Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Flood of Noah is a Historical Fact

Growing up in the USA, I have heard claims all over academia and society talking about how the world-wide flood recorded in Genesis 7 & 8 is a myth based on countless flood myths that were written before it.  However, as I have considered the evidence in the observable world supporting the Flood, I have come to realize that the flood described in Genesis 7 & 8 is an undeniable historical fact.

The Claims of Scoffers:

In an unbelievably accurate display of prophecy, Peter wrote the following in his second letter:

2 Peter 3:3-7:  "Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.  They will say, 'Where is this "coming" he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.'  But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.  By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.  By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly."

Peter clearly is telling us that in the last days, Scoffers who promote uniformitarian philosophies grounded on no evidence would come along and deny three things:  The creation as described in Genesis 1:1-2:3, the Flood, and the coming judgement known as the Day of The Lord.  Are there scoffers who deny the flood?

In promotion of his 1999 book, Robert M. Best wrote the following:

"Noah's Ark and the Ziusudra Epic: Sumerian Origins of the Myth is a book that takes a fresh look at six versions of the Ancient Near East flood myth, demythologizes them, and combines the various story elements like pieces of a jigsaw picture puzzle into one coherent story. There actually was an archaeologically confirmed flood about 2900 BC on which the ark stories were based, but it was a local river flood, not a global deluge. The original ark stories were about a small commercial river barge that was hauling a few hundred cattle, sheep, and goats, but there were no kangaroos, lions, apes, elephants, or giraffes on that cattle barge."

Unfortunately, so-called Christians like Hugh Ross who accept Evolution promote the idea that the flood in Genesis 7 & 8 was a local flood, as Hugh Ross blatantly tells us in this YouTube video

In The Myth of Noah's Ark, D.M Murdock, in the context of the Babylonian flood story, said that the Flood of Genesis 7 & 8 was:

"...a cataclysmic event for which there is no solid, scientific evidence..."

In this post, I will address these claims in reverse order; by showing the observable and historical evidence that the flood was Global, it will be easier to show why the Flood could not have possibly been local. 

Physical Evidence For The Flood:

Every sane person who studies geology knows that every single continent on the planet is filled with sediment layers containing the fossils of billions of dead animals and plants, but there is more to the story:  there are marine fossils in rock layers that are WAY above sea level.  In the article High & Dry Sea Creatures, Dr. Andrew Snelling wrote the following for AIG:

"Marine fossils are also found high in the Himalayas, the world’s tallest mountain range, reaching up to 29,029 feet (8,848 m) above sea level.  For example, fossil ammonites (coiled marine cephalopods) are found in limestone beds in the Himalayas of Nepal. All geologists agree that ocean waters must have buried these marine fossils in these limestone beds. So how did these marine limestone beds get high up in the Himalayas?"

Dr. Snelling did not make an arbitrary assertion; when you go to the actual article, you will notice that there is a footnote in that quote which refers to a 1997 geology textbook, which is available for cheap on Amazon.

While Dr. Snelling goes on in the next paragraph to explain the "young earth creationist" view that the mountains in the world might not have always been as high as they are now on the Basis of Psalm 104:8 (a view which I agree with him on), let's pretend for a second that he is wrong and the mountains have always been as high as they are now:  How on Earth did those marine fossils get up there if there was no global flood when ocean waters are what buries marine fossils in limestone beds?

In Genesis 8, we read about how God caused the flood waters to recede; the obvious question is, where did these flood waters recede to?  God tells us where in Psalm 104:

Psalm 104:5-9:  "He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.  You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.  But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them.  You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth."

In the article Vast Underwater Ocean Trapped Beneath Earth's Crust, we read the following:

"Scientists have discovered evidence of a vast water reservoir trapped hundreds of miles beneath the surface, capable of filling Earth's oceans three times over.

Located 400 miles (660 km) beneath Earth's crust, this body of water is locked up in a blue mineral called ringwoodite that lies in the transition zone of hot rock between Earth's surface and core. Interestingly, this water is not in a form familiar to us - it's neither liquid, ice nor vapor. Geophysicist Steve Jacobsen from Northwestern University suggests it means that water on Earth may get pushed to the surface from below, contradicting previous beliefs that water was delivered via icy comets."

Take special note of what Jacobsen said at the end of the article regard the amount of water in this reservoir:

"'If [the stored water] wasn't there, it would be on the surface of the Earth, and mountaintops would be the only land poking out,' he said."

While there is disagreement between Jacobsen and the bible about whether or not the flood went above the very tops of the mountains or not, they are in perfect agreement on one thing:  There is more than enough water in that reservoir under the surface of our planet to have a global flood.  Furthermore, we now know where all that flood water went. 

For those who still believe after reading what I have presented thus far that the Flood was merely local, Michael S. Cole has a good summary of the reasons why the flood couldn't have been local in his article Noah's Ark--Truth of Myth?:

"I see two major problems with the local flood theories. You cannot cover the highest mountains with water for several months if the flood was only regional. (Gen. 7:20). Secondly, and even more significant is the covenant which God made after the Flood. God promised, "Never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." (Gen. 9:11). If the flood of Noah was merely a local flood, then God would have broken that promise hundreds of times since then. Other problems include that a population as large as one billion would not likely be contained within a single valley that would be amenable to local flooding. Besides, some people and animals could have simply gone to higher ground as happens during local flooding today. Even if the world's human population was not widely spread, nothing would have kept the birds and all the animals confined within that local flood area. Genesis 7:21-23 says that all creatures outside the Ark who lived on the land were destroyed. I also object to the possibility of a local flood because God could have merely instructed Noah and his family, along with the animals to be saved, to migrate out of the area that would be flooded."

Historical Evidence for The Flood:

As I mentioned in the beginning, most critics will point out that stories of a Global flood were found in other cultures before Moses compiled Genesis together, and they therefore assert that Genesis copied from those other stories.  On pages 3-4 of Noah and The Last Days Companion Guide, Ray Comfort sums it up well: 

"The worldwide catastrophic Flood, recorded in the book of Genesis, was a real event that affected real people.  We would therefore expect there to be records of this historical event in the nations of the world, and this is what we find. Accounts of a devastating flood—distorted though they may be—are found in historic records in practically all nations, from ancient Babylon onward. This evidence must not be lightly dismissed.  If there never was a worldwide Flood, then why are there so many stories about it?

The reason for these global flood traditions is not difficult to understand. When the eight survivors walked off the Ark, they carried a common account. Japheth likely told his children the account, they passed it down to their children, and they in turn told their children. Shem and Ham no doubt did the same. If the details changed, Noah was still alive to correct them and the account likely remained pretty much true to fact. The history book of the universe, the Bible, tells us that Noah’s descendants stayed together for approximately 100 years.

Then came the Tower of Babel, where God scrambled the unified language, forcing men to spread out
across the whole earth (Genesis 11:1–9). As these people moved away from Babel, their descendants formed nations based primarily on the languages they shared in common.Without its original biblical figures on hand to correct errors, as the story of the Flood was verbally passed from one generation to the next, some aspects would have been lost or altered. And this is what has happened. The Ark became a canoe, or a mountain top. The length of the Flood became just a few days in some of the stories.

 The fact that over 270 cultures retain distant memories of that cataclysmic event is a great confirmation of the biblical account and exactly what we would expect as nations traveled around the world passing down the account of the Flood. Though the details have been lost, most of the legends share common themes: man became corrupt, the Flood was worldwide, eight people survived, representatives of all land animals were saved, a dove was released to seek dry land, the survivors came down from a mountain to repopulate the whole world, and so on.

For instance, Hawaiians have a flood story that tells of a time when, long after the death of the first man, the world became a wicked, terrible place. Only one good man was left, and his name was Nu-u. He made a great canoe with a house on it and filled it with animals. In this story, the waters came up over all the earth and killed all the people; only Nu-u and his family were saved.

Another flood story is from China. It records that Fuhi, his wife, three sons, and three daughters escaped a great flood and were the only people alive on earth. After the great flood, they repopulated the world.

Critics claim the Bible’s account borrows from earlier myths. But it’s the other way around. The Bible declares that the earth-covering cataclysm of Noah’s day is an obvious fact of history, and thus the reason the Flood stories use names similar to the Bible’s is that they are borrowing from God’s Word. That’s why Noah-like names such as Nu-u, Nu-Wah, Noh, Nos, and Nuh are preserved in so many of the Flood legends.  Although there are varying degrees of accuracy, these legends and stories all contain similarities to aspects of the same historical event—Noah’s Flood."

Much like what I said about the age of the earth in my previous post, Just How Old Is The Earth & Universe?, the truth about the Flood is not a matter of science; it is ultimately a matter of history, of who was there to witness the event in question.

Remember when I said that Moses compiled Genesis?  Most people think that Moses wrote that book, but in reality, Genesis is a collection of ten different eyewitness accounts by ten different authors; there are ten different sign-off points at spots in Genesis to indicate where one account ends, and who wrote it.  In Creation Seminar 6, Dr Kent Hovind explains it wonderfully (watch from 2:30-6:44 to see where Hovind talks about the different authors of Genesis).

So who wrote down Genesis 6:9b-9:29?  The answer is found at the beginning of Genesis 10:

Genesis 10:1:  "This is the account of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, Noah's sons who themselves had sons after the flood."

So there you go:  Noah's sons, who were on the Ark with Noah during the flood, are the ones who wrote their eyewitness testimony about the flood.  


As crazy as this may sound, based on the evidence presented in this post, I believe that the Flood of Genesis 7 & 8 is as much of a historical fact as the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD and the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth in the early 30s AD.  

In terms of physical evidence, you have sediment layers made of sand, mud, and lime with no erosion marks containing billions of dead animals and plants on every continent, going from the bottom of the ocean to the top of the Himalayas, and we have a giant water reservoir under the surface of our planet where the water is in some unknown form that prevents it from coming to the surface and flooding the globe again.

In terms of historical evidence, you have 270 different cultures containing global flood traditions that share many important details with the Genesis account; what separates those accounts from Genesis is that the Genesis account was written by three people who were first-hand eyewitnesses due to the fact that they were on the Ark when the global flood happened.  

On top of that, as I show in Another Inconvenient Truth, the Jesus of the gospels and the historical Jesus are one and the same, and that Jesus clearly taught that the flood was a historical fact when he was talking about his second coming:

Matthew 24:36-41:  "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left."

According to Jesus himself, if he was wrong about the flood, then we can't trust him when he talks about the unseen spiritual world:

John 3:11-12:  "Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.  I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?"

The thing you have to remember is that what Jesus said in John 3:11-12 is the most self-condemning thing he could have said if he wasn't who he claimed to be.  However, since the Gospels are the most accurate historical records we have about Jesus, we know that Jesus was who he claimed to be, which is God in human form.  Since Jesus is God in human form, everything he said and taught is true.  Therefore, when he talks about the Flood as a historical fact, we can trust him to be speaking the truth.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article. Noah's Flood is one of my favorite historical accounts, and you made some great points, especially about the various flood legends from different cultures. That's powerful evidence that unbelievers prefer to ignore.