Every so often someone will challenge me to “prove” the flood with science. But I don’t do floods. The cost/benefit doesn't work out.
I mean, if you’re going to debate something in Genesis, do creation. There are incentives to demonstrating creation; it is a truth that has consequences. For example, Paul, writing to the Corinthians, tells how the last Adam undoes the damage caused by the first Adam:
It is even so written: “The first man Adam became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Cor 15:45
Adam’s sin impacts not just himself. It also impacts the generations that would come from him, condemning them to sin and death. Jesus (the last Adam) takes the consequences of that sin upon himself, and so he provides a basis for freeing humankind. Without a first Adam, the whole provision of Christ's sacrifice is meaningless. So there is a reason to establish the creation account as genuine. But the flood? There’s no real consequences to establishing that as true. Here and there other Bible writers refer to it, as they do to most OT events, but other than that, what really hinges on it? If you win, all you've done is demonstrate the Bible is correct on that particular point, leaving all the other points for grousers to take aim at.
Moreover, as an explanation for life's origin, one can maintain that the opposite of creation - evolution - is ridiculous.. But there’s nothing especially preposterous about the opposite of a flood: a 'no flood.' So why go there? You should not run with this ball. You should punt.
Of course, it’s not as though you are left - ahem - high and dry. You can garner bits of supporting evidence. You can answer questions like:
Q: Where did the water come from?
A: Let an expanse come to be in between the waters and let a dividing occur between the waters and the waters.” Then God proceeded to make the expanse and to make a division between the waters that should be beneath the expanse and the waters that should be above the expanse. And it came to be so. And God began to call the expanse Heaven. (Gen 1:6-8) So it looks as though earth at one time had waters suspended above “the expanse,” maybe they served to moderate temperature extremes that pummel the planet today - like a giant greenhouse. This might also explain why ancient tropical animals are excavated in arctic areas today. When this expanse emptied, earth’s climate changed in a flash:
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on this day all the springs of the vast watery deep were broken open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And the downpour upon the earth went on for forty days and forty nights. Gen 7:11,12
Q: Where did the water go?
A: If you took the earth and made it “rounder,” we’d all be under water. Conversely, if you take a round earth, raise some mountains and sink some ocean trenches, you have provided a place for the waters to drain. Did this happen?
Mountains proceeded to ascend, valley plains proceeded to descend—to the place you have founded for them. Ps 104:8
Q: Where is the geological evidence for a flood?
A: We maintain it is all around us, largely misinterpreted as evidence of “ice ages.”
So you have some answers. You’re not left a sitting duck for those who challenge you about the flood. Still, it's merely corroborating evidence. It doesn’t prove anything. In the final analysis, you end up saying you accept the flood because “the Bible says so,” thus provoking howls and catcalls from the atheists. Why go there?
So I don't like to debate it, since even if you win, you've gained nothing. Yes, yes, the demons had their downfall just before the flood, provoking it. But you really think that will help your case? If some atheist challenges you about the flood, don't think telling him about demons will bail you out.
Now, there is nothing so terrible about something who's proof lies mostly with internal evidence - in this case "the Bible says so." The same can be said of evolutionary pschology, which rests completely upon absolute acceptance of biological evolution. You could not attempt to prove it otherwise. Yes, there are facts that corroborate with the notion, just like I have outlined a few for the flood, but nothing that even begins to prove it.
A while back, former staff scientist here at the Whitepebble Institute, Tom Tombaugh, achieved scientific stardom when he proposed that ear-splitting flatulence evolved over the eons as a defense mechanism to scare off predators. But then his colleagues discovered he was joking. Tom had thought he might actually pull it off, though, in view of this recent letter published in the Economist (Jan 24th, 2009). Referring to a previous article on evolutionary psychology, the writer notes:
"Everything is ex-post reasoning: we can run fast, detect cheating, kill our stepchildren, because...and here you simply insert anything from the days of being a member of a small, close-knit endangered tribe to justify this. With this one can explain almost everything without actually ever bothering to prove anything."
Pretty much the same as 'I believe the flood, since the Bible says so', I'd say.
Are there aspects of a worldwide flood that seem to contradict current findings of science? Yeah, there are. But perhaps today's conclusions will change. For now, a guy really can't go wrong quoting the former Beatle, John Lennon. He observed: "everything they told me as a kid has already been disproved by the same type of 'experts' who made them up in the first place."
Just try challenging a former Beatle on this blog. Just try it.
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