certainly there-nobody would argue that point for a moment. But if you say that the Flood was not universal, then you have someone besides Noah starting the human family over again-and that is just not the way the Word of God tells it. You are on the horns of a dilemma, as I see it...you either have to accept the Word of God, or you have to reject what it says. To my judgement, to attempt to make a case for a local flood is actually, in the long run, to reject the Word of God. The Bible makes it very clear that it was a universal flood. "And every living substance was destroyed....and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."

Genesis 8:1, ".....and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged".

We are given the record not only of the building up of the Flood but also of the prevailing and now the assuaging of the Flood. We are told that "God remembered Noah"-how lovely-and "God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged." It didn't happen just over night. The buildup of the waters took over 150 days, and then there were 261 days in the assuaging. That looks to me like it is something more than just a local flood!!!

The most striking example of a flood comes from the words of Dr. J. E. Shelly. "The most striking example of this is found in the case of the mammoths. These elephants are found buried in the frozen silt of the Tundra, Siberia, all over the length of the Continent of Asia, and in the North of Alaska and Canada. They are found in herds on the higher ground not bogged in marshes, hundreds of thousands in number." He goes on to say that these elephants have been examined ad found to have drowned. If they would have just gotten bogged down, they would have died of starvation. "The farther north oe goes, the more there are, till the soil of the islands of the White Sea inside the Artic circle consists largely of their bones mingled with those of sabre-tooth tiger, giant elk, cave bear, musk ox, and with trunks of trees and trees rooted in soil. There ate now no trees in those regions, the nearest being hundreds almost tousands of miles away. Te mammoths cold not eat the stunted vegetation which now grows in this region for but three months in a year, a hundred square miles of which would not keep one of them aive for a month. The food in their stomachs is pine, hawthorn branches, etc. These mammoths were uried alive in the silt when that silt was soft. They and the silt were then suddenly frozen and have never been unfrozen. For they show no signs of decomposition. Mammoth ivory has been sold on the London docks for more than a thousand years. The Natural History Museum purchased a mammoth's head and tusks from the ivory store of the London Docks. This head was absolutely fresh and was coveed with its original fur".

If you doubt the universality of the Flood, here is more than enough proof of not only the flood but the flood of the whole earth!

Wayne Dawg said...

If the flood was local, why did Noah have to build an Ark? Why didn't God just have him and the animals hike to another land to evade the flood?

The cartoon picture does a great job spoofing the idea of a local flood.

ExPatMatt said...

OK,

Let's play scientists, shall we?

Proposition: There was a global flood (the Flood) around 4,000 years ago that destroyed almost all life on Earth.

The Flood, while miraculous in origin, left evidence that should allow any honest enquirer to come to the conclusion that it was an actual, physical event - even without the Bible as a guide.

Hypothesis: A global Flood, lasting less than a year and wiping out almost all life on Earth should leave some fairly distinctive evidence in it's wake, so we should expect to find the following;

1. One, huge sedimentary layer containing a mix of all known (land) animal life. There should be no discernible order to the fossils found (perhaps the larger, heavier animals should be found lower in the layer?) and sediment from all over the world should make up the basis of the rock (again, heavier matter at the bottom)

2. There should be no evidence in the fossil record that you would expect a sudden flood to wipe out - eggs in a nest, tunnels etc,

3. The expansion and diversification of existing life on Earth today should be traceable back to a small number of individuals, somewhere in Turkey.



Before moving on, Id like to ask if the method so far seems reasonable to anyone reading who has an interest.

If something appears to be incorrect or unfair, please let me know.

I've kept the hypotheses down to three, but if you can think of any others that would be appropriate, please let me know.

When we've got this agreed, we can look at what the evidence says. The key is; it doesn't matter what you want to be true - what matters is whether or not you're honest enough to accept when the evidence does or does not support your proposition.

I'm game if you are....

Wayne Dawg said...

Matt - it looks like fun....it's late in the day and I'm off to church so I may not get to post my response until tomorrow around lunch time.....

But your statement goes both ways.....like I said, it's interpretation of the facts that we all have that will be more in play here.

Dawg

ExPatMatt said...

No worries, have fun at church.

Regards,

Steve Martin said...

I believe the flood accounts in Genesis.

However it happened...I trust that it did.

Steve Martin said...

Before God grabbed a hold of my heart and made His Word come alive in me...I may not have believed it.

Wayne Dawg said...

Matt -

Each argument you pressented should be taken one by one so we don't get caught up in overlapping different points for different arguments.

I am not a expert on the why's and how's and will be refereing to those who are; you are welcome to do the same.

First point -

1. One, huge sedimentary layer containing a mix of all known (land) animal life. There should be no discernible order to the fossils found (perhaps the larger, heavier animals should be found lower in the layer?) and sediment from all over the world should make up the basis of the rock (again, heavier matter at the bottom).

After looking at what several creationist have said about this, one thing is clear; this is one point that has seemed to stump the experts.

Dr. Lee Spencer said - "If we look at the life/ecology zones in the living biology today across mountains, such as the Sierra Nevada of California, or in a traverse from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon down to the Colorado River, we notice that there are distinct plant and animal communities that are characteristic of the climate at different elevations. Thus, we observe cacti growing in desert zones and pines growing in alpine zones. Just as these life/ecology zones today can be correlated globally (all deserts around the world have similar plants and animals), so too, Dr. Spencer demonstrated, the fossil zones and fossil communities can be correlated globally within the geologic record. Thus, the ecological zonation model for the order of fossils in the geologic record would argue that the lower layers in the record must therefore represent the fossilization of biological communities at lower elevations and warmer climates, while higher layers in the geologic record must represent fossilization of biological communities that lived at higher elevations and thus cooler temperatures.

Dr. Spencer then argued that the mammals in the upper layers of the geologic record must have lived at higher elevations and cooler temperatures, since body temperature regulation today in animals correlates with the zones in which animals live—this could equally be applied to the fossil record. While humans generate their own body heat because they are warm-blooded, modern reptiles get much of their body heat from the environment (e.g. lying out in the sunshine). Thus, modern-like mammals and dinosaurs (which were reptiles) would not have lived in the same environments in the pre-Flood world, and so, we don’t find them fossilized together (dinosaurs are primarily found in Mesozoic strata, whereas modern-like mammals are only found higher in Tertiary strata)."

Dr. Spencer concludes by saying that the order of fossil "succession" in the geological record would reflect the successive burial of the 'pre-flood' communities as the flood waters rose up on to the continents.

As far as the sediment goes...this one is long but worth a read.....

The hydroplate model

"The hydroplate theory has the advantage of explaining great devastation in the first 40 days. This theory for the catastrophic formation of the sedimentary rock layers during the Flood has been proposed by Dr Walter Brown (former chief of Science and Technological Studies at the Air War College, and Associate Professor at the U.S. Air Academy).18–20

The main proposal for the origin of the Flood waters is massive catastrophism in the first 40 days of the Flood. (We agree with the European Flood proponents that the initial devastation was exceedingly great, but we dispute that there remains no evidence of the mabbul and its effects on creatures in the geological record.) The Brown hypothesis18,20 is that the Earth’s crust was fractured (maybe by an impact), releasing vast subterranean waters (the ‘fountains of the great deep’) under great pressure into the atmosphere, perhaps as high as 30 km. Brown’s model essentially deals with water, but in the following continental drift phase includes volcanic activity21 as a result of the fast tectonic movement caused by the widening rupture in the Earth’s crust. Thus he states:

‘In some regions, the high temperatures and pressures formed metamorphic rock. Where this heat was intense, rock melted. This high pressure magma squirted up through cracks between broken blocks, producing other metamorphic rocks. Sometimes it escaped to the earth’s surface producing volcanic activity and “floods” of lava outpourings such as we see on the Columbia and Deccan Plateaus. This was the beginning of the earth’s volcano activity.’ 22

Brown states further:

‘Shifts of mass upon the earth created stresses and ruptures in and just beneath the earth’s crust. This was especially severe under the Pacific Ocean, since the major continental plates all moved toward the Pacific. The portions of the plates that buckled downward were pressed into the earth’s mantle. This produced the ocean trenches and the region called the “ring of fire” in and around the Pacific Ocean. The sharp increase in pressure under the floor of the Pacific caused ruptures and an outpouring of lava which formed submarine volcanoes called seamounts.’ 23

Thus the initial rupture of the Earth’s crust under this view would hurl rocks and sediments in gigantic muddy fountains of water which then lead to intense precipitation (consistent with Genesis 7) for the 40 day period. These fountains would eventually be followed by many large volcanic eruptions in the ‘Ring of Fire’ around the Pacific, all with the force of Krakatoa. This volcano exploded in 1883 sending rocks and dust into the atmosphere to a height of 55 km. The explosion was so intense that it could be heard 4,600 km away. Dust fell at a distance of 5,327 km ten days after the explosion,24 and a tsunami (tidal wave) 30 metres high travelled right across the Indian Ocean at 720 km/h.25 Similarly, during the Flood, on top of the water borne sediments, and sometimes mixed with them, vast layers of magma would be poured out or catastrophically exploded into the atmosphere.

The rain in the first 40 days of the Flood involved not only the return to the Earth of the jets of superheated steam ejected into the atmosphere (which would partly fall as hail and snow), but great quantities of rock debris as well. Many fossils could have formed within the first few weeks of the Flood in this model. In the next 110 days, further vast layering, scouring and re-layering of the continents would occur under the ravages of the Flood waters. The final catastrophic drainage of the waters occurred at the end of the continental drift phase when, after massive tectonic upheaval, the land eventually re-appeared as the Earth’s crust found a new equilibrium. It is significant that Genesis 8:3 speaks of the waters ‘returning from off the earth’ (literally ‘going and returning’ in the Hebrew)."

Of course these answers are theories because no one alive was around to witness and study what happened geologically to the Earth during this terrible time of judgment.

Question of Identity said...

There can be no disputing that Jesus testifies to flood taking place: "Just as it was in the days of Noah ..."

"The key is; it doesn't matter what you want to be true - what matters is whether or not you're honest enough to accept when the evidence does or does not support your proposition."

Unfortunately many scientists tend to claim 'truth' as that which is nothing but (often very flawed)theory - evolution being the prime example.

A statement of 'truth' about the flood will always then be a faith statement whether we are Christian or scientist.

ExPatMatt said...

Question of Identity,

We're not talking about evolution. We're talking about the evidence for a global Flood. Try and stay on topic, eh?

Steve Martin,

Thank you for admitting that your belief in the reality of the Flood is contingent on your belief that the Bible is the Word of God. I have no problem with people who believe the Flood happens on faith. My problem is when people claim that the scientific evidence points to a global Flood...speaking of which....

Wayne,

Thanks for addressing my comment.

I agree we should start with #1 and I'll get on it as soon as I've got some time.

Cheers,

ExPatMatt said...

I'm sorry Wayne,

I've been trying to come up with a response to the opinions you posted and, well, I just can't take them seriously.

I'm sorry.

Every time I try and think of the animals at low-levels, standing around waiting to drown while the higher-altitude animals watch in horror; I just start laughing. It's absurd.

Not only that, but it is rendered even more implausible by the second piece which talks about catastrophic devastation, erupting volcanoes and so on.

Can you really take this seriously?

Just to note. The fossil record does not progress from low to high altitude animals. In progresses from less to more complex. There is an order, found in the fossil record that comports with evolutionary theory; there are predictions that can be made as to where certain types of animals will be found, and in what age rock - ALL of these have been validated.

The fact that we find pterodactyls below whales should show you the the 'Altitude Theory' is way off.


Again, is there any good reason why we do not find a single sedimentary layer containing all the drowned animals?

The sedimentary layers of the earth were laid down over long periods of time, under very specific conditions and this has been tested and verified thousands of times over by hundreds of thousands of scientists around the world - starting with Creationist geologists 100 years ago who set out in search of evidence of the Global Flood - they didn't find any and had to adapt their interpretation of Scripture accordingly.

It's not the worst thing in the world for this planet to be very old. If God made this world, then he clearly put a lot of time and effort into it - it's not something he knocked up during a 6-day week.

Regards,

Wayne Dawg said...

"It's not the worst thing in the world for this planet to be very old. If God made this world, then he clearly put a lot of time and effort into it - it's not something he knocked up during a 6-day week."

My question would be; why did it take Him so long? I mean, 6 days is an awful long time for God to make the Earth.

"Every time I try and think of the animals at low-levels, standing around waiting to drown while the higher-altitude animals watch in horror; I just start laughing. It's absurd."

I can't imagine anything standing around waiting to drown either!

Gen 7:11 - In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

That sounds like a catastrophe - It looks like the flood took every thing by surprise. With the fountains of the great deep bursting open and all the geological shifts that must have been occurring, its no surprise that some things are found as they are and some things are not found as we think they should be.

ExPatMatt said...

"its no surprise that some things are found as they are and some things are not found as we think they should be."

There it is.

So there is no possible disproof of what you are suggesting then?

You have a hypothesis of what happened (near-instantaneous global Flood) and the evidence that supports it is that some evidence will support it and some will look like it doesn't support it, but actually it does.

That's the lamest thing, and you know it.

If every animal was taken by surprise and swept up in the deluge, along with trillions of tons of sediment, then the only plausible result would be this mass of bodies, sediment and other detritus settling down as the Flood-waters calmed and receded.

Where is the evidence for this occurring?

Again, I am totally fine with people believing that the Flood happened - just don't claim there's evidence for it if you're not ready to produce any.

Ball's in your court, sir!

Wayne Dawg said...

Thanks Matt :)

You took part of my statement and used it against me....look at the whole of it again.

"With the fountains of the great deep bursting open and all the geological shifts that must have been occurring, its no surprise that some things are found as they are and some things are not found as we think they should be."

Because we were not here during this time we (you or me) cannot say which parts of the globe had more catastrophic effects on animals and which parts didn't.

Some animals could have been buried deeper than others in some parts of the world and visa versa.

I'm asking because I don't know..do we ALWAYS find pterodactyls below whales? And if we do, does that automatically assume pterodactyls predate whales?

If so, why?

I'm not sure I buy into this statement without evidence to support it....

"If every animal was taken by surprise and swept up in the deluge, along with trillions of tons of sediment, then the only plausible result would be this mass of bodies, sediment and other detritus settling down as the Flood-waters calmed and receded."

What evidence is there for this to be the ONLY case that is plausible?

Peace

ExPatMatt said...

"Thanks Matt :)

You took part of my statement and used it against me....look at the whole of it again.

"With the fountains of the great deep bursting open and all the geological shifts that must have been occurring, its no surprise that some things are found as they are and some things are not found as we think they should be."

Because we were not here during this time we (you or me) cannot say which parts of the globe had more catastrophic effects on animals and which parts didn't."


I could take your whole statement and use it against you, if you like :)

It looks like you're saying; 'well, none of us saw it so there's no way of knowing what happened with any certainty. But whatever we find is the result of the Flood, even if it's not what we think things should look like'.

If you can't see how unscientific this is, I don't know what else to say! Please let me know if this is not what you're saying. Oh, and this bit;

"...cannot say which parts of the globe had more catastrophic effects on animals and which parts didn't."

Since the Flood wiped out all life on earth, I'd say it was pretty catastrophic everywhere!

"Some animals could have been buried deeper than others in some parts of the world and visa versa."

Why? By what mechanism do you propose this would occur? What models have been created to verify this hypothesis?

If these are serious propositions then there are genuine experiments that Creation Scientists could conduct to see if it is a plausible hypothesis. They don't conduct these experiments, of course, because they know they won't like the results they'd get.

Sediment won't settle in turbulent water. Sediment does settle in calm water. It doesn't matter where the most catastrophic events took place, the fossilization process would have to have occurred once the waters had calmed enough for sediment to settle - that's just the way it works.


"I'm asking because I don't know..do we ALWAYS find pterodactyls below whales?

Yes. Always. And not just these two either. Every species that evolutionary theory predicts should be older than others, is found below it in the fossil record. There are no contemporary species in the same layer as dinosaurs, for example.

Think about that. Not one single example, anywhere in the world of a contemporary species being found in the same layer as a single species of dinosaur. Not one.

Millions of fossils found all over the world for over century and not one example of a modern-day animal in the same geological layer as a dinosaur.

I put it to you that if dinosaurs were living at the time of the flood, their fossils would be found mixed in with every other kind of animal that was alive at the time (namely, all of them!)

In response to similar proposition, you said;

"What evidence is there for this to be the ONLY case that is plausible?"

Tell me, what other plausible options are there?

You have a world covered in water.
All the animals are dead.
The waters become calm.
The waters recede.
The sediment and bodies settle.
The pressure of this fossilizes everything.
You're left with a single fossil layer containing all the drowned animals.

Please tell me why this is not the most plausible outcome of a global Flood?

Wayne,

I am really enjoying this exchange and I'd like you to know that I am taking your comments seriously (except the altitude thing, that was silly!).

Thanks for the discussion.

Regards,

Matt

ExPatMatt said...

Are we done with this thread now?

Rick said...

If there was a global flood, why are there polar ice caps that can be dated to over 150,000 years old?

Cover ice with water and it melts and floats.

Stephan said...

Matt,
The more important question is:what is the real story about the world?

Consider for a moment that there is a God so great that he created the entire organized universe by speaking.

Do you really think it will be possible for humans, who can't even manage to get away from the little speck (that's how small the earth is compared to the rest of the universe) we live on, to figure out what everything is about.

You talk about science.....up to today science has not figured out what the invisible material or dimension is that keep planets in position....and since Einstein until now science has based all their theories on assumptions.

Do you think it would be possible then for the creation to prove to themselves whether their creator exists or not ?