The Great Flood
The face of this planet has been drastically changed at some point in the past. Many believe and teach that this is due to millions of years of sediment being layed down through steady, natural processes that have remained the same since they began; this is called Uniformitarianism. Others contend that the sediment layers and most other geological features of our planet are the result of the flood that is described in the book of Genesis in the Bible. This is called Catastrophism. This section of the website will address the evidence and claims of both theories and see which theory the evidence sides with.
At a time in our past there came a cataclysmic event that destroyed nearly all life on this planet. At the same time, this event reshaped the physical structure and attributes of our world as well. Most scientists, regardless of their beliefs, will contend that at some point a global catastrophe has taken place, this is not the issue, the issue is what the event in question was and how we can discern it by using the available evidence. Many theorize that it was an asteroid that struck our planet in the Gulf of Mexico. While others instead suggest it was the events from a story we are all familiar with. The flood account in the book of Genesis. But if the flood of Noah is really what caused these things, can it be shown scientifically? Many believe that not only it can, but that much of it has.
Religious context aside, the flood of Genesis should be able to be be tested and found not only possible but plausible if it is indeed true. But can it? Has it? Many say that the flood story was not a literal event or at least not on a global scale. Some ideas that have been given to explain the flood are:
It is just a story like everything else in the Bible.
It was a local flood.
It was a metaphor for a flood of knowledge.
The area simply flooded. (virtually same as the local flood theory)
It was a local legend.
However all of the above explanations can easily be found wanting with application of knowledge and logical thinking.
If it and the rest of the Bible are just stories what makes this belief true? Most people that make this claim are people that do not believe in God at all, so it should be obvious that they would dismiss the Bible as well. The Bible, it is said, is not a history book, geology book or a science book of any kind, but is anything in it supported by science? Definitely. The Bible is fully consistent with science and he two coincide perfectly, in fact there are many statements in the Bible about things in this world that have only been documented by modern science in the last hundred years or so. If what is in the Bible can be backed up with science then how can it be just a book of stories? With enough proper research, everything in the Bible can be found to fully comply with science, so there should be no claims such as "science vs. religion". Claims such as those are in reality "beliefs vs. beliefs", and are rarely if ever truthfully represented in modern media. All accounts within the Bible that are of actual historical events have at least some evidence to suggest so, this should be enough to make anyone listen and read with an open mind, yet not all seem willing to do so.
One of, if not the most popular claim about the flood story is that it was a local flood and not global. This view on the matter has some large obstacles to overcome if it is to be found true. Most of which are problems of logic and not of religious interpretation. If the flood was indeed local, why would God not simpy tell Noah and his family to move? God has never had a problem with telling his people to move away from a place that will incur His judgement. He told Moses to lead the entire Isrealite nation out of Egypt and across the desert and that was surely more effort for His people than a family of 8. Another major problem for the local flood theory is the fossil record and the Earth's current geography. The entire planet gives tesament to being reshaped by water as evidenced by swirling rock strata around the globe. There are also far too many fossils around the planet to be able to accept a flood of one area. The fossil remains of organisms from the past may well number into the Trillions. These fossilized remains are so thick in some areas that there are actually islands made of nothing but fossils. In addition, they are often in giant fossil beds with vast numbers of specimens intermingled together as if they were all buried together, many, if not most evidence that they died from drowning as well. The flood account had to have been global to answer for all the evidence of rapid, water-caused reshaping and burial worldwide.
The belief that the story was a metaphor for a flood of knowledge may be the least supportable of all. There is simpl too much detail about the account for it to have been a symbolic tale. God tells Noah what to make the boat out of, God tells Noah the dimensions for the boat, The number of each type of animal is told, people are shown to have mocked Noah for building the ark, the story details how the flood worked, the story tells how long the water rose and how long they were in the boat, Noah is said to have sent birds out to see when there was dry land again so they could leave the boat. There is simply too much detail in the flood account of Genesis to believe it refers to a period of enlightenment. In addition, it has been shown that humans have grown consistently less sophisticated and intelligent throughout their history, so it seems illogical to suggest that this story refers to a fllod of knowledge which seems to only have been lost soon after.
The last two explanations are virtually the same as the local flood theory so there is little need to discuss them other than the "legend" part seems to indicate that some believe nothing in the story may have ever happened at all. This can also be tied into the disbelief of the Bible as a whole.
If the flood of Noah was indeed a literal and global event, then can it be shown to be so? There is much data and evidence to suggest just that.
All across the globe there is evidence that attests to the reality of the Flood event in the form of things such as fault lines, sediment layers, fossils, mountains, canyons, rivers and lakes. Nearly very Geographic feature on our planet can be attributed to the Flood in some way.
However, let us start at the beggining, this timeline view will help gain perspective.
After the Fall of humanity caused by Adam and Eve's rebellion against the Creator the world filled with wickedness as people established civilizations and sought to satisfy their personal desires. People turned from God and soon either forgot or ignored Him while seeking their own selfish needs. The Earth had become over run with wicked people that sought nothing but sin. This saddened God and He sought to wipe the evil from the planet. God founf favor with one family, Noah and his family, altogether only 8 people were still worshipping the true God. God told Noah that He would wipe the wickedness fromt eh face of the world with a flood that would consume the entire planet and that he was to build an Ark to preserve his family and himself along with all the animal Kinds.
Noah and his family built the Ark and God sent the animals to it. Obviously there were no marine animals on the Ark since they couldn't live outside of water, at least most of them, and it is still debated as whether or not insects and arachnids were on the Ark. But we do know that all the other land dwelling and flying animals would have to have been on the Ark since they couldn't swim forever or breathe underwater.
The Bible states that when the Ark was finished all the animals were sent into the Ark for Noah and his family to care for in the Ark while the earth was flooded. When the animals were on the Ark along with Noah and his family, the door was shut up and soon after the rains came and the Earth began to flood. Genesis 7:11 states that
"...were all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened".
This means that while it did rain, the earth also ripped open as the water under the earths surface erupted up out of the earth. It is a common misconception that the water was only caused by rain since it is the most often cited cause of the flooding. The Bible then states that "...the rain was upon the Earth forty days and forty nights". We can clearly understand that this means that it rained for forty days and forty nights, helping the waters to continuously rise and cover the face of the planet.
Next, in Genesis 7:17 it states that
"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".
This verse helps us to see that the waters continually increased and the Ark was lifted by the water and floated on the sea covering the world during the time of the Flood. In Genesis 7:18-20 we read
"And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.
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."
The waters continued to rise even after the rain stopped due to the water bursting forth from the Earth's crust. The planet continued to flood and evrything was covered in water, just as we would axpect for a global flood. The waters covere everything and all the humans and creatures that could nto swim certainly died, as did many marine organisms that we see fossils of. The waters covered everything on Earth, including all the hills and mountains and continued to rise and drwon the planet until the water was 15 cubits above the highest mountains that were around at the time of the flood. This means that the water was 22.5 feet above the tops of the highest mountain top at the time of the flood. However after during and after the flood there was lots of upheaval of the earth's crust which helped to reshape the earth's surface and created many of the mountains we see today.
The Bible then reads in Genesis 7:24
"And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days"
The waters continued to increase for 150 days. That is a lot of water. and a long time for the water to keep rising and for it to keep raining. 5months of constant water erupting up form the earth's subterranean repositories and rain on top of that would certainly cause more water than the planet has ever seen and it certainly would have flooded everything and everywhere.
Genesis 8 tells us about how long the waters remained on the earth's surface and when they receeded.
1And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged;
2The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;
3And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.
4And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
5And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
6And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:
7And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
8Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
9But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.
10And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
11And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
12And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
13And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.
14And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.
After the waters stopped flowing, the Ark still had to float around for another 7 months, meaning that Noah, his family and all the animals were on the Ark for roughly a year. This was no pleasure cruise. They all had to live on the Ark for a year before they could leave it and touch ground again. Over a year after they entered the Ark they finally were able to leave the Ark. The flood had completely changed everything on the earth, he environment would have had much less oxygen, less habitable areas, less landmass in general thanks to the water. Everything that lived would have to reproduce and find food to repopulate the planet, this would casue massive gentic bottlenecking since all the unclean animals would have only two specimens to contribute genetic information and all the clean animals would have only 7. Many deleterious genes would become much more apparent due to the enormous loss of genes and genetic variance because of the "genetic bottlenecking" since most of the planets organisms perished and could not pass on any genes they had. Also, much more competition among animals and humans in their attempts to establish themselves would cause species to become extinct because of the now limited resources. We can see these effects in the forms of animals going extinct post flood as well as the massive amounts of harmful genetic material that is present today, many of which cause disease or some other health related issues such as retardation or deformities.
Many believe and say that the story of the Flood and the Ark is nothing more than a myth, however there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that it was indeed a real and physical event. Rapid fossilization, geologic anolomies such as swirled rock formed by water, polystrte fossils, the absence of a evolutionary geologic column around the world, rifts in crust of the earth, fossils found out of place, and many others testify to a global flood. The Flood was God's way of letting humanity restart from scratch since they had become evil and corrupt. He promised He would never again send a flood to cleanse the world, but that He would judge it one more time, but this time by fire.