Theological Questions 1. The Noahic Deluge is of immense importance to Biblical Christianity: Was there an earth-wide Flood?
“Was there an earth-wide Flood?” If the principle of innate evolutionary development can fully explain the universe and all its inhabitants, as its proponents claim, then there is no need to postulate a Creator. The chief evidence for evolution is the geological record of the supposed billions of years of earth history, documented by the fossils entombed in the sedimentary rocks of the earth’s crust; and there is no room in this framework of interpretation for a world-destroying Flood.
“Was there an earth-wide Flood?” If the Flood has actually occurred, the assumptions of uniformitarianism and evolution as guiding principles in interpreting earth history are thereby proved completely deceptive and false. The earth has suffered under the Curse: heat, cold, floods, droughts, earthquakes, eruptions, etc. But immeasurably greater in magnitude and extent than all other catastrophes combined was the great Flood. In our modern age of scientific skepticism, the enormity of this great even of the past has been all but forgotten (Morris: The Genesis Record, p. 199)
“Was there an earth-wide Flood?” The Biblical testimony of the awfulness of sin and the reality of divine retribution is so disturbingly unwelcome that men have tried for ages somehow to explain it away and forget it. Even conservative Christians, professing belief in the divine inspiration of scripture, have often ignored the significance of the Flood. Many have been intimidated by the evolutionary geologists and paleontologists who have insisted that all of earth history should be explained in terms of slow development over great ages by the operation of natural processes which now prevail.
“Was there an earth-wide Flood?” Many Christians attempt to work out a compromise with evolutionary geology by explaining the Flood as a local flood, caused by a great overflow of the Euphrates or some other river in the Middle East. The Biblical record describes the Flood as a universal, world-destroying Flood, which changed everything on this planet.
Theological Questions 2. What about the JEDP Theory of several different authors writing the Book of Genesis?
What about the Documentary Hypothesis? After Darwin’s book, Origin of Species, was published in 1859, many religions were thought of as products of long periods of development. Based on study of the development of religions, it was concluded that the Hebrews’ Jewish religion was the product of an evolutionary process and had derived many of its major conceptions from the religions of the surrounding peoples. The Genesis account of the creation of the human being came to be regarded as untenable, and with it, belief in the historicity of the story of the Fall had to be abandoned as well.
What about the Documentary Hypothesis? Q: Did Moses actually write the five books traditionally credited to him? Q: Did events actually occur as described there? Historical criticism (JEDP Theory) was applied to the Pentateuch, and by the middle of the nineteenth century, the ‘documentary hypothesis’ was quite fully developed. It included the following tenets:
What about the Documentary Hypothesis? • The Pentateuch is a compilation of several different documents. These are referred to as J, E, D, and P. Proofs of the multiple sources include the use of various divine names, the presence of doublets (repeated or overlapping accounts), and secondary variations in vocabulary and style. J: Jehovistic E: Elohistic D: Deuteronomistic P: Priestly Codes
What about the Documentary Hypothesis? • This ‘theory’ suggests that the Pentateuch was composed well after the time of Moses. • The historical accounts are in many cases inaccurate. Some portions are, in fact, clearly fictional and legendary. • According to some forms of the theory, later passages of the Pentateuch can be distinguished from earlier parts on the basis of an evolutionary development of religion which is believed to have taken place (Erickson, Christian Theology, Vol. 1, p. 83)
What about the Documentary Hypothesis? “If this hypothesis were in any sense true, the Bible could not simply be taken at face value and indiscriminately quoted from as being dependable. It would rather be necessary to sift through the Bible to determine what is genuine and what is not. From these early beginnings, critical study of the Bible has become a highly developed procedure…” (Erickson, p. 83)
What about the Documentary Hypothesis? “The fact that in the command to enter the ark (Gen. 7:10-16) a distinction is now made between clean and unclean animals, seven of the former being ordered to be taken…is no more a proof of different authorship or of the fusion of two accounts, than the interchange of the names Jehovah and Elohim. For the distinction between clean and unclean animals did not originate with Moses, but was confirmed by him as a long established custom, in harmony with the Law. It reached back to the very earliest times, and arose from a certain innate feeling of the human mind, when undisturbed by unnatural and ungodly influences, which detects types of sin and corruption in many animals, and instinctively recoils from them. (K & D, p. 144)
What about the Documentary Hypothesis? “That the variations in the names of God furnish no criterion by which to detect different documents, is evident enough from the fact that in Gen. 7:1 it is Jehovah who commands Noah to enter the ark, and in 7:4 Noah does as Elohim had commanded, while in 7:16, in two successive clauses, Elohim alternates with Jehovah---the animals entering the ark at the command of Elohim, and Jehovah shutting Noah in. With regard to the entrance of the animals into the ark, it is worthy of notice that in verses 9 and 15 it is stated that ‘they came two and two’ and in verse 16 that ‘the coming ones came male and female of all flesh.’ (K & D, p. 144-145)
Genesis 7:17-18 The Flood “The description is simple and majestic; the almighty judgment of God, and the love manifest in the midst of the wrath, hold the historian fast. The tautologies (saying something twice in different words) depict the fearful monotony of the immeasurable expanse of water” (K & D, p. 145-6)
Genesis 7:17-18 The Flood 17 “And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lifted up above the earth. 18 And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters” (KJV)
Genesis 7:17-18 The Flood Genesis 7 lists several proofs that this was a universal earth-wide Flood, not a local flood: • The wording of the entire record, both here and throughout Genesis 6-9, could not be improved on, if the intention of the writer was to describe a universal Flood; as a description of a river overflow, it is completely misleading and exaggerated, to say the least. • Expressions involving universality of the Flood and its effects occur 30+ times in Genesis 6-9
Genesis 7:17-18 The Flood • The Flood “was (or better translated, ‘was coming’) forty days upon the earth.” A continual downpour lasting for forty days, concurrently with a bursting of great clefts in the crust (verses 11-12) would be impossible under present uniformitarian conditions. • The Flood which came on the earth was the mabbul, a Hebrew word used solely in connection with the Noahic Flood. The ordinary Hebrew words for a local flood are not used here at all (a storm flood: zerem; a river: nahar; an overflowing flood: sheteph).
Genesis 7:17-18 The Flood • The water rise was quickly sufficient to ‘bear up the ark,’ indicating a depth of at least twenty feet in the earliest stages of the Flood, since the Ark was at least forty-four feet high and heavily loaded. As already noted, the Ark was far too large to accommodate a mere regional fauna and was more than adequate to house two of every species of land animal in the whole world, living or now extinct. • As the rains continued, the waters ‘prevailed,’ a word which means, literally, ‘were overwhelmingly mighty,’ and would be quite inappropriate in the setting of a local flood. Job 12:15 says that the waters ‘overturned the earth.’
Genesis 7:17-18 The Flood • The construction, outfitting, and stocking of the Ark, so that it ‘went upon the face of the waters’ had all been an absurd waste of time and money if the Flood were to be only a local flood. Migration would have been a far better solution to the problem, for Noah as well as the birds and beasts (Morris, p. 199-200)
Genesis 7:19-20 The Flood • And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. • Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
Genesis 7:19-20 The Flood “But if the water covered ‘all the high hills under the whole heaven,’ this clearly indicates the universality of the flood. The statement, indeed, that it rose 15 cubits above the mountains, is probably founded upon the fact, that the ark drew 15 feet of water, and that when the waters subsided, it rested upon the top of Ararat, from which the conclusion would very naturally be drawn as to the greatest height attained.
Genesis 7:19-20 The Flood Now as Ararat, according to the measurements of Perrot, is only 16,254 feet high, whereas the loftiest peaks of the Himalaya…are as much as 26,843, the submersion of these mountains has been thought impossible, and the statement in ver. 19 has been regarded as a rhetorical expression, like Deut. 2:25 (“this day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the people everywhere under the heavens…”)…
Genesis 7:19-20 The Flood A flood which rose 15 cubits above the top of Ararat could not remain partial, if it only continued a few days, to say nothing of the fact that the water was rising for 40 days, and remained at the highest elevation for 150 days.
Genesis 7:19-20 The Flood “…To speak of such a flood as partial is absurd, even if it broke out at only one spot, it would spread over the earth from one end to the other, and reach everywhere to the same elevation. However impossible, therefore, scientific man may declare it to be for them to conceive of a universal flood of such a height and duration in accordance with the known laws of nature, this inability on their part does not justify any one in questioning the possibility of such an event being produced by the omnipotence of God.
Genesis 7:19-20 The Flood “…and to this must be added, that, apart from the legend of a flood, which is found in nearly every nation, the earth presents unquestionable traces of submersion in the fossil remains of animals and plants, which are found upon the…Himalaya even beyond the limit of perpetual snow.” (Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 1 The Pentateuch, p. 146-7) In 7:23, “and He (Jehovah) destroyed every existing thing” (KJV) as He had said He would in 7:4, “I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made” (NASB)
Genesis 7:21-23 The Flood • And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man; • All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. • 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 (KJV)
Genesis 7:21-23 The Flood In verse 13 “All flesh died that moved upon the earth” In a local flood, most of the living can escape death by fleeing the rising waters or by swimming to dry ground if necessary; this was a universal Flood In verse 14 “every man” died, in accordance with the very pursuit of the Flood. (“all” or “every” is used 6 times in 3 verses). In a local flood, most people escape. In verse 15 Everything with ‘the breath of life’ died, along with ‘every living substance destroyed.’ (Gen. 6:13 “I will destroy man with the earth”)
Genesis 7:21-23 The Flood In verse 16 “Only” Noah and those with him in the Ark survived the Flood, so that all mankind have descended from Noah’s three sons who survived (Genesis 9:1, 19). Likewise, all the earth’s present dry-land animals came of those on the Ark (Genesis 8:17, 19; 9:10). The very purpose of God had been to destroy all other living men (Genesis 6:7) and land animals (Genesis 6:17, 7:22).
Genesis 7:24 The Flood “And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days” The word ‘prevailed’ is used for the 3rd time (18, 20, 24). The waters remained until the ‘windows of heaven’ were shut (8:2) and the waters began to retreat. • No local flood continues to rise for 150 days • Even after the waters began to abate, and the Ark grounded on the highest of the mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:4), it was another 2 ½ months before the tops of other mountains could be seen (Gen. 8:5)
Genesis 7:24 The Flood • Even after 4 months of receding flood waters, the dove sent out by Noah could find no dry land on which to light (8:9) • It was over an entire year (7:11; 8:13) before enough land had been exposed to permit the occupants to leave the Ark. • God’s promise never to send such a Flood again (Gen. 8:21; 9:11, 15) has been broken repeatedly if it were only a local or regional flood.
Genesis 7:24 The Flood • The NT uses a unique term (kataklusmos, ‘cataclysm’) for the Flood (Matt. 24:38-9; Luke 17:27; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:6) instead of the usual Greek word for ‘flood’---’potomos’ (as used in Matt. 7:25, ‘the floods descended…’). • New cosmological conditions came into being after the Flood, including sharply defined seasons (Gen. 8:22), the rainbow along with rain (Gen. 2:5; 9:13-14), and enmity between man and beasts (Gen. 9:2) • Man’s longevity began a long, slow decline immediately after the Flood (Gen. 7 / Gen. 11)
Genesis 7:24 The Flood • Later Biblical writers accepted the universal Flood (note Job 12:15; 22:16; Psalm 29:10; 104:6-9; Isaiah 54:9; I Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5; 3:5-6; Hebrews 11:7). • The Lord Jesus Christ accepted the historicity and universality of the Flood, even making it the climactic sign and type of the coming worldwide judgment when He returns (Matt. 24:27-39; Luke 17:26-27). • There is strong geological evidence for the universal Flood, rather than for uniformitarianism and evolution.
Genesis 7:24 The Flood Note: In The Genesis Flood, by Dr. Henry Morris, there is an appendix which lists 100 Biblical and scientific reasons for believing that the Flood was worldwide. The Genesis Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan; 1976
Genesis 7:24 The Flood Summary: • The Flood could not have been a local tranquil flood • A global downpour, as well as global eruptions, would have destroyed every earlier physiographic feature on or near the earth’s surface, re-depositing the eroded materials all over the world in stratified sedimentary rocks of the earth’s crust • Such sedimentary rock abounds all over the world, and gives much evidence of having been formed by rapid and continuous processes.
Genesis 7:24 The Flood • Each individual stratum is a distinct sedimentary unit and, in most formations, can be shown by hydraulic analysis to have been formed within a few minutes’ time. • Each subsequent stratum began to be deposited immediately after the preceding one (when the strata above and below a given interface are notcomformable---or called ’unconformity’---then a significant time gap is indicated. • However, since there are no worldwide un-conformitites, one can always find a place at which any given formation does grade conformably and imperceptibly into another formation above it, without a time gap.
Genesis 7:24 The Flood • Since each unit in the geological column was formed rapidly, and since each unit was followed immediately by another unit above it, therefore the whole column was formed rapidly. • The geologic evidence demands a catastrophic, rather than a uniformitarian, explanation. • Fossils in these sedimentary deposits is further evidence that they formed rapidly. • Fossils are so ubiquitous (omnipresent, or universal) and so important, that they constitute the chief means of assigning a geologic ‘age’ to a given formation (and the fossils within them become universally accepted in the uniformitarian dating process)
Genesis 7:24 The Flood • The preservation of fossils requires rapid burial and lithification (rock-solid), or else they will be destroyed by decay and scavengers. • Sedimentary (deposits of minerals with action from water, wind, ice, or movement of glaciers), igneous (molten, volcanic) and metamorphic (physical or chemical changes caused by profound heat and pressure) rocks give strong evidence that they could never have been produced by modern uniformitarian processes.
Genesis 7:24 The Flood • Mountains, canyons, alluvial plains, etc. could never have been formed by uniformitarian processes. • More and more creation scientists, and evolutionary scientists are returning to the concept that all of these catastrophes were essentially contemporaneous and continuous, making up a complex which was nothing less than a worldwide cataclysm---the Genesis Flood (Morris, p. 205)